Meet the CVVICS Team
The group of dedicated people who make up the CVVICS team all have one goal in mind: To ensure the well-being of the visually impaired community in the Coachella Valley.
Barbara Foyil, Ph.D. – President
Barbara is the founding president of Coachella Valley Visually Impaired Community Services. She has been an educator for the past twenty years following a career of assisting her husband in his international consulting business.
The Foyils have lived in several countries which included England, China, Mexico, and Spain. During her busy working life, she found time to preside over the Millville, New Jersey Hospital Foundation, hold multiple offices in the Millville Woman’s Club, be a founding member of the Barcelona Women’s Federated Network, and complete two master’s degrees, one in Educational Technology and the other in Rehabilitation Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Adult Learning Theory.
Not to forget the family she and her husband have between them six children, fourteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Barbara at 34 was diagnosed with early onset glaucoma and now possesses a companion guide dog, Kinsey, from The Guide Dogs of the Desert.
Lisa Mead – Vice President/ Secretary
Lisa worked in the healthcare industry as a nurse for over 30 years before a back ailment derailed her career. Undaunted, Lisa searched for a worthy cause that she could volunteer her services for. She found it in working with the impaired vision community. Thus far Lisa has dedicated many hours in volunteering to help clients in various activities, as well as assisting CVVICS President Barbara Foyil in the formation and organization of this endeavor. Lisa has been married for 15 years and between her and her husband have four children and eight grandchildren.
Jack Foyil – Treasurer
Jack is from Pasadena, Ca. and received his degree in Marine Engineering from the California Maritime Academy, Graduate Studies at San Francisco State and his MBA from Cal State San Bernardino. He has worked for large domestic and international firms and held various management positions, including Plant Manager, Vice President and President. Jack formed his own International Consulting Company specializing in plant construction, modernization, and management for international clientele. He has lived and worked in Mexico, England, China and Spain. Projects included working in Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, India, Iraq, Italy, and Germany. After retiring and returning to the U.S. from Spain, Jack took on a second career as a University of Phoenix professor teaching Economics, Finance and Management courses. Now after a second retirement he is working with his wife Barbara as a volunteer in the newly formed Coachella Valley Visually Impaired Community Services.
Jack lives with his wife Barbara, in Palm Desert, they have a combined family of six children. fourteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Lester Scott – Client Chair
Lester is a client as well as a team member. Six years ago, Lester was diagnosed with PCA, in which the brain can no longer interpret and process the information received from the person’s healthy eyes. He does not allow this impairment to slow him down in any way. Lester worked for 20 years in the science and laboratory industry, and another 16 years in realty and trust as well. In addition, Lester has freelanced for many years as a voiceover specialist for commercial dialogue, and he continues to coach people in that field. His goal is to “give back and continue to support the low vision community. People like me give people something to do, and it’s about having fun and enjoying themselves.”
Robert Gamberg – Vice President Human Resources
Robert has instructed and adapted courses for the visually impaired for over 11 years and has lifelong experience living with a visual impairment. He has myopia and optic nerve atrophy due to a subdural hematoma from birth. He graduated from Cal State San Bernardino with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and discovered his passion for working with a visually impaired community shortly after. He began by facilitating support groups and branched out to instruct a variety of courses encompassing Physical and mental health, cognitive strengthening, living with vision loss, music, and assistive technologies. He now serves as the volunteer coordinator and class instructor for CVVICS. He continues to be an advocate for the visually impaired community and strongly believes in the importance of “community” as a whole.
Lu Schulz – Music Appreciation Chair
Lu worked tirelessly for many years as a physical education teacher, earning her Masters Degree from the University of Maryland in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. While an illness caused Lu to retire early from teaching students in secondary schools and universities, it didn’t slow her down from continuing to do what she does: teach. After being diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2016, Lu attended the Braille Institute. It was clear that the vision impaired community inspired Lu, as she now offers her services as a volunteer, helping the vision impaired community with exercising and teaching golf. In fact, in the near future Lu will be giving golf lessons for blind and low vision students.
Sharon Hestdalen – Team Member at Large
Sharon grew up in Washington state and graduated from Western Washington University with the goal of becoming a teacher. After working in the private sector for several years, Sharon reached her goal, teaching in Washington pubic schools for 18 years. Along the way, Sharon received her Masters degree in specific language learning disabilities. Sharon was diagnosed with macular degeneration at the age of 38, and the disease progressed steadily over the course of the next 30 years. Sharon now uses her disability to educate others with low vision issues. Being the educator that she is, she wants people to understand what life with low vision is like, the adjustments in life they need to make, and to continue working with people in the visually impaired community.
Daniel E. Reynolds, MS – Librarian
Dan certainly knows the importance of education at any level, having taught statistics, computer programming and computer technology at the Air Force Institute in Dayton, Ohio for 45 years. Dan retired from teaching in 2005 and he and his family relocated to Palm Springs, where their daughter had established residency. Dan spent seven years volunteering at the Eisenhower Medical Center before moving on to the Braille Institute, where he volunteered his services for the next seven years. Dan will be assisting CVVICS with various digital learning classes, and he hopes to continue serving the visually impaired community in the Coachella Valley by ensuring they have access to audible books for listening and descriptive videos to further enhance their lives. Dan has been married to his wife Phyllis for 51 years.
John Billings – Education Chair
John Billings comes to this organization with 16 years’ experience working with the blind and visually impaired population in the Coachella Valley. He has his teaching credential from California State University with a focus on Education, Child Development and Family Services. John has created and developed courses for this population from daily living skills and classes that enrich lives through friendship and comradery. John believes programs through an organization like CVVICS brings value and a sense of community to the visually impaired; as well as an active and fulfilling life.