Dan Needham, CEO of the Earle Baum Center in Sebastopol gave a presentation on the Earle Baum Center.
Dan Needham, CEO of the Earle Baum Center in Sebastopol gave a presentation on the Earle Baum Center.
The Earle Baum Center was established in 1999. The Center is named for its benefactor, Earle Baum, a West County native who developed complete blindness by the age of 17, probably from retinitis pigmentosa. He was a farmer, who continued to work the land although completely blind well into his 80s. He left his entire property, over 17 acres, in trust to be used as an establishment where people with visual impairment or complete blindness could be trained to function in daily life. After his death in 1986, multiple service organizations and professional groups worked together to build an establishment that could fulfill the wishes of Mr. Baum. In 1999 the Earle Baum Center opened its doors and is now serving over 450 people per year throughout Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties.
Dan began his presentation by querying his audience as to who had personal experience with people with impaired vision, over 60% of the people in the room responded. He then went on to say that the Earle Baum Center is "our" organization and that all people, whether sighted or with impaired vision, are able to utilize the services that they provide to help care for people they know with visual impairment.
The Earle Baum Center is located west of Santa Rosa, off Occidental Road. The address is 4539 Occidental Rd., Santa Rosa and the phone number is 707-523-3222. The website is www.Earle Baum.org.
The Earle Baum Center is truly a community Center as well as a school, educating people with visual impairment as well as their caregivers and family members in the meaning of visual impairment. They have a low vision clinic, staffed by a optometrist that helps people maximize their remaining vision and helps to monitor progression. A staff psychologist helps people to cope with the significance of failing vision in their lives. They have classes in their functional core school that deal with training activities of daily living in the home, transportation and movement in the community, use of adaptive technologies including computers, smart phones and tablets, along with braille instruction. They also have classes and activities that involve walking, grocery shopping, travel, mobility on public walkways and street crossings. They also have book clubs, movie night, and tandem bicycling exercise programs.
The average age of clients at their facility is 72, although the age range is quite diverse. Their motto is Dream, Dare, Do - No Less!
Majority of their funding comes from their Earle Fest Program that has been held every year for the past 10 years. This year's program, to be held at the SoMo Village Center in Rohnert Park on Saturday, September 23, will feature Los Lobos and the California Honeydrops on the main stage. In addition, numerous local talents will play on an ancillary stage. This is a day of fun activities and instruction for the entire family.
The Earle Baum Center is one of nine or 10 similar organizations in the state that try to work together with limited funding to provide assistive services to the blind.
Tickets for the Earl fest are available online at https://fanlink.to/EarleFest2017.