Vol. 47, No. 10         November 2004

Barbara Pierce, Editor

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ISSN 0006-8829

Vol. 47, No. 10 November 2004


Two Small Camps, One Giant Leap into the Future for Blind Youth:

The Next Generation of Rocket Scientists

by Danica Taylor

The 2004 NFB Science Academy: Turning Dreams into Reality

by Mark A. Riccobono

2004 NFB Scholarship Winners on the Move

The 2005 National Federation of the Blind

Scholarship Program

The Gift Goes On

by Kimberly Aguillard

It's All in Your Point of View

by Patricia Hubschman

Half a Cup

by Dave Hyde

Paying the Bill

by Peggy Elliott

Gift Guide 2004

by Brad Hodges

New Opportunities for Michigan Youth

by Katie Munck

Freedom and Individual Choice

by C. Edwin Vaughan

The Blind Witness History Too

by Seville Allen


Monitor Miniatures

Copyright© 2004 National Federation of the Blind


During two weeks last summer, one in July and one in August, the National Federation of the Blind Science Academy conducted science camps for a total of twenty-four middle and high school students. From all indications they were life-changing events for the students. Read the first two articles in this issue for a full report.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Steven Max Faults digs for fossils at the Maryland Science Center. In the background is Bryce Gitzen.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Circle of Life campers tour Goddard Space Flight Center. Left to right: Bryce Gitzen (back), Andrew Wai, and Paul Howard.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Rocket On! science campers actually launched a rocket with the guidance of NASA volunteers. Here the NFB/NASA rocket sits waiting to be transported to the launch pad. The rocket was about ten-and-a-half feet tall and weighed about seventy-five pounds.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The NFB/NASA rocket lifted off at 8:33 a.m. on August 19, 2004, with a full-color Whozit decal affixed to its outer skin. Whozit soared to a height of 4,902 feet, and all the experiments worked flawlessly. Unfortunately one of the rocket's parachutes did not open as planned, so the rocket broke apart when it hit the water. Everything was recovered except the payload section of the rocket. The recovered sections will be put on display at the NFB Jernigan Institute along with a model of the original rocket.]

Two Small Camps, One Giant Leap into the Future for Blind Youth:

The Next Generation of Rocket Scientists

by Danica Taylor

From the Editor: One of the most exciting efforts the NFB has undertaken in a number of years has been the two science camps for blind students we conducted this past summer. Twenty-four young people have now been exposed to serious science in new and exciting ways, and this is only the beginning. The importance of this early NFB-Jernigan Institute program is such that we are devoting two articles in this issue to reporting on what happened. The first piece is an overview of the program, and the second is a much more detailed report on the two science camps and where this program is going in the future. Danica Taylor is a relatively new member of the NFB staff. Her first assignment as National Federation of the Blind copy editor was to report on our new Science Academy. Here is that report:

In the February 2004 issue of the Braille Monitor, Mark Riccobono, National Federation of the Blind manager of education programs, published an article entitled, "Reaching Out for New Opportunities: The 2004 NFB Summer Science Experience." His article was written in anticipation of the NFB Science Camps, which were coordinated by the NFB in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The expectations and goals for these camps outlined in the article were ambitious, and some wondered whether blind students could meet such high expectations.

The 2004 NFB Science Camps (in future to be known as the "NFB Science Academy," reflecting the fact that the objectives of the camps focus on academics and learning rather than leisure) were held in two separate sessions. The first, entitled Circle of Life, running from July 18 to July 24, included middle school students enrolled in grades six to eight. The second session, Rocket On! running from August 15 to August 21, included high school students who would ultimately become the first blind high school students ever to launch a sounding rocket.

The immediate educational purposes of the camps were slightly different, as can be seen from the titles of the sessions. While both camps promoted interest in the field of science, the Circle of Life camp focused on life sciences, while the Rocket On! camp concentrated on the physical sciences.

However, despite their apparent differences, the two camps shared a number of goals. Scientists, camp facilitators, and other blind professionals mentored the students in the science camps, giving them positive reinforcement and instilling a spirit of accomplishment throughout the week of activities. According to lead instructor Robin House, the mentoring allowed interaction between the adults and the students in ways the youngsters had never before experienced. "One of the most remarkable observations," says House, "was the way these twenty-four blind kids touched the lives of each other and the staff in such a short time."

House goes on to say that it would be difficult to overestimate the importance of promoting science among blind youth. "It's hard to pull anyone into this field," she points out. "It is even harder to prove to blind kids that they can do it."

Many blind students are told, either directly or indirectly, that hard science is too complicated for them even to try. "The hands-on experience, performing all aspects of science, will benefit these kids throughout their middle school and high school years and into their careers, whether or not they enter the field of science," says House.

House also stresses the importance of an "I can" attitude, the notion that blindness is absolutely not a hindrance to success in science or any other field. This attitude was the foundation of the objectives of both camps.

Each camp session consisted of twelve blind students invited to participate free of charge. The NFB provided funding. The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), under the direction of President Barbara Cheadle, assisted the NFB in selecting the students. To be considered for invitation, students completed an initial interest form. Then Mrs. Cheadle interviewed potential Circle of Life campers, along with their parents. The campers were chosen based on individual characteristics, interests, and hobbies to form a body of students with aspirations in many areas, including math, science, literature, music, and social science.

Applicants for the Rocket On! camp wrote essays on various topics, such as what they believed the blind could contribute to the field of science. The students also submitted transcripts of their grades and letters of recommendation, and the twelve best applicants came to the Rocket On! camp session.

However, the current success of each student was not the only concern in the selection process. Just as important was each applicant's potential to excel in science in the future. "We would like to see these students entering careers in science-related fields," says Mark Riccobono. "Maybe some of them will be employed at NASA."

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Campers learn to identify plants at Goddard Space Flight Center. Left to right: Bryce Gitzen, Andrew Wai, Robin House, and Daisy Soto]

Along with the NFB, NASA worked as both a partner and a contributor in both camp sessions. During the Circle of Life session NASA provided a day at the Goddard Space Flight Center, where campers examined soil, plants, and birds. Through nonvisual observation the campers could pick out important characteristics of the artifacts being examined and link that information to the environment. Elissa Levine, NASA scientist, provided a preparatory session for the campers at the Jernigan Institute that helped prepare them for their work at Goddard.

NASA also provided expertise and information for several different hands-on experiences for the campers. The middle schoolers learned how to obtain a soil sample and detect the characteristics of the soil by touch. They also discovered how to identify certain elements of the soil by smell. They learned how to test water for certain components and the way in which such a procedure gives scientists knowledge about the planet. They themselves realized the benefits of this hands-on experience. As Circle of Life camper Tiffany Clements of Ramona, California, put it, "The camp experience helped me understand science because everything was hands-on, so it was easier to figure out what things were and what they did."

The Circle of Life campers traveled to the Naturalist Center--a branch of the Smithsonian Institution--in Leesburg, Virginia. Here the students worked with Professor Geerat Vermeij, a blind marine biologist from the University of California at Davis. Of the experience, Professor Vermeij notes, "Blind children need hands-on experience. They need to learn what the scientific mode of thinking is; they need to learn how to ask questions [and] how to make observations. Blind children get even shorter shrift than the average sighted child does, so I think it is essential for them to be exposed to science." This contact with Professor Vermeij helped to mentor the campers by exposing them to successful blind professionals working in the field of science.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Students dissect a shark at the Maryland Science Center. Left to right: Andrew Wai, adult mentor Paul Howard, and Jordan Richardson]

The Circle of Life campers then traveled to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, where, along with the camp facilitators and Science Center staff, they dissected a shark.

The National Center for the Blind also conducted activities for both camps at its facilities in Baltimore. Walter Adam, an engineer who works in the automobile industry, explained the mechanics and physics of small engines. Dr. Kent Cullers, a blind radio astronomer, discussed his work in a telephone conference call. He explained to campers how he analyzes data using modern instruments and nonvisual techniques.

All of these and other activities during the week-long camp helped to build the confidence of the students and prove to them that blindness need not be a hindrance to success in science. It's one thing to tell blind students that they can succeed; it's another thing actually to show them that they can do it. This is exactly what the camp facilitators strove to do--and they succeeded. As one camper put it, "Now I actually know I can do dissections, make conclusions, collect and record data, share and communicate information with others."

Like the Circle of Life camp, the Rocket On! camp included the partnership of NASA, which provided the materials and the facilities for the rocket launch, which was the climax of the camp. Among the NASA personnel involved was Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the Wallops Sounding Rocket Program. Along with Robin House and electrical engineer Dr. Michael Gosse, he led instructional discussions with the campers on Monday and Tuesday. The students learned about the history of rocketry, Newton's laws, basic rocket physics, and basic electronics.

Dr. Robert Shelton, a blind mathematician from Johnson Space Center, demonstrated the use of a new software instrument that he developed, the Math Description Engine (MDE) Graphing Calculator, which uses nonvisual techniques to convey information to the user. Professor Bernard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul University astronomer and faculty member, also made presentations to the campers.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Action Reaction team makes sure that the rocket is properly loaded onto the launcher.]

After initial instructional sessions that included all twelve campers working together as one group, the facilitators divided the campers into three separate teams. Each team was responsible for a different part of the rocket launch. The Circuiteers were responsible for the payload; the Ego Squad was responsible for the trajectory; and the Action-Reaction team was responsible for launch pad operations.

On Wednesday the campers made the three-hour trip from Baltimore to Wallops Flight Facility to perform last-minute preparations for the launch. They arose at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday morning--launch day--and reported for duty at 4:00 a.m. Stress levels were understandably high because the launch window was small--from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. Also potentially uncontrollable factors could hinder the successful launch of the 10.5-foot rocket. For example, the experimental rocket had a hybrid motor that had never before been used at Wallops. During preliminary testing some of these motors exploded. Although the cause of the explosions had been identified and supposedly remedied, the possibility remained that the rocket still might explode during the launch, despite the fact that teams had done everything in their power to prepare for a successful launch.

In addition to the possibility of an explosion, a high wind could also be a barrier. But the launch went according to plan, and the rocket reached an altitude of 4,900 feet just twenty seconds after takeoff. A small error did occur during the rocket's descent, however, which prevented the main chute from opening and caused the rocket to slam into the water and break apart. Much of the debris was recovered, though, in time for the campers to examine the damage.

NFB President Marc Maurer congratulated the campers upon their return to the Jernigan Institute at the National Center for the Blind. President Maurer and other NFB staff watched the entire launch from the Jernigan Institute, thanks to a live Web cast from the Wallops Web site.

During a Friday-morning press conference at Goddard Space Flight Center, Director Ed Weiler delivered the opening remarks. Then the campers discussed the mission from their points of view.

This past summer twenty-four blind youngsters, representing sixteen states, learned firsthand that they have everything it takes to succeed in science. Expectations were high, and success was achieved. But the fact that the 2004 camps are over does not mean that the mentoring process is finished. The camp facilitators have begun a follow-up program including a listserve through which the campers can remain in contact with their assigned mentors, involved NASA employees, and camp facilitators. A familiar expression these days is, "It isn't rocket science." On the contrary, this is quite literally rocket science, and success for blind people in this field is obviously possible. The campers at the 2004 NFB Science Camps realize this now, even if they didn't before.

The objectives of the 2004 NFB Science Camps were certainly met. But, according to Mark Riccobono, the ultimate goal is to provide a National Center for Blind Youth in Science as a facet of the Jernigan Institute. It will offer a clearinghouse for educational resources--a centralized collection of resources related to blind youth--that can be accessed by the blind youth themselves, their parents, science teachers, special education teachers, and others in order to learn how best to teach science to blind students. It would appear that this larger, long-term goal is well on its way to fruition and that it is only a matter of time until more and more blind youth will begin successful careers as the scientists of the future.

Circle of Life camper Andrew Wai, from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, sums up the positive results of the 2004 NFB Science Camps, providing further proof of the effectiveness of the program in teaching these students the truth about blindness: "Science Academy has given me confidence in myself because I was able to see a lot of blind people who have been successful in science. Probably without this camp I would never get to meet such people."

For more information about the application process for next year's camps, contact Mark Riccobono at <>, or visit the NFB's Web site at <>.

The 2004 NFB Science Academy: Turning Dreams into Reality

by Mark A. Riccobono

From the Editor: Mark Riccobono is manager of education programs at the NFB Jernigan Institute. Here is his more detailed report on the 2004 Science Academy programs that took place this summer:

It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow. Robert H. Goddard

In the February 2004 issue of the Braille Monitor, I detailed the road that led to the establishment of the 2004 NFB Science Academy, a series of summer science camps designed to change the prospects for blind youth in science education and careers. Readers will recall that we had a number of ambitious goals for our science camps:

• To spark the interest of blind youth in science and inspire more of these youth to pursue careers in science;

• To allow blind youth to build confidence through opportunities to perform challenging science activities from which they are generally excluded in public schools; and

• To demonstrate the effectiveness of the Federation's approach through the development of a centralized collection of resources for blind youth in science that can be accessed by blind youth, their parents, regular and special educators, and others.

The camps--and our high expectations of them–-began as a dream articulated by NFB President Marc Maurer. Dr. Maurer presented this dream at the NFB 2003 national convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky. Then, at the grand opening of the NFB Jernigan Institute in January 2004, young Courtney Despeaux, representing America's blind youth, spoke about the brighter future the Institute represents. She said, "This Research and Training Institute, a dream turned into reality, now allows blind youth like me to have even bigger dreams."

Now, just one year after President Maurer announced the establishment of these camps and slightly more than half a year after the opening of the Jernigan Institute, the first stage of this dream has been realized. By summer's end 2004, twenty-four blind middle school and high school youths had successfully completed the first-ever consumer-conceived, -planned, and –executed summer science camps: the Circle of Life camp (July 18 to 24) and the Rocket On! camp (August 15 to 21). There is no doubt that, with the assistance of our new partners at NASA, we are well on our way to establishing a rigorous summer science program, one that inspires blind youth and those working with them to imagine a future full of opportunity in the sciences.

This assessment is not based on subjective opinion alone. In keeping with accepted professional practice, we employed an experienced program evaluator. Federationists are familiar with the work of Dr. C. Edwin Vaughan, a blind sociologist, professor, and author whose work has often appeared in the pages of the Braille Monitor. In order to examine the effectiveness of the 2004 NFB Science Camp sessions, students completed pre- and post-surveys developed by Dr. Vaughan. His evaluation report displayed overwhelming positive results based on student responses to the surveys. In fact, the one major problem expressed by participants in both camp sessions was that the camps were too short. Many of the students said we should add one or two days to each camp.

We clearly achieved the goals outlined above. We inspired youth, gave them confidence in their capacity to do science, and demonstrated that our unique approach works. The purpose of this report is to begin disseminating what we know to others–-science teachers, schools, parents, science museums, universities, and other science programs for youth. Only then will we achieve our ultimate goal of the complete integration of blind youth into scientific studies and careers. As we reviewed our success, seven key ingredients emerged.

However, before we look at the essential elements of this program of the NFB Jernigan Institute, let's review the two camp sessions briefly.

Circle of Life–-July 18-24, 2004

In this session twelve blind middle school students, from eleven states, participated in a week full of exploration and investigation into the world in which we live. The participants ranged in age from eleven to fourteen and included students from entering seventh graders to entering high-school freshmen. Although a few of the students had partial sight, most of them were Braille readers.

The following list gives the student's age at the end of camp and the grade he or she will be entering in the fall of the 2004-2005 school year:

Karl Martin Adam, Southfield, Michigan, age 14, grade 8

Rachel Becker, Frederick, Maryland, age 14, grade 9

Bryce Gitzen, Cle Elum, Washington, age 12, grade 7

Amelia King, Madison, Wisconsin, age 12, grade 7

Aaron Linson, Louisville, Kentucky, age 14, grade 8

Steven Maxfaults, Brooklyn, New York, age 13, grade 9

John Pastorius, Smithfield, Virginia, age 13, grade 8

Tanya Perkins, Thorton, Colorado, age 13, grade 8

Jordan Richardson, Blaine, Minnesota, age 13, grade 8

Daisy Soto, Thousand Oaks, California, age 11, grade 7

Andrew Wai, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, age 12, grade 8

Matthew Wallace, Springfield, Pennsylvania, age 13, grade 8

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jordan Richardson (right) gets help identifying a plant from a NASA volunteer (left) at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.]

The intent of the activities in this session was to spark the Wow! of science in the students, challenge them to do things blind students are typically not expected to do, and introduce them to blind mentors, blind scientists, and the blindness techniques critical to the pursuit of science. The session especially emphasized the hands-on, fieldwork nature of the way real science is conducted. This was a revelation to most of the students, whose primary exposure to science has been in the restricted, highly text-based or visual-based methods of the classroom or school lab.

Rocket On!--August 15-21, 2004

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Rocket On! graduates at the NFB Jernigan Institute. Pictured in the back row, left to right are: Charles Cheadle, mentor; Mary Jo Thorpe, mentor; Dr. Bernard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul University, mentor; Phil Eberspeaker, head of the Sounding Rocket Program at Wallops Flight Facility; Mark Riccobono, manager of education programs, NFB Jernigan Institute; Nathaniel Wales, mentor; Dr. Robert Shelton, NASA Houston Space Flight Center, mentor; NFB President Marc Maurer; and Robin House, head teacher. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are David Abrahams, Justin Harford, Tiffani Clements, Amy Herstein, Justin Hodge, Alysha Jeans, Daniel Ramirez, Meghan Joost, Nikki Singh, Ryan Thomas, Hoby Wedler, and Lindsay Yazzolino.]

In this session twelve blind high school students from nine states participated in a one-week mission to launch a one-half-sized Patriot rocket with a payload. Participants included:

David Abrahams, Albuquerque, New Mexico, age 16, grade 11

Tiffani Clements, Ramona, California, age 14, grade 9

Justin Harford, Chico, California, age 16, grade 11

Amy Herstein, Ellicott City, Maryland, age 16, grade 12

Justin Hodge, Bunker Hill, Indiana, age 16, grade 11

Alysha Jeans, Wichita, Kansas, age 16, grade 11

Meghan Joost, Chicago, Illinois, age 17, grade 12

Daniel Ramirez, Brooklyn, New York, age 19, grade 12

Nandini (Nikki) Singh, Ellicott City, Maryland, age 14, grade 9

Ryan Thomas, Tucson, Arizona, age 16, grade 11

Henry (Hoby) Wedler, Petaluma, California, age 17, grade 11

Lindsay Yazzolino, Issaquah, Washington, age 15, grade 10

The mission consisted of learning key scientific concepts, examining the history of rocketry, working together in teams, managing time, doing complex calculations and making predictions based on these calculations, reporting information to colleagues, building and testing sensors for the payload, preparing and testing rocket components, performing the countdown sequence (including fueling and firing the rocket), and analyzing and reporting on data gathered from the mission.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Amy Herstein learns the controls in the launch control room at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.]

This session presented blind students with a challenging experience under the direction of blind mentors and partners from NASA. The session also taught the students about the nonscientific elements of successful missions--that is, teamwork, project management, problem solving, information sharing, and other important aspects of working with colleagues. The program exposed the students to the invaluable network available to them through participation in the National Federation of the Blind and helped them understand the importance of the NFB/NASA partnership.

That's the overview. Now, let's examine each of the seven key ingredients that made the NFB Science Academy so successful.

1. Blind Mentors: The core of this program is the same critical ingredient that the NFB brings to any program for children or youth: successful blind role models. The instruction for each of the two camp sessions was headed by Robin House, a blind teacher and guidance counselor from St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. House was assisted by a group of blind facilitators who served as mentors, in addition to fulfilling their duties as instructors and camp counselors. The facilitators for the Circle of Life session included Paul Howard, a teacher of blind students from Gary, Indiana; Alicia Richards, a guidance counselor from Des Moines, Iowa; Caroline Rounds, a teacher of blind students from Apple Valley, California; and Mary Jo Thorpe, a graduate student at Louisiana Tech and a recent recipient of National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC) from the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).

At the Rocket On! camp, Robin House and Mary Jo Thorpe were joined by facilitators Nathaniel Wales, a blind civil engineer from California; Chaz Cheadle, a blind college graduate from Maryland; and one sighted facilitator, Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, an associate professor of astronomy from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Beck-Winchatz brought his own skills to the program as a sighted person who understands and promotes the NFB philosophy of high expectations and positive attitudes about blindness. Dr. B, as he was known during the rocket session, fully participated in all aspects of the program, including doing some activities under sleepshades along with the students. In addition, a number of other blind individuals participated as guest instructors during the program. These were Dr. Geerat Vermeij, Dr. Michael Gosse, Dr. Robert Shelton, Dr. Kent Cullers, NFB President Marc Maurer, and various other staff members (including me) from the NFB.

The great value of having successful blind adults at the heart of the instructional team cannot be over-emphasized. How many blind students have the opportunity for exposure to blind mentors who can challenge them to achieve higher expectations in the sciences through role modeling and who can engage them in honest and open discussions about life as a blind person? The consistent presence and guidance of the blind facilitators provided the camp students with a level of mentoring and understanding about their own capabilities as blind people that most of them had never before experienced.

This was demonstrated in Dr. Vaughan's evaluation report: "Students valued the intensive involvement with successful blind adults. This was shown in such comments as ‘I liked working with such high-skilled blind people,' and ‘It was good to be exposed to more blind people and just how much blind people can do.'"

2. Independence and Self-sufficiency: While the focus of the program was science, not blindness skills, it is difficult to separate the two. In order to master complex scientific tasks and carry out a career in a scientific field, one must have a certain set of core skills to work effectively and gain respect among colleagues. Thus students in both camp sessions were expected to travel using the long white cane, to take usable notes independently (twenty-one of the twenty-four students were Braille users), bus their own tables at meals, be responsible for themselves and their property, and otherwise function at an age-appropriate level. While instruction and support were provided when needed, the expectation was that the students would do for themselves.

Though this approach receives lip service in most summer programs for blind youth, it is often not carried out effectively in practice. In the NFB Science Academy, as in our other youth programs, independence and an expectation of independence underpinned all activities from day one through to the closing ceremonies. Of course in only one week no program can hope to provide students with a complete set of skills or the deep understanding of blindness and confidence in their own abilities that is desirable for blind people to lead full, productive lives. However, by the end of the two sessions evidence of change was already emerging. The evaluations showed that most students moved from simply saying that they were capable of doing something to actually building a collection of experiences in doing the things they had claimed were possible to do.

3. Hands-on Learning: Science is often taught using pictures and words to describe complex concepts. However, science lends itself very well to models and hands-on learning experiences that are beneficial for all students, not just the blind. Thus this program emphasized hands-on learning in all of its activities. The opportunity to experience science through personal observation and structured discovery was clearly invaluable and, as demonstrated by comments from students, something that does not happen in the typical science classroom. Consider these statements from three of the students:

Now I actually know I can do dissections, make conclusions, collect and record data, share and communicate information with others.

 --Andrew Wai, Pennsylvania

It made me experience science a lot more. In school it's boring, but because this was hands-on, it was interesting.

 --Daisy Soto, California

There is a lot of hands-on science that I didn't know about. I learned that you can study soils and seashells by touch.

 --Amelia King, Wisconsin

While many of the students coming into the camp sessions said that blind people could compete in scientific endeavors, they could not say how that might be done. They lacked a range of experience in doing science as a blind person. Although all of them had taken science classes in school, it was clear that they had spent considerable time sitting on the sidelines. The actual hands-on participation in activities makes a tremendous difference in the learning and interest gained in a subject like science.

4. Braille and Tactile Models: Using a combination of Braille materials, tactile graphics and maps, and three-dimensional models, instructors can convey complex concepts. We emphasized this technique in the program, and it proved to be highly effective. However, these materials are effective only if they are presented in a way that makes sense and if the students have the appropriate background with tactile materials to fully use the rich information provided. We observed the need, particularly among the middle school group, for blind youth to be strongly encouraged to put their hands on things and use their sense of touch for close observation. Often, when the camp students were handed an object, they were not skilled in thoroughly examining it using both hands in a systematic pattern and then describing its details.

This problem was not limited to students with residual vision or to those without it; it seemed to be a problem across the board. It seems that our look-but-don't-touch and hurry, hurry culture has a seriously dampening effect even upon those children whose parents or teachers have tried to counteract it. Part of the function of the blind mentors was to demonstrate and model effective tactile exploration methods. This, of course, took time, and on a number of occasions we modified our Circle of Life camp schedule to accommodate the need for more complete tactile observation.

5. Challenging Experiences: All too often blind youth are surrounded by an environment of low expectations. Completing even the most basic tasks receives high praise. However, the NFB Science Academy presented challenging opportunities in an environment of confidence in the students. They were treated equally and without special consideration in every aspect of the program. Because both students and facilitators were blind, everyone faced the same high expectations to complete a task. Second, the students faced experiences that stretched them. For example, none of the students in the Circle of Life camp had previously done a dissection themselves. That is, one or two had been part of dissection teams but had not actually done any of the work.

In this program all of the students were expected to dissect a dogfish shark, and each of them did it under sleepshades (blindfolds) to emphasize the effectiveness of nonvisual techniques. While we called our Science Academy sessions "camps," do not let the semantics fool you. Many of the students in both program sessions made comments much like the following sentiment expressed by a student in the Rocket On! camp: "I've never been this challenged in other academics/programs I've attended"--Justin Harford, California.

6. Partnerships: The NFB Jernigan Institute collaborated with a number of partners to provide the NFB Science Academy. Most important among these partnerships was the collaboration between the NFB and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In particular the Rocket On! session was a true reflection of the great value of the NFB/NASA partnership. Instructors and supporting contributors to this camp came from both organizations and are an important part of its success.

Individuals from NASA who were not familiar with blindness and working with blind youth went through training offered by NFB staff. It is clear by their work in the camp that all of the NASA staff took this training to heart and came to believe in the capacity of blind people to contribute to the community as a whole. At all times NFB students and facilitators were treated like any other group working with NASA employees.

While it would be difficult to name all of the NASA employees who had an impact on the 2004 NFB Science Academy, special recognition should go to Phil Eberspeaker, who designed the NFB rocket mission and provided much of the instruction to the students in collaboration with NFB instructors. In addition, blind NASA employees worked with students from both camp sessions as mentors.

A number of other organizations participated in the program. These include the Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, Maryland; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Baltimore; and the Smithsonian Institution Naturalist Center, Leesburg, Virginia. Each organization worked with the NFB Jernigan Institute staff in advance of the event to prepare its staff and facility to maximize the learning experience for the camp participants.

7. Follow-Up: The NFB Science Academy was not intended to be an isolated event. Students in each session will remain in touch through mentoring and ongoing connections to the NFB. For example, the Rocket On! session was not simply a program but a commitment to inspire and challenge the next generation of blind youth to accept the scientific and technological challenges facing our world. Each student was matched with a mentor from NASA in order to have a one-on-one relationship that can help him or her develop an understanding of the steps necessary to build a career in an organization like NASA. Additionally, a listserv has been established so that all the students, facilitators, and mentors can communicate and share information. We hope that this ongoing relationship will lead to students securing internships and other opportunities with NASA.

Conclusion: The 2004 NFB Science Academy program met its goals and in many cases exceeded them. Most important, it demonstrated to the students the type of future they can have if they work hard and apply their imaginations. The blind role models set a higher level of expectation than blind students typically get in the classroom and challenged them to fulfill those expectations. The NFB/NASA partnership clearly proved its effectiveness because coordinators and instructors from both organizations worked collaboratively to develop a rich experience unlike any other mission ever attempted by NASA.

Twenty-four students have been influenced and inspired by this program, but what about the great lack of resources and information about the tools to empower the thousands of blind youth throughout the country to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math classes and careers? The NFB Science Academy is just one component of a broader vision for the NFB Jernigan Institute.

We plan to establish a National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) as part of the Institute. This center of excellence will continue to find new horizons for blind youth in the sciences, provide a national centralized clearinghouse for information and resources, and establish a body of knowledge related to science instruction and nonvisual techniques that is desperately needed in order to improve opportunities for blind youth across the country. The NFB Science Academy will continue to be an important part of the NCBYS. Plans are already underway for the 2005 sessions. The high school program, Rocket On! is scheduled July 15 to 23, 2005. The middle school session will take place July 30 to August 6, 2005. Both will be located at our headquarters (site of the NFB Jernigan Institute) in Baltimore, Maryland.

An advisory work group has been established to assist with the plans for the NCBYS at the Jernigan Institute. Parents, students, educators, and others who have or know of valuable resources related to teaching science to blind youth, innovative methods/materials for conveying scientific concepts, Web sites with valuable information related to the blind and science, or other materials to be included in the NCBYS should contact me, Mark Riccobono, manager of education programs at the NFB Jernigan Institute.

The NCBYS is not intended to be a manufacturer of products but a clearinghouse of information and resources to emphasize the good work being done in this area, eliminate duplication of effort, and build a body of knowledge so that the constant reinventing of the wheel can end and the imaginative building of a bright future full of opportunity can begin.

2004 NFB Scholarship Winners on the Move

From the Editor: As you will discover elsewhere in this issue it is time again to spread the word about the NFB scholarship program, far and away the most valuable collection of scholarships available to blind postsecondary students in the United States. I recently received a brief report on two of the 2004 winners. It came from Peggy Elliott, president of the NFB of Iowa and chairman of the NFB Scholarship Committee. Her report to affiliate members and the newspaper article that follows demonstrate the value of this program. This is what Peggy says:

Darrel Kirby and Kallie Smith won NFB scholarships this year. Each received a warm and very personal--as in, not a form letter--note from Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Kallie has now embarked on her college career, moving into her dorm room at the University of Northern Iowa and starting that great adventure. Darrel is likewise starting a new chapter, taking up both graduate school and the presidency of the Old Capitol Chapter.

Here is an article about Darrel, published in the Sunday, August 15, edition of the Iowa City Press‑Citizen. Many old Federation hands know how hard it is to get a reporter to use the name of the Federation at all, let alone get the name and concept right. Darrel has done all that admirably. This turns out to be a big year for Darrel, who in addition to the NFB scholarship has also been awarded a Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic scholarship, a Robert D. Blue Scholarship from Governor Vilsack, and a scholarship from the University of Iowa. Four in one summer; way to go, Darrel! Here's the article:

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Darrel Kirby]

Man Gives Back to Blind Community

by Alondra Canizal

Two and a half years ago Darrel Kirby was considered legally blind. His vision had started diminishing less than a year before that, causing him to be depressed and unhappy with himself. While riding a bus, Kirby, now twenty-three, met Priscilla McKinley, who had gone through the same thing. She introduced him to local blind people, and today he said he is a perfect example of what a positive attitude, determination, and friends can help accomplish.

Kirby graduated from the University of Iowa in December with a bachelor's in psychology, and this year he will be working toward his master's degree in social work, something he never imagined possible. He withdrew from the university for one semester after losing his sight.

"When I first became blind, I became depressed," Kirby said. "That was the hardest time in my entire life."

When McKinley introduced Kirby to Old Capitol, the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, he met people who taught him that being blind did not mean losing the life he had before, Kirby said.

"We know that blindness doesn't have to be the end of life," McKinley said. "It showed me that blind people were normal individuals; they just happened to be blind."

Kirby dove into the organization full force, becoming a member in February 2003 and being named president this May. He also is president of the Iowa Association of Blind Students.

His dedication to the organization did not go unnoticed at the annual NFB banquet in July in Atlanta. Kirby was awarded the $12,000 Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship for excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service to his community.

"It was quite an honor. I was completely surprised," Kirby said. "It's probably the greatest honor that I could have been given." He was chosen from a field of more than 500 blind applicants nationwide.

Kirby says he's a perfect example of what kind of an effect the organization can have. He has spoken at area elementary schools and at a couple of UI [University of Iowa] classes to educate about blindness. "If I get the chance to educate people about blindness, I usually jump at the chance," Kirby said.

This summer he was a counselor for blind high school students at the Iowa Department for the Blind's Orientation and Adjustment Center, the same place he found himself one year ago as a student. "A lot of them hadn't accepted the idea that they were blind," Kirby said.

Last summer Kirby was a part of the adult classes being offered at the center. In two-and-a-half months he learned Braille, assistance [access] computer technology, and cooking, and he also took a wood shop class that helped him build confidence.

This summer he said he saw himself in a lot of the teenagers that he was counseling. "I didn't know you could go to college and be successful," Kirby said. "Now I don't let (being blind) slow me down," Kirby said.

Most recently Kirby was one of thirty recipients of the Robert D. Blue Scholarship, which awarded him $1,000 and the opportunity to have dinner with Governor Tom Vilsack. He will be using his scholarship money to pay off his school loans. "We're all very proud of Darrel; he's a great kid," McKinley said. "He's like a second son to me, but I get mad when he calls me Mom."

The 2005 National Federation of the

Blind Scholarship Program

This year's scholarship program will be the twenty-second since the organization determined to expand the number, variety, and value of the scholarships presented each year at our annual convention in July. Assisting the nation's most talented postsecondary students to fulfill their academic and professional dreams is one of the most effective ways for us to demonstrate our conviction that blind people deserve the chance to enter whatever field they demonstrate themselves equipped to succeed in.

Scholarships will be presented this year to thirty college, vocational-school, and graduate students. Again this year the NFB awards will range in value from $3,000 to $12,000. This top scholarship has been named the Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship and is presented by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. We will, of course, also bring the winners as our guests to the 2005 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to experience firsthand the excitement and stimulation of a gathering of the largest and most dynamic organization of blind people in the country today.

Again we plan to present at least three of the scholarships to students who won scholarship awards in a previous competition. The purpose of these special awards is to nurture in today's students an ongoing commitment to the philosophy and objectives of the Federation. The students so designated will be recognized and honored as the 2005 tenBroek Fellows. All current students who were scholarship winners in previous years should take particular note of this program and consider applying for the 2005 National Federation of the Blind scholarships.

Full-time employees interested in pursuing postsecondary degrees should take a close look at the scholarship form because one award may be given to a part-time student holding down a full-time job.

Every state affiliate and local chapter can help in spreading the word of this extraordinary opportunity for America's blind students. The scholarship application is now available for downloading from the NFB Web site <>, and forms have been or soon will be mailed to financial aid offices in educational institutions around the country. Many of these will be filed away and forgotten by the time students come to ask about financial assistance. It is very helpful to have local representatives deliver or mail forms to the actual college administrator who works with blind students. Being identified with such a valuable national scholarship program gives the local chapter and state affiliate prestige and respect, and the local touch insures that more blind students will actually have an opportunity to apply for these scholarships.

Anyone can order scholarship forms from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230 or <>. State presidents and members of the 2005 Scholarship Committee will also be sent scholarship forms. These may be copied as long as all sides of the form are reproduced. The 2005 scholarship form is now downloadable from our Web site, <>. Please do what you can to spread the word about this program.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Kimberly Aguillard stands between her grandparents.]

The Gift Goes On

by Kimberly Aguillard

From the Editor: When Kimberly Aguillard sent me this article, she mentioned that she had written it for her grandparents and then decided that it might be of interest to me. It is a lovely tribute to the love of grandparents and an excellent example of the way that the positive influence of the Federation's philosophy transcends the individual to transform a family and influence an entire community.

Kimberly is currently a senior at Texas A&M University, where she majors in psychology and political science. She is second vice president of the National Association of Blind Students and president of the Texas Association of Blind Students. This is what she says:

My journey to the NFB and my recognition of the truth about blindness had many twists and surprises. As Federationists know, an individual's acceptance of blindness often takes several years, and we cannot truly convince family and friends of the truth about blindness until our understanding is solid. This was not actually the situation in my family. My grandparents, Grammie and Pawpaw, understood at once the world of possibilities that had been revealed to me through the National Federation of the Blind. They sacrificed time and convenience in order to help me seize opportunities and achieve my goals, supporting me through every challenge that I encountered along the way.

After attending a convention of the National Federation of the Blind at the age of eleven, I was enrolled in the Buddy Program at the Louisiana Center for the Blind the following summer. With all the wisdom of twelve I concluded that the resulting sacrifice of much of my summer would leave my life in absolute ruins. My mother, father, and four siblings left me in a storm of tears and complete frustration. I did not want to be abandoned in this place with blind people! Stubbornly I clung to my devastation for the first two days of the program, before the staff won my confidence, and I gave myself over to enjoy the experience.

During those weeks Grammie and Pawpaw frequently sent me tape cassettes with reports of the goings on in the booming metropolis of Nederland, Texas, my home town. News of my cousins, church friends, and of course the latest gossip from the local beauty shop were all topics covered on these brief recorded chats. Grammie did most of the talking, but Pawpaw always said hello, reminded me to be a sweet girl, and told me he loved me. Grammie would also wrap a couple of dollars around the cassette for ice-cream money. I corresponded to them using the same cassette tape and told them about my experiences. I marveled at the new things I was doing and went on and on about my counselors: Pam Allen, the director of the summer program, and Joanne Wilson, the director of the center. The best way to describe my feeling was awe. I had never seen successful, confident blind people before. Reflecting on that time, I realize that it must have been both exhilarating and terrifying for my grandparents to hear my uncensored accounts of adventures in cane travel, trips to amusement parks, and even a trip down to Baton Rouge to talk to representatives about legislation.

Reminding themselves of the triumphant joy in my voice each time I achieved a new level of independence, my grandparents insisted that I use my cane when I returned home instead of clinging to their arms. My Grammie could not completely contain her anxiety, so she would occasionally wrap her pinky around mine--the absolute minimum of contact she could achieve. The strength in her little finger could have steered me in circles and, if necessary, would certainly have dragged me out of any danger.

When state conventions rolled around, I would casually mention the fact to my grandparents and, oh, so subtly express my wish to attend. As a result my grandparents traveled to two Louisiana conventions and two Texas conventions with me. They got the chance to meet my role models in person and thank them sincerely for all that they had done to shape my life. If I was invited to give a speech, Grammie would strut to the front of the room with her tape recorder to capture the moment. They calmly observed the manic situations that occur at some conventions, such as the flood around the elevators and the marshals shouting directions in hotel hallways. They good-naturedly retrieved me from a bar, where I was probably the youngest patron by six or seven years. But they trusted my friends completely.

I was so caught up in my own excitement to see old friends that I did not realize at the time how much my grandparents were learning. They also made the trip to Ruston, Louisiana, where I had the opportunity to show them all the hot spots. I walked them through a typical cane travel lesson, and they got to see the apartments where I had lived. When I decided to start a chapter in my local area, Grammie and Pawpaw helped with fundraising and driving chapter members to and from meetings.

As time passed, my grandparents delighted in sharing my latest experiences with friends and family. When I began attending Washington Seminars in the nation's capital, they decided I was quite the activist. Their suspicion was confirmed when I traveled to Tampa, Florida, for a good old-fashioned picket of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving Persons with Blindness and Visual Impairment. A snapshot of me carrying my picket sign appeared in a Florida newspaper, and shortly after I returned to Texas, a copy of that very newspaper mysteriously appeared in my Grammie's beauty shop Saturday morning. Old ladies can move quickly!

Finally, this past summer, when I did organizing with NFB Corps, my grandparents could barely hide their excitement, beginning every phone conversation with "Where in the world are you today, child?" I entertained them with stories about all of my adventures in Illinois, including my very first ride in a police car after a cop refused to let my partner and me cross a busy street. As time passed, my grandparents began to consider my friends in the NFB as dear friends as well, even insisting on buying wedding gifts and sending cards. Since Grammie and Pawpaw are quite possibly the proudest grandparents on earth, I never seriously thought about their fuss over me and my opportunities through the National Federation of the Blind until a beautiful situation showed me exactly how much they had learned about and come to believe in blind people.

Grammie has had several surgeries over the past two years. All too often she and Pawpaw drive two hours to see the specialist for a visit or outpatient surgery. My Pawpaw is the sweetest, most devoted man I know, and he loves getting to talk with people. My Grammie has a quick wit and is often able to bring a surprised laugh or smile to the conversation. On one of their usual visits to the hospital, my grandparents were chatting with a nurse who had recently moved from Costa Rica. Like good grandparents they had already pulled out pictures of all eleven grandkids. The nurse mentioned that she had a sister who had come to America with her in search of a better life. She said her sister was blind and could not receive any training in Costa Rica, so she had brought her here to learn English and gain opportunities. My grandparents immediately pointed me out again and explained that I was blind. They told her that her sister needed to go to Ruston, Louisiana, and attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind, plain and simple. They gave her all of my contact information and told her more about the organization.

This action, more than anything else that they could have said or done, showed me how much they believe in the Federation and in the capabilities of blind people. Often we say that the Federation is for all people of all walks of life, and I believe now even more firmly than ever that this is true. My grandparents, who grew up in a different era, one of narrow-minded Southerners and conventional life, have embraced this philosophy of equality with open arms. I know they see me as a granddaughter first; a pest perhaps second; a motivated young girl third; and, oh yes, also a blind person who, thanks to the blessings she has received, will achieve her dreams. The National Federation of the Blind not only offers a positive philosophy, it can also teach us valuable life lessons about acceptance, hard work, and the gift of family.

Planned giving takes place when a contributor decides to leave a substantial gift to charity. It means planning as you would for any substantial purchase--a house, college tuition, or a car. The most common forms of planned giving are wills and life insurance policies. There are also several planned giving options through which you can simultaneously give a substantial contribution to the National Federation of the Blind, obtain a tax deduction, and receive lifetime income now or in the future. For more information write or call the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Patricia Hubschman]

It's All in Your Point of View

by Patricia Hubschman

From the Editor: The human spirit has a great deal of elasticity. Sighted people often express the fear that, if blindness befell them, they would not be able to make the adjustment. My usual response to such a comment is that people mostly sell themselves short. We do not know until the moment comes how much we can cope with and even master.

Patricia Hubschman has been a member of the Long Island Chapter of the NFB of New York since 1998. She is also an active member of the Writers Division. In addition to coping with the difficulties of decreasing vision, she uses a support cane and hopes soon to receive a cochlear implant to improve her hearing. Yet she holds a job and enjoys a supportive family. In the following story she recounts a difficult day and the way she was able to deal with it, thanks to her involvement in the National Federation of the Blind. This is what she says:

It was a Saturday in May when I went to see the low vision specialist. It had been a few years since I'd last gone to see him. As a close friend pointed out, I'd been so concerned about my hearing that I was neglecting my sight. For the past few years I'd been preoccupied with my efforts to get a cochlear implant. I underwent unsuccessful surgery a year and a half ago for the implant. Now I am working with a new doctor at a different hospital and have started all over again. I actually intended to put the ophthalmologist off for a little while longer, but since I broke the glasses I had been wearing (purchased as temporary replacements for the last pair I had broken), I figured it was time to get my eyes checked.

In testing, instead of asking if I could see the letter E projected on the screen across the room (which I never could do anyway) the doctor held up a place card with the number seven on it, told me to cover one eye, then approached me slowly, instructing me to tell him when I could read the card. With my right eye the card and its huge number had to be very close in order for me to see it. With my left eye it could be further away. Right away I knew my vision had significantly changed. My right eye had always been stronger. Next he handed me a plastic card and asked me what I could see on it. I had to hold it very close, and all I could clearly make out was the very large number ninety-five on the top line.

It wasn't difficult to figure out that I wasn't doing very well. I made a crack about not being able to see crystal clear anymore. My eyes were tearing constantly because of the light. He put drops in my eyes and did some more tests, shining bright lights in them and causing them to tear up even more. When he was finished with the testing, he looked directly at me with a grim expression. Then he broke the news to me that my vision had gotten a lot worse. I took a deep breath and turned my head to the side. When I looked back again, there were tears in my eyes. Before I had even sat down in the chair, I had already known what he was going to tell me. While I had been walking from the door of the room to the patient's chair, I had moved very slowly using my white, aluminum support cane with the red tip. Despite what I had already guessed, I was still taken aback by hearing the words. Somehow that made it more definite.

I blurted out the first question that popped into my head: since my prescription was old, could he fit me with new glasses that would help? He shook his head and said that nothing would help. He suggested that I look into adaptive technologies like a closed-circuit TV and a large-print computer program. I already had two CCTVs--one at work, the other at home--and other aids. Suddenly I remembered an upcoming adaptive technology fair I was already planning to attend. I mentioned it to the doctor. Then, without missing a beat, I proudly announced that I was now a member of the National Federation of the Blind. Until that moment I hadn't realized just how much the NFB had helped me. As we got up to leave the room so that I could pick out new frames for sunglasses and eyeglasses, I realized that I was actually not deeply upset about what the doctor had just told me about my vision. I was able to talk in a bright and friendly manner, even joking around while my husband and the doctor's secretary were trying different frames on me. My husband asked me what I thought of a particular pair, and I replied, "Hey, I'm the blind one here; you two pick them out."

As my husband and I were walking back to the car, I told him what had happened in the doctor's examining room. Using one finger, he spelled on my back the word "mess," but he wasn't upset either. With my eyes dilated and teary, we went to the mall. I continued to joke: "Hey, my vision isn't really getting worse; I'm just getting older--though my hearing is definitely getting worse." We both laughed.

When I got home, I emailed my mother to give her the scoop. I told her not to worry, that I was okay with the news. I figured that with my new yellow-tinted indoor glasses I'd be able to see the TV without its flickering. And I could plug my cochlear implant attachments into the set and be able to understand what was being said. Wow, it would be a whole new me. Mom shot back that it sounded like I had everything figured out. "Way to go!" she said.

Where did I get such a sense of humor and positive attitude, this belief in myself and my ability as a disabled person, and enriched self-esteem? Believe me, I didn't always have it. This positive outlook has derived from being a part of the National Federation of the Blind family. It wasn't an overnight change, but it has definitely been worth the struggle.


Half a Cup

by Dave Hyde

From the Editor: Dave Hyde currently serves as secretary of the Rock County chapter of the NFB of Wisconsin, is the affiliate's director of governmental affairs, coordinates the Imagination Fund for Wisconsin, and is the newly elected secretary of the affiliate. At work he develops and schedules professional development activities for vision teachers and O and M specialists all over the state. In his spare time he coaches goal ball.

In the following little article Dave grapples with a frustration faced by many competent blind people. His conclusion sheds some light, even if it does not solve the problem. This is what he says:

Until she died, my mother never poured me more than half a cup of coffee. I'm sure this was something she learned from some book or class about how blind people did things. Somehow, some way, she learned that handling more than half a cup of hot liquid would be hazardous and must be avoided.

She and I discussed her half-cup habit over the years and agreed that I should have a full cup like everyone else and that I didn't spill a full cup any more frequently than she did. But every time she poured it, the cup was half full. As I grew up, I realized that there was a difference between what she knew from experience about blindness and what she had learned from sighted professionals about it. She had taken some parent training when I was very young, part of which involved eating under blindfold. She told me that it was very hard, that she was afraid of spilling, and that after the experience she understood how hard it was for blind people to eat.

Strangely enough, I have never had any problem transporting food from the plate to my mouth, drinking from a full cup, or locating things on a table. I have done it every day because I have only two choices: eat or starve. I have always preferred the former. Looking back, I can now see the difference between what my mother was taught and what she learned. Mom was taught that she couldn't do things as well under a blindfold as she could when she could see, but the lesson she drew from this fact was that my experience would always be just like her lesson under the blindfold.

The first of these statements is true. It is hard for a sighted person to do things under a blindfold. The blindfold simulates total blindness and requires the participant to do things in a way which is new, uncomfortable, and fearful. I have often likened learning of the skills of blindness to learning to drive a car. You can't or shouldn't assume that, just because a person owns a car, he or she can drive it. Driving requires instruction and practice. Eventually, however, driving becomes easier and ultimately a matter of habit. The difficulty with my mother's simulated blindness was that she didn't stick with it long enough to develop skill. Incorrect though it was, she learned her lesson well. Even after being around successful blind people at conventions; seeing me married, employed, and successful; and knowing that many of the things she couldn't do under blindfold my friends and I do all the time, she still remembered how hard it had been for her and behaved accordingly.

The best solution I found for dealing with the coffee was to thank her for the half cup and then go back and fill the cup the rest of the way myself. Both of us recognized that the cup was only half full, and she wasn't offended having me add more coffee. Even with the best of intentions, some things cannot be unlearned. But my wife--she who has a solution for everything--has solved the coffee problem in an entirely different way. If I want it, I get it myself.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Peggy Elliott]

Paying the Bill

by Peggy Elliott

From the Editor: The following story first appeared in The Car, the Sled, and the Butch Wax, the twenty-fourth in our Kernel Book series of paperbacks. It begins with President Maurer's introduction:

Peggy Elliott lives and works in Grinnell, Iowa. Her sprightly stories have appeared in many previous Kernel Books. Here she looks back on an experience she had at the beginning of adulthood. Her thoughtful reflection is tempered by years of experience as a successful attorney and active leader in the National Federation of the Blind.

I've been blind for most of my life, and I was blind when I earned my law degree and got my first job. I joked back then that I wanted a job, an apartment, and a cat in that order, and I followed the plan.

My very first apartment was the top floor of a large old house with a living room, dining room, and three bedrooms. It was roomy and had lots of windows for ventilation and for the cat to use to observe the world. His favorite window was the one that overlooked the sidewalk on which I returned home each night, and in the summer he would sit in the open window and yell at me as I walked up to the house, demanding that I hurry up and get inside.

Then the first Iowa winter came on. As a blind apartment dweller, I had used a steel file to mark little notches in the thermostat so I could control the heat. Thinking ahead, I told myself. Or I told myself that until the first heating bill arrived.

I panicked. It was huge! I couldn't pay that bill on my meager salary as an assistant county attorney, especially since the next one would be as big. I called the landlord and insisted that he check the thermostat. It was fine. I called the power company and insisted that it double-check its reading and billing. It confirmed the figures as correct. I settled down to pay and close off rooms for the winter and add electric baseboard heating in the bedroom and learn all the little tricks of saving on one's energy bill.

But I always suspected that my encounter with the heat bill had something to do with my being blind. I couldn't see the thermostat; I couldn't read the bills myself; I didn't know things that sighted people did, so the huge bill was self-inflicted because I was blind.

Readers may think this is illogical, but I'm only telling you what I thought at the time. I and many other blind people fall into the trap of attributing to blindness all the ills of our lives, and, rationally examined, the attributions don't hold up. That doesn't make them any less real to the blind person feeling inadequate about something.

My life moved on from the heating bill crisis. I've paid a lot of heat bills in my years living in Iowa. I got married, and my husband and I bought some residential rental property in our community as part of our investment strategy for the future. We now pay heating bills for some renters, and we have bought four new furnaces and fixed a lot more than that.

Last year we rented a nice top floor apartment we own with lots of windows and a living room, dining room, and several bedrooms to a nice young woman who is sighted and who was moving out of her parents' home for the first time to take a job as a teacher.

When the first heating bills came out at the beginning of winter, we got a call from the frantic tenant. She asked us to come and check the thermostat since she had just gotten her first bill showing heating costs, and it was impossible that the cost was that gigantic. I heard later that she had also called the power company to ask them to do a re-reading on her bill because it had to be erroneous. Both the thermostat and the power company's readings were accurate, just as they had been in my case.

I thought back to my own first apartment and to the feelings of inadequacy I had experienced at the onset of my first heating bill. I remembered with a mixture of amusement and sadness how much those feelings were based on my feeling inferior to sighted persons because I am blind. I now know that the heating bill crisis is merely a rite of passage for all first-time renters or owners in cold climes. The sadness was for all my colleagues who are blind and who, like me, sometimes attribute to blindness what are normal human reactions to growing up or learning new skills or being the new person in a group of friends or work colleagues.

We blind people, like everyone else, are challenged to learn new things and succeed in trying circumstances and make friends in new settings. We, and sometimes those around us as well, can perceive difficulties in achieving these goals as stemming from our blindness when a sighted person in exactly the same situation would have exactly the same problem.

Through the National Federation of the Blind and my friendship with capable, competent blind people, I have learned to put my blindness in perspective. I no longer think that everything that goes wrong or is uncomfortable for me is automatically related to my blindness. Some of it is, like the effort to find my first job when I applied to fifty law firms and was turned down by all fifty. My friends in the Federation encouraged me to keep trying, to believe in myself, to keep applying. I did, and I found that first job and that first apartment.

My friends in the National Federation of the Blind have taught me that it is my job to figure things out, to take responsibility, to take charge of my life. I've tried to do that, since it makes sense to me, and I have forged the tools--as have my sighted colleagues--to find jobs, to pay those taxes, and to participate in my community's life. And, by the way, I just paid another heating bill.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Brad Hodges]

Gift Guide 2004

by Brad Hodges

From the Editor: Last fall the staff in the International Braille and Technology Center (IBTC) compiled a list of gift ideas for the holidays. Brad Hodges, IBTC technology accessibility manager, has taken the opportunity to add to it for the coming season. This is what he says:

Can it really be that the holiday season is in full swing? What would be the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on my gift list? What technology is new and interesting this year? These are not the usual questions fielded by the staff of the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. Nevertheless, they are on the minds of many Monitor readers this time of year.

As good technologists the IBTC staff would most likely recommend that you consult a database like <>. Unfortunately, not all questions can be answered by Google. But the capable IBTC team can make some suggestions that may help. So here are some timely questions and answers that we hope will be useful.

Q: What would make a nice gift for the person who needs a new telephone or who would perhaps like to read NFB-NEWSLINE?

A: Several telephones come immediately to mind--the GE model 29322GE1 is a traditional corded telephone. Available from Best Buy stores or from <>, it is priced at only $17.95. It features a clear and easy-to-hear speaker phone. It also has a mute control, which makes NEWSLINE listening easier.

If a more high-tech phone is of interest or someone has a room where a phone is needed but there is no jack for plugging in a traditional phone, a cordless phone system may be a welcome gift. The IBTC uses a system from Motorola, and we have been pleased with its quality and flexibility. The MD400 2.4GHz expandable phone system begins with a base unit, available in several colors and both answering-machine and nonanswering-machine configurations. Up to four Motorola 2.4GHz Cordless Expansion Handsets can be added to the system. Only the base unit must be connected to a phone line. All remaining handsets require just one standard household electric outlet for power.

The phones sound good and are solid and pleasant to use. They offer the usual features found on advanced phones, including a clear-sounding speaker phone. Prices for the base unit range from $79 to $99, with handsets priced from $49 to about $79. Motorola phones are widely available from sources such as Office Depot and Best Buy and online at <>.

Phone accessories are always welcome additions for those who use the phone a lot. A headset for a cordless phone or a cordless phone-headset combo allows you to walk and talk at the same time with hands free to carry on with household tasks. Prices for these accessories range from about $19 to $59 for headsets designed to connect to an existing cordless phone and from $39 to $99 for cordless phone-headset combos. Again Radio Shack, Office Depot, Best Buy, and online electronics sources are your best shopping bet.

Q: I have friends who own their own home. What would be a nice gift to give?

A: How about a mailbox large enough to accommodate several Talking Book boxes. Restoration Hardware Stores and <> offer two elegant, sturdy, high-quality models available in a range of finishes from polished brass to matte black. One unit is horizontally oriented and should hold approximately four Talking Book containers. The larger box is vertically mounted and should accommodate six containers.

If your home-owning friends don't already have large, easy-to-read house numbers, these are also available from Restoration Hardware. Large, easy-to-read numbers make it easy for friends and cab drivers to find a house, especially in an unfamiliar area.

Q: I want to pick up a gift for someone who has just purchased a Braille notetaker; any ideas?

A: A travel tote or equipment bag may be the perfect accessory to help keep notetaker and related paraphernalia all together in one package. Wilson's Leather offers a men's travel bag for about $60. In addition to a large center compartment, the black leather bag includes pockets for a cell phone and other accessories.

If Wilson's is not convenient, or to have other options, most better luggage stores offer similar-sized bags. Tumy and Land both specialize in men's European-style totes.

Hint: learn the brand and model notetaker you are finding a bag for; then call the manufacturer to get the dimensions of the unit. Remember that most people want to carry a power cord and other accessories when traveling with a notetaker.

Q: What is the latest technology, something really new and practical?

A: An accessible thermostat is now available and might make the perfect gift. Available from Independent Living Aids, (800) 537-2118 or <>, the Thermotalk is priced at $129. This full-featured electronic thermostat announces the current temperature as well as all settings. It has the same features--including day-night setback--you find on other modern electronic thermostats. Models are available for heating only and heating/cooling combination systems.

Q: What can you suggest for someone who really likes to read? And is a portable music player available that can also read text?

A: Two products from the American Printing House for the Blind are favorite gift-giving suggestions here at the IBTC. The Handi-Cassette II, $170, has been on the market for a number of years and continues to receive high grades. It is portable and has a rechargeable battery and voice compression, which allows the listener to increase the speed of a Talking Book without the Donald Duck voice-distortion effect.

The Book Port, $395, was on last year's list of IBTC favorite gifts. Not content to stand still, APH has added more features this year, including support of books from <> and the ability to enter search requests in Braille.

The Book Port connects to your computer and allows you to read text files and play mp3 files from compact flash cards. Disconnect it when you have transferred your books or music and listen on the go. We continue to be impressed by the number of features, the high quality of the sound, and high level of customer support.

Both the Handi-Cassette II and the Book Port are available from APH, toll-free, weekdays from 8:00 to 4:30 Eastern Time, (800) 223-1839.

Q: I know someone who really likes radio. What can you recommend?

A: C. Crain Company (<> (800) 522-8863) offers the CC Radio. The unit, which is manufactured for C. Crain, features AM, FM, TV (channels 2 to 13), and Weather Service bands. The radio is said to be optimized for AM reception. The unique features of the radio include easy-to-learn control menus that beep as they are navigated and let you know when you have reached the top of a menu. In addition, cassette instructions designed specifically for nonvisual use of the radio can be requested at no additional cost. The CC Radio costs $164.

Many of the table-top radios reviewed in last year's gift guide are still available. Several of them have been updated. Tivoli has added a CD player to its line of mono and stereo radios, <>.

Q: Can I give a gift that will help all blind people today as well as future generations of the blind?

A: Make a donation to the NFB Jernigan Institute Imagination Fund. The Jernigan Institute is the most important new resource for research, training, and opportunity for the blind. The Imagination Fund helps in several important ways: funding the work of the Institute, supporting state affiliates, and providing funds for special projects in state affiliates. For information about the fund, call the National Federation of the Blind at (410) 659-9314, and ask for information about the Imagination Fund.


In last year's holiday suggestions article we recommended Bose radios. These are still excellent gift ideas, but here is more information you may find useful.

The new Bose Wave Music System costs $499 and has no controls on the unit. Instead it uses a credit-card-sized remote with a membrane touchpad. In the past many blind people have found these Bose touchpads quite usable, but Bose now also offers a remote with Braille in two sizes. The larger Braille is reportedly less crowded. The remotes can also be ordered for older units for $19.95. The IBTC has not reviewed this product. If you have occasion to use it, drop us a note to report your impressions: <>.

New Opportunities for Michigan Youth

by Katie Munck

From the Editor: In the October issue we reported on the impact high expectations and challenging activities are having in a program for young people in Hawaii. NFB attitudes and expectations can make a powerful difference in the lives of blind kids. The following is a story reported by Katie Munck, daughter of Larry and Donna Posont, leaders in the NFB of Michigan. The weeklong camping experience for blind youngsters that she describes was part of a joint effort among blind adults from several organizations to provide six weeks of camp programming, but Federationists will recognize the emphasis on skill-building and development of healthy attitudes as pure Federation philosophy at work.

Katie Munck is a senior English education major and journalism minor at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. She plans to teach high school English and write freelance. Here is her report:

"Buddy check!" yells the lifeguard, and twenty-four campers scour the water for their swimming partners. The buddy check is loud as kids yell out the names of their buddies.

At Camp Tuhsmeheta, the campers use their senses of touch, smell, taste, and sound to navigate their way. These campers are blind and visually impaired, and Camp T was created especially for them.

Since 1971 the camp's main goal has been to provide yearlong recreational and environmental services to blind and visually impaired children in Michigan. The camp was originally bought by gift money from the Michigan School for the Blind. No state money was used in purchasing the camp; however, the state had control of the trust formed from the gift money.

In 2003 the state chose to withhold the trust money, and the camp was closed for the summer. Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB), a group of middle-aged and retired blind businessmen, recognized the need and decided to step in on behalf of the camp. In late 2003 OUB donated $40,000. Needing at least $67,000 to run the camp for six weeks, Larry Posont, co-director of Camp T, went to the Michigan Board of Education to request trust money. The Board flatly refused any funding, so OUB raised $27,000 through private donations.

This year the camp is full of campers and tired but excited staff members. The camp's future, though, remains uncertain. For this reason the campers take advantage of every opportunity to have fun.

They enjoy swimming and boating and the activities that take place in the arts and crafts pavilion. The week I visited, campers took the opportunity to imprint designs on medallions of leather. The scene could only be described as noisy. Clank. Clank. Clank. The hammers banged on the metal engravers as campers imprinted various designs on their leather. One camper made something special for Mom--a medallion with a heart on it. During art week the students also learned the basics of stone sculpting. Their teacher is also blind--a common occurrence at a camp that encourages blind students to be independent.

The campers appreciate this independent, hands-on approach. "There are all kinds of visually impaired kids here, and they [camp workers] show you that you can do almost anything you want to," said camper Tiffany Taylor.

The camp's Greenville, Michigan, location also provides opportunity and independence. "The kids learn independence easier at Camp T. There are no cement paths. We're in the wilderness," said Peter Posont, counselor.

The staff is a mixture of sighted and visually impaired people. The campers gain confidence by working with visually impaired adults who are living well-adjusted lives. These counselors also have the opportunity to teach valuable life skills the campers may not be receiving at home.

"I have to stop and think about how I do things before I can teach the kids. I know how I pour my drink and how I cut my meat, but how do I show the campers?" said Steve Decker, counselor. Decker is totally blind.

The counselors also enjoy seeing the growth in the campers. "We let the kids do everything. We show them what they have to do, and we let them do it," John Kusku, counselor, said.

This attitude is evident in every aspect of the campers' lives. The campers get their own food at mealtime, something many of them may not be used to doing. Other campers are encouraged to explore things on their own. For example, many campers have never been allowed to walk without assistance. At Camp T, though, the staff understand the importance of showing rather than telling the kids what to do.

The resulting independence is matched by the confidence boost the campers receive. "I like to see the kids try new things they never thought they could do because they're blind. It's good to see kids grow over the course of the week," Decker said.

The high school week ends with an all-American prom. A blind DJ will provide entertainment for the campers. Several giddy girls have been spotted preparing for the night by making their own jewelry at the art pavilion. Dresses and flowers have been donated. The idea behind the prom is to give these campers a chance to fit in that their public high schools would not provide.

Though the camp is in session this summer, Posont and the other staff members are nervous about next year. Posont and other members of OUB know that they need to raise at least another $67,000 for next year. OUB is trying to make long-term arrangements that could benefit the camp.

"Currently we have two thoughts. We could either fight for the trust fund or try to use the trust money to buy the camp outright," Posont said. He believes that the state considers the camp nothing more than a headache.

Posont, though, sees great potential if OUB were to buy the camp. "If the state got hold of this land, it would develop condos and create extra taxes and an ecological mess for the area," he said. "We must keep this property natural but developed for its purpose--successful blind adults mentoring blind children."

Despite the politics involved, the staff is still focused on its first priority--the campers. "The little things they accomplish really make it worthwhile," Posont said.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dr. Ed Vaughan]

Freedom and Individual Choice

by C. Edwin Vaughan

From the Editor: Dr. Ed Vaughan is a frequent contributor to these pages. He is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Missouri and currently dean of international programs and adult education programs at Menlo College in Atherton, California. In the following article he shares his thoughts about two currently fashionable terms in the rehabilitation field. This is what he says:

You can look at the experience of freedom in several ways. Freedom can be analyzed theologically, philosophically, and as a social experience. Each of us feels that we make choices, but our lives are somewhat determined by the cards we have been dealt, by the social world we have been born into, and by the array of opportunities that unfold as our lives develop.

Usually, when we think of freedom, our focus is on the individual person. In this article we will briefly talk about how we may think of freedom in terms of the choices we consider--freedom in its social context.

These fairly abstract ideas sometimes spill over into the world of rehabilitation and education. What does freedom of choice mean to an individual receiving rehabilitation services? How does the individual learn to choose? Who determines the choices that are available? Current expressions of this issue revolve around whether or not sleepshades and the long white cane should be a required part of an educational program aimed at teaching independent living. Some argue that independent choice means that students can pick and choose the parts of the training program that appeal to them. Or consider how much your choices may be limited if you encounter a counselor or teacher with a limited vision of what blind people can accomplish and who may have limited knowledge of the training programs that produce graduates who actually do live independently. We will analyze this debate referring to the concept of freedom.

We all have the experience of thinking. We consider the relationship between various things happening to us. Humans are biologically active and always interacting with their environments. When we encounter an obstacle, we consider ways to remove or get around the blockage. When we need to deal with blindness, we consider obstacles to be overcome. We have learned from our own experience or from the words of others that some behaviors work better than others for solving a problem. When we weigh and consider the various alternatives to help us reach a desired goal, we are being what John Dewey called "intelligent."

You are being intelligent when you weigh and consider the relationship of available means to desired goals. Your goal might be to live as independently as possible or to prepare yourself to enter the working world. To reach these goals, you would consider all of the choices reasonably available to you. By "reasonably" we mean actually available in the world you live in and know about. You would consider the amount of work it will take and the cost to you in time and resources. Do you take the easy way, or are you willing to enter a more demanding program? From whom will you learn about the choices available to you?

Traditionally the model used by professionals in rehabilitation and special education has been to focus on the individual and the kinds of problems he or she presents. The professional has learned what is best practice for this particular problem. An example of this appears in a series of articles and books by Dean and Naomi Tuttle. As a psychologist Dean Tuttle frequently writes about self-concept and adjusting to blindness. His first book dealing with these issues was Self-Esteem and Adjusting to Blindness (1984). A second edition of this book appeared in 1996, followed by a chapter with Naomi Tuttle in Foundations of Education: History and Theory of Teaching Children and Youths with Visual Impairments (Holbrook and Koenig, 2000).

In discussing significant others and reference groups, Tuttle advises that a blind person should be introduced to a teacher, school superintendent, counselor, or friend, and at one point he goes so far as to suggest that one meet another blind person to learn some practical strategies:

However, there is a time when the credibility of a message is much stronger coming from another blind person. The professional may want to arrange for a competent blind person to meet with the individual who is mourning. Areas of concern to be discussed with the recently blinded might include some "tricks of the trade" or some quickly and easily learned adaptive techniques. (Tuttle, 1984, pp.179-180)

This is an example of the way the educator or professional can limit the freedom of the individual by limiting or not being aware of choices that are available. He makes no mention of the organized blind movement as a resource for the counselor or for the blind individual.

Counselors or teachers communicate the emotions and ideas learned from their professional experience. They tend to reflect the negative notions about blindness that pervade society. Since the broader society holds these mistaken views, the rehabilitation customers--mirroring the attitudes of the broader society--will have internalized these same views. Something or someone must intervene and direct the customer toward healthier and more positive thinking. VR counselors and rehab teachers should, as a regular practice, refer new blind customers or students to local organizations of the blind.

We recommend that graduate students studying rehabilitation and special education be required to learn about and participate in consumer organizations. Theses internships should include experiencing the world as a blind person experiences it. Likewise college teachers and rehab professionals should be continually involved in local and national consumer organizations. Staying aloof or uninvolved to avoid taking sides is no longer acceptable. Professionals can understand the rapidly developing improvements in the world of the organized blind only by becoming involved. Likewise educators should encourage parents of blind children to involve themselves and their children in organizations as early as possible.

Through such experiences the counselor or teacher is in a position to help students become aware of more choices. By becoming so involved, students themselves will continually be learning about new opportunities and options. In fact they may become involved in creating new possibilities for the next generation.

The above discussion of being intelligent, making rational choices, and then acting on them focuses heavily upon cognitive or mental processes. Unfortunately knowing is not always doing. Overcoming the obstacles presented by blindness is not easy. It involves confronting all of the negative images about blindness that we, our parents, and our teachers have learned. This is why the National Federation of the Blind has so long stressed not only positive attitudes but the contagion and excitement that come from being surrounded by people who are inspired about the possibilities of life and who are actively involved in creating new choices.

In this approach freedom does not come from solving your own problems and going it alone; it comes from immersing yourself in a social world that is full of excitement and full of promise and in which you are continually supported by a network of friends who have already been there and done that. Instead of passively accepting the world as defined by others, you will actively be in control of your own energy and your own life as you help change ideas about what it means to be blind. Both freedom and informed choice come from knowing what is possible and having the strength and courage to embrace it.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Seville Allen]

The Blind Witness History Too

by Seville Allen

From the Editor: Seville Allen is first vice president of the NFB of Virginia and a longtime resident of the greater Washington, D.C., area. The following article appeared in the Summer/Fall issue of the Vigilant, the publication of the NFB of Virginia. This is what she says:

June 9, 2004, was an historic day in Washington, D.C. For the past four days the media had been full of film clips about former president Ronald Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004; and June 9, 10, and 11 were the dates designated for national ceremonies, recognition, and remembrance. On the morning of June 9 I stood on a crowded morning rush hour Washington Metro train, listening to fellow passengers complaining about the snarled traffic, the way they were inconvenienced by the funeral procession, and the hot summer weather. I heard not a word of being privileged to witness an historic event. While I stood reading my Braille magazine, I realized that I too had not participated in any of the history being made in Washington, D.C., since the Presidential inauguration of 1993 when I joined friends to walk across the Memorial Bridge to Arlington Cemetery following President-elect Bill Clinton. Several historic events had occurred in the eleven years since I participated in that inauguration celebration, and I decided that it was time to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in an historic event once again and join the crowd to witness the caisson move down Constitution Avenue on its way to the Capitol building.

The procession was scheduled to begin its journey at 16th and Constitution Avenues about 6:00 p.m. Since I expected to be within two blocks of the procession route about 6:00 p.m. on my way home, I figured I could get off the Metro train and walk the two blocks to the procession route and join the throng at 12th Street and Constitution Avenue.

As I made my plan, I kept hearing a little voice asking, "Can you really do this alone? What about the crowd? Will the police stop you, telling you it is too dangerous to be in such a large crowd alone?" Was I buying into society's idea that a blind person shouldn't be alone in a crowd?

During the day I mentioned to several people that I planned to go watch the caisson pass. Every person had a negative reaction. Several assumed I was going with a sighted friend; one told me in a harsh, blunt tone that I had no business doing such a thing alone. Another urged me to drop such a fanciful plan and go home. I heard all their fears, and my own doubts grew. Then I remembered I still had two loads of laundry to finish before packing a suitcase and catching a Greyhound Bus at 6:10 a.m. the following morning. I decided it would be most efficient to go home and take care of the chores. Then I stopped short, realizing I was falling into the trap of making excuses for skipping the event when the real issue was my lack of personal confidence.

At 5:57 p.m. I left the Metro train and hurried out of the station. When I reached the top of the escalator, I could hear band music. I moved faster. As my cane touched the curb indicating that 12th Street was immediately in front of me, a policeman called to me and said, "You can walk in the street if you want, because it is blocked and there is no traffic." I thanked him, stepped off the curb, turned right toward the sound of the band and the direction I knew was Constitution Avenue.

I heard no footsteps as I hurried south along 12th Street, and I felt strange running down what is usually a very busy city street with multiple traffic lanes. As I ran faster, I suddenly heard sirens behind me and then the motor of a large vehicle coming fast; I realized it was a fire truck moving faster than I, so I turned and ran to my right, looking for the safety of the curb. My cane touched the curbing, and I continued running because I was afraid I would miss the caisson. The fire truck stopped. Hearing no vehicle, I stepped back into the roadway, where I could run faster. As I reached the crowd, I again moved to my right and stepped up onto the sidewalk. Just as I stepped out of the street, the fire truck, siren blaring, returned, moving swiftly into the intersection to my left. Within a few seconds I reached the back of the crowd, which was almost to the curb on Constitution Avenue.

A fellow observer said, "You made it just in time," and told me all I had missed was the Army band. I was close enough to hear the feet of the marching soldiers, the slow movement of the dignitaries' cars, the lumbering sound of the media truck, and the hooves' slow, rhythmic clop as the horses pulled the caisson along the historic avenue. Several people quietly identified the various military bands, dignitary cars (with blacked-out windows concealing riders), the media truck, and Nancy Reagan's car. Their descriptions added to the easily recognized sounds. We all quietly and respectfully applauded each segment of the procession.

Within fifteen minutes the event was history, and as I slowly walked back to the Metro station to continue my trip home to the laundry and packing, I was pleased that I had gone to the event. None of the things I had imagined actually happened. In fact, the police officer had given me permission to run in the street instead of telling me it was too dangerous to be in the crowd.

Yes, I was on the Greyhound Bus at 6:10 a.m. the following morning. As I settled into my seat for the six-hour ride, I thought of my Federation family and how you all made it possible for me to participate in an historic event on my own. We are indeed changing what it means to be blind.


This month's recipes have been provided by the NFB of West Virginia. Come have dinner with members of the Harrison County Chapter from appetizer through dessert. Clarksburg, the county seat of Harrison County, is the home of West Virginia's Italian Heritage Festival held every year during Labor Day weekend.

Cheese Ball

by Marlene Lamp

Marlene Lamp is a homemaker and mother of three young men. She is a member of the Harrison County Chapter and has been treasurer for four years. Marlene serves on several committees at her church as well as being involved in several activities with her youngest son.


2 8‑ounce packages creamed cheese

2 8‑ounce packages pepperoni

8 ounces pecans

Method: Put cream cheese in a large bowl to soften. In food processor grate pepperoni into small pieces. With both hands mix pepperoni with creamed cheese until well combined. Mold into a ball. On a plate roll ball in ground pecans until well coated. Wrap cheese ball tightly in plastic wrap and chill. Can be stored up to seven days in refrigerator. Serve with favorite crackers. Preparation time approximately thirty minutes.

Vegetable Tray and Dip

Considering all the preparation that goes into the rest of these dishes, take the easy way out and get a vegetable tray with dip from the deli of your local grocery store, or arrange cut-up fresh vegetables of your own choosing on a tray with a bowl of dip in the center.

Spaghetti Sauce

by Andy Baughman

Andy has an interest in old coins and enjoys reading espionage stories and science fiction. He is also a fan of the Star Trek series. He is the state board representative for the Harrison County Chapter and in the past has held the position of chapter president.


3/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups canned tomatoes

2 cans tomato paste

1 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

Method: Combine all ingredients and simmer uncovered for one hour.


by Andy Baughman


1 pound very lean hamburger or ground chuck or round steak

1 cup fine bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

dash of pepper

Method: Combine all ingredients thoroughly with hands and shape balls of desired size. Do not brown meatballs. After sauce has simmered for an hour, bring it to a boil, and let it boil for ten to fifteen minutes. Then slip meatballs into sauce and continue to simmer until meatballs are cooked through. Do not stir sauce for several minutes after adding meatballs so that they will not fall to pieces while they are still uncooked. As they cook, it will be possible to stir the mixture gently to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.

Homemade Pasta

by Renae Genteel

Renae is the mother of two girls and one boy and is currently working as a caregiver. She is an excellent cook and involved in her church.


3 cups flour

6 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Method: This pasta can be served with spaghetti sauce or beef or chicken broth. With a fork mix all ingredients in a large bowl (preferably wooden). Flour a large smooth surface such as a countertop or table. Roll dough out flat on floured surface. Handle the dough as little as possible so that pasta does not get tough. Rolling it out once will leave it relatively thick for noodles. Gently turn it several times and roll further until it is very thin for spaghetti. When dough is of desired thickness, let stand for a few minutes while water or broth comes to a boil. Cut dough with pizza cutter into about one‑half inch strips. When cooking liquid comes to a full boil, drop strips one at a time into pot. Do not stir, but use fork to submerge pasta in water or broth. Adding pasta one or two at a time will allow the liquid to stay at a rolling boil. Cook pasta until just done. Drain pasta and serve immediately with heated spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

Homemade Rolls

by Charlene Smyth

Charlene is an office assistant for the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services. She enjoys reading and getting together with friends. She currently serves as secretary of the state affiliate and has held the positions of first vice president of the state affiliate and secretary of her chapter.


1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 1 cake of yeast

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups warm water

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs, slightly beaten

6 to 7 cups flour

shortening and melted butter

Method: In small saucepan scald the milk and remove from heat. In small bowl combine sugar, salt, and yeast. Add slightly cooled milk and mix to dissolve sugar and activate yeast. Cover and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine water, oil, and eggs. Beat in electric mixer on low for a minute, before adding yeast mixture. Then gradually add flour to make a stiff dough. If you have a bread hook on your mixer, you can do the entire job with electricity supplying the power. If your mixer begins to labor, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until enough flour has been worked in to make a smooth and elastic ball of dough. This will take about ten minutes. Clean bowl and grease or butter it. Place dough in bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Place dough in a warm place to rise until double in bulk. When dough is doubled, grease hands and punch it down. Work the dough until all the air pockets have been removed. Divide dough into about thirty pieces. Roll these into balls with smooth tops. Arrange in a greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Brush with melted shortening and cover with cloth. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. While rising they will grow together. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for twenty-five to thirty minutes. Brush with melted butter. Serve hot, or cool on rack and reheat to serve.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

by Mike Lamp

Mike is the father of three young men and works in the janitorial department for the Harrison County Board of Education. He is active in his church and enjoys family activities.


2 cans cherry pie filling

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 French vanilla cake mix

3 eggs



cooking spray

Method: Melt butter in bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly across pan, and spread cherry pie filling over the brown sugar. Prepare cake according to package directions and pour batter over cherry mixture in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately forty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out free of cake crumbs or batter. Cool for twenty to thirty minutes before turning onto cookie sheet or large serving tray. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Golden Anniversary Convention Report:

The National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia held its annual convention September 10, 11, and 12 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in South Charleston, West Virginia. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the NFB of West Virginia. President Maurer's address highlighted the banquet. At the Sunday morning business session the following officers were elected: president, Roland Payne; first vice president, C. Edgar McDonald; second vice president, Daren Burton; secretary, Charlene Smyth; and treasurer, Marcus Soulsby. President Payne remarked that this year's group of enthusiastic Federationists came away with new hope and vision for the NFB of West Virginia.

At the Friday evening reception, former affiliate president R.L. (Dick) Porter was honored by the presentation of a flag to his widow, Joyce Porter. The American flag was presented by the oldest living Congressional Medal of Honor winner in West Virginia on behalf of the Marine Corps League. Also as a tribute to Dick Porter and other affiliate leaders, Ed McDonald presented a number of sound bytes which he had recorded from past state conventions.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Braille coin key chain]

Braille Coins for Sale:

The Cincinnati chapter and the brand new Ohio Organization of Blind Seniors are selling Louis Braille coins. These unique coins have the words "Louis Braille 1809" (the year of Braille's birth) in Braille on one side and a picture of hands reading Braille and the words "Braille Opens Doors" in print on the reverse side. These attractive coins, which can serve as key chains, are ideal for affiliates or chapters to use in promoting Braille Literacy Week in early January. The Louis Braille coins sell for $5 each and will be mailed free matter. To order, send payment to Paul Dressell, 2714 Ruberg Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 481‑7662. Make checks payable to NFB of Cincinnati and mail to the above address.

Pen Friend Wanted:

Donna Jean Webb would like to correspond by email, cassette tape, Braille, or large, dark print with anyone who shares her interests. She is forty-six and legally deaf-blind. She uses a wheelchair and lives on her own in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Her hobbies are Bible study, bead working, camping, cooking, crocheting and knitting, drawing, painting, working jigsaw puzzles, leather working, latch hooking, and learning about other cultures and languages. She speaks English, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean. If interested, write to her at 701 Scott Street, Apartment 509, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-4624; email <>.

For Sale:

NFB of South Carolina T-shirts are royal blue with gold writing. Whozit is on the front, and "National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina" is on the back. Only four sizes are left: large, 1x, 2x, and 3x. The price is $12. This is a fundraiser for the Barnwell Chapter of the NFB of South Carolina.

To order, make checks payable to Barnwell NFB and send with size preference and mailing address to Diane Collins, 119 May Road, Barnwell, South Carolina 29812. For more information contact Diane at <> or (803) 259‑5867.

New Chapter:

Larry Streeter, president of the NFB of Idaho, announces that the NFB of Idaho has organized a chapter in the Moscow area. Officers for the Palouse Chapter are Andrea Travis, president; Marisela Nieto, vice president; Justin Brandis, secretary; Mike Mello, treasurer; and Diane Milhollin, board member.

National Association of Blind Merchants’

Business, Leadership, and Superior Training 2005:

Kevan Worley, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, says to get out your 2005 calendar and mark the dates of the spring conference scheduled for April 12 to 15 at the Adam's Mark Hotel, just off the exciting 16th Street Mall, Denver, Colorado. Travel to Denver for a truly rewarding experience and receive unbelievably low room rates, which are good from Saturday, April 9, through Saturday, April 16. This means you can visit with merchants, agency partners, and suppliers and even give yourself time to relax and enjoy all that the vibrant city of Denver and the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado have to offer. Conference activities BLAST off on Tuesday afternoon, April 12, and conclude midday Friday, April 15. So, if you wish, you could travel to the beautiful mountains of Colorado on Saturday, April 9, through Saturday night, April 16, and experience a Mile-High BLAST and mini-vacation.

Training sessions and meetings will begin Tuesday afternoon. We will be in meetings all day Wednesday and Thursday as well as Friday morning. We are planning receptions, a leadership breakfast, and a luncheon banquet. We are developing a first-class training agenda. Those who attended our Orlando BLAST say that they gained much from the innovative, interactive, informative training. We are working now to develop the training curriculum for BLAST `05. Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated. The goal of the BLAST `05 spring conference is to target training to meet the specific needs of blind entrepreneurs and our agency partners.

Working with our partner suppliers and purveyors, we are planning an even more extensive product and services showcase of exhibits during the Mile-High BLAST the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13. New products, special pricing, accessible technology, and more will make this showcase one you can't afford to miss.

This year registration of $160 will cover all conference activities and training materials. Those who register prior to March 1, 2005, will pay only $100, receiving a $60 discount for early registration. Checks should be sent to 18121-C E. Hampden Avenue, PMB 196, Aurora, Colorado 80013. Please include name, phone number, best mailing address, and email if available for each person you are registering, along with your check.

The Adam's Mark Hotel offers luxurious lodging at tremendously low rates. Rates for our Mile-High BLAST are even lower than for last year's event: $69 for singles and doubles and $79 for triples and quads per night all week long. All rates quoted are net per room, per night, plus the current 14% tax. The Adam's Mark Hotel is conveniently located on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall with free shuttle to all downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. The hotel is adjacent to the Pavilion Complex featuring dining, theaters, shopping, and more.

Area attractions include Coors Field, where the Rockies play baseball; the Rocky Mountains; and world-class skiing; convenient downtown RTD light rail; more than seventy golf courses nearby; the gaming towns of Blackhawk and Central City less than an hour from the hotel; Denver Center for the Performing Arts; Denver Zoo; Denver Children's Museum; Ocean Journey; Coors & Anheuser-Busch brewery tours; Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison; The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster; Denver Art Museum; Denver Museum of Natural History; national parks; and scenic and historic tours.

For hotel reservations call the Adam's Mark Hotel at (800) 444-2326. Tell the agent you are booking for the group rate for the National Association of Blind Merchants. Make your reservations now.

Working together, we can build a new Randolph-Sheppard Program; it can start with a Mile-High BLAST. As those of you who have attended previous BLAST conferences know, we are not planning the usual blind vendor conference. It will be a BLAST of fresh air with real take-home ideas merchant vendors and agency partners can use to build careers. BLAST will feature electrifying upward mobility training seminars taught by this nation's leading motivators in the fields of human resources, marketing, and retail management.

Join us as these scintillating speakers walk us through dynamic approaches to develop rapport with customers, building management, SLAs, and colleagues. You'll go home with a pocketful of tools and techniques that will reach customers and keep bringing them back--methods to anticipate, understand, embrace, and manage change in the marketplace. You will be energized by practical strategies to manage, teach, lead, profit. There will be formal and informal opportunities throughout BLAST to network and build strong personal and business relationships.

To listen to and view a five-and-a-half-minute video presentation highlighting last year's event, go to <>. At the bottom of the home page click on "play BLAST introduction video."

BLAST `05 is a National Training Conference for you. We want your input and ideas as we develop the specifics of this high-caliber conference. For further information and to offer your suggestions contact Kevan Worley, president, National Association of Blind Merchants at (303) 306-7122, or email <>. Make plans now to join us in Denver. It's going to be a Mile-High BLAST!

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.

Expansion of Free Educational Pilot Program:

The positive response to All inPlay's initial program at the Carroll Center in Massachusetts, Dewitt and Associates in New Jersey, and other locations around the country has precipitated an expansion. All inPlay is pleased to offer this free three‑month program to eight additional blindness institutions and vocational rehabilitation centers interested in participating. The pilot program lets organizations that teach computer skills to blind and visually impaired students include All inPlay games in their current curriculum. All inPlay believes, and the first trials have shown, that All inPlay's games give students additional motivation and further their typing, Web-browsing, and screen‑reading skills.

To learn how to sign up your organization as one of the eight new Pilot Program Sites, contact Jeremie Spitzer by phone at (413) 585‑9691, or by email at <>.

Computers for the Blind:

Pentium II's and III's are available to blind people at an affordable price. You can have a computer that will give you free email and Web-surfing capacity and keep track of your checkbook transactions, insurance, taxes, utilities, and other expenditures. You will receive a demo copy of Window Eyes and audio cassettes that will teach you how to operate the computer keyboard using speech access. You will also have two methods of enlarging the text on the screen with a fifty-page tutorial that will teach you step by step how to operate the computer with a mouse. You get speakers, a dial-up modem, sound card, and a CD ROM. This gives you everything you need to learn how to use and operate a computer.

Cost is $100. This offer is for the United States and Canada only. Contact Bob Langford, president of Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, Texas, 75238, (214) 340-6328 during business hours, Central time; fax (214) 340-0870, or email <>.

Focus Group Participants Needed:

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic is conducting market research to determine how to better serve people who are blind or visually impaired. We are asking either former members of our service or people who are eligible for membership but who have never registered with us to contact Linda DiMaggio at <> or at (609)720‑8409. Those selected for participation in a focus group by telephone will receive a $50 gift certificate as a thank‑you.

Braille Writer Repair:

Perkins Braille Writer users need to know three things: 1) their Braille Writers can be repaired with a five-day turnaround time starting at $65; 2) broken or unwanted Perkins Braillers will be purchased; and 3) refurbished Braille Writers are available for sale starting at $250. Please call Paul Jackanin, Braille Writer Repair Service at (718) 384-2945.

Attention Robotics Enthusiasts:

My name is Cheryl R. Brown. I am an absolute robotics builder novice. I tinker with the following: Lego® Mindstorm™ Robotics invention kit; JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology. I am seeking and exploring other robotics building kits. I am planning to participate in and explore the online robotics curriculum. The Web site is <>. If you share these interests, please email me at <>. Please provide your email address in the body of the email.

Math Institute for Blind Students:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant to the Institute on Blindness and the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University to conduct a three-week-long summer math institute for blind high school students. The NSF has made funds available to create programs that will increase under-represented populations to pursue math and science careers. Blind students are certainly under-represented in the sciences. This is partly due to the fact that they are often discouraged from taking advanced math courses in high school.

The Louisiana Tech staff will be developing a curriculum that will make math more accessible to blind students and provide blind math mentors to help students overcome the fear and stigma often associated with advanced math. The course being developed is an introductory college math course. Space is available for ten participants. The grant will cover expenses related to the class, travel, and room and board for the students. Anyone interested in this program may contact Dr. Ronald Ferguson at (318) 257-4554 or email <>.

Help Needed for Bangladesh Library:

Feroza Maula, chairman of the Louis Braille Memorial Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Bangladesh, writes to say that the library is working to help blind and other disabled people in Bangladesh. Its services are free to all.

The library requests donations of used or extra Braille, print, and large-print books; magazines; journals (including religious books); Braille paper; white canes; Perkins Braillers; Braille slates; Braille and talking watches; a Braille printer; and any other kinds of educational materials and equipment.

Please send any materials by surface mail under the Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped privilege. Send all contributions to Feroza Maula, Mirpur P.O. Box 8157, Dhaka‑1216, Bangladesh.

The staff needs mailing and email addresses of educational, rehabilitation, and other disabled organizations in the United States. Mr. Maula concludes by saying, "Please help us. For more information we can be reached by email at <> or <>."

Position Available:

The Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) school board is seeking a Director of Education. Web sites for further information:

City of Faribault: <>

MASB: <>

Important qualifications but not limited to the following:

* Visible person in the Legislature who is approachable and has strong communication skills and values and respect of others' views

* A record of success in key administrative roles

* Articulate advocate for education of the vision-impaired and an educational leader who is visionary and practices long-range financial and program planning

* Creative leader who has integrity and can build trust and motivate others to commit to high expectations

* A consensus/collaborative style sensitive to the ideas of staff, community, and values diversity

* Ability to build sound board, staff, and community relationships through solid personnel management

* Passion for education of vision impaired

* Strong academic record, sensitive to learning needs of vision-impaired

* Licensed as an administrator and in visual education.

Compensation: The State of Minnesota will provide a competitive compensation package based on the selected candidate's background and experience. Salary range is $75,000 to $87,000. The package will include the State of Minnesota fringe benefits.

Application: A person wishing to be considered should submit an application which includes:

* A current resume

* A completed application form

* A letter of application, setting forth in detail personal qualifications, experience, and reasons for interest in the position; include a description of significant administrative accomplishments of the past few years

* The names of four persons who will serve as references and can be presently contacted; include names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers, and indicate type and length of relationship with each reference.

* College or university placement papers and credentials; the applicant is responsible for arranging to have college or university placement papers forwarded as an essential part of the materials before the deadline.

* Evidence of eligibility for a Minnesota Administrator's Certificate and vision education license.

* A signed affidavit and disclaimer

All materials will be accepted and treated confidentially. After all applications have been received, the consultants will recommend to the Board of Education those candidates it considers most qualified. The Academy School Board will interview the most qualified candidates. A final selection is expected to be made in December 2004.

For additional information, please contact Linda Mitchell, superintendent, (507) 332‑5400. Address applications, credentials, and requests for information and application forms to BKB Associates, Executive Search Consultants, 200 Chancery Lane, Mankato, Minnesota 56001, email <>.

Attention Those Interested in Electronic Worship Materials:

Longtime Federation leader the Rev. Robert Eschbach makes the following request of those who use devotional materials, hymns, and other Christian materials:

I am working with the United Methodist Church Board of Publications to determine how they can make materials available in electronic Braille. This is not an effort to eliminate the current production of hard-copy Braille by the American Printing House for the Blind. It is, instead, an effort to expand the opportunities for the church to help blind people share in all aspects of worship and study.

Whether you are United Methodist or not, your interest in having this option would be helpful in persuading the publishers to embrace this venture. If we can demonstrate that providing electronic files is a service that blind worshipers would use, we can make a real difference in these deliberations. If such a service would be of interest to you, please let me know by either email or telephone: <> or (520) 836-3689.

Announcing Free Recipe-Finding Service:

Need a recipe but don't have it in your preferred format? Contact Federationist Maureen Pranghofer, 4910 Dawnview Terrace, Golden Valley, MN 55422 (763) 522‑2501, <>.

Let me know what recipe you are seeking and your format of choice, and I'll find it and send it to you. Available formats: Braille, tape, email, large print, or computer disc.

Guide Dog Camp:

The next Guide Dog Camp will be held at Camp Wawona in Yosemite National Park, Sunday, May 8, through Thursday, May 12, 2005. Conducted by professionals, this three-day, intensive session will include evaluation of the guide dog team and recommendations for postgraduate training to meet individual goals using group and individual guidance. In addition, seminars will deal with the common interests of handlers and of others considering relinquishing the cane. Among other program offerings are country walking, obedience and control, and health and care of the guide dog.

This session may be of interest to you if you are choosing a school, applying for a successor dog, reapplying following rejection, or exchanging your cane for travel with a guide dog. Legally blind adults over age eighteen wishing to enhance their skills and others genuinely interested in pursuing securing a guide dog will be considered for this session.

The camp is six miles inside the south gate of Yosemite National Park at the elevation of 4,500 feet in the Sierra, Nevada, mountains. It borders the Wilderness Area and the Merced River, the source of the great Yosemite Falls.

Cabins are weatherized and contain kitchen facilities and a full bathroom. Camp Wawona is owned and managed by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. All rules and regulations must be adhered to by campers.

As with all national parks, wildlife such as bear and deer forage freely throughout. Park rules are posted. If you have concern for your safety and that of your dog, call the park ranger's office for information and advice at (209) 372-0409. For information about the camp program, call (559) 439-4457 between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., Pacific Time, weekdays only. We are particularly interested to hear from guide dog user groups and training school administrators.

A deposit of $50 for individuals and $100 for schools and organizations is required. Deposits are due before April 1, 2005. When accepted, the enrollee is assured a place at camp. Our session is limited to thirty-six campers. Deposits from applicants not accepted will be returned by April 1, 2005. Deposits of those accepted are not refundable and will be applied to the campership program if not used by the depositor.

For additional information, call Joe Ring, MSW, coordinator. May is the best time to enjoy the Yosemite experience.


Gift Suggestions:

Our Favorite Recipes is a collection of over 200 mouth-watering recipes compiled by the members of the East Bay Center for the Blind, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley, California. The book is available in Braille (two volumes with easy wipe-off cover) or large print for a donation of $25 plus $3 shipping and handling. To order a copy, send check or money order in the amount of $28 to East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., 2928 Adeline Street, Berkeley, California 94703. For additional information call (510) 843-6935.

Attention Those Interested in the Wellness Business:

Paul Gabias, Ph.D. LL.D., writes to say that the Gabias Wellness Center is part of a large network of Wellness Consultants in thirty-three countries affiliated with Nikken, a Japanese multinational giant in the wellness and direct sales industry. The Gabias Wellness Center offers training to increase effectiveness in five areas of life: healthy body, mind, family, society, and finances. If you want to increase your health, protect yourself from disease, and help others do the same, we are interested in hearing from you. If you want to build a business in the trillion-dollar wellness industry, propelled by the commitment to be of service to others, we are looking for you. For more information call the Gabias Wellness Center at (250) 491‑7256.

New Book Available:

Loving in the Dark, An Incredible Journey, volume 1 of Lois Dingess Howard's autobiography is now available for $8 including postage. Unfortunately, at this time the book is available only in print. In the pages of this small, attractive book, the author shares with the reader many of her memories of the events that filled her young life and have made her the person she is today. She tells about her early childhood spent in Huntington, West Virginia (her birthplace), her life on a farm in Ohio during the forties, her fifth year of school when she was faced with the shocking realization that she was gradually losing her vision, and the four-plus wonderful years that she spent as a student at the Ohio State School for the Blind.

These heartwarming accounts, along with some historical facts and touches of trivia, combine to make Loving in the Dark, An Incredible Journey an interesting, informative, and inspiring book. It would make a great gift for anyone who enjoys reading. To order your copy, send a check or money order to Lois Howard, 61951 High Hill Road, Cambridge, Ohio 43725.

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.

BrailleNote 32 for Sale:

I am selling a notetaker with 32-cell Braille display, eight keys for Braille input, internal 56K modem, planner, word processor, Internet access, email, etc. Comes with Super disk drive and extra 48 meg of memory. Complete package includes AC adapter/charger and Braille quick reference guide--all for $4,800. Shipping is extra.

This equipment retails for the following prices: BrailleNote 32 $5,795, Super disk drive $269, and extra 48 meg of memory $425. The warranty covers repairs and cleaning until April 2005. For more information contact Georgia Kitchen at (810) 233‑4776 or <>.

For Sale:

Donna Jean Webb writes to say:

I have just opened Faith Enterprises. We do Braille transcription (literary Braille only) for five cents a page. We sell Mary Kay products for men, women, and teenagers, and Watkins products for cooking and baking. We have Malalucha products, which are nontoxic homecare and personal health care products. We also carry handmade crocheted and knitted items. Write or send a cassette requesting a list of these handmade items and prices. Contact Donna Jean Webb, 701 Scott Street, Apartment 509, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-4624.

For Sale:

My name is Glenn Levine, and I am a member of the North San Diego County and Beach Cities chapters of the NFB of California. I have the following items for sale:

ET Braille printer, embosses at twenty-five characters per second. It also prints on both sides of the page. It's in excellent condition and produces great Braille; asking $2,500. I have an external disk drive for use with the Freedom Scientific notetakers. I will include a check-writing program; asking $250. If interested in any of these items, call Glenn Levine at (760) 839-2601, or email <>.


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.