Sie sind auf Seite 1von 13

bridges

bridges july/august L I T H U A N I A N A M E R

july/august

L

I

T

H

U

A

N

I

A

N

A

M

E

R

I

C

A

N

N

E

W

S

J

O

U

R

2012

N

A

L

“BRIDGES” (ISSN: 87508028) is published 10 times per year (Jan./Feb. & Jul./Aug. combined) for $20.00,

“BRIDGES” (ISSN: 87508028) is published

10 times per year (Jan./Feb. & Jul./Aug.

combined) for $20.00, by Lithuanian

American News Journal. Issue: 366

Address of publication is:

LAC, Inc./BRIDGES,

78 Mark Twain Dr., Hamilton Sq., NJ 08690

BRIDGES is the official publication of the Lithuanian American Community, Inc. National Executive Board 2715 E. Allegheny Ave., Phila., PA 19134 Tel: 800- 625 -1170 Fax: 856-428-6014

E-mail: Lithuanian USA@yahoo.com

BRIDGES Consultants

Terese Vekteris

Editor

Gema Kreivenas

Production Art Director

Rimas Gedeika

Treasurer & Subscription Manager

Copyright ©2012 Lithuanian American Community, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced without writ- ten permission of the publisher. All statements & opinions, including product claims, are those of the organization/advertiser making those statements or claims. The publisher does not adopt, or put forth, any such statement or claim as his own, & any such statement or claim does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.

Address all editorial correspondence to:

BRIDGES Terese Vekteris 6125 McCallum Street Philadelphia, PA 19144 bridges.terese@gmail.com

For subscription & advertising information, please contact:

LAC, Inc./BRIDGES,

Rimas Gedeika 78 Mark Twain Dr., Hamilton Sq., NJ 08690 Subscription rate is $20.00 annually, 2 full years for $38.00 (US Mail serviced subscribers). Subscrip- tions to other addresses are (US $35.00), payable in advance (US funds). Periodicals postage paid at Trenton, NJ & additional locations.

Contact us on the Internet at:

http://www.lithuanian-american.org

Postmaster: Sendany address correction&/or changes to:

LAC, Inc./BRIDGES,

Rimas Gedeika 78 Mark Twain Dr., Hamilton Sq., NJ 08690

Lithuanian American Community C ONTACT I NFORM ATION : W EBSITE WWW.LITHUANIAN-AMERICAN.ORG TELEPHONE 800-625-1170

Lithuanian American Community

C ONTACT INFORM ATION:

W EBSITE

WWW.LITHUANIAN-AMERICAN.ORG

TELEPHONE

800-625-1170

Features

5

Global Baltics: The Next Twenty Years Successful 23rd AABS Conference held in Chicago

RamunKubilius

8

Christmas in July A terminally ill little boy wished for a used, blue bike, and a charity was born

Jeanne Dorr

10

Lithuanian Braille: The Dots That Connect Our Children With Their Heritage Parents’ focused efforts enrich their sons’ experience of their Lithuanian heritage

Erikas Vasiliauskas, M.D.

22

My Lithuanian Summer: Adventures in the Land of My Ancestors Conclusion of a series chronicling a summer of living and learning in Lithuania

TeresVekteris

Departments

4

Letter From the Editor

4

Trivia The Peaceful Ruler

Edward Shakalis

18

Current Events

20

Sports Let the Games Begin! Your (Lithuanian) Guide to London 2012

17

A Taste of Lithuania

ˇ

S altibarsˇcˇiai: The Soup That Refreshes

26

Calendar of Events

Front cover: Blind brothers Ve˙jas and Petras Vasiliauskas actively enjoy rich Lithuanian heritage experiences thanks to their parents’ tenacity and innovations in Braille translation. Story on page 10.

Back cover: XIV Lithuanian Dance Festival photographs by Kazys Razgaitis, Bob Noeth, Vytenis Lietuvninkas and Daina Puteriene˙.

Full coverage of the XIV Lithuanian Dance Festival coming up in September.

Christmas in July

The conversation turned to music and basketball. I asked him what he would like for Christmas. But we both knew there would be no Christmas. He told me he would love to have a used, blue bicycle. He emphasized used because he knew his mother could not afford a new bicy- cle; in fact, he wondered if she could even afford a used bike. I told him if he could ride it, I would buy it for him. Arturas was wise beyond his years and was so wor- ried about his mother and his 4-year-old brother. His brother was often left with neighbors while his mother sat beside his hospital bed. She didn’t have a car and it was too expensive to go back and forth. Arturas soon began to tire and our time was finished. His mother helped him stand and I hugged him gently. I could feel his ribs through his shirt. When I came home, I received a note from Arturas asking me to thank the Lithuanians in America who were providing money for experimental drugs, helping his mother and praying for a miracle. But it was not to be and there would be no used, blue bicycle. Instead, the follow- ing summer his mother and I went shopping, not for the bicycle but for a grave marker. She worked and worked and still could not save enough money to mark her beloved Arturas’ final resting place. One especially difficult summer in Lithuania I visited family after family suffering from hard financial times. After listening to the people there who are associ- ated with Lithuanian Orphan Care worry about helping these families, especially at Christmas, I decided to launch Christmas in July. I would ask for help to provide small gifts for children at Christmas and honor Arturas’

By Jeanne Shalna Dorr

at Christmas and honor Arturas’ By Jeanne Shalna Dorr Arturas and his mother, Violeta, moments before

Arturas and his mother, Violeta, moments before our interview

I often wonder what he would have looked like had he

lived. How would his personality change, where would he work, would he live at home with his widowed mother and younger brother? Arturas would be in his mid-20s now, but I’ll never know the answers to these questions because he was a 13-year-old suffering from leukemia when we met. We only saw each other once and corre- sponded a few times, but after all these years he still has an impact on my life. Perhaps it’s because I have stayed in touch with his mother.

It was July when I met Arturas. As weak as he was, he stood when I walked into the room and handed me a single red rose. He was so thin and he wore a cap because his hair was gone. His mother looked at him

lovingly as if to cling to his every word. He was scared because he never met an American before that day. He was even more scared because I was

a teacher. After a few min- utes we were chatting away like old friends and he was comfortable enough to remove his cap.

old friends and he was comfortable enough to remove his cap. A village mourns the passing

A village mourns the passing of a son

trivia

memory at the same time. Times were tough here at home as well. But what I can say about the Bridges readers? You have kept Christmas in July going without missing a beat for years. Exactly what is Christmas in July and what does a young boy who died more than 10 years ago have to do with it? I could not get Arturas out of my mind after he left this earth and I could not and would not let his mem- ory die. It was you, the Bridges readers, who kept that memory alive all these years. Your tax-deductible gifts are sent to Lithuanian Orphan Care in Chicago. From there the money goes to Lithuania to buy small gifts for children who otherwise would have a bleak Christmas. Perhaps the child will re- ceive a gift bag that contains some sweets, a small toy car or some hair ribbons, or maybe a coloring book and crayons. Why send it in July? Everyone involved with Lithuanian Orphan Care both here and in Lithuania is a volunteer. The people in Lithuania need to know how much is available to them, gifts have to be purchased and wrapped, and schools or families have to be contacted, so it becomes a rather long process. At times Christmas in July leads to much-needed help in other areas. Last year Mrs. Vytatutas Landsbergis visited a small village school with gifts. There she learned of a family with eight children whose house burned to the ground. She stopped to visit them and was shocked at what she saw. Although the neighbors helped as best they could, the family had no bedclothes, pillows or blankets. They slept in their winter coats. She was back within the week with supplies. If she had not visited the school with gifts she would never have heard this heartbreaking story from the principal. When I visited the family with her last summer they were well on their way to recovery. Thank you for reading this same story year after year. I can’t change the facts or the photos. They will remain in place for the rest of time. Any donation you send will be deeply appreciated, but you must write Christmas Gifts in the memo of the check. The tax-deductible check should be addressed and sent to:

Lithuanian Orphan Care 2711 W. 71st Steet, Chicago, IL 60629 If you see a bright light up above, it’s probably a boy on a used, blue bicycle streaking across the night sky and lighting it up with his smile.

Jeanne Shalna Dorr is a member of the Board of Directors of Lithuanian Orphan Care, a branch of the Human Services Council of the Lithuanian American Community, Inc. and also a past editor of Bridges.

AAAANNNNSSSSWWWWEEEERRRR TTTTOOOO TTTTRRRRIIIIVVVVIIIIAAAA QQQQUUUUEEEESSSSTTTTIIIIOOOONNNN

Submitted by Ed Shakalis

Trivia Quiz on page 4

Source: Samogitia by Charles L. Thourot Pichel, 1975, Maltese Cross Press (out of print)

L. Thourot Pichel, 1975, Maltese Cross Press (out of print) GEDIMINAS “The Lithuanian king, Gedimin, preferred

GEDIMINAS

“The Lithuanian king, Gedimin, preferred to secure peace diplomatically rather than by war; therefore he made numerous appeals in this respect to the Holy Roman Empire. He sent special envoys to the Pope, and Teutonic Knights. He was prepared to live at peace with Christendom if the Order [the Knights] would cease its per-

petual aggression. He even in- vited merchants, knights, artisans and farmers to settle in his country, with tax concessions and guaranteed enjoyment of full religious liberty.

“The Bishops of Livonia welcomed the news, and in an ensuing rivalry for the honor, the Grand Master [the highest officer of the Teutonic Knights] proposed to pay Gedimin 1,000 pounds of silver if he would accept baptism from the Order. Gedimin signed a peace treaty with the Archbishop and Bishops of Livonia and the Livonian branch of the Order, but the Grand Master was furious on learning of this pact, negotiated without him…and forced the Bishops to terminate the pact. To make Christianity repulsive to the remaining Samogitians and Lithuanians, the Knights resumed their invasions unabated in their zest for brutality and oppression. “In another effort to negotiate for peace, King Gedimin appealed to the Pope, who in turn dispatched two sharp Bulls, commanding the Order to stop the incursions and to comply with the peace pact. The Bishops persuaded King Gedimin to accept baptism in good faith, but this time the staunch heathen Samogitians threatened to exterminate Gedimin’s whole family if he should fulfill this obligation. “In 1341, in one of the battles with the Teutonic Crusaders, Gedimin fell mortally wounded, reputedly

of

together his children and asked them to live in har- mony and love, and to redeem all Aistian lands of their ancestors from foreign rule.”

Edward Shakalis is a retired electrical engineer and a ham radio operator. He and his son Rick run the “The Lithuanian Open” golf tournament.

Editor’s note: Although this book calls Gediminas a king, he was a Grand Duke. Mindaugas was the only king of Lithuania.

a

gunshot

Before

his death, Gedimin called

Lithuanian Braille: The Dots That Connect Our Children With Their Heritage

By Erikas Vasiliauskas, M.D.

In enthusiastic anticipation of its 50th Anniversary in 2012, the Lithuanian Foundation held a contest on the theme, “Lithuania, You Are Mine.” Participants in four age groups were invited to submit their creations in different genres. This article represents the winning entry in the eldest group (19 years and older). Works of other winners can be found at www.lithuanianfoundation.org.

Like many children around the world, Ve˙jas and Petras attend Lithuanian School on Saturday mornings; but rather than reading their textbooks in a traditional fashion, they read with their fingers. They are fluent in English and Lithuanian braille;Ve˙jas has even added Spanish to his repertoire. Both boys started search- ing for the raised dots of braille on the pages of books and on toys before their first birthdays, even before they really knew what the letters meant.

Rasa and I first met as children during summer camp at Dainava in Michigan. We eventually reconnected many years later at an International Lithuanian Song Festival banquet and got engaged the following winter at the end of a month-long Lithuanian World Youth Congress in South America. Our wedding ceremony was held in Lithuanian and the reception that followed was complete with Lithuanian traditions. Our Lithuanian heritage has always been an integral part of our lives. Furthermore, participation in Lithuanian activities has served as a cat- alyst for exposure to a broad spectrum of cultures and viewpoints beyond those of our purely English-speaking friends and neighbors. Naturally we wanted our children to share the same culturally rich and worldly experiences that we had growing up. When we embarked on our blindness journey 15 years ago, we had no access to brailled Lithuanian chil- dren’s stories. The reality is that at that time there were very few fun and engaging English braille books avail- able for young children. Thus early on, for Lithuanian language exposure we checked out mountains of chil- dren’s print books from our neighborhood library, and then Rasa and I would translate many of these stories into Lithuanian “on the fly” as we read to our boys each night.

“on the fly” as we read to our boys each night. It quickly became clear to

It quickly became clear to us that if our chil- dren were going to get exposure to the written Lithuanian language, it would be up to us, the parents, to provide the braille. Rasa tracked down the Lithuanian braille alphabet through a child- hood friend who hap- pened to be traveling to Lithuania to visit rela- tives (the Internet was still in its infancy at that time). We were quite relieved to learn that, in

reality, Lithuanian braille is not that hard. Most letters are the same as in English braille. There are a few additional braille cell configurations for the Lithuanian letters not found in the English alphabet and, unlike American English braille, there are no Lithuanian braille contrac- tions. Rasa rapidly became fluent in both English and Lithuanian braille. Rasa started brailling out the words of popular, fun English-language books we would find during our explorations of the children’s section of our local book- stores onto sheets of durable, transparent, self-adhesive braille label. She then affixed the braille label to the pages of children’s books we bought so that the boys could follow along with their fingers as we read to them. We read many stories together every night, most in English, to begin to create the same letter word associations as sighted infants and toddlers develop as they read with their parents. We continued to verbally translate some of our chil- dren’s favorite books into Lithuanian. As an illustrative a n e c d o t e , d u r i n g Ve˙ j a s ’s f i r s t y e a r p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n t h e National Federation of the Blind’s “Readers Are Leaders” contest, the rules clearly stated that in order for the pages to count, the participant must read the braille on t h e i r o w n . O n e n i g h t Ve˙ j a s v o l u n t e e r e d t o r e a d a s t o r y t o h i s y o u n g e r b r o t h e r. Ve˙ j a s d e c i d e d h e w o u l d l i k e t o r e a d one of his favorite books from when he was little. At his request, I handed him Spe˙k Kiek Asˇ Tave Myliu (Guess How Much I Love You), a book that we had “read” together literally hundreds of times when he was a tod- dler. As his fingers glided across the text on the familiar worn pages, lovingly braille-labeled years earlier by his

worn pages, lovingly braille-labeled years earlier by his The Lithuanian braille alphabet. 10 july/august 2012

The Lithuanian braille alphabet.

mother, Ve˙jas in a very astonished and somewhat shocked manner said, “Hey, this book is written in English!” upon the realization that his cherished childhood book was actually written and brailled in English, not in Lithuanian. Lithuanian Saturday School While both boys are successfully mainstreamed in our neighborhood’s public schools, on Saturdays Ve˙jas and

ˇ

Petras attend S vento Kazimiero Lithuanian School in Los Angeles. Ve˙jas is a high school freshman and Petras is in fourth grade. Amazing as it may seem, they actually have

access to the Lithuanian Saturday School curriculum to nearly the same degree as their sighted classmates.

to nearly the same degree as their sighted classmates. Petras with his Perkins Brailler. For the

Petras with his Perkins Brailler.

For the first few years, Rasa brailled all the Lithuanian School classroom assignments and textbook passages ahead of time on our Perkins Brailler, a me- chanical, old-fashioned, manual braille typewriter that punches raised braille dots on special thick braille paper in a process known as embossing. She also modified drawings and worksheets to make them tactilely under- standable and usable. In the younger grades, Ve˙jas and Petras each would complete their classroom and homework assignments using their Perkins Braillers. For the teachers to understand and grade everything the boys brailled out in this “traditional” fashion, all their work had to then be ink-printed; that is, one of us then had to manually write in the print letters next to the raised braille dots on the paper. As you might imagine, this is a very time-intensive process; however, the fruits of our labors are best sum- marized by the following anecdote: One day when I was with Ve˙jas in the classroom, he in his usual form finished his first-grade Lithuanian classroom assignment before anyone else. I leaned over to let him know this and he whispered back to me: “Of course, Te˙veli _ that’s because

I have the advantage _ braille is faster” (refer- ring to reading and writ- ing). At the end of that school year, Ve˙jas was in fact formally recognized as the best student and most fluent reader and writer in his Lithuanian School first-grade class. Petras received the “best student”inhis class award at the end of the last school year. Flying Fingers As an aside, there are many individuals and even teachers who hold the belief that braille is

a slower medium than print. We chose not to share that perspective with our children. In second grade Ve˙jas read over 12,000 pages of braille in three months, earning him first place in his age group in the National Federation of the Blind’s “Readers Are Leaders” contest. In fifth grade, he was for- mally assessed to be reading at 208 words per minute with 98% accuracy. In middle school, Ve˙jas won first place in his age division in the National Braille Challenge Invitational, an academic braille decathlon in which the top 60 braille-reading students (grades 1-12) from across the U.S. and Canada are invited to compete in a series of exercises designed to demonstrate proficiency in braille. Both boys can type far faster and more accurately on their electronic braille note-takers that I can on my laptop or iPad-type device.

Lithuanian Braille in the 21st Century: “e-Braille” Both boys now read their Lithuanian School textbook passages and Lithuanian choir songs directly from their BrailleNote electronic braille note-takers!

from their BrailleNote electronic braille note-takers! Ve˙ j a s i n c l a s

Ve˙ j a s i n c l a s s w o r k i n g o n Lithuanian worksheets and using a workbook pre-modified by his mother.

worksheets and using a workbook pre-modified by his mother. Close up of the BrailleNote with the

Close up of the BrailleNote with the words “Asˇ cˇia gyva” pictured on the refreshable braille display.

f e a t u r e
f e a t u r e

Petras reading to his Lithuanian School second-grade classmates from his electronic braille notetaker

The BrailleNote is a portable netbook-sized screenless computer with a braille keyboard that braille readers use to enter information. It has a built-in refreshable braille display, that is a row of special "soft" braille cells made of plastic pins that move up or down in response to elec- tronic signals to tactilely display the letters/words of each new line of text. The BrailleNote can be set to read information aloud in English, Spanish and a few other non-Lithuanian lan- guages with a synthesized voice. Both boys however pre- fer to read text on the device with their fingers, which is actually faster and more efficient. The BrailleNote has a built-in word processor, book reader, email program, In- ternet browser, calendar, address book, calculator, media player and even GPS capabilities. Portable electronic braille notetakers are handy for taking notes in class, completing homework assignments, writing stories, jour- naling and reading downloaded e-books and e-magazines. We discovered that the BrailleNote can actually be “tricked” into recognizing Lithuanian braille (however, to do so, the boys turn off the voice feature to avoid listening to what sounds like complete gibberish). Realizing that the sheer volume of braille that would need to be transcribed and ink-printed would exponen- tially increase each year for each of our boys, a number of years ago I sought out the assistance of the president of Duxbury Systems. He was kind enough to adapt their electronic Duxbury Braille Translation Program to accommodate Lithuanian braille translation, in addition to the multitude of other supported languages. The pro- gram truly is a virtual magic wand, for now with relative ease, we are able to convert electronic Lithuanian print to electronic Lithuanian braille and vice-versa. So while Rasa still modifies selected worksheets using traditional techniques, she now brailles out text passages on her laptop into the Lithuanian template in Duxbury. They are then saved as digital Lithuanian braille (.brf) files that we then transfer to the boys’ BrailleNotes via USB sticks or email.

Conversely, our boys can also complete Lithuanian homework and classwork assignments electronically on their BrailleNotes. By opening their files on our laptop with the Lithuanian template in Duxbury’s braille translation program we are able to then convert the BrailleNote-generated braille to Lithuanian print and turn it in!

braille to Lithuanian print and turn it in! A Lithuanian school assignment brailled out by Ve˙jas
braille to Lithuanian print and turn it in! A Lithuanian school assignment brailled out by Ve˙jas

A Lithuanian school assignment brailled out by Ve˙jas on his

BrailleNote and opened up in Duxbury and then converted

to print using the program’s Lithuanian language option.

It is much easier to make corrections within elec- tronic braille documents than rebrailling entire assign- ments on a manual Brailler. Not to mention, as assignments inevitably become lengthier at the higher grade levels, think about how much time we save by not having to ink-print everything! The Lithuanian School teachers have been great about posting or emailing us class work and homework assignments ahead of time. Many such teacher-generated

Word documents can be fairly easily converted to Lithuanian e-braille files using the braille translation program. With today’s technology, it is even possible to use the optical character recognition (OCR) features found within off-the-shelf versions of Adobe Acrobat Professional to recognize Lithuanian text within scanned PDF pages of assigned reading passages, stories and worksheets that teachers email to us in advance so that we can make them accessible. Such files often still need to be “cleaned” up and edited. Many files still just need to be brailled out from scratch. Thus, Rasa and I team up and each of us spends a few hours every week preparing materials for the boys in an effort to assure that they have what they need to be able to independently complete assignments in class and at home. A Somewhat Accessible Lithuanian World Wide Web Using a special screen-reading program called JAWS that reads out loud everything that a sighted person sees on t h e c o m p u t e r s c r e e n , Ve˙ j a s i s n o w a b l e t o i n d e p e n d e n t l y surf the English language World Wide Web on a regular netbook laptop well enough to research information for school reports, to learn more about topics that interest him, and to access most teachers’ webpages. Unfortu- nately neither the BrailleNote’s software, nor the latest version of our US-edition JAWS screen reading program, is sophisticated enough to read Lithuanian _ yet. I have learned of a Lithuanian adaptation of the JAWS program that is available from a vendor in Lithuania, but we have not had a chance to play with that yet. This will hopefully allow both boys to complete assignments in Word and to surf though information on the rapidly expanding num- ber of Lithuanian-language websites. For the time being, we copy the text from Lithuanian webpages and convert it to Lithuanian braille using the Duxbury Braille Translation Program. While not always this straightforward a process, we can generally fairly quickly provide our boys with Lithuanian reference ma- terials for reports so that they can independently read through the information on their electronic braille note- takers. For example, several years ago we participated in a commemorative ceremony marking the hundredth-year b i r t h d a y o f B e r n a r d a s B r a z d zˇ i o n i s . Ve˙ j a s a s k e d i f I c o u l d find him some background information on this influen- tial patriotic Lithuanian poet and author. I “Googled” “Bernardas Brazdzˇionis” and one of the links led me to a “Vikipedija” webpage. I then selected, copied and pasted the desired text and, a few clicks later, “Voila!” I had Lithuanian braille reference material that I could pass on t o Ve˙ j a s t o f i l t e r t h r o u g h o n h i s o w n . This year our local school district is piloting iPads in selected classrooms in every school. We are now in the process of exploring how to tether the boys’ BrailleNotes

to this new technology not only for classwork, but also as a means of expanding their accesses to additional in- formational resources of the World Wide Web, potentially including Lithuanian sources.

Lithuanian Language Weekends

including Lithuanian sources. Lithuanian Language Weekends Petras singing in the Lithuanian School choir. The reality

Petras singing in the Lithuanian School choir.

The reality for all of us at this point is that it is easiest to communicate in English, espe- cially when discussing more advanced concepts and when addressing increasingly more complex school topics. While preservation of language of origin and traditions outside one’s homeland is known to be increasingly more difficult through successive genera- tions, I recall how when I was younger, my Lithuanian flu- ency improved dramatically after a few weeks at summer camp at Dainava, Neringa, Rakas and Wasaga where the programs were run completely in Lithuanian. Rasa and I thus decided to put forth a strong, conscious effort to try to speak only Lithuanian on weekends, not only with our children, but also between us. While this certainly has proved to be chal-

lenging, and was even some- what frustrating initially, our efforts are definitely paying off, for we have all made noticeable advances in our flu- ency and our vocabularies continue to expand. We have easily accessible Lithuanian-English and English-Lithuan- ian dictionaries at home to look up words on the spot and I have added free Lithuanian/English translation apps to my smartphone, thus we now have quick and easy access to new or unfamiliar words or phrases. Once we learn a new word, it is fun to try to incorporate it into conversa- tion in the days that follow.

Bringing the Lithuanian Language Into Our Home via Internet Radio

An increasing number of radio stations in Lithuania are broadcasting their programs over the Internet and there are now a variety of programming options to choose from. Our family can now not only listen to the traditional as well as the latest genre of Lithuanian music, but we also get exposure to the living Lithuanian language via news bites and commercials.

Expl When they are not reading, writing, horseback riding, r fun activities like surfing, skiing
Expl When they are not reading, writing, horseback riding, r fun activities like surfing, skiing

Expl When they are not reading, writing, horseback riding, r fun activities like surfing, skiing and boarding.

they are not reading, writing, horseback riding, r fun activities like surfing, skiing and boarding. 14

14

july/august

2012

In Search of Fun and Interesting Lithuanian Braille Recreational Reading Materials
In Search of Fun and Interesting
Lithuanian Braille Recreational
Reading Materials
Lithuanian Braille Recreational Reading Materials Unfortunately, we have not had access to Lithuanian

Unfortunately, we have not had access to Lithuanian children’s books in braille. Though we have been putting for- ward the extra effort to speak predomi- nantly Lithuanian on weekends, reading helps further reinforce language con- cepts and fluency. While both our boys love stories and books, the reality is that at the present there is no mechanism for us to borrow embossed children’s books from Lithuanian libraries or to purchase them and we currently don’t have access to digital Lithuanian books or children’s magazines. Thus, for now, each of the boys has a Lithuanian “Fun Reading Folder” on his BrailleNote. Before the start of each weekend I surf the Lithuanian-language internet for fun-sounding articles on a broad range of Lithuanian topics rang- ing from the grand dukes and rulers of old to national poets, to passages describing Lithuanian traditions, to geographical tidbits, to modern day sports figures, popular musical artists and current events. These are articles written in Lithuanian, most by native Lithuanians. I copy them from the web- page, convert them to braille files in Duxbury, then load them onto their BrailleNotes. Both boys enjoy reading these during break time in Lithuanian school and on weekends. At the middle school and high school level the teach- ers are starting to incorporate interesting “web-articles from Lithuania” into the Saturday School classroom curriculum.

Beyond Academics

We have found ways for both boys to partake in most nonacademic activi- ties as well. Ve˙jas and Petras both participate in plays at Lithuanian Saturday School. Both boys sing along- side their classmates during school choir performances. They either memo- rize the songs (as is often expected of their sighted classmates) or in some cases read the words off BrailleNote files. In addition to Saturday School, both Ve˙jas and Petras belong to the Lithuanian youth group Ateitininkai.

bridges

15

oring the Wild Side doing homework, the boys enjoy swimming, hiking, geocaching, unning on the track and trying out rock-climbing, boogie-boarding, even paddle-boarding and snow-

A f e w y e a r s a g o Ve˙ j a s w a s i n v i t e d f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e t o

read a scripture reading during a Lithuanian mass. Our then 10-year-old projected an image of competence and

confidence and turned quite a few heads, even the visit- ing Bishop’s, as he gracefully read his Lithuanian passage from his BrailleNote. He continues to be invited

to read at Lithuanian masses and during Saturday School

programs. Through our interactions with the blind community,

we have come to realize that the boundary between what

is possible for a blind individual and for a sighted indi-

vidual is not all that much different. We thus have high expectations for both boys. As a father I share the same dreams other parents have for their childrenthe desire for our children to excel and be happy, productive mem- bers of society. While it has been, is, and will continue to be, a struggle, I have no doubt that our children will ulti- mately have the foundation they need pursue their dreams, both professionally and in their family lives. That being said, a combination of a lot of hard work and a team effort is needed to assure that blind children acquire the full complement of skillsets necessary to be successful. In our case, that team extends well beyond the bounds of our home and our local system and includes input and guidance from a network of parents of other blind chil- dren, educators in the field of blindness and individuals and mentors in the blind community from literally across North America. We look forward to opportunities to con- nect with families, educators and leaders in Lithuania’s blindness community with whom we might then be able to share and exchange insights, experiences and resources.

Santa knows Lithuanian Braille too!

It may come as a surprise to some, while it is sure to be

obvious to others, that Santa not only knows Lithuanian, but he is fluent in brailleeven Lithuanian braille! Our boys have proof! :-) Braille is very much alive and remains a vital in- gredient in the success of blind adults and children, including our own. Since its inception 200 years ago, the braille code has flourished and has been adapted to lan- guages throughout the world, including Lithuanian. I am a firm believer that braille fluency makes the difference between a blind individual just “getting by” and having a chance to reach his or her full potential and really suc- c e e d i n g i n l i f e . Wi t h o u t a c c e s s t o b r a i l l e , Ve˙ j a s a n d P e t r a s could still participate in the Lithuanian Saturday School setting, but their roles would be passive, relying on oth- ers to read and do the work for them. The inability to read and write Lithuanian independently would have un- doubtedly affected their level of mastery of the language and have limited the depth of their understanding of sub- ject matter. As a result our children would have been

“passengers,” whereas now because of their access to Lithuanian braille each has the opportunity to shine on his own merits. It is indeed amazing that Louis Braille, a young man of humble origins who lived two centuries ago in a far-away land, could have such a profound im- pact on my family and on the lives and futures of so many children and adults around the world.

Lietuva, Asˇ Turiu Tave – Lithuania, You Are Mine

Throughout history Lithuanians have been well known for determination, perseverance and willingness to con- front life’s many challenges head-on. Rasa and I believe that our children’s lives are much richer as a result of the bond with our Lithuanian heritage and, therefore, like so many other families around the world, we strive to keep the connection with our Lithuanian roots alive for our- selves and our children.

Special Acknowledgements

On behalf of my family, I would like to extend a special

ˇ

thank you to Maryte˙ Newson, the principal of S vento

Kazimiero Lithuanian Saturday School as well as to the

ˇ

school’s teachers, staff and families, and to S vento Kazimiero (St. Casmir’s) Lithuanian Parish. I am deeply grateful to Joe Sullivan of Duxbury Systems, Inc., and the technology specialists at the California School for the Blind for their technological expertise and advice that have helped so much in bringing the brailled Lithuanian language into our lives. Of course my biggest thanks goes to my wife, Rasa, who lives on the front lines day in and day out making sure our boys really understand concepts and who spends countless hours throughout the day and after the boys have fallen asleep modifying and making Lithuanian and English materials accessible. It is be- cause of her love, devotion and efforts that I am able to share our family’s success story.

Dr. Erikas Vasiliauskas lives in Manhattan Beach, California with h i s w i f e , R a s a , a n d t h e i r t w o b o y s , Ve˙ j a s a n d P e t r a s .

n d t h e i r t w o b o y s , Ve˙

Ve˙ j a s readi ng a s cr i pt ure pas s age f rom hi s Br ai l l eNot e dur i ng a Los Angeles Lietuviu˛ Dienos Mass.

Calendar of Events for August, September and October, 2012

Please verify all events as places & times are subject to change.

AUGUST

Aug.11, 2012-SecondAnnual Pig Roast Livemusic. $8per person. Info: pittsburghlithuanians.com

Aug. 2-5, 2012-Knightsof Lithuania 99thAnnual Convention SevenSpringsMountainResort SevenSprings, PA Host: Knightsof LithuaniaC-152 Info: knightsoflithuania.com/events

Aug. 4-11, 2012-AteitisWeek FranciscanGuest House Kennebunkport, ME Roomreservations:

Info@franciscanguesthouse.com

207-967-4865

Info: LaimaLilikieneShea,

ltltax@hotmail.com

Aug. 11-12, 2012-98 th Annual LithuanianDays Schuylkill Mall, Frackville, PA Sponsor: Knightsof LithuaniaC-144 Info: kofl144.weebly.com

Aug.17-19, 2012-Ethnic Enrichment Festival SwopeParkPavilion 4701E. GregoryBlvd, KansasCity, MO

Morethan50countriesarerepresented.

Info: 816-871-5600 kclith.org/eventCalendar.html

Aug. 19, 2012-LithuanianAmerican Clubof NorthernNJAnnual PotluckPicnic 1:30-5p.m. foodservedat 2:30 HeddenPark(coveredpavilion) Randolph, NJ Rainor shine. $5per personif bringing acovereddishtoserve6-8. $15per personif not bringingadish. Children under 12free. Clubwill providesoda, coffee, teaandcharcoal for grilling. Bringyour ownbeer andwine. Music, Lithuanianhospitality, Lithuanianfood andmerchandisesales, 50/50&raffle

withitemsfromLithuania(Lithuanian-

themeditemsgraciouslyaccepted). RSVPbyAugust 1withwhat youplanto bring: SusanSavaiko, 973-328-2850, bsavaiko@juno.com AldonaSkrypa, 973-377-8148 aldonas@aol.com.

Aug. 19-26, 2012 Meno8Adult Art Camp CampNeringa, Brattleboro, VT

Lithuanian-languageclassesinphotog-

raphy, fiber arts, jewelrymaking, illus- tration, painting, bookarts, printmaking, sculpture, poetry, dramaandmore. Info: ReginaKulbis, regina@neringa.org

978-582-5592

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 8, 2012-AmberRoots

PhiladelphiaLithuanianHeritageClub

Meeting1-3p.m.

LithuanianMusicHall 2715E. AlleghenyAve.,Philadelphia, PA English-speakingmeeting. All are invited. Bringadishtoshare. Enter by sidedoor andproceeddownstairs. Info: Call or email Millie, 610-497-5469, milliemarks@aol.com

Sept. 8, 2012-Knightsof Lithuania Mid-AtlanticDistrict Pilgrimage Shrineof Our Ladyof theIsland 258Eastport Road, Manorville, NY Info: knightsoflithuania.com/events

Sept. 20, 2012-KCLithClub Fall Picnic-WyandotteCountyPark 162North126 th St., Bonner Springs, KS Atraditionstartedyearsagobythe KansasCityLithuanianCommunity’s first families. Playgames, eat, meet new andoldfriends. Info: 913-205-8787 kclith.org/eventCalendar.html

OCTOBER

Oct. 6-7, 2012-26 th Annual LosAngelesLithuanianFair St. Casimir ParishGroundsandHall 2718St. GeorgeSt., LosAngeles, CA Thelargest Lithuanianculturefair outsideof Lithuaniashowcasing Lithuanianmusic, art, ethnicfood, folk dancingandsinging.

Info: www.lithuanianfair.com

Oct. 10, 2012-LithuanianFoundation ScholarshipProgram ApplicationDeadline. TheLithuanian Foundationssupportsfull-timestudents of Lithuanianheritagepursuing undergraduateandgraduatedegrees. Info:

www/lithuanianfoundation.org/sch

olarship_guidelines

Oct. 13, 2012-AmberRoots PhiladelphiaLithuanianHeritageClub Meeting1-3p.m. LithuanianMusicHall 2715E. AlleghenyAve.,Philadelphia, PA English-speakingmeetingsopentoall. Bringadishtoshare.Enterbyside door.Info: Call or email Millie,

610-497-5469,

milliemarks@aol.com

Oct. 14, 2012-“Ancestral Psalms” ("Namupsalmes") Concert 2p.m. OzingaChapel Auditorium TrinityChristianCollege 6601WCollegeDr., PalosHeights, IL Thethirdandfinal 2012reunionconcert bythreeLithuanianchoirsof North America: Toronto’s"Volunge," Cleveland’s"Exultate"&Chicago’s “Dainava.”Thisisarareopportunityto hear almost 150singersononestage performingtogether withsoloistsand anorchestra. Info: www.dainava.us

bridges Subscription Mail to: LAC, Inc./BRIDGES ORDER FORM Subscriptions: Please check: New Renewal Gift
bridges
Subscription
Mail to:
LAC, Inc./BRIDGES
ORDER FORM
Subscriptions:
Please check:
New Renewal Gift Donation
Rimas Gedeika
78 Mark Twain Dr.
Hamilton Sq., NJ 08690
$
2 0 . 0 0
For
10
IS Issues
Your Subscription:
Subscription Gift To:
Subscription
A
Name
(please print)
Name
(please print)
GOOD
GIFT
Address
Apt. No.
Address
Apt. No.
City
State
Zip
City
State
Zip
Please send me 10 issues BRIDGES
1 full year for $20.00 - 2 full years for $38.00 US Mail serviced subscribers;
Subscriptions outside the country $35.00 payable in advance (US funds).
Please enclose the subscription payment.
L
I
T
H
U
A
N
I
A
N
-
A
M E
R
I
C A
N
N
E
W S
J
O U
R
N
A
L

LITHUANIAN AMERICAN NEWS JOURNAL

bridges

VOLUME 36

ISSUE 6

PERIODICALS

POSTAGE

NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e
NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e
NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e
NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e
NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e
NEWS JOURNAL bridges VOLUME 36 ISSUE 6 PERIODICALS POSTAGE S Sm mi i l l e

SSmmiilleess ffrroomm SS ˇˇ ookkiiuu˛˛

SS

ˇˇ vveennttee˙˙

BBoossttoonn,, MMAA

f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu
f f r r o o m m S S ˇ ˇ o ok ki iu