The Braille Monitor                                                                                       June 2003

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News from the Federation Family

Rehabilitation Conference at Convention:

The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals and the National Blindness Professional Certification Board, with the support of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, are proud to announce a rehabilitation conference in Louisville, Kentucky, at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The conference, "Best Practices In Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility," will be held on Saturday, June 28, 2003, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will include a rich agenda presented by key leaders and professionals working in the field of rehabilitation and orientation and mobility. Consult your pre-convention agenda for room location. NOMC certificants, take note that the afternoon agenda is specific to issues of orientation and mobility, so participation is strongly encouraged to meet continuing education credits.

Registration for the conference is free and will begin at 9:00 a.m., and a mix and mingle reception will immediately follow the 5:00 p.m. adjournment. The reception is your chance to learn more about educational opportunities in the field of rehabilitation, to find out about all of the exciting projects at the Institute on Blindness, and to ask questions of practicing NOMC instructors working in the field.

The conference will be of particular interest to those currently working in the field of rehabilitation for the blind, students in professional preparation programs, those interested in earning credit to meet continuing-education requirements, those interested in travel training as a career, and those with general interest in rehabilitation for the blind.

For more information about the conference, contact Edward Bell at (479) 521-0788, e-mail <ebell@uark.edu>, or Christine Brown at (734) 763-1081, e-mail <chrbrown@umich.edu>.

Elected:

Here are the results of the election in the Greater Seattle Chapter of the NFB of Washington: Kris Lawrence, president; Jacob Struiksma, first vice president; Josie Armantrout, second vice president; Doug Johnson, treasurer; Kay Burrows, secretary; and Rita Szantay and Robert Guyette, board members.

Braille Workshop for Parents:

Eager parents listen carefully as Caroline Rounds teaches them about Braille.
Eager parents listen carefully as Caroline Rounds teaches them about Braille.

Nancy Burns, president of the NFB of California, recently sent us this exciting report:

The education of blind children has been a top priority of the NFB of California for many years. This is exemplified by our legislative efforts over the past five years. California now has a Braille bill and a reading standards bill, which have been signed by the governor. During this legislative session we are working on the implementation of forgiveness loans for teachers working on a special education credential in the blindness field.

Last year this affiliate applied for a foundation grant from the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The application was submitted under the categories of literacy and education. The purpose, as stated in our proposal, was to teach Braille to parents of blind children. We received a grant in the amount of $5,000.

Joyce Wales, president of Parents of Blind Children; Caroline Rounds, an elementary school teacher; and I began planning for our first workshop. We set a date of April 26, and the work began. We mailed flyers and began gathering materials for the workshop.

The response was amazing. Initially the cutoff number was to be twenty-five parents. The office was deluged with responses. The workshop grew to thirty, at which time we stopped taking applications. A waiting list then evolved. We decided to schedule a second workshop for the following Saturday.

With some of the grant money we provided overnight accommodations at the Burbank Courtyard Marriott for parents traveling long distances. A mixer and registration was held in the NFBC office the Friday evening prior to the workshop.

The workshop took place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Learning the Braille alphabet was stressed during the morning, and the afternoon was spent writing with a slate and stylus. A variety of fun, Braille‑related activities were presented throughout the day.

We have already received many requests for a workshop in Spanish. We also have requests for workshops in other parts of the state. The NFBC will obviously look for additional grant funds to provide these ongoing workshops. It appears that a large number of parents of blind and visually impaired children are taking a serious step in order to be able to reinforce their child's knowledge of Braille. What a wonderful turn of events!

Elected:

The Fresno chapter of the NFB of California elected officers at its March 8, 2003, meeting. They are Olivia Ostergaard, president; Shirley Harper, vice president; Shirley Garrett, secretary; Ed Eames, treasurer; and Jan Kafton and Toni Eames, board members.

State Magnets for Sale:

Uricka Harrison is vice president of the Peninsula chapter of the NFB of Virginia. She writes that her chapter is selling state magnets at $3 apiece for orders of 100 or more. Those interested in placing orders should let the chapter know which states and how many of each they want. Each colorful magnet is shaped like the state and includes state facts. The magnets range in size from three to five inches. Order as many different states as you like as long as the order is at least 100 pieces. The handling charge for each order is $10. For more information, contact Chapter President Althea Pittman at (757) 787‑7179. Checks should be made payable to the Peninsula chapter and sent to P.O. Box 375, Accomac, Virginia 23301.

Elected:

The NFB of Oklahoma elected new officers at its annual convention in March 2003. They are Steve Shelton, president; Joe Triplett, first vice president; Donna Jackson, second vice president; Janet Triplett, secretary; Kathy Maria Badalamenti, treasurer; and Leonard Silkey and Cordelia Sanders, board members.

Doris Henderson, December 30, 1923, to Apeil 21, 2003
Doris Henderson, December 30, 1923, to April 21, 2003

In Memoriam:

Zena Pearcy, president of the NFB of Texas, has notified us with deep sorrow of the death on April 21, 2003, of Doris Henderson. Doris served for many years as first vice president of the Texas affiliate and president of the Progressive Chapter of Dallas. She retired from the Texas Commission for the Blind, where she had worked as a rehab teacher in the Dallas area. She used to describe her job by saying, "I grab 'em and rehab 'em." Doris inspired a great number of blind people to learn the skills of blindness. Doris mentored members and was a kind, gentle force in helping to shape the Texas affiliate and its policies. Let us all keep her family in our prayers and thoughts.

NFB Information Placards for Sale:

The Lorain County chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio has created five full-color, eight-and-a-half-by-eleven table placards which will be sold at the convention. They are suitable for identifying an NFB display or information table. These signs give a professional look to any display. The topics are NFB, Braille, NFB-NEWSLINE, parents of blind children, and blind seniors. The set of five costs $20. You can buy the NFB placard only for $5. For your convenience we can also provide a plastic easel for displaying one placard at a cost of $10. Most office supply stores also sell these easels, but they are usually more expensive.

Add $2 to cover the cost of mailing placards only or $7 if you want an easel as well. Make checks payable to NFB of Ohio. Send checks to Sherry Ruth, 6922 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, Ohio 44035, phone: (440) 324-4218, e-mail: <sruth@pobox.com>.

Dan Frye
Dan Frye

Federationist in New Zealand:

Dan Frye was a 1990 NFB Scholarship winner, and for a number of years he was a leader in the NFB of Washington, where he met and married fellow Federationist Renee West. Late last year Dan accepted a position with the Association of Blind Citizens, and he and Renee picked up stakes and moved to New Zealand. Here is a press release we received in late February reporting on what's happening to this outpost of the Federation family. Here it is:

Blind People Launch New Era in Disability Rights Advocacy

The Association of Blind Citizens celebrated with invited guests today the establishment of its national advocate's position. Vaughan Dodd, national president said, "The Association's aim is to become New Zealand's pre‑eminent authority on systemic advocacy issues of relevance to blind people."

The Association conducted an extensive recruitment process, which resulted in Daniel Frye emigrating from the United States to assume the new position. Mr. Frye is excited at the opportunity presented to him and says, "I am privileged to be able to join with the blind community of New Zealand to help advance our agenda for social and political change."

Mr. Dodd says, "The Association has always been a successful advocacy organization, counting amongst recent achievements the transformation of the governance of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, retention of the Free Articles for the Blind Postal Service, and the exposure of representatives of the banking industry to talking automatic teller machines. The Association's challenge is to respond promptly to the growing number of complex issues affecting opportunities for blind people to participate in society," Mr. Dodd said. Mr. Frye added that for him, "The challenge is to build substantive relationships with individuals both in and out of government who will be useful in assisting the Association to achieve its goals."

Formed in 1945, the Association is New Zealand's oldest and largest organization of disabled people, with sixteen branches throughout the country. Local initiatives emphasize such matters as pedestrian safety, improvements to public transport services, and peer support. Nationally driven policy analysis through the advocate's position will support the grassroots responses to local issues. Mr. Dodd said, "The Association represents blind people speaking for ourselves, and this new, fulltime position builds directly on the need for our voice to be heard and our perspectives understood. The Association is now in a very strong position, and we look forward to constructive and ongoing dialogue with government and others in order that the objectives of the New Zealand disability strategy are realized."

Elected:

The Moore County Chapter of the NFB of North Carolina elected new officers for 2003. They are Costella McFarland, president; Gelemia Walker, vice president; Betty Ellerbe, secretary; and Tonya Whitaker, assistant secretary; and five board members.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Distance-Learning Computer Classes:

The Iowa Department for the Blind's Project ASSIST program has obtained a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop a distance-learning program offering instructor-led classes for blind and visually impaired users of computer software. The classes will focus on the Microsoft Office Suite, and the instruction and information provided will focus on keyboard commands, operational strategies for screen-access software, and information uniquely relevant to blind and visually impaired computer users.

The classes offered through the Project ASSIST program are designed to provide instruction on Microsoft Office software to blind and visually impaired people in preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams. We will offer the following courses: Windows XP, Internet Fundamentals, Word- Core, Excel-Core, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Word-Expert, and Excel-Expert. Priority for enrollment will be given to blind or visually impaired clients of state vocational rehabilitation programs. A minimum requirement for all students is proficiency with the computer keyboard. To be considered for the fall 2003 classes, your application packet must be received no later than June 30.

For further information or to receive an application packet, contact Michael D. Barber, phone (515) 281-1305, or e-mail <barber.michael@blind.state.ia.us>, and place the words "Application Packet" in the subject line. Visit the agency Web site at <www.blind.state.ia.us/assist>, where you may obtain more information. An application will be available for download.

Phone E-mail Service and NFB Fundraiser:

Creative Marketing Interactive, LLC (CMI) specializes in fundraising for nonprofit organizations while helping members communicate using state-of-the-art interactive technologies. CMI is promoting CommuniKate, a service designed to assist people on the go (salespeople, busy professionals, home-based businesses) and people who either cannot see a computer screen or don't have a computer but would like to correspond using e-mail.

Because this system is Web-driven and therefore a virtual product, it requires no computer. CMI does the installation and setup for customers. Whether they already have e-mail or not, they will receive a virtual e-mail so that they can hear the text of received e-mails from any land or cell phone. They connect to their personal CommuniKate system by dialing a toll-free number.

CommuniKate users perform the following functions verbally, without using a telephone keypad: a) listen to unlimited voice messages for a flat monthly fee; b) respond to voice messages; c) transfer calls; d) setup conference calling with three or more people; and e) listen to e-mail messages from any telephone or cell phone.

A portion of the monthly fee for each NFB member who signs up for the service will go to the National Federation of the Blind. Contact Creative Marketing at (866) 859-6953, toll-free, to listen to the service and register for the e-mail/voice-translating feature. Fee for unlimited messages/e-mails is $36.95 a month.

Employment in Computer Programming:

Lift is a nonprofit company that recruits, qualifies, trains, and hires information technology professionals who have physical disabilities and places them with major corporations. Johnson & Johnson and Verizon Wireless are two of more than eighty corporate clients that Lift has served.

If you are interested in more information about Lift, please visit the Web site at <www.lift‑inc.org> or call Lift at (908) 707‑9840 or (800) 552‑5438.

Audio Darts Tournament:

The eighth annual tournament of Audio Darts of Delaware will take place October 11 and 12, 2003, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Wilmington, Delaware. If you are interested in participating, you must notify the Wyndham Garden Hotel by September 5. The number is (302) 655-0400. Cost for all events is $65. For more information, contact Pat Smith, Audio Darts of Delaware, (302) 658-7231 (home), (302) 425-4426 (work).

Free Bible Correspondence Course:

A free Bible correspondence course is available on tape. To inquire, contact James VanderMolen, 2214 W. LaRua Street, Pensacola, Florida 32505.

Candle in the Window Annual Conference:

Candle in the Window, a small national nonprofit organization with the aim of building both individual skills and a sense of community among people with visual impairments, welcomes blind people with varied experiences to join them at its seventeenth annual conference entitled, Resolving Conflicts Without Hemming and Hawing. We aim to address such questions as the following: What is conflict? How can we better manage conflicts within ourselves and with others? How (if at all) does blindness impact on our ability to resolve conflicts? How can we better manage conflicts within the blindness community? How can we assist others to resolve conflicts?

In addition to provocative presentations and stimulating discussions, there will be plenty of time for swimming, hiking, eating, singing, quiet reflection, and just plain hanging out. The conference will take place from Wednesday, July 23, through the morning of Sunday, July 27, at the Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center, located just outside of Louisville, Kentucky.

Cost is $240 ($15 discount if we receive a $35 nonrefundable deposit by June 15). Limited scholarships and payment plans are available. Contact Peter Altschul at (202) 234-5234, e-mail <atschu@erols.com>; Kathy Szinnyey at (502) 895-0866, e-mail <fredkate@iglou.com>; or Jonathan Ice at (319) 298-2919, e-mail <jkice@ccr.net>.

Summer Braille Reading Club:

Braille Books Dot Com is excited to introduce our first ever Summer Braille Reading Club. With the summer holidays just around the corner, kids are going to have a lot more free time on their hands. What better way to spend some of that time than curling up on the swing with a good book? Braille Books Dot Com has over twelve hundred Braille titles available for all reading levels, so we're bound to have something for everyone--even adults. If you join the club by August 31, we'll send along a sign‑up bonus absolutely free with your first order. For orders between $10 and $25, you'll receive a Braille alphabet magnet; orders between $25 and $50 will qualify for a portable radio; or, if you spend more than $50 with us, we'll give you a talking alarm clock. And we haven't come to the best part yet. Everyone who joins our summer reading club will have his or her name entered in a drawing at the end of the summer. The lucky winner will receive MarvelSoft's ground‑breaking Talking Typing Teacher program, a $100 value. (Be sure to mention coupon code SummerBraille when placing your order.) Supplies of club items are limited, so drop by <www.braillebooks.com> today to be sure you get your free prize.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

Braillewriter for Sale:

Used for two university classes only and bought new from Howe Press. Asking $600. Contact Leslie Anderson (520) 792‑2569, Tucson, Arizona.

For Sale:

Dennis Farro has the following items for sale:

     1. Never used Braille Lite 40, including power and interface cables and Braille manual--$2,000

     2. External disk drive for Braille Lite or Braille 'n Speak‑-$400 or best offer

     3. Never used Braille 'n Speak with power supply, interface cables, and Braille manual-‑$700 or best          offer

     4. SuperBraille‑Portable PC/notetaker with built‑in Braille display--$2,000 or best offer

     5. Eureka 4A notetaker with power cable‑-$300

     6. DecTalk Express speech synthesizer in excellent condition--$500 or best offer

I am most often available at night, (516) 825-5815. However, messages can also be left at (718) 557-6077, or e-mail can be sent to <Dfarro@concentric.net>.

For Sale:

I have a Braille Lite 40 with up-to-date software and in excellent condition. It comes with carrying case and power cord. I am asking $2,000. Interested parties can call (614) 378‑1244. If you get voice mail, leave a message, and your call will be returned.

For Sale:

I am selling an Alva 80-cell Braille display in very good condition and never any problems. It's only a few years old and little used. Perfect for anyone who needs a good display. Price is negotiable, asking around $2,500. E-mail John Scott at <s23li2000@yahoo.com>.

For Sale:

Jordy low-vision system, produced by Enhanced Vision Systems, is for sale. Leonard Nowicki is asking $2,500 but will consider best offer. His telephone number is (410) 633‑5970.

NFB PLEDGE

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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