The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920

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Spring 2012


The Hadley School for the Blind – est. 1920

Through the generosity of others, building on the past, bringing life-changing services to future generations

A Letter from the President

The Hadley School for the Blind has proudly served our nation’s veterans and their families since World War I, and the recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are creating an even greater demand for our veterans program. (According to the Blinded Veterans Association, an estimated 17 percent of all injuries incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan are vision-related.)

At the Hadley School, we believe that military service members with visual disabilities deserve the opportunity to acquire skills to maximize their ability to work and participate fully, regardless of visual impairment. Therefore, on Veterans Day 2011, we announced our new Blinded Veterans Initiative (see page 3). With generous support from Goldman Sachs Gives, we continue to look forward to inspiring and educating our nation’s blinded veterans and their families—helping them to achieve their personal and professional goals while contributing to their community. We intend to enroll both service-connected veterans and those who experience age-related vision loss through this new initiative.

Since its official launch in September 2011, the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship (FCE) has enrolled more than 160 students, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of our curriculum. In 2012, Hadley will offer a minimum of seven new FCE modules. Hadley is also “going mobile” this year, with the delivery of eHadley courses on smart phones and tablets and new podcasts of our popular Seminars@Hadley.

In this issue of Generations, you will meet our 2011 Student Award Winners, who joined us at our Annual Meeting this past fall. Through your generosity, these students were able to enroll at Hadley—tuition-free—and take advantage of our life-changing courses and new initiatives.

I hope you will enjoy learning about some of our newest developments and sharing in our students’ stories, which never cease to inspire us. Your ongoing support of the Hadley School is essential to their success!


Charles E. Young, President

Consider a Memorial or Tribute Gift

Making a tribute or memorial gift is a special way to honor someone while supporting our organization at the same time.

We are pleased to let you know that over the last six months, Hadley has received 170 memorial and tribute gifts recognizing more than 60 individuals. A majority of these gifts were made in memory of longtime Hadley donors Arthur Nielsen and Manon Seebeck, totaling more than $32,000 alone.

Making a tribute or memorial gift to Hadley is easy and convenient. Call us, mail a check or donate through our secure Web site at We will send a special note on your behalf to the person or family in whose name the gift was made. We also have special tribute envelopes available for your convenience.

For more information, contact Mary Nelson, development associate, at 800-323-4238, ext. 2764.

Interested in the latest news, course announcements and upcoming Seminars@Hadley topics? Subscribe to our eConnect newsletter and find out what’s happening@Hadley. Visit and click “Subscribe to eNews”

Donor Spotlight

Bob Seebeck: Seeing the Value of Helping Others

Bob Seebeck recalls the beautiful day in London in 1991 when he and his wife, Manon, were walking in Gidley Park with friends Jackson and Suzanne Smart. The Smarts mentioned The Hadley School for the Blind and extended an invitation to the Seebecks to become involved, which they happily accepted. Bob became a Trustee and in 1995-97 served as Board chair. Manon joined the Woman’s Board, helping with many projects in addition to volunteering with Fortnightly and the Contemporary Club and serving as president of the Winnetka Garden Club.

A partner with Smith Barney for many years and an executive recruiter with Russell Reynolds in Chicago, working with finance candidates, Bob was most interested in Hadley’s development and endowment efforts and, subsequently, joined those two committees. He also was not afraid to ask for support and has helped in bringing new friends to Hadley and reconnecting many who were formerly involved with the school.

In 1999, when Bob and Manon were discussing their estate planning, they felt it was important to include Hadley and became charter members of the Clarence Boyd Jones Society.

During Bob’s tenure as Board chair, braille literacy and new technology were strategic priorities. The school introduced nine new courses, including three beginning braille courses, during that time. In addition, he oversaw the migration to a new computer system that allowed the school to keep pace with technology and manage an enrollment of 10,000 students.

Today Bob is particularly impressed by some of the recent advancements at Hadley. He believes the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship has been a significant addition to the school. “The Center’s objective is to enable people with vision loss to develop their business skills and, if they have an idea that is effective, start their own business, which helps the community and creates jobs,” he says. “The more we can help the better.”

Bob is also proud of Hadley’s focus on serving the needs of blinded vets. “It is unfortunate that veterans who have given time for our country and return with injuries can’t find a job,” he says. Through its new Blinded Veterans Initiative, Hadley is helping to create an environment to help veterans get back on their feet and even start a business. Hadley can be an example to other organizations and address the country’s pervasive problem of unemployment among the veterans community.

In 2010, in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the Hadley School, Bob received a commendation from Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk. Today, along with so many others, he is keeping the senator in his thoughts and prayers.

Bob and Manon moved into the Vi Classic Residence at The Glen in October. He says he is grateful that she persuaded him to “get cracking” and make the move. He feels fortunate to be there now. Because Hadley was so important to the couple, when Manon passed on in October, memorials were directed to Hadley as further recognition of her longtime support. Bob is deeply grateful for the large outpouring of condolences, thoughtful letters and many gifts given to Hadley in Manon’s memory.

Bob thinks the school’s ongoing strength is in its commitment to developing new courses and expanding its reach to those who need help and is pleased to be able to leave a legacy to the school. He is grateful to Hadley President Chuck Young and his team in their never-ending search to help others. He says, “That’s why we’re in the world—to help others. I get fulfillment from my involvement with Hadley because I know what I’m doing is valuable.”

For information on making a planned gift to Hadley, contact Shari Burton, 847.784.2765 or

Hadley Employees Demonstrate Long-Term Commitment

Ever since William Hadley taught his first student, Hadley’s faculty and staff have been dedicated to providing the highest quality one-on-one teaching and learning environment. Their deep commitment to the blindness community is unparalleled. On January 27, the school honored several long-term employees; the following have served Hadley for 25+ years and were asked to reflect on their years with Hadley.

Betsy Slade, braille literacy instructor, 46 years: “Although it seems like a long time since I started at Hadley, the time has flown! I’ve known almost all of Hadley’s presidents and have worked in many different departments, including the former college department. My greatest joy is ordering certificates of completion when my students have finished a braille literacy course. I feel their pride when they have ‘proof’ for family and friends of their hard work and the potential their new skill offers!”

Jerrie Lawhorn, poetry instructor, 45 years (who celebrated her 95th birthday on December 31 and received the 2011 Winnetka Educator of the Year Award): “It is hard to squeeze all my gratitude into a brief statement to equal my great pleasure in working with Hadley staff and students and my sincere gratitude to the donors who support us.”

Linda Perry, braille instructor, 32 years: “I learn a lot from my students about ways they handle everyday challenges. But there’s nothing like the joy I get out of my students’ joy! I do my best to help my students go from lacking confidence and feeling ‘down in the dumps’ to becoming successful braille readers.”

Susan Fisher, braille and abacus instructor, 30 years: “I am thrilled to see how willing my students are to ‘pay it forward.’ Many participate in my office hours group, motivating other students as well as speaking at outside groups and schools, sharing their stories of how Hadley has impacted their lives.”

Sue Melrose, braille and internet instructor, 26 years: “So many foreign Professional Studies and Family Education students, who have to break the barriers of language or inadequate technologies, take our courses so they can better the lives of blind individuals in their countries. I am not just teaching braille, but sharing information and resources that can really make a difference in my students’ lives.”

Fred Glickstein, shipping & receiving specialist, 27 years: “I remember receiving a student’s lesson from Africa addressed simply to The Hadley School for the Blind—no address, city, state or even country mentioned. We’ve also received packages addressed to The Heavenly School for the Blind.”

Karen Woodfork, director of Student Services, 26 years: “My greatest joy is when I hear students say, ‘I don’t know where I would be without Hadley.’ I smile when students leave me a voice message about how excited they are to become a student. They are so excited, in fact, they forget they are talking to a machine.”

Gerry DeCicco, vice president and chief financial officer, 25 years: “When I meet students and hear them speak about their wonderful experiences, including amazing praise for their instructors, I realize what a vital impact each and every employee’s efforts has made on their lives.” 

Hadley Partners with Susquehanna Foundation to Expand Programs

The Susquehanna Foundation for the Blind in Lancaster, Pa., is both a financial supporter and a partner with the Hadley School. The Foundation, whose mission is to create breakthrough opportunities in education and employment for Americans who are blind, has supported Hadley’s Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship (FCE) with grants for curriculum development in 2010 and 2011. The foundation also featured Hadley and the FCE on its 2012 “Eyes” large print calendar for people with low vision. The theme of this year’s calendar is Entrepreneurial Spirit. Megan Sofilka, vice president & chief development officer, said, “The Hadley School has demonstrated a deep commitment to entrepreneurship training for people who are blind or visually impaired, which aligns closely with the Susquehanna Foundation’s interests. It is a pleasure to work with another organization that is proactively addressing the practical needs of people who are blind or visually impaired.”

Hadley Launches Blinded Veterans Initiative

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2011, Hadley officially announced the launch of a new Blinded Veterans Initiative. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are an estimated 158,300 legally blind veterans and 700,000 veterans with low vision. In addition, approximately 7,000 veterans become newly blind or visually impaired each year from non-combat related causes. Compounding the problem is that approximately 70 percent of working age Americans who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed or underemployed.

In response, Hadley’s Blinded Veterans Initiative will educate and inspire blind or visually impaired veterans to pursue their personal and professional goals and help support their families. Veterans drawn to Hadley as a result of this initiative will be able to enroll in any of the school’s 100+ distance education courses. Core subjects emphasized through this initiative include business and entrepreneurship, technology, independent living skills, adjustment to blindness and braille literacy.

The program is tuition-free for all visually impaired veterans and their family members, thanks to the support of Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund. The gift was made at the recommendation of John Willian, a managing director at Goldman Sachs and Winnetka native whose family has shown a legacy of support for the Hadley School.

“There are many courses and programs about how to get into business, but there was no curriculum on how someone who is blind or visually impaired can make those programs work. The Blinded Veterans Initiative will address those issues that are specific to people who are visually impaired,” says Urban Miyares, founder of the Disabled Businesspersons Association and Hadley’s new Veterans Outreach Specialist. Miyares will travel the country networking with business and veterans colleagues to encourage enrollment.

In January, representatives from Hadley conducted focus groups of staff members of the Blind Rehabilitation Services at Hines VA Hospital to determine the needs of blinded veterans. Hadley staff received feedback on what curriculum topics are most important to newly blinded veterans and strategies for promoting the initiative.

For more information about the Blinded Veterans Initiative, visit The site contains a downloadable brochure and Veterans Day event video, including remarks by Hadley President Chuck Young and Steve Beres, Hadley student and blinded veteran.

If you are interested in supporting Hadley’s Blinded Veterans Initiative, please contact our Development and Communications Department, 800-323-4238, or make an online gift at

New “Veterans Benefits” Module Available

The Blinded Veterans Initiative complements Hadley’s recently launched Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship (FCE). The Center’s newest module, “Veterans Benefits” introduces key aspects of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system and aims to demystify the complexity of veterans benefits, including disability compensation, pension, medical care benefits, survivor benefits and procedures for processing a claim. It also provides information for veterans on where to go for more help with running a business.

Student Award Winners Share Experiences, Insights and Successes

The Edwin J. Brach and Hazel and Bertram Brodie Student Award Ceremony, held during the school’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees, provides an opportunity for trustees, donors and staff to gather in celebration of the school’s highest achievers. This year’s event, held on October 20 at the Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, celebrated the success of seven Student Award Winners. They have mastered braille, joined book clubs and run marathons. Their Hadley courses have helped them prepare for job searches, raise children and even inspired one winner to begin work on a book. Their stories showcase your generosity at work.

Student of the Year

Sun Y. Ha, Maryland

Sun was born in South Korea and has lived in the U.S. for 28 years. When she arrived in the States with her family, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and told her vision would continue to deteriorate. She has been legally blind for 47 years.

At 21, Sun began her first full-time job as a fireproof fabric thread-maker at Amatex, where she worked for three years. She later worked as a housekeeper at a nursing home for 13 years, until her vision loss made the work too difficult. She now lives with her sister’s family.

Sun has studied many subjects with Hadley, including English, math, science, health, abacus, braille and, most recently, Spanish. She’s says learning braille made things much easier for her. Sun also ran a marathon with the help of her brother-in-law, Eric.

Upon learning she was Hadley’s 2011 Student of the Year, Sun was moved to tears. “I could not believe someone had acknowledged my hard work,” she says. She thanks her sister, Seung, and Eric for their support and for welcoming her into their home.

International Student of the Year

Padhmavathi Bashyarangan, India

Padhmavathi has master’s degrees in rehabilitation science and psychology. She has been a rehabilitation specialist for eight years.

After learning about Hadley through a colleague, Padhmavathi enrolled in “The Human Eye.” The knowledge, confidence and skills she gained helped her to better serve her clients and motivated her to enroll in additional courses. She found that many courses, such as “Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness,” provided information that was useful not just to her clients with vision loss, but to herself and her friends as well. “I became more confident in my skills only after taking Hadley courses,” she says. “With each assignment, I became better.”

Inspired by Hadley’s “Independent Living” course, Padhmavathi is working on a book for indivduals who are visually impaired, incorporating the cultural differences of India. She appreciates Hadley’s effort to educate the world on acceptance and rehabilitation of the visually challenged. “I have recommended Hadley to many people,” she says. “I discuss with them the changes it has made in my life.”

Braille Student of the Year

Jan A. Lavine, Oklahoma

In 2006, Jan lost her vision due to pigment epithelial detachment (PED). She has taken eight braille courses and several others, including “Effective Listening” and “Independent Living.”

Before losing her vision, Jan had no exposure to blindness or braille. “Now, braille has become my everything,” she says. “My braille instruction has enabled me to read wherever I am—while reclined in the dentist’s chair or in a dark concert hall.”

Jan volunteers as a braille instructor for Fire Protection Publications and the Edmond, Oklahoma Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. After learning how to read aloud through Hadley’s “Experience Braille Reading” course, she became a volunteer reader in the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” Program. “I tell the story about my love of reading,” she says. “It is a way I can show braille in use to others.”

Jan’s other interests include cooking and home improvement.

Robert J. Winn Family Education Award

Trudy L. Stanford, Newfoundland, Canada

When Trudy’s first child was born, she decided to work from home and, utilizing her business background, began a family day care. When her second child was born with a visual impairment, her life took on additional challenges and responsibilities. In 2010, after 10 years of providing childcare for other families, Trudy decided to devote her full attention to the needs of her family. She now enjoys being a full-time mom, wife and student.

Shortly after her daughter’s diagnosis, Trudy’s early intervention specialist told her about Hadley. “It was the start of something truly wonderful,” she says. Watching her daughter blossom has made her studies with Hadley worthwhile. Hadley’s instructors have given her family guidance and hope and have helped them feel better prepared for daily challenges. “Hadley has provided us with a great foundation for our daughter,” Trudy says. “There’s always someone to offer a word of encouragement or a suggestion that may benefit my family. I no longer fear the future.”

Dean W. Tuttle Professional Education Award

Holly A. Idler, Florida

Holly is a certified orientation and mobility specialist at the Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona Beach, Florida. She graduated cum laude from Florida State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in visual disabilities with a certificate in orientation and mobility.

Holly has been involved with Hadley for many years. She uses much of what she learns in her personal and professional life and says the parenting courses have helped in raising her son. Holly shares what she’s learned with clients and students, encourages them to take Hadley courses and discusses the course material with them. “If I am struggling in a class, a Hadley instructor is there to give positive encouragement through a written letter, email or phone call anytime, day or night,” she says.

Holly also enjoys reading, computers and math.

Richard Kinney Challenge of Living Award

James L. Holland, Georgia

James has worked as a geologist in minerals exploration, a computer operator for a large insurance company and a motel desk clerk. He is now a full-time student and also serves as vice president of the local chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind. James learned about Hadley through a rehabilitation specialist. “I had lost my job and become despondent,” he says. Hadley’s “Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness” course helped him cope with his vision loss by teaching him how to recognize his assets and limitations and set goals. James has taken many other Hadley courses, all of which have helped him use his creativity in meaningful ways and communicate more effectively in his role with the Georgia Council of the Blind.

“The most valuable thing I have learned at Hadley is to communicate your needs,” says James. “If you do so, people are willing to help you.”

James’ interests include philosophy and science. He also enjoys Book Chat, Hadley’s online book club.

Donald Wing Hathaway Lifelong Learning Award

Rita Tester, North Carolina

Rita has taken nearly 20 Hadley courses since she first enrolled in 1991. She heard about Hadley through the Independent Living Center for the Blind in North Carolina. Her favorite courses have been “Health 1 and 2” and “Personal Psychology.” Currently, she is taking Hadley’s “Finding Employment” course to help prepare for her job search. She plans to enroll in Hadley’s diabetes course to help her better manage her condition. “Hadley has made it possible for me to continue learning beyond high school and college,” Rita says. “I love that I can learn new things and refresh my skills, all at a distance and at my own pace.”

Hadley Welcomes New Board Chair, Trustees

In October, Winnetka resident Judy Castellini assumed the position of chair, Board of Trustees, and Kenilworth residents Kevin McGuire and Garrick Rice were confirmed as new Trustees.

A Hadley Woman’s Board member since 1996 and Trustee since 2006, Castellini also served as chair of the school’s Development and Communications Committee and as past president of the Woman’s Board. Last year, she was one of several co-chairs for Hadley’s gala benefit. In her new role, Castellini’s priority is to actively engage Hadley’s various constituencies—Trustees, donors, volunteers and the surrounding community—to strengthen Hadley’s reach and visibility.

Castellini has been active on a number of other boards as well, including Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, Lake Forest, where she served as chairman from 2008 to 2011; Ravinia Festival Woman’s Board; Board of Visitors, DePauw University (her alma mater); and the Woman’s Board of The Art Institute of Chicago.

New Trustee Kevin McGuire heads the Goldman Sachs Midwest Institutional Equities business and co-manages the Chicago office for the Securities Division. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1996 as an associate and was named managing director in 2004. McGuire earned a B.A. in Business and an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. An infantry squad leader with the United States Marine Corps, McGuire served two tours in the Middle East.

Trustee Garrick Rice is a managing director at Sterling Partners in Northbrook, Ill., where his investment expertise includes working with health care services industries and the education field. Previously, Rice worked for Bank of America, Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp, Robert W. Baird and FOB Inc., a start-up enterprise software company. Rice earned his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management and B.B.A from the University of Michigan Business School. 

Save the Date!

Hounds for Hadley

Oct. 6

Our mission: To promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers.

The Hadley School for the Blind

700 Elm Street

Winnetka, IL 60093-2554 USA

Change Service Requested


The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconA collaborative effort of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired And Texas Commission for the Blind Winter 2003 volume 8, No, 1

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconA quarterly newsletter about visual impairments and deafblindness for families and professionals a collaborative effort of the Texas School for the Blind and

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconFaire de la pauvreté un problème, c’est oublier que l’accaparement des riches en est la cause. C’est le mode de production et de consommation des riches qui

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconEst-Ovest is a quarterly published in Italian by the Istituto di Studi e Documentazione sull'Est Europeo (isdee) since 1970

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 icon1. Has your school ever used the School Health Index or other self-assessment tool to assess your school’s policies, activities, and programs in the following areas?

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconMots clés : conseils de présentations, feuille de style, expression écrite et orale
«feuille de style» c'est-à-dire un canevas pour réaliser un rapport conforme aux traditions de votre entreprise. Nous admettrons...
The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconPrepared by Susan S. Grover, Eric Chason & J. R. Zepkin of William & Mary Law School, Emmeline P. Reeves of University of Richmond Law School, Robert W. Wooldridge, Jr of George Mason University Law School & C. Scott Pryor of Regent University Law School

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconL'accès à notre travail est libre et gratuit à tous les utilisateurs. C'est notre mission

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconL'accès à notre travail est libre et gratuit à tous les utilisateurs. C'est notre mission

The Hadley School for the Blind est. 1920 iconL'accès à notre travail est libre et gratuit à tous les utilisateurs. C'est notre mission

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