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GLENDALE : Haven for the Blind Celebrates 54 Years

The only time Cindy Frank can forget about her sight disability is when she’s among other blind people.

At home or in public, the Burbank woman says she always has to remember her surroundings. Sometimes, her blindness can also make her feel lonely.

But that hasn’t been the case when she’s dropped by the Foothill Service Club for the Blind on Los Feliz Road. The club, whose 80 members are from Glendale, Burbank, and parts of the Crescenta Valley and Northwest Los Angeles, celebrated its 54th anniversary last week.

“This is a wonderful place to go once a week,” said Frank, who became blind at 15 from side effects of a medication. She joined the club in 1977 at the age of 32.

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“I think people forget that they’re blind because they’re talking to people--it’s something that is normal,” she said.

The club was originally formed in 1939 by a group of blind men who wanted to meet and share life experiences, which also included struggles adjusting to loss of sight, members said.

Club President Elden Littell recalls that the group only attracted 10 to 15 people in the 1940s when he joined.

“We used to meet in a little storeroom up on Glendale Avenue,” said Littell, who lost his sight as a child in 1935 after being hit on the head.

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As time passed, the membership doubled to 30, prompting members to move their meetings to another store. The club relocated twice more before coming to its current site on Los Feliz Road in 1957, Littell said.

A donor gave the club money to purchase the property. Members used funds from the sale of their previous property to build a $56,000 structure complete with a kitchen and an auditorium, he said.

Now, the Foothill Service Club for the Blind holds meetings every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The first and third Wednesdays of each month are usually reserved for craft arts, such as knitting. The second and fourth Wednesdays of each month are used for board meetings. But members can come each week to socialize.

Littell says he keeps coming back because he’s comfortable with the people in the club. “We all sit around and talk to each other. There are people who enjoy getting together,” he said.


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