Friday, July 20 , 2018, 4:31 am | Overcast 66º

 
 
 

Romos Have a Need to Read for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic

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Couple's commitment fueled by a personal connection to the worthy cause.

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Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic honored retiring Santa Barbara City College President John Romo and his wife, Mary, during the nonprofit organization’s 13th annual Record-A-Thon on Monday. More than 30 friends, family and RFB&D volunteers and staff joined in the noontime tribute at the organization’s studios in Goleta.

Romo is retiring from SBCC at the end of June. His wife, Mary, has been visually impaired since high school and uses RFB&D’s recorded books to keep up with her professional and personal reading.

Mary Romo related how her sight grew worse after college. She trained as a speech and language specialist in the 1960s, but said that so much changed in 30 years of work. Recording for the Blind (“& Dyslexic” was added to the name in 1995) helped her keep up with her professional materials, she said.

The organization’s volunteers “recorded the hot new textbook on 30 cassettes and it was there to refer to, so I could keep up in my field and feel I was doing the best job I could,” Romo recalled.

“I know what it is to feel inadequate," she added pointedly. "To have the materials recorded can make all the difference. (RFB&D) is there for all phases of my life.”

“Everyone knows Mary is a great reader," Romo said of his wife. "She’s a walker, and she often has her headset on, listening to books as she walks.”

About RFB&D, he said that “the partnership between City College and RFB&D is so important; I hope we can expand it.” (RFB&D’s service is offered through the Disabled Students Program at SBCC.) He concluded, “Reading is so great, if you can’t do it one way, you do it another.”

After the tribute, Romo led a group of readers into the RFB&D studios to record two books he had hand-picked for RFB&D’s library — John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire and Ronald White Jr.’s Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inagural.

Santa Barbara’s Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic has helped students learn through listening since 1976. The 13th annual Record-A-Thon, under way through Saturday, lets community members tour the Goleta recording studios and help record a book.

Click here to learn more or to sign up, or call 805.681.0531.

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