The Braille Monitor
Vol. 48, No. 4
Barbara Pierce, Editor
Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by
The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998
Web site address: http://www.nfb.org
NFB-NEWSLINE® number: 1-888-882-1629
Letters to the president, address changes, subscription requests, and orders for NFB literature should be sent to the National Office. Articles for the Monitor and letters to the editor may also be sent to the National Office or may be emailed to [email protected]
Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation about twenty-five dollars per year.
Members are invited, and nonmembers are requested, to cover the subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to National Federation of the Blind and sent to:
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998
The National Federation of the Blind Is Not an Organization
Speaking for the Blind, It Is the Blind Speaking for Themselves
[PHOTO: Belle of Louisville with photo credit]
The 2005 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, July 2-9, at the Galt House and Galt House East Tower. The Galt House West is at 140 N. Fourth Street, and the Galt House East Tower, or Galt House East, is at 141 N. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. Our overflow hotel is the Hyatt Regency at 320 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.
The 2005 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $59; and triples and quads $64 a night, plus tax. The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $60-per-room deposit is required to make a reservation. Fifty percent of the deposit will be refunded if notice is given to the hotel of a reservation
cancellation before June 1, 2005. The other 50 percent is not refundable. For reservations call the Galt House at (502) 589-5200 or the Hyatt Regency at (502) 587-3434.
Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made before June 1, 2005, assuming that rooms are still available. After that time the hotels will not hold their blocks of rooms for the convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon.
A covered pedestrian walkway connects the two hotels, and guest room amenities in both include hair dryer, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, and dataport.
Those who attended the 2003 convention can testify to the gracious hospitality of both the Hyatt and the Galt House. Our headquarters hotel has excellent restaurants, first-rate meeting space, and other top-notch facilities. It is in downtown Louisville, close to the Ohio River and only seven miles from the Louisville Airport.
The 2005 convention will follow what many think of as our usual
Saturday, July 2 Seminar Day
Sunday, July 3 Registration Day
Monday, July 4 Board Meeting and Division Day
Tuesday, July 5 Opening Session
Wednesday, July 6 Tour Day
Thursday, July 7 Banquet Day
Friday, July 8 Business Session
Vol. 48, No. 4
NFB Jernigan Institute First Annual Report
by Betsy Zaborowski
The Characteristics of an NFB Orientation Center
by James H. Omvig
by Marc Maurer
Joanne Wilson’s Resignation
by Fredric K. Schroeder
The Third Time Is the Most Charming
by Kevin Pearl
2005 Convention Attractions
A Word to Our Sponsors
by Jerry Lazarus
Health and Sleep Survey of Blind Women
by Steven W. Lockley
Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed!
by D. Curtis Willoughby
Dialysis at National Convention
by Ed Bryant
Copyright © 2005 National Federation of the Blind
[PHOTO: Library Entrance Atrium with Imagine Balloons above Whozit (centered)]
January 30, 2004, was the date of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute grand opening. The entire building was festively decorated. Pictured here is the third floor atrium and entrance to the tenBroek Library.
January 2004 through January 2005
by Betsy A. Zaborowski
[PHOTO: Blind Students carrying Rocket]
[PHOTO: Braille books on floor in Archive]
[PHOTO: Trainers & Participants looking at access technology products]
Trainers and participants alike enjoyed the opportunity for hands on assessment of access technology products demonstrated at the technology conference sponsored by the Jernigan Institute in April of 2004.
[PHOTO: Crowd seated at Possibilities Fair 2004 eating boxed lunch]
On May 20, 2004, the third annual NFB-sponsored senior fair took place at the National Center for the Blind. Pictured here, the crowd is seated at tables to consume 420 box lunches and enjoy a lively program.
From the Editor: Dr. Betsy Zaborowski is executive director of our new Jernigan Institute. Here is her report on the first year of its operation:
The first year anniversary of the opening of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute was the focus of this year’s celebration event held April 8, 2005, at the Institute. It was a year filled with dynamic challenges, wonderful opportunities, and exponential growth. The last page of the program for the grand opening captured in a few words where we have been and where we are going with this new Institute—“We have dreamed, we have planned, we have built, and now we will create a future full of opportunity.” No longer do we speculate on what the Institute will do. We are now building the partnerships, programs, staff, and resources needed to realize our dream.
This Institute is a first in many ways, but most important it is, as we have so often said, “the first research and training institute developed and operated by an organization of blind people.” Let’s now take a look at the way that is translating into real programs, partnerships, research, and of course what we are all working for—improvement in the lives of blind people.
The Institute brochure distributed at the 2004 convention of the National Federation of the Blind outlines the overall goals of the Institute and several objectives that are the foundation of this new endeavor. We have clearly made good progress, but we have only begun. In preparation for this expansion and the full operation of the Institute, the first several months of this year focused upon completing construction; furnishing and equipping the new building; recruiting and training new staff; reorganizing the National Center both physically and organizationally to accommodate this new venture; moving programs from simply good ideas to detailed proposals ready for submission to funding sources; recruiting and organizing advisory groups, including the Institute policy advisory board; and implementing outreach to universities, agencies, and others to develop needed partnerships. This report summarizes the progress made in the five initiative areas of the Institute.
For many years we have collected both print and Braille books, blindness artifacts, correspondence, publications, and much more dealing with our movement and blindness in general. The papers of our founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, which have been given to us, will be one of the highlights of our new library. Inventorying, sorting, and organizing materials to create a well-designed, high-tech library is daunting, but it is a task our new librarian Mrs. Dawn Stitzel is well equipped to handle.
After a period of training on the history and philosophy of the NFB, which included several weeks as a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, Mrs. Stitzel visited nearly all of the substantial libraries dealing with blindness in this country and Canada to assess the present status of library resources on blindness and the way the tenBroek Library will best meet the needs of researchers, academics, professionals working with the blind, and blind people. Attention soon turned to creating an inventory of the books and artifacts collected over the years. Development of an up-to-date library management system was also undertaken. The library works on organizing everything from NFB publications and relevant literature on blindness and legal cases to the writings of
Dr. tenBroek, Dr. Jernigan, and Dr. Maurer (items of historic significance) and the hundreds of volumes of Braille books in storage. The rich history of the struggle of the blind for first-class citizenship and autonomy will be the cornerstone of this new resource library. Organization now includes plans for electronic storage, digitizing information, and a well-managed archive for truly historical documents and artifacts.
To date much of the material has been inventoried. Artifacts for a museum on blindness are in a climate-controlled room. Hundreds of Braille books have been unboxed, sorted, and made ready for shelving. Vendors of comprehensive library material catalog data-management systems have been interviewed, and the most attractive options are being thoroughly evaluated for full accessibility. A plan for furnishing the large library room has been drafted, and soon vendors of everything from shelving to a specialized library information center desk will be asked to submit proposals. The NFB 2001 Everest Expedition multimedia art display, “The Summit,” and the model of the car we might all drive one day displayed at the grand opening are set up in the library. Soon the rocket that was launched during our first Science Academy session this past summer will also be on display. The extensive photo database of the NFB has been updated and fully digitized. The first phase of full implementation of our internal online NFB organization-wide document management system has been completed.
Much of the philosophy, history, and methods of the organized blind are imbedded in NFB literature. In order to distribute this valuable resource more effectively, literature is now being sorted into packages appropriate for individuals with varying needs. Some of these packets have been used for several years, while others have been developed recently. The plan is to expand the types of literature packages and make all available through the library. We now have available literature sorted into the following areas:
Mini General Information
Braille for Kids
Braille Awareness for Kids and for Schools
Braille Awareness for Preschool through Kindergarten
Canes for Blind Kids
Kids with Low Vision
Parents of Blind Kids
Teacher with a Blind Student
The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (IBTC), now under the Institute, continues to serve as an anchor in access technology. Consultations have taken place with all of the major access technology vendors assisting with product evaluation, market access, and ongoing feedback. This year, in addition to the specialized blindness product vendors, a number of major mainstream companies have been assisted in their efforts to improve accessibility of products. Most notable are ongoing consultations with Macromedia, Adobe, and Microsoft. The Nonvisual Access Certification Program has certified or renewed certifications of several Web applications this past year, including Macomb County, Michigan; Documentum, Inc.; General Electric
Company; the HP Co.; Maryland Department of General Services; the U.S. Social Security Administration; Wells Fargo Bank; and Independent Living Aids.
In April 2004 in partnership with the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University, the NFBJI sponsored the very successful Technology Training for Technology Trainers
Conference. Over 120 attendees enjoyed a fast-moving experiential series of workshops that familiarized them with the latest in access technology. This conference also provided an opportunity for all to discuss relevant issues, thus preparing them to serve blind people better in their home communities.
A formal relationship has been established with the Whiting School of Engineering of Johns Hopkins University by engaging a group of bright under-graduate engineering students to develop a prototype of a portable, low-cost Braille writing machine that we hope will be ready to demonstrate at convention this summer. Although it is yet unclear how effective the prototype they produce will be, one thing is certain—these young people will think of blindness differently, and—who knows?—one of them might be the next Ray Kurzweil.
One of the most exciting yet uncertain projects of the NFBJI is the development of the technology that will make it possible for a blind person to operate a vehicle one day. This past December 2 and 3 an amazing group of experts in a variety of fields related to this goal assembled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We chose this location because of its proximity to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh and to accommodate a number of participants. Expertise in robotics came from Carnegie Mellon University, and technology associated with autonomous vehicles came from Michigan State University and the University of Southern California. Representatives from several of the autonomous vehicles that competed in the DARPA challenge attended, as well as a computer scientist from the University of Maryland and companies such as General Motors and engineering firms working in this area. NASA helped to fund this meeting, and several of its engineers participated. Jeff Witt of our technology staff organized this impressive group, conducted the workshop, and will be managing the project, assisted by Anne Taylor, director of access technology.
The goal of this meeting was to explore the state of the art of related technologies that will be needed as we formulate a series of engineering contests resulting in technology development that one day may lead to information retrieval and mobility that we only dream about today. The NFBJI technology working group, which includes many of those who attended this meeting and NFB technology leaders, is now in the process of formalizing this plan. Stimulating the development of a nonvisual user interface for driving will be the catalyst for other technology that one day might allow us to walk into a room and readily know everything around us, maneuver more efficiently with a wheelchair or scooter, quickly and easily get information through devices using advanced tactile representation, or travel faster and more smoothly using advanced sound-localization technology. As with all new horizons the results can only be known after arriving.
In preparation for launching the car contests and other outreach to researchers, the Technology History Project has been organized. Brad Hodges, manager of technology accessibility, with the help of our research and development committee and the technology working group, has begun to collect information about access technology that will assist university students and faculty involved in access technology projects but are new to the field. Keep watching our Web site for more on this project.
Because of the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that by 2006 all electronic voting machines installed around the country must be accessible to the blind. The first year of a HAVA grant to the NFB Jernigan Institute has been completed, and the second year has begun with the goal of assisting voting officials throughout the country to implement this provision. Each of the voice-driven voting machines on the market has been installed in the IBTC. They are now being demonstrated, providing information to protection and advocacy organizations around the country and familiarizing Federation members at convention with this technology. The second year of funding will continue and expand these efforts, including a conference for voting officials held March 3 and 4, 2005, at the Institute.
The use testing of the alpha versions of the Kurzweil National Federation of the Blind Reader is underway. This revolutionary handheld reader promised by Ray Kurzweil at the groundbreaking of the Institute will be realized by the end of this year if development continues as planned. The technology team continues to work with Kurzweil Technologies to refine and further develop this cutting-edge technology. In the not-too-distant future you will be able to take this device in hand and, with only a click, read print on the go.
Because of the excitement surrounding the opening of the Jernigan Institute, I was invited to give the keynote address at the access division of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) semi-annual conference held this past fall in Atlanta. This organization includes university and private-sector researchers in the access technology field from around the world. As a result of that resentation this association hopes to involve the Jernigan Institute with future conferences.
The Jernigan Institute has begun partnerships with several universities around technology development. We have met with technologists from both the engineering and computer science schools at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland through their technology transfer offices. Dr. Jonathan Lazar, professor in the Computer Science Department of Towson University, has reported that, thanks to a collaborative relationship with the Federation, he and his team of graduate students have completed the data-collection phase of his computer study on error and frustration tolerance among the blind. He reports that they were able to include nearly one hundred blind computer users in his study, which is one of the largest studies of this kind ever done. Details will be published once his data have been analyzed and conclusions reached. These and other technology research opportunities will continue to develop the reach and influence of this new Institute.
One of the goals of the Jernigan Institute is to make a difference by developing services and programs and conducting research that aids in lowering the alarming 74 percent unemployment rate among working-age blind people.
Mentoring is a significant factor in general employment success and, even more important, for blind youth. Therefore the Jernigan Institute’s proposal to establish a National Center for Excellence in Mentoring was accepted by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. This five-year project will develop and implement a mentoring program in two demonstration states and then disseminate the model to other states in the last two years of the project with careful research documenting the effects of mentoring of transition-age blind youth ages sixteen to twenty-six.
The partnership with the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center at Johns Hopkins University has resulted in the Jernigan Institute’s involvement in an interesting research project to determine a valid method for assessing individuals with low vision and a conference for low vision professionals in collaboration with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), scheduled for November 3 and 4, 2005, at the Jernigan Institute.
Last summer the Jernigan Institute held the first science camp sessions for blind youth directed and facilitated by blind professionals and volunteers, in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Maryland Science Center, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History-Naturalist Center. The Circle of Life Session gave twelve middle school blind youth a week of exciting and challenging experiences, including exploration of the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay on board a working schooner; tactile observations of shells and other marine life, conducted by blind scientist Geerat Vermeij, Ph.D.; earth science exercises and tour of the Goddard Space Flight Center; and the dissection of a shark. The Rocket On! Session challenged twelve high school blind youth from around the country to master scientific concepts related to rocketry, electronic sensors, and physics concepts that resulted in the launch of a ten-foot-long rocket.
These young students made history and were changed forever with the first successful launch of a sounding rocket by a group of blind youth. The engineers and scientists working on this project will have a more accurate image of what it means to be blind. Many comments were noted at the mock press conference held at the end of the sessions, but most powerful were the students’ statements: “We were expected to do everything,” “Now I know I can be a scientist, so I will take those advanced science and math courses,” and “The blind teachers were cool.” Plans are now being made for our second year of these exciting science
educational experiences, now known as the Jernigan Institute Science Academy, a project of the National Center for Blind Youth in Science.
Mark Riccobono, manager of education programs for the Institute, has led this effort and has begun to get the word out about the valuable information learned as a result of this academy. He and others have presented and exhibited at science education-related meetings and conferences held by the West Virginia Vision Teachers Association, the NASA Earth Science Education Community, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union. He also led collaborations on a pilot NASA Workshop for Explorers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (with NSTA), Northrop Grumman/Penn State science cart
project, the Solar System Radio Explorer Kiosk (SSREK), and the Quantum Simulations accessible chemistry tutor.
The National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCYBS) at the Institute has established the structure for ongoing mentoring and listserv interactions with high school participants, produced the first in-house promotional video illustrating the nonvisual techniques used in the Science Academy and the way those methods benefited participants, established an advisory work group with diverse partners to help direct the work of the Science Initiative, published a monthly “Rocket On! E-Newsletter” for participants of the 2004 Rocket On! Program, developed and distributed a survey designed to understand the educational needs of blind youth better, designed a new NCBYS Web portal, and completed early research on materials and resources available for the blind in science and math courses.
The Outreach Programs of the Center for Computer Integrated Surgical
Systems and Technology at the Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, has included the Jernigan Institute as a co-investigator/consultant in several proposals now being considered by the National Science Foundation. These efforts focus on stimulating the study of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by underserved populations. Thanks to this involvement, these projects, if funded, will help to ensure that professionals working on this issue will think to include blind young people as they encourage the pursuit of STEM-related careers.
In further response to the Institute’s objective of improving STEM education for blind youth, the NFBJI will sponsor the GAMA Summit (Goals for Achieving Math Accessibility), an invited conference scheduled for April 14 and 15, 2005. This two-day meeting at the NFBJI, coordinated by Ameenah Ghoston, access technology specialist, with support from an impressive advisory work group, will bring together technologists, educators, math experts, and NFB leaders to discuss and plan ways to improve access to all aspects of math, from simple calculations to sophisticated document translation issues faced by blind scientists and engineers.
The Jernigan Institute Online Education Program offers four courses designed to familiarize regular education teachers, parents of blind children, Web developers, and others interested in blindness in Introduction to the Education of Blind Children in the Regular Classroom, Introduction to Braille, Introduction to Access Technology for the Blind, and Introduction to Nonvisual Web Accessibility. A CD that outlines these courses has been widely distributed, and additional courses are now being planned. The Jernigan Institute Early Childhood Initiative has established an advisory working group; drafted language to articulate Federation principles for an effective experiential learning model for blind children; sponsored a play area in the 2004 convention exhibit hall to promote the initiative; organized the first NFB early childhood regional conference, now scheduled for May 6 and 7, 2005; provided academic sponsorship of an Active Learning Conference (Oakland, California) in February 2005; and distributed a special issue of Future Reflections—The Early Years—to all university teachers of the blind training programs.
Educating the general public about the capabilities of the blind remains a high priority of the Jernigan Institute. Lions International is one of the largest community-based service clubs with a special focus on blindness and vision loss. We are proud to announce the involvement of the Jernigan Institute in a multi-district community education project funded by Lions International. This spring the Institute will work closely with Lions District 22 and the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center of the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University to develop a high-tech educational curriculum on blindness and low vision to be used by Lions Clubs in a three-state area. This will provide us with an opportunity to familiarize Lions members with the empowering philosophy of the NFB and encourage them to conduct outreach into their communities that will spread our message of hope and optimism. We hope that the expected success of this pilot project will result in the use of this material throughout the Lions International Organization. Once again United Parcel Service (UPS) has awarded a grant to the NFB that will further strengthen our outreach efforts. Volunteer Infrastructure Program (VIP) is now being established in two states—Colorado and New Jersey—with the goal of expanding it throughout the country. Volunteers from companies such as UPS will be paired with NFB local chapters to assist with projects such as Meet-the-Blind-Month informational tables, fundraisers, seminars for blind youth, and many other activities. Chapters will receive assistance in effective ways to train volunteers and to design volunteer activities that use individual skills and interests.
In addition to these projects the Institute is providing assistance to the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education and coordinated by the Pennsylvania School of Optometry, to support Ph.D. candidates in the field of teaching blind students. This will provide an opportunity to expose Ph.D. students from around the country to the consumer perspective and thus encourage them to sustain close working relationships with the blind.
Research collaboration cuts across many of the Institute’s initiatives. Through emerging partnerships we are or will be involved in research led by professors from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Towson University, Tel Aviv University, Louisiana Tech University, and Harvard. The Institute is also written into grants proposed to the National Science Foundation by the Inventors Hall of Fame that will incorporate blind youth in an after-school educational project to promote inventive thinking.
Older Americans make up the largest group of newly blind persons in this country and receive the fewest services. The Jernigan Institute is committed to the development of model interventions that will support the independence of our seniors who are losing vision. On May 12, 2005, the Institute will sponsor the fourth annual Possibilities Fair for Seniors who are blind. We anticipate that over four hundred seniors will attend. Along with informative demonstrations and exhibits, the seniors will be inspired by dynamic blind speakers and an atmosphere in which blind people do everything from teaching kitchen techniques and needle crafts to serving lunch and directing guests around the large Members Hall in the Institute. In years past the feedback received from seniors clearly indicates that one of the strongest messages that they hear at the fair is that life is not over when you become blind and that there are lots of possibilities.
The goal of the Possibilities Fairs is to find out what works and then support NFB affiliates and others to conduct similar events for seniors around the country. Several Federation members have attended previous Possibilities Fairs and have learned about how to solicit partnerships, secure financial sponsorship, organize the event, and train the needed volunteers. As a result similar events are beginning to take place around the country. Other groups are conducting activities for blind seniors, but those done by the Federation are different. They feature blind people in all kinds of roles, once again educating with action as well as words.
It has been an exciting first year—one we will never forget. Like many ventures and initiatives of the Federation, the Institute is evolving and is strengthened by our collective determination to achieve success. The work of the Institute reflects the will of the blind and is a resource to expand further the influence of the Federation, the “Voice of the Nation’s Blind.”
The Characteristics of an NFB Orientation Center
by James H. Omvig
[PHOTO: James Omvig]
From the Editor: For some time now we have needed a fairly concise statement of what constitutes an NFB training center and why it does the most effective job of rehabilitating blind people. Dr. Jernigan addressed this question from time to time, and Peggy Elliott described the NFB approach to training blind adults in a speech she delivered in Milan, Italy, in October of 2002 (see the December 2002 issue of the Braille Monitor for the full text of this speech). But in the article that follows, James Omvig, a recognized authority on effective rehabilitation and author of Freedom for the Blind: The Secret Is Empowerment, distills his thinking into a few pages of explanation. Here it is:
The National Federation of the Blind’s concept of what a cutting-edge residential orientation and adjustment center for the blind can and should be is an idea whose time has come round at last. The concept is sweeping across America, and more and more centers—both public and private—are capturing the vision of the NFB’s civil rights-based programs. This, of course, is a very good thing since our NFB centers offer real hope and inspiration for rank-and-file blind people, freedom and true empowerment for the blind students who choose to attend them and are willing to work hard enough to take advantage of what is offered.
However, some confusion is creeping into this otherwise encouraging movement: Some say, “We want to do what you do, but we’ll just call it something else.” Or they say something like, “The results you achieve are undeniably terrific, and we want to do exactly the same thing and get the same successful outcomes you do, so we’ll use your model, but we’ll just leave the NFB—its philosophy, its literature, its people, and its meetings—out.” This is delusional and wrong-headed thinking, and it is pure nonsense. Precisely because the NFB—in all its aspects—is at the very heart of our centers, we achieve the dramatic results we do. There can be no substitute.
Let me offer a word about the kind of success a high-quality residential center should have. It is not at all difficult to make a fair and valid assessment about whether any program is a success. Just look at the graduates of the program in question. Are they content with their blindness? Are they empowered? Are they free? Are they happy and fully integrated into their communities? Are they performing the kind of work and family and community activities for which they are suited? In other words, are they the best they can be? If they are, then the program is successful, no matter who is running it or whose model is being used.
Because our NFB training model is becoming so popular across the country, I have decided to comment briefly upon the issue to set the record straight on what an NFB orientation and adjustment center really is and of course what it is not. First, however, let me offer a bit of history. By the mid 1950’s the NFB had developed its basic philosophy about blindness, and we had also become critical of the traditional, medically-based training systems and methods. Our criticism was not nihilistic but constructive—we did not wish to destroy, but to reform and to offer viable alternatives. The medical model was not working, and we believed that, if we were to introduce the truth about blindness into the adjustment-to-blindness process, our alternative might make a real difference.
The first attempt at infusing NFB philosophy into an orientation center occurred in California in 1951 when the new California Orientation Center for the Adult Blind was established and several NFB members became part of the staff. Our own Kenneth Jernigan taught in that California center from 1953 to 1958.
However, the first true NFB center was established in Iowa when Dr. Jernigan moved to that state from California in the spring of 1958 to become administrator of Iowa’s failed Commission for the Blind. He had gone to Iowa with the express intention of proving the soundness of the NFB’s philosophy by integrating it into every aspect of the programs of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. He inaugurated an adjustment-to-blindness program with five students on
November 2, 1959, even though the Commission was still operating out of the shabby basement rooms of a condemned high school building it had been occupying when he arrived in Iowa. He moved the Commission’s programs into the seven-story building many of us know in downtown Des Moines on February 1, 1960. He knew that the traditional medical model didn’t work, and his new program was based upon an understanding that blindness is a social problem and a civil rights issue. The success of this program is world-renowned, and it has served as the model for countless others. The program was, of course, state-operated.
The first program actually to be designated publicly as an NFB Center was established in Ruston, Louisiana, by Joanne Wilson in 1985 when Joanne and the NFB of Louisiana created a private program called the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Before long Diane McGeorge and the NFB of Colorado established the Colorado Center for the Blind in Denver, and in Minneota Joyce Scanlan and the NFB started Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions in Minneapolis. Each of these centers has built an enviable track record, and countless blind people have been the fortunate beneficiaries of their innovative work. Through the years other public and private agencies have moved toward the NFB model.
So what are NFB centers? How will you know one when you see it? Before we turn to the five specific NFB center characteristics, some general statements about blindness are in order. We in the NFB understand that blind people are told in one way or another from infancy that they are inferior—blindness means inferiority. In other words, we are a minority group in every negative sense of that term. Therefore the problems associated with blindness are not unlike those experienced by members of other minorities. Our problems are social and attitudinal, and they are wrapped up in civil rights issues.
We recognize clearly that services for the blind—no matter what they are—must teach the blind students a new and constructive set of attitudes about blindness based upon an awareness that prevailing views are wrong and harmful. The rank-and-file blind person has involuntarily assimilated society’s mistaken attitudes and assumptions about blindness and will set expectations for himself or herself at extremely low levels based on this incorrect information. The rehabilitation system—if it is to be of real benefit—must do what it can to replace these myths and superstitions with the truth. As Dr. Jernigan has put it, “A high-quality orientation and adjustment center must be an attitude factory.”
Just what is this truth about blindness? It is quite straightforward too. Blind people are nothing more than normal people who cannot see, and blindness is a normal human characteristic like all of the others which, taken together, mold each of us into a unique person. We are a cross-section of humankind with the same strengths and weaknesses, the same hopes and desires, and the same human frailties as everyone else. As Dr. tenBroek was fond of saying, “We are normal human beings, or, at least, as normal as human beings are.” The quality service program for the blind must get the customer or student to embrace and internalize these truths. The real problem of blindness is not our blindness at all; it is to be found in the misunderstandings, myths, misconceptions, and superstitions that exist about it.
Two more general observations must be made. First, NFB centers are primarily intended to be prevocational. That is, their principal purpose is to teach people how to be blind. We believe that—after satisfactory acceptance and adjustment have occurred—blind people generally should pursue their vocational or professional training where sighted people get theirs. In fact blind people should be integrated into programs with sighted when it comes to preparation for work as a precursor to ultimate, complete integration into the broader society.
Second, NFB centers teach their students or customers that they have the right to take control of their lives and to make choices. Far too many of us have been taught that our role is to let others do for us or even speak for us. We have generally been taught that we don’t have the right even to ask for things that we might find interesting or valuable.
Having made these general observations, let me turn specifically to those five characteristics of any cutting-edge program and the backbone of our centers:
(1) The NFB center helps the student to come emotionally, not just intellectually, to understand that he or she truly can be independent and self-sufficient and can compete with others on terms of complete equality;
(2) The NFB center helps the student master, not merely be introduced to, the blindness skills essential for him or her truly to be independent and self-sufficient;
(3) The NFB center teaches the student to learn to cope comfortably with public attitudes about blindness, that is, to cope unemotionally with the strange, unusual, or demeaning things other people will do or say because of their lack of accurate information on the topic;
(4) The NFB center helps the student learn to give back by becoming an active and contributing member of the organized blind movement; and
(5) The NFB center helps the student learn to blend in to the broader society by becoming acceptable to those around him or her—particularly to employers.
I will not take the time or space in this article to elaborate on each of these essential ingredients, but a brief explanation of each may be helpful to those unfamiliar with the civil rights-based empowerment-model of orientation and adjustment center developed and honed by the NFB.
1. Emotional adjustment to blindness: Helping the student come to understand and feel at the gut level, not just intellectually, that true freedom, independence, and normality are possible for him or her is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the entire adjustment-to-blindness process. It is achieved at the NFB center over a six-to-nine-month period by seeing that the student learns to accept the fact that he or she is blind and to learn that the word “blind” is respectable by meeting difficult challenges in woodworking shop; on travel lessons; by rock climbing, water skiing, and the like; by using sleepshades during training when appropriate; by facing routine life experiences; by consistently using the long white cane (which cannot be folded up and hidden); by engaging in frank discussions about blindness; by being exposed to good blind role models; and by being willing to invest the time it takes to get it.
2. Mastering the alternative techniques: The civil rights-based NFB center does not merely introduce students to the skills of blindness but helps them strive to master those skills in order to achieve competence and competitiveness. The student (using sleepshades to prevent use of residual vision) must master Braille reading and writing; hone long white cane use to reflex perfection; develop effective keyboard and computer skills; and acquire usable homemaking and personal grooming habits. In addition the student must learn to devise alternative techniques to use life-long in situations in which center training cannot foresee the need. Finally, the student must master life-coping skills and respond effectively to the ubiquitous how--how can a blind person do this?
3. Coping with blindness: As a routine part of empowerment training at the NFB center, the student must learn unemotionally to handle the strange and unusual things other people do or say because of their misunderstandings and lack of accurate information about blindness. The student must learn to handle routine putdowns, treatment that goes beyond the bounds, and discrimination. He or she must also learn how to become a role model that conveys a positive image of blindness to improve conditions for other blind people.
4. Paying back: NFB centers argue that, unless the student learns to pay back by becoming actively involved in the organized blind movement, he or she is missing out on a key part of effective rehabilitation. Students need to join together with other blind people for many reasons. First, students need an authentic way of gaining perspective on blindness and valuable services for the blind rather than bad ones. They must spend time with effectively trained and successful blind people, who can provide accurate information about what training is and is not needed. The student must learn to experience the satisfaction of making a valuable contribution and of giving back, which necessarily develops feelings of worthiness. Finally, when the student leaves the orientation center, experience shows that significant backsliding can occur if the graduate doesn’t have ready access to a support group, and the local NFB chapter offers the logical venue. In my book on empowerment, Freedom for the Blind, I argued that the contact achieved through participation in the organized blind movement completes the process of personal empowerment, which serves to close the loop on the empowerment circle.
5. Blending in: As a final, routine part of training for personal empowerment, the NFB center helps students learn to blend in and to be acceptable to those around them. Students master such things as punctuality and reliability, common courtesy, and appropriate dress for all occasions. They learn what things look like and how to deal with so-called blindisms. They also learn that, since the blind are a minority group, we are often judged by one another, which has much to do with the way individuals conduct themselves in the broader society.
NFB center staff members too must come to know and emotionally accept the truth about blindness. Only by knowing the truth can they set appropriate expectations for their students. If they do not understand this simple fact, their expectations will be far too low, and the blind students will suffer accordingly.
Staff members must also be passionate about what they do, and they must be willing to give and give and then give some more. Such staff members also must have the capacity to love their students even when their activities or behavior is not particularly lovable.
In summary, a quality orientation and adjustment center is the heart of any good vocational rehabilitation program, and every VR counselor should work to make each new customer aware of the enormous benefits to be gained through enrollment and participation in such a program. The VR customer who has received personal empowerment from a cutting edge NFB center has a markedly higher chance for vocational success than the norm. He or she has the knowledge necessary to make sound life choices and the power to make those choices stick. Given proper training, the average blind person—not merely those some observers mistakenly perceive as the superblind—can compete on terms of complete equality with his or her sighted peers and can become a tax-payer rather than a tax user. Far from wanting meekly to whimper, “I wonder what it would feel like to be free,” the empowered blind person can climb the highest mountain and shout, “I am free! I know what it feels like to be free!”
These then are the principal characteristics of what have come to be called NFB centers. We invite all blindness professionals who truly have the best interests of the blind at heart—that is, those who operate from the empowerment motive—to join with us in the revolution of personal empowerment. But I encourage you to go all the way if you wish to revolutionize your program and adopt the NFB model. Don’t try to adopt the model and then cut the very heart out of it. Don’t try to bypass the National Federation of the Blind. It won’t work, and your blind customers will be the worse for it!
by Marc Maurer
[PHOTO: Steve Marriott & Marc Maurer grilling hamburgers]
Steve Marriott, under sleepshades, receives instruction from Marc Maurer on the proper way to grill hamburgers
From the Editor: I had been a member of the NFB a little less than a year when I tasted Dr. Jernigan’s cornbread for the first time. He used cast iron muffin tins with shallow, decorative indentations that turned out perfect little cornbread muffins with designs on their tops, rather like decorative Jell-O molds. The individual pieces of cornbread were rather small, so it was easy to delude oneself that just one or two more pieces couldn’t do much harm. That logic meant that at any meal in the Jernigan home at which cornbread was served, many pans of cornbread were consumed by the guests.
It was probably in the early eighties that the cornbread kits discussed in the following correspondence were first assembled. I bought a kit immediately, but I must admit that I have only rarely used it to make cornbread. I think it is the two teaspoons of oil or bacon fat per muffin that discourages me.
I can report that the kit is equally good for creating individual Yorkshire puddings to serve with very special roast beef dinners. The method for making Yorkshire puddings is identical to that for cornbread that President Maurer describes.
That said, the exchange of correspondence here is self-explanatory and may be useful to anyone else who never made cornbread with Dr. Jernigan. Here it is:
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Subject: cornbread kit
My package came today with gifts for Christmas. Thanks so much! I have a few questions about the cornbread kit. I thought it would come with directions. What are the cooking template and the filling cups for? How are these things useful to the blind baker? This kit was obviously put together with the blind baker in mind, and we hope to use it to its full potential. We are new to cornbread baking. Are there how-to guides or recipe books in print or Braille? Have a very merry Christmas.
February 17, 2005
I have your email letter of December 23, 2004, and I am delighted to respond. I regret that I am only getting to it now, so please accept my apology for the delay.
When I joined the National Federation of the Blind in 1969, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan was our president. One of the things he taught me during the first few months of my acquaintanceship with him was how to cook hamburgers over a charcoal fire. It was an experience I will not forget.
Dr. Jernigan liked to cook. He was from the South (Tennessee), and he had eaten cornbread all his life. He liked both the texture and the taste, but he thought he might be able to improve on the product. Some cornbread is crispy on the outside, and he liked that.
I think it was in 1971 that he put an article about the making of cornbread in the Monitor. The response to this article was so favorable that the recipe section of the Monitor was created. We have featured recipes in each issue of the magazine ever since.
Later Dr. Jernigan began teaching some of the rest of us how to make cornbread. The process demands a lot of management of hot oil, so a cooking template was designed to assist the blind cornbread baker.
The cornbread kit consists of a cast iron twelve-cup cornbread pan, an oral syringe, a package of cornbread cups (these are one-ounce paper cups that may be identified on the box by some other name but serve to hold cornbread batter), and a metal template that fits over the cornbread pan. To make cornbread, it is first necessary to season the pan. The cornbread pan should be covered with vegetable oil and baked in the oven at a fairly low temperature for several hours. This puts oil into the iron of the cornbread pan.
When baking cornbread, the cook puts two teaspoons of oil into each of the cups of the cornbread pan. I recommend placing it on a cookie sheet so that any spilled oil will not splash onto the bottom of the oven. The cornbread pan on the cookie sheet goes into the oven at 450 to 475 degrees to preheat the oil. When the cookie sheet bearing the cornbread pan comes out of the oven, one completely full paper cup of cornbread batter is emptied into each of the muffin cups of the cornbread pan. A blind cook can do this by quickly fitting the template over the cornbread pan and squeezing out the contents of a cornbread cup into each of the holes of the template—one cup per hole. As the batter hits the hot oil, it should sizzle. If it does not sizzle when it hits the oil, the oil is not hot enough. The cornbread begins to bake in the hot oil the instant it hits the pan. Then the cookie sheet holding the cornbread pan goes back into the oven for sixteen minutes. When it comes out, the cornbread should be crispy on the outside and moist in the middle. The process is a little complicated, but it makes delectable cornbread. I suspect that over a period of thirty years I have eaten some hundreds of pounds of it.
Dr. Jernigan liked his cornbread without sugar. The recipe for one pan of cornbread (twelve muffins) is as follows:
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
The method is to mix the dry ingredients together, then pour in the buttermilk and mix the batter. I recommend that the paper cups be filled with batter using the syringe immediately and placed on a tray so that they can be used to fill the muffin cups as soon as the oil is hot.
I imagine that another cornbread recipe would work in the cornbread pans, but I’ve never tried one that had sugar in it. I don’t know whether the sugar would burn in the hot oil, but I doubt it. I’ve always thought the cornbread recipe Dr. Jernigan devised was satisfactory without improvement, so I’ve never tried to change it.
I hope this gives you the information you need, and I hope you have a great time eating the cornbread.
Marc Maurer, President
National Federation of the Blind
Joanne Wilson’s Resignation
by Fredric K. Schroeder
[PHOTO: Fred Schroeder]
From the Editor: Dr. Fred Schroeder is a past commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and currently a research professor at San Diego State University. Periodically he writes brief policy analyses for his students. The following comment was written on the occasion of Joanne Wilson’s resignation as RSA commissioner and has been slightly edited for publication here. This is what Dr. Schroeder says:
Issue: On Tuesday, February 8, 2005, RSA commissioner Joanne Wilson announced her resignation. What prompted her resignation and what does it mean for the future of the public rehabilitation program?
Response: Joanne Wilson’s last day in office was Tuesday, March 1. During her tenure as commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Dr. Wilson has shown herself to be an effective advocate for the public rehabilitation program and the people it serves. She brought to the position vision and leadership, qualities far too often absent in Washington. She believes that the strength of the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program lies in its ability to change lives one at a time. She knows this intellectually and personally. As a blind person herself she faced the fears and insecurities common to people growing up with disabilities. She knows what it is to live in a world that, however well intentioned, assumes you can do very little; she knows what it is to have a family that wants to protect you believing you cannot protect yourself; she knows what it is to face discrimination; and she knows what it is to have your confidence eroded, accepting what society believes about blindness and learning to believe it yourself.
In the world of Washington politics someone like Joanne Wilson stands out and is a threat. She stands out because she has never been afraid to speak her mind. She stands out because she is honest and has always been determined to do the right thing. She stands out because she has taken seriously her pledge to advocate for the people who count on her to defend the public VR program—not protect the status quo but defend the program while helping it grow. She is a threat because she cannot be controlled; she cannot be bought; she cannot be flattered or threatened into selling out herself or the people who count on her.
Shortly after taking office, she released a list of six principles, principles that lay out her beliefs and values about the capacity of people with disabilities and their right and ability to live full, integrated lives. While they are her principles, they are also our principles, principles that embody the hopes and dreams of people with disabilities. Here they are:
Joanne Wilson’s list of principles is more than window-dressing. As RSA commissioner she translated her principles into action. She believes that the program should be a partnership between the professional and the consumer and that consumers are not the trade organizations, not the service providers, not the self-appointed spokespersons for the disabled, but people with disabilities themselves. She believes in consumerism. This is why she led the initiative to integrate mentoring into the work of the state VR program. Dr. Wilson has always understood the importance of people with disabilities knowing other people with disabilities, having their support, sharing a common life experience, and learning that the limitations of disability are largely the product of society’s well intended yet stereotypic thinking and assumptions about disability. She believes in informed consumer choice and expects the system to believe in it and take it seriously too. She believes in consumer empowerment and funded initiatives to help consumers to become full and equal partners in the rehabilitation process. She believes in reaching out to all people with disabilities, meeting them where they are and not expecting them to fit into a predetermined, one-size-fits-all mold. She has remained true to the principles she articulated at the outset of her administration, and people with disabilities the nation over have benefited from her work. In short, she did what few accomplish; she brought to the job a human face and human values and an unbending sense of honesty and determination.
But my intent is not to catalogue her work and accomplishments; I simply want to highlight the way in which she remained true to herself and true to people with disabilities. She recognized that the life-changing aspect of our work needs to be nourished and strengthened and that this requires a true partnership between the rehabilitation system and people with disabilities.
So why did she resign? On Monday, February 7, 2005, the Department of Education unveiled its plan to close the RSA regional offices. The same day the Administration announced its intent to seek super waiver authority to allow the block granting of a number of employment-related programs, including VR. The next day Dr. Wilson resigned. I believe she thought these plans, if implemented, would mean the end of comprehensive employment services for people with disabilities throughout the nation, and as a person of conscience she would not—could not—be a part of any plan that would harm people with disabilities.
On March 1, 2005, we lost Joanne Wilson as RSA commissioner. On that day the Administration lost a capable leader; the RSA staff lost a valued colleague; and state rehabilitation agencies, independent living centers, and tribal VR programs lost a powerful ally within the Administration. While her departure closes an important chapter in her life, it does not mean the end of her advocacy, nor does it signal the end of her contribution to improving opportunities for blind people and others with disabilities. She will continue to work, continue to build, continue to inspire, and continue to tell the truth—both the good and the bad. She will continue to press the system to develop partnerships with consumer organizations and raise its expectations for each VR consumer. Joanne Wilson knows that partnering with consumer organizations and through that partnership, raising expectations and opportunities for individual consumers are what it takes to build and strengthen the rehabilitation program in America and secure its long-term stability. All of us in the rehabilitation community—service providers, community partners, advocates, and people with disabilities—owe Joanne Wilson our heartfelt gratitude and respect for her past efforts, her advocacy as RSA commissioner, and her many contributions yet to come.
by Kevin Pearl
[PHOTO: Renovated Galt House Lobby]
From the Editor: Kevin Pearl has served on the board of the NFB of Greater Louisville and as president of the NFB of Kentucky Computer Users Division. In the following article he outlines some of the changes in the Galt House since we were last in Louisville. For a more detailed description of the Galt House, most of which is unchanged, consult the May 2003 Braille Monitor. But this is what Kevin has to say about what’s new and different:
As I write this article, it is snowing here in Kentucky. So I can’t help looking forward to the summer weather and another convention of the National Federation of the Blind here in Louisville. Some exciting additions have been made to downtown Louisville as well as to the Galt House. In both the East and West Towers escalators now connect the first, second, and third floors. In each lobby you need only walk through the main door and make an immediate left turn to reach the up escalator. The staircases and elevators are still where they were on the lobby level. However, in the East Tower the staircase between the second and third floors has been replaced by the new escalator.
You may remember the indoor and outdoor pedestrian walkways that connected the East and West Towers on the third-floor level. These were separated by a storage area. They have removed the storage space, opened the entire width of the walkway, and made it a beautiful, open area called the Conservatory. It’s no longer just a way to connect East and West. The roof and walls are all glass. It’s modeled after the Crystal Palace in London. You’ll find an aviary; beautiful foliage; a raised bar area along the north wall, facing the Ohio River; and lots of seating areas for socializing. Be sure and stop by Thelma’s for a quick bite. It’s located at the west end of the Conservatory.
Many of you will be happy to learn about Club 360. This is the new fitness center that has just opened atop the East Tower of the Galt House on the eighteenth floor. There you will find trained professionals, top notch equipment, and a wonderful panoramic view of the Ohio River.
Another addition is the new pedestrian walkway connecting the Galt House, Kentucky Commonwealth Convention Center, Hyatt Regency, and 4th Street Live! This is not a straight shot, but if you are motivated to avoid the heat and humidity of Kentucky in July, this might be an option for walking to one of these destinations. Cross from the West Tower to the East Tower. If you are at ground level, take the East Tower elevator or escalator to the third floor. At the east entrance of the Conservatory, turn south and follow the hallway. You are now walking parallel to Fourth Avenue on its east side. At the end of the hall you will be forced to turn left. Then take the second right turn. The hallway will turn left and then right again very quickly. Go through the doors at the end of that hall, and you’ll be crossing over Main and Market Streets and into the Convention Center. Once there, you’ll have to take either an escalator or elevator on your right to the main floor. Continue south (you’ll pass Starbucks Coffee on your right). Cross the lobby and take the elevator or escalator back to the second floor and continue south through the doorway. You are now crossing Jefferson Street and entering the Hyatt Regency. Circle left or right around the Hyatt’s atrium and continue through the doors. You are now crossing Liberty Street. On the left is a seating area, and on the right is office space.
Continue to the end of the hall, go through the glass doors, and enter the food court of 4th Street Live! Personally I find the walk down Fourth a much simpler path, but this indoor route is always a possibility. Another option is the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) trolley.
Now for some general information about the Galt House Hotel and Suites. There are over 1,300 rooms from which to choose. The East Tower has six hundred suites, more than any hotel outside of Las Vegas. The East Tower has eighteen floors, and the West Tower has twenty-five. If you are using a cab, you can just tell the driver Galt House East or Galt House West. The hotel straddles Fourth Avenue. Main Street is to the south, and River Road is to the north.
Here are some tips for getting around inside the hotel. In the East Tower: The main entrance has revolving doors with adjacent standard doors on either side. As you enter these doors, you are in the lobby, facing east. Immediately to your left is an escalator leading to the second and third floors. To your right are meeting rooms and restrooms. Directly ahead is the front desk. An information desk is to the left, before you reach the main desk. To the left of the front desk is a bank of elevators. To the right are stairs leading to the second floor.
The West Tower: As you enter the automatic doors, you can turn left to find the escalator to the second and third floors. To your right is a small seating area. Directly ahead is an entrance to the parking structure. Before you reach that entrance, there are elevators on your right and an information desk on your left. On the second floor you will find new retail spaces adjacent to the escalators. The West Tower contains most of the facility’s dining options. The River Grill is located on the northern end of the main hall. The prices are moderate, and it’s suitable for families. On the way to the River Grill on your left is the Galt House’s liquor store. The selection isn’t wide and the prices are what you would expect to pay in a nice hotel.
The Flagship is an upscale revolving restaurant located on the twenty-fifth floor. Exit the elevator and follow the wall to your left. To the right are restrooms, to the left is a short ramp going up. At the end of the ramp on your left is the Flagship. The English Tavern is located on the third floor, just west of the elevators. This is a small out-of-the-way place to have a sandwich. There are no outside windows, and the lighting is dim. It has a large screen TV for sports fans and is open through the early evening.
The overflow hotel is the Hyatt at 320 W. Jefferson Street, phone number, (502) 587-3434. If you arrive by taxi at the Hyatt, you will turn into the hotel driveway from West Jefferson, which runs east/west. The entrance faces east, and you enter a short hallway going west. At the end of the hall you will enter what can best be described as a circular lobby. Make a right, continuing counterclockwise around the circle. You will find a bank of telephones on your right and the elevators on your left. They and the escalators stand in the central area of the lobby, which includes an atrium that the upper floors overlook. In the lobby the front desk is just past the phones on your right, across from the elevator doors.
If you enter the hotel through the Fourth Avenue door, you are walking east and will step immediately into the circular lobby. If you walk straight ahead from this door, you will step onto the escalator to the second floor. Just a few feet inside the door and to your left is the Trellis Café, a full service restaurant featuring American cuisine and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pepper’s Bar is located at the Fourth Avenue end of the building on the second floor, directly above the Trellis. Turn left at the top of the escalator. When you reach the bank of elevators, turn left again, and there is Pepper’s.
Returning to the first floor and continuing clockwise around the circular lobby, past the Trellis, you will reach the front desk. When you face the front desk, the elevators will be directly behind you. When standing at the front desk, you can turn right, continuing clockwise around the circle to find the hotel gift shop. It is just after the bank of phones and the hallway from the West Jefferson entrance.
From the Editor: Every year’s national convention is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance. Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category are the meetings of the Resolutions
Committee and the board of directors, the annual banquet, and the many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a partial list of activities being planned by a number of Federation groups during the 2005 convention, July 2 through July 8. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The preconvention agenda will list the locations of all events taking place before convention registration on Sunday, July 3. The convention agenda will contain listings of all events taking place beginning that day.
by Shawn Mayo
You can’t miss this one! Enjoy great music and singing; catch up with old friends; and hear President Maurer sing at BLIND, Incorporated’s karaoke night. Whether you form a group, sing solo, or cheer on fellow Federationists, you will want to be part of this fun-filled night on Saturday, July 2, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. And, if that’s not enough, come find out what song the BLIND, Incorporated, staff and students will sing this year.Meet current students and alumni as they share their experiences from training. There will be a cash bar and many door prizes. Admission is only $5. Song lists will be available in Braille that night. It will be the happening place to be!
by Mary K. Boegemann, M.A., CRC, and Annette Grove, M.S., M.B.A.
For nearly forty years providers of rehabilitation and human services across the United States, Canada, and Europe have been seeking accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF accredits only those programs that meet and maintain the rigorous standards it has established, adding value for consumers and other stakeholders throughout the process.
CARF’s mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through accreditation that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons receiving those services. CARF believes that customers should have access to services of the highest quality, which produces valued results, and customers must be directly involved in determining whether an organization meets the standards for quality and accountability to which it subscribes. Therefore input from consumers and advocates is invaluable to CARF whenever standards are developed or revised.
In 1998 CARF was approached by the Veterans Healthcare Administration to develop standards that would be appropriate for accrediting the ten blind rehabilitation centers operated by the Veterans Administration. Since that time community service providers have expressed growing interest in developing standards for organizations in the civilian sector as well.
CARF is firmly committed to maintaining an open dialogue with stakeholders for the services it accredits and believes it is essential that consumers, advocates, providers, and funders have a strong voice in designing the standards that will ultimately be approved for use by organizations serving those who are blind. With that in mind, what better place to come for input than the National Federation of the Blind?
CARF will be sponsoring an event at the national convention in Louisville for just this purpose. Federationists will have an opportunity to attend a focus group on July 5, meet CARF staff, learn about the accreditation process, ask critical questions, make suggestions, and give advice. CARF needs and encourages input from the organized blind as it moves forward to develop and revise standards of quality and accountability for blind rehabilitation services.
The focus group (Comprehensive Blind Rehabilitation Services, Blueprints for Quality) will discuss the accreditation process offered by CARF and the value of applying CARF standards to comprehensive blind rehabilitation services in the public and private sector. CARF is soliciting input from the organized blind regarding your expectations for quality and accountability. The focus group will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 Tuesday evening, July 5. Consult your convention agenda for the location.
by Julie Deden
We invite you to an evening at the Colorado Center for the Blind Open House on Wednesday, July 6, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Take Charge. Challenge Yourself. The staff and students at the Colorado Center for the Blind invite you to discover what good training can do for you.
We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, July 6, at our open house.
by Gary Wunder
The Committee on Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology will meet on Monday, July 4, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. to receive brief presentations from manufacturers and sellers of devices marketed to the blind. Presenters will be encouraged to describe briefly the products they offer and to let audience members know where they are located in the exhibit hall and, if they wish, how they can be contacted in their hotel suites. Questions and comments about this technology will also be taken from the audience as time permits.
To secure a slot on the agenda or to make suggestions for other committee business, contact Gary Wunder by sending email to <[email protected]> or by calling (573) 874-1774.
by Gary Wunder
In an effort to reach out to other organizations, the National Federation of the Blind has formed a cooperative agreement with the American Red Cross, which was announced at last year’s national convention. As a part of this effort we have decided to organize a blood drive at the national convention if interest warrants the effort. We will need from thirty to forty people to make this a success.
If you would be interested in making a donation of blood on Wednesday, July 6 (tour day), sometime between 1:00 and 6:00 p.m., please contact me by email at <[email protected]> or telephone (573) 874-1774.
Since conducting this drive is dependent on having enough volunteers, please let me know as soon as you can if you are willing to donate. Thank you on behalf of all the people we can help.
by Melissa Riccobono
Are you going to the national convention in Louisville this summer? If so and if you are at least eighteen, please consider helping as a buddy at the annual Braille carnival on Saturday, July 2. This year the carnival has been moved to the afternoon, which will allow us to conduct a training workshop in the morning for all buddies and others who wish to volunteer to work with children at the convention. The training workshop will be from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The carnival will start with registration at 1:30 p.m., and carnival activities last from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
This is a great opportunity to work with children while their parents attend meetings. The Braille carnival features many unique and fun Braille-related activities for children ages five and up including blind and sighted kids, nonBraille readers, advanced Braille readers, and nonreaders. Carnival buddies are responsible for supervising and guiding children as they go from station to station. There is plenty of help even if you are still working on your own Braille-reading skills.
If you can help or have questions, please contact Melissa Riccobono at <[email protected]>, or call (410) 235-3073. Your help is greatly appreciated. More details will follow for those who are interested in helping at the Braille carnival.
by Robert Eschbach
The Deaf-Blind Division will meet on Sunday evening, July 3, and Wednesday evening, July 6. On Sunday the program will focus on issues of technology and developments in service for the deaf-blind. Wednesday evening will be the division’s business meeting.
If you are planning to attend and need interpreter services, please let us know so that we can meet your needs. Notify President Robert Eschbach by May 15. Call him at (520) 836-3689, or email him at <[email protected]>.
by Ed Bryant
At this year’s annual convention our Diabetes Action Network will conduct its seminar and business meeting on Monday, July 4, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Our keynote speaker will be podiatrist Kenneth Rehm, DPM, who will discuss the diabetic foot, his exclusive specialty. We will leave plenty of time for your questions.
This seminar is free and open to the public. Its room location will be posted in the agenda (provided when you register for the convention).
by Lorraine Rovig
Geordi’s Engineers will gather for a 7:00 a.m. breakfast meeting during the convention, day and restaurant to be announced on Miss Rovig’s hotel voicemail in Galt House East (please do not call past 10:00 p.m.). In addition to an interest in science fiction, we are intensely interested in the depiction of blind people in today’s media, whether in books, magazines, cartoons, advertisements, movies, toys, blogs, or whatever else the public observes, such as the series about a blind detective, Blind Justice (debuted March 8, 2005), and the accident-prone three blind mice in the Shrek movies. All interested Federationists are welcome to debate merits and demerits over breakfast.
by Curtis Willoughby
In accord with long standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2005 convention will be the emergency preparedness seminar conducted by the NFB Ham Radio Group. The seminar will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 2. We will discuss frequencies to be used during the convention, especially those to be used in event of an emergency call out during convention. We will also discuss the architectural features of the convention hotels and other information that NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary.
Any Louisville hams willing to do a little frequency scouting before the
convention are asked to contact Curtis Willoughby, KA0VBA, (303) 424-7373, <[email protected]>. The annual business meeting of the NFB Ham Radio Group will be held at noon on Thursday, July 7. Hope to see you there.
The Ham Radio Group has a service project to serve the Federation by handling the distribution of special FM receivers to allow hearing impaired conventioneers to hear a signal directly from the public address system, which is much easier to understand than the sound that normal hearing aids pick up in a meeting. These are the same receivers that allow Spanish speakers who do not understand English fluently to hear a Spanish translation of the convention and the banquet.
We will take some time at the emergency preparedness seminar to prepare for this project as well. It is important that all group members willing to help come to the seminar.
by Abio Sokari
The Healthcare Professionals Division will meet Monday, July 4, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. for its general and business meeting. The program will include a presentation: Cardio- and Cerebro-Vascular Accidents. Are you at risk for these heart and brain vascular time-bombs as you age? If you know and manage your risk factors and are aware of signs and symptoms and preventive practices, you can increase the length and quality of your life. The Medical Society of
Kentucky has been invited to provide a speaker, and we will also review life-saving tips in cases of emergency and current trends in management for recovery. The primary presenter is Abio Sokari, MD, PhD, FRSH (London).
Dues are $5 per person. For further information contact Dianne Hemphill, second vice president, (785) 296-2717, email <[email protected]>; or Abio Sokari, president, (913) 831-7636, email <[email protected]>.
by Melissa Riccobono
The National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division will meet on July 4 for our annual seminar and business meeting. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m., and the seminar and business meeting will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Human Services Division was formed in order to allow blind psychologists, social workers, counselors, other human service workers, and those interested in human-service fields to network, ask questions, and share techniques with one another. We will discuss techniques blind human-service workers use in order to get the job done.
Please join us for this informative seminar. Dues are $5. If you have any questions, contact Melissa Riccobono, president, National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division, by phone at (410) 235-3073, or by email at <[email protected]>.
by Brad Hodges
For the past several years the staff of the International Braille and Technology Center has organized, presented, and hosted technology seminars at our convention. This year in Louisville this popular tradition continues, but with a twist.
The IBTC experts and many Federationists have observed the proliferation of high-tech consumer devices over the past few years. These devices have put a technology spin on the old truism about all work and no play. They have also caused much difficulty when blind people wish to upgrade electronic systems or purchase new appliances for our homes.
The IBTC is constantly asked whether blind people can access MP3 players, DVD players, home theater equipment, and all the other goodies found in the big box stores. The Galt House will be the place to find some answers, beginning July 2, when the doors of the Inclusive Home Showcase open for the first time. This is one part of a larger strategy to increase our access to consumer devices such as DVD players and household appliances with new electronic controls.
In the Inclusive Home Showcase you will be able to examine for yourself examples from all categories of consumer devices and appliances that other blind people have found useable. You will also find information about choosing useable devices for yourself.
In addition to spending time in the Inclusive Home Showcase, you are invited to attend any of four seminars on Saturday, July 2. Consult your preconvention agenda for room locations and final details. We have designed these ninety-minute presentations to highlight several specific consumer devices as well as addressing some more traditional technology topics.
Session 1: 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
Cell Phones For All? Accessible cell phones are a reality. This seminar will provide demonstrations of current cell phone technology and allow participants to ask questions about accessible phones.
PDF Survival Training. What can you do when you face those three dreaded letters, “PDF”? Believe it or not, several techniques and programs can ease the pain of poorly formatted documents. Learn what you will need and how to cope.
Session 3: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Notetakers and MP3 Players. Do more than plan your day. Did you know that notetakers can play music files, access Bookshare, and support Audible.com? Curious about whether any MP3 players are accessible? This seminar will demonstrate and discuss many interesting features of notetakers for the blind and off-the-shelf MP3 players which we may be able to use.
Session 4: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
To Mac or not to Mac? If successful, the availability of a no-cost
screen reader on every new Macintosh computer could provide a serious alternative to Windows. And if it isn’t successful, then what? Learn from the IBTC experts what the Mac can and cannot do.
The Job Exchange Committee
Staying Alive in 2005
by Dave Hyde
All questions are simple, once you know the answers. On the other hand, the answers make no sense without the questions. The Staying Alive in 2005 employment seminar will take place July 2, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Galt House in Louisville. If you are looking for a job, are looking for a better job, or think you could learn things to help you do yours better, this seminar is for you. Topics include:
We’ll also look at how to set up your own office, have a chance to chat one on one with our division leaders, and learn how to get into interesting and lucrative careers.
On Wednesday, July 6, there will be a seminar starting at 1:30 p.m. to work with you on writing the résumé you need to get a job. We know that proper attitude and training are important, but you need to have the proper tools to open the door before you can walk through it. If you plan to attend this portion, be sure to bring your current résumé or notes from which the writers can work with you. When you leave, you could be taking the tools for your next job.
Who should attend: those with a real interest in getting a job and a willingness to put out effort during the next twelve months to get it, and those who can help by mentoring other members of our Federation family and commit the time necessary to help them get a job.
For further information contact Fatos Floyd, NFB Job Exchange Committee chair and director, Nebraska Orientation Center for the Blind, (402) 471-8120, <[email protected]>; Buna Dahal, employment specialist, Colorado Center for the Blind, (303) 778-1130, extension 224, <[email protected]>; or Dave Hyde, professional development coordinator, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (608) 758-6152, <[email protected]>.
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players Present:
A Path We did Not Know
by Jerry Whittle
On Monday, July 4, the Louisiana Center for the Blind players present “A Path We Did Not Know,” an original play by Jerry Whittle. Bill Mann, Federation leader, is hired to direct a traditional training center for the blind. As he tries to make changes, he encounters many difficulties in applying NFB philosophy. The Center almost blows its lid. Tickets are $5. Two performances will take place that evening. All proceeds support the summer training program for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
by Tom Anderson
The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will hold its annual eeting on Monday, July 4. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 1:00 p.m.
The theme for this year’s meeting will be “Let your light shine.” A panel of Federationists who are reaching out to others in a variety of settings will discuss their experiences. We also plan to have a report about the publication of the book Experiencing God, a brief presidential report, and elections for all board positions. A brief board meeting may follow adjournment.
The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will again coordinate the devotional services that take place from Tuesday, July 5, through Friday, July 8. Devotions will be held an hour before the morning session each day. Please contact me if you would like to preach or sing at these services. My home address is 5628 South Fox Circle, Apartment A, Littleton, Colorado 80120. My home phone number is (303) 794-5006. My work address is 2233 West Shepperd Avenue, Littleton, Colorado 80120, and my work phone is (303) 778-1130, ext. 220. My email address is <[email protected]>.
by James R. Bonerbo
The National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs announces that its annual seminar and conference of small business owners and others seeking information on starting and developing businesses will be held on July 2 at the NFB convention in Louisville. Our divisional meeting will be held later in the week. Hope to see you there.
by Scott LaBarre
Each year the National Association of Blind Lawyers (NABL) conducts its annual meeting at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and this year is no different. We will meet on Monday, July 4, at the Galt House from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., exact room to be announced. The purpose of our annual meeting and seminar is multifaceted.
We will examine emerging trends in the law that affect blind people and
others with disabilities. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or visually impaired legal professional. We will have an update on the ways legal research companies are making their products accessible with screen readers and other assistive technology used by blind lawyers. Undoubtedly we will hear from local law schools and bar associations about their outreach efforts to blind and visually impaired students and legal professionals. Because our agenda covers substantive areas of the law and addresses the practice of law itself, many of our members have applied for and received continuing legal education credits for our seminar.
At the conclusion of the seminar we will host a reception for NABL members and seminar participants to promote networking and fellowship within our membership. If you are a lawyer, legal professional, or law student or are interested in law, the NABL meeting in Louisville on July 4 is the place to be.
by Scott LaBarre
The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its eighth annual mock trial at the 2005 NFB convention. This trial will reenact a Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other, arguing the merits of the two positions. Although the matter has not been firmly decided, we will very likely revisit an employment discrimination case in which a blind factory worker was fired because of his blindness. See your favorite Federation lawyers strut their legal stuff.
You, the audience, will serve as the jury. This year’s trial promises to be just as entertaining and thought-provoking as past trials. A nominal charge of $5 per person will benefit the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The trial will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 3, at 4:30 p.m. somewhere in the Galt House. Consult the convention agenda for the exact place.
by Kevan Worley
The National Association of Blind Merchants would like to thank our loyal snack pack customers over the past eight years. The snack pack has not only been a lot of fun and a great fundraiser for our division, but it has also helped many conventioneers on tight budgets to snack pretty well. Last year we had a scare. You may recall that I wrote in this space, “We regret to say that we will be unable to provide snack packs, but we are working on an exciting alternative.” As many satiated Federationists can attest, we were able to make the snack pack available after all. At this writing we’re not sure about our traditional snack packs for only $5, filled with a grab bag of snacks, salty or sweet, but don’t count us out. So come to our table in the exhibit hall, enjoy a small, cool drink, buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win $1,000, and prepare to be surprised and delighted by our latest entrepreneurial venture.
The annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants will take place Monday afternoon, July 4, at 1:30 p.m. Check the convention agenda for location. This year registration for our division meeting will begin approximately thirty minutes after adjournment of the board of directors meeting. If you are involved in the Randolph-Sheppard program or operate a similar business, you won’t want to miss this merchants’ meeting. On Wednesday, July 6, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m., we invite you to our fifth annual Randolph-Sheppard reception.
Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph-Sheppard opportunities. Check the convention agenda for location.
by Linda Mentink
The National Association of Blind Musicians will hold its annual showcase of talent on Tuesday evening, July 5. It is our fundraiser, and it is very well attended. Admission is $5.00 at the door. If you wish to participate, please follow these guidelines: (1) Sign up by noon on the day of the showcase. (2) Perform one number, no longer than four minutes. (3) If you are using a taped accompaniment, please have it cued up. Do not sing with the artist; you will be cut off while performing. (4) If you need an accompanist, please make arrangements before the showcase. If you wish to register for the showcase before the convention, contact Linda Mentink, 1865 42nd Avenue, Columbus, Nebraska 68601, (402) 563-8138, <[email protected]>.
by Lisa Hall
The National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will hold its annual meeting in Louisville on Saturday evening, July 2, with registration beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. Consult the preconvention agenda for room location. Are you looking for work in an office setting? Are you uncertain about what office professions you should pursue to make your living or to help others in office settings? Would you like to learn what alternative techniques blind people use to perform successfully in their jobs? Have you always wondered what technologies are available to help organize your documents, schedules, contacts, and other data? Have you always wondered what training materials are available to learn to use the computer fully? Would you like to network with other blind office professionals? If you say yes to any of these questions, please join us for fellowship and learning opportunities. The agenda for our meeting is being put together, and suggestions are welcome.
This year our division will share a booth with several other NFB divisions to provide information and alternative techniques about the way blind people perform their jobs in their chosen professions. A couple of volunteers will be needed on Saturday afternoon, July 2, to staff the booth. If you can help, notify Lisa Hall for more information. See Dave Hyde’s Job Exchange Committee announcement for more details about the job fair and seminar.
Division membership dues are $5 a year and can be paid in advance before arriving at the convention. Send dues to Debbie Brown, treasurer, 11923 Parklawn Drive, Apartment 104; Rockville, Maryland 20852, or call her at (301) 881-1892. You can contact her by email at <[email protected]>.
For more information about NABOP, contact Lisa Hall, president, 9110 Broadway, apartment J-102, San Antonio, Texas 78217, (210) 829-4571, or email <[email protected]>. I look forward to seeing everyone in Louisville.
by Don Mitchell
The National Association of Blind Piano Technicians will hold its annual meeting on Monday, July 4, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Consult your convention agenda for room location. We invite everyone to attend our meeting and learn about the opportunities for financial independence and success through tuning and servicing pianos. Also stop by the blind piano technicians booth in the exhibit hall to talk about piano technology. Hope to see you there.
by Carlos Serván
The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals meeting will take place Monday, July 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will deal with issues affecting rehabilitation services for the blind and professional growth for rehab workers.
by Angela Wolf
The National Association of Blind Students will conduct its annual meeting on Sunday, July 3, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the NFB convention. Registration of $5 will begin at 6:00 p.m. We will also be hosting Monte Carlo Night on Wednesday, July 5, from 8:00 p.m. until midnight. Monte Carlo Night is a fundraiser for the student division, and this year it will be bigger and better than ever. Come support the students and have fun at the same time. For more information contact Angela Wolf, president, (512) 417-8190, <[email protected]>.
by Priscilla Ferris
The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) will conduct its business meeting on Sunday, July 3. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m., and the business meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. On Tuesday evening, July 5, The Informed Choice Seminar will begin at 7:00 p.m. Programs for both meetings are currently being established.
by Carla McQuillan
[PHOTO: Jenna Altman (NE) and Daniel Davis (NC) playing in Centennial Park with a florescent green ball]
Jenna Altman (NE) and Daniel Davis (NC), both NFB Campers, play with a ball in the park at the 2004 convention
[PHOTO: Kids at camp (Group form a circle by holding hands)]
During convention week children six weeks through ten years of age are invited to join in the fun and festivities of NFB Camp. NFB Camp offers more than just childcare; it is an opportunity for our blind and sighted children to meet and develop lifelong friendships. Our activity schedule is filled with games, crafts, and special performances designed to entertain, educate, and delight. If you are interested in this year’s program, please complete and return the registration form provided at the end of this notice. Preregistration with payment on or before June 15 is mandatory for participation in NFB Camp. Space is limited, and each year some families have to be turned away.
About the Staff: NFB Camp is organized and supervised by Carla McQuillan, the executive director of Main Street Montessori Association, operating three schools, parent education courses, and a teacher-training program. Carla is the mother of two children, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, and a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind.
Allison McQuillan, camp worker and teacher since 1998, will be our activities director again this year. Over the years we have recruited professional childcare workers from the local community to staff NFB Camp. Recently we have determined that recruiting from our Federation families results in having workers with healthy philosophy and attitudes about our blind children. Carla and Allison will be supervising camp workers and all related activities.
Activities and Special Events: The children are divided into groups according to age: infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Each camp is equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games, and books, and we will have daily art projects. In addition, school-aged children will have the opportunity to sign up for half-day trips to area attractions. Some of the planned events include a trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum and a tour of Slugger Field. We will also take a field trip along the Ohio River Walk. Dates, times, additional fees, and sign-up sheets for field trips will be available at NFB Camp. Space for special events is limited to enrolled NFB Campers only, on a first-come, first-served basis. On the final day of NFB Camp we will conduct a big toy sale—brand new toys at bargain prices.
General Arrangements: NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Plenty of teens are always available to baby-sit during evening and luncheon meetings. Please use the NFB Camp registration form. Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15.
NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Times listed are the opening and closing times of NFB Camp. Children are not accepted earlier than the times listed, and a late fee of $10 will be assessed for all late pick-ups. NFB Camp provides morning and afternoon snacks. You are responsible for providing lunch for your child(ren) every day.
Date NFB Camp Hours
Saturday, July 2 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 3 Camp is closed
Monday, July 4 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 5 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 6 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 7 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30-5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.- adjournment of banquet
Friday, July 8 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5:30 p.m.
These times may vary, depending on the timing of the actual convention sessions. NFB Camp will open thirty minutes before the beginning gavel and close thirty minutes after sessions recess.
Parent’s Name ____________________________________________________
City__________________ State______ Zip________ Phone _______________
_____________________________________ Age_______ Date of Birth______
_____________________________________ Age_______ Date of Birth______
_____________________________________ Age_______ Date of Birth______
Include description of any disabilities/allergies we should know about:
Who, other than parents, is allowed to pick up your child(ren)?
Per week: $80 first child, $60 siblings
Number of Children_______ $________________ (Does not include banquet)
Per day: $20 per child Number of Days_________ x $20 $_________
Banquet: $15 per child Number of children_______ x $15 $_________
Total Due $_________
Make checks payable to NFB Camp. Return form to National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, 5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478.
Phone (541) 726-6924
by Curtis Chong
The 2005 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will take place on Monday, July 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The actual location of the meeting is specified in the convention agenda, provided when one registers for the convention.
People who regularly browse the Web know about the Portable Document Format (PDF). This format, developed by Adobe Systems, allows a document to be viewed on a wide variety of computers while maintaining the document’s original appearance. For the blind, PDF has often added to the frustration and difficulty we experience when visiting various Web sites. Over the years Adobe Systems has worked to improve the accessibility of its PDF-reading software. However, this work has produced mixed results. Therefore we will be discussing some of the functions and features of the Adobe Reader software with technical experts from Adobe, who can supply us with information that we hope will make PDF documents easier for us to use and read.
Another program item at our 2005 meeting will be an in-depth discussion of screen access technology as it pertains to thin clients such as Citrix. Citrix, for those of you who may not know, is software that runs on your local computer, enabling it to connect to a remote machine where the real applications, (e.g., Word, Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer) actually run. More and more organizations are offering remote access to their systems and networks with Citrix because of its ability to run powerful applications remotely without having to use a hefty processor. Citrix is also useful as a means of providing secure access to a corporate network; only screen images travel across the connection as opposed to real, textual information. Until a couple of years ago Citrix was largely inaccessible to the blind. Now three major vendors of screen-reading technology offer access to the Citrix environment: Dolphin Systems, Freedom Scientific, and GW Micro. We will hear from each of these companies to learn about their solutions.
Another topic under consideration is training—specifically the training that is offered today by an organization called the Access Technology Institute. Training in the use of technology—especially computer technology—is vital as blind people compete for high-paying jobs in the twenty-first century. Equally vital is the availability of well-trained and competent technology trainers of the blind who can transfer knowledge and skills to the thousands of blind men and women who are preparing to obtain gainful employment. The Access Technology Institute offers a series of books and training courses that help to fulfill these needs, and CathyAnne Murtha, the Institute’s founder, is reputed to be a brilliant and highly capable teacher.
For more information about the 2005 meeting of the NFB in Computer Science, contact Curtis Chong, president, NFB in Computer Science, by email at <[email protected]> or by telephone at (515) 277-1288. We look forward to seeing everyone in Louisville.
by David Stayer
The NFB in Judaism will meet for dinner and fellowship on Sunday, July 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. In order to arrange for food, those who are having dinner must contact me by email <[email protected]> or by phone at (516) 868-8718 no later than June 1.
by Sheila Koenig
On Monday, July 4, the National Organization of Blind Educators (NOBE) will conduct its annual meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 1:00 p.m. NOBE is a network of blind teachers and those interested in careers in education. Our meeting will offer an opportunity to meet blind people teaching at various grade levels and in various content areas.
Many questions arise as people contemplate and realize their dreams of teaching: How will potential employers react to a blind applicant? How does a blind person manage students in a classroom? How does one accomplish the daily duties as well as the “other duties as assigned” for which teachers are contracted? During our seminar, successful blind teachers will discuss such questions. Seminar participants will also meet in small groups specific to grade level and content areas of interest. In this way we can create a network of mentors extending beyond our meeting.
Education is a profession rich in possibility. As we continue to take on additional roles, both inside and outside the classroom, we must continue to develop the alternative techniques essential to our success. Whether you are currently teaching or are interested in the education profession, we invite you to our seminar on July 4 in Louisville.
by Judy Sanders
Do you wonder what you will do during your retirement? Are you worried about being bored? Come to the meeting of the National Organization of the Senior Blind (NOSB) to hear from some very energetic, active people who will tell us about their busy lives. Our headliner will be Art Schreiber, president of the NFB of New Mexico. If we are not all tired after listening to him, we will no doubt go on forever. Other Federationists will share their activities and ideas for retirement. Other surprises are being planned; as usual we will have a full agenda.
Our meeting will begin and end with our not-so-silent auction. To make it a success, we need your assistance. First of all we need donated items to sell. Baked goods, jewelry, books on tape, and gift certificates are always welcome. Then we need you to come bid on the items we have collected. Come early and see how it works. When: Sunday, July 3; registration and silent auction begin at 6:15 p.m.
Last year we stayed up later than the students; so if you can keep up, we’ll see you there. Have questions or ideas? Call Judy Sanders at (612) 375-1625, or email her at <[email protected]>.
by Israel Menchero
As NFB director of outreach programs I am offering a planned giving seminar, “Charitable Estate Planning and Gifts Strategies,” Wednesday, July 6, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. We will provide information on various planned giving opportunities, legal implications, and impact on personal taxes. A panel of experts will be available for a question-and-answer session. Everyone with an interest in these topics is welcome.
by Ivan Weich
The Public Employees Division will meet on Sunday, July 3, at 7:00 p.m. Questions about the division should be directed to Ivan Weich at (360) 782-9575.
by Mary Ellen Jernigan
Father Gregory Paul, C.P., plans to be with us again at this year’s convention and will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning, July 3, at 6:30. The room assignment will be listed in the preconvention agenda.
by James McCarthy and Teresa Uttermohlen
An outreach seminar, “Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know,” will take place Wednesday afternoon, July 6. The purpose of this seminar, conducted by the National Federation of the Blind with the assistance of the Social Security Administration, is to share information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind. This will include any recent changes affecting blind participants of these programs.
Seminar presenters will be Jim McCarthy, director of governmental affairs for the National Federation of the Blind, and his wife Terri Uttermohlen, first vice president of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the NFB of Maryland and a liaison employed by Virginia Commonwealth University to provide training and technical assistance to work incentives specialists as part of a nationwide project. Social Security representatives will make helpful publications available to attendees and share useful information about communicating with the Social Security Administration.
by Dwight Sayer
Attention NFB Veterans: We will be holding a veterans celebration ceremony at this year’s national convention. If you are a veteran and are planning to attend the Louisville convention, we need your contact information: name, address, telephone, and email address if applicable. Please send this information to Dwight D. Sayer at <[email protected]>, and in the subject line place the words “veterans nfb info.” If you are mailing the information, send it to 259 Regal Downs
Circle, Winter Garden, Florida 34787.
If you will not be in Louisville, please send your contact information anyway but indicate that you will not be at convention. We are attempting to create a veterans’ data base, so we need information from every veteran in the NFB. If you have a loved one in the armed forces now serving anywhere in the world, we would also like to know about him or her.
by Gary Wunder
On Sunday, July 3, Webmasters from NFB affiliates and divisions will gather from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. to strategize about how we can most effectively use the technological marvel known as the Worldwide Web to distribute the message of the Federation. In addition to discussing what information our pages should contain, we’ll also talk about accessibility, visual appeal, and the tools available to create Web pages easily.
To add your suggestions for other topics, write to Gary Wunder at <[email protected]> or call him at (573) 874-1774.
by Tom Stevens
The Writers Division will conduct its annual meeting on Monday afternoon, July 4. The program will feature several interesting topics. On Saturday afternoon, July 2, the division will host a poetry and short story reading. Obscenity and pornography will not be accepted. Those wishing to participate should present themselves at the division meeting as indicated in the preconvention agenda. The meeting will begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. and continue until all readers have read or 3:30 p.m., whichever comes first. Join us; be a writer and a reader.
by Barbara Cheadle
[PHOTO: Kid Talk – MM sitting with kids (facing him) on floor]
The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) is proud to sponsor programs for families and teachers of blind children at the 2005 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, Saturday, July 2, through Friday, July 8.
Did you know that one of the technology priorities of the NFB Jernigan Institute is promoting the development of a car that blind people can drive? Fantastic as it may seem, it is entirely possible that today’s generation of blind children will one day have the opportunity to operate a vehicle. But blind kids don’t have to wait to experience being in the driver’s seat. After all, the term is metaphorical, not literal. When we say someone is in the driver’s seat, we mean that the person is in charge, has power to choose a course of action and make it happen. Choices, power, control, action, movement, travel—the phrase connotes all these things. In short, “in the driver’s seat” means everything that is the opposite of the words historically and universally associated with blind-ness—words like “passive,” “immobile,” “limited,” and “powerless.”
Fortunately not everyone believes that those words accurately describe blind people anymore (if they ever did). In fact, thanks in large part to the work of the National Federation of the Blind, a great many people in our country and around the world have come to believe that blind people can lead normal lives. For over sixty-five years, the NFB has been chipping away at these crusty, false, stereotypical notions about blindness and replacing them with words like “normal,” “okay,” “respectable,” and “competent.” At the 2005 NFB convention the NOPBC will help parents, kids, and teachers expand their vocabulary about blindness as we take a journey together to explore just what it means for blind kids to be in the driver’s seat.
Our journey begins on Saturday, July 2, and ends on Friday, July 8. NOPBC has events scheduled the first five of those days, and on the last two days, Thursday and Friday, we continue our journey in learning about blindness as we watch President Marc Maurer and other blind leaders lead discussions about technology, legislation, and other matters critically important to the future of our blind children. As usual NOPBC will also announce the big winner of our 50/50 raffle on banquet night (Thursday), and we will participate in the discussions and reports about the year’s progress on Friday, the final day of the convention.
So to help you plan your trip, here’s a brief description and schedule—a map, if you will—of the NOPBC-sponsored convention events:
On Saturday, July 2, the NOPBC kicks off the convention with a full day of activities for the entire family. The day’s events (all of which take place in the Galt House) include:
1. Traveling Solo: Focus on the School Years. When, where, and how should blind and partially sighted kids start traveling by themselves?
2. Exploration: Focus on the Early Years, ages zero to eight. When is the trip, not the destination, the goal of movement and travel?
3. Braille: The Passport to the World, two sessions: one for novice parents, “Beginning Braille for Parents,” and one for parents with advanced knowledge about Braille, “Formatting and Producing Braille: What Every Parent and Teacher Should Know.”
4. Cruising the Internet and Other Technology Travels. Two sessions of this workshop will be presented by the Indiana School for the Blind COGS Club, including demonstrations of technology and questions and answers from a blind student panel.
5. Active Learning for the Blind, Multiply-Disabled Child
1. Puzzles, Brainteasers, and Fun Things to do with Math.
2. Art is for Everyone.
3. So You Think You Would Like to Run a Meeting?—Microphone and speaker etiquette and techniques for aspiring blind speakers and leaders.
Fees: $35, two adults plus children. $15 one adult (no children). $25 one adult plus children. This fee includes a bag lunch hosted by NOPBC leaders in their East Tower Suites. It will also help defray the cost of workshop materials.
We will send 2005 NOPBC preregistration packet information by mail, fax, or email. When you request a packet, please give us your name and a phone number, tell us where and how to send you the packet, and tell us if you are a parent of a blind child, a family member, a teacher, a blind adult, etc. Contact us at NOPBC, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; email: <[email protected]> or <[email protected]>; fax: (410) 659-5129; phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2360 or 2361. If you reach a voice mail message, you are invited to leave your request, including your name and address. Please be sure to leave a phone number so we can call you back if we have any questions about the spelling of your name, etc.
Information and a preregistration form will also be available on the NOPBC Web page at <http://nfb.org/nopbc.htm>. We cannot accept credit cards.
Mail checks and completed preregistration forms to: Sandy Taboada, NOPBC Treasurer, 6960 South Fieldgate Court, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808-5455; email: [email protected]
A Word to Our Sponsors
by Jerry Lazarus
[PHOTO: Sponsor Banners on Platform (MM at Podium)]
People began to gather on the platform shortly before the opening of the 2004 convention. The Sponsor banners can be clearly seen hanging from the front edge of the head table. President Maurer stands at the podium
From the Editor: One very effective way for convention exhibitors to catch the attention of blind consumers is to become an NFB convention sponsor. In the following article Jerry Lazarus of our national staff describes the options available to would-be sponsors and the benefits accruing through each. This is what he says:
Attention national convention exhibitors: By now most of our previous exhibitors have received the national convention exhibitor packet that includes the invitation letter, application, fact sheet, guidelines, and sponsorship opportunities available for the 2005 convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
We would like to call your attention to the sponsorship opportunities available. This year we continue to break new ground in the amount of visibility and recognition an exhibitor can receive by becoming a sponsor at the NFB convention.
The top level this year is the Title Sponsor. Following are some highlights and associated benefits of participating as a sponsor. The sponsors that choose to involve themselves at this level will have an unparalleled opportunity to address the entire National Federation of the Blind assembly during the opening day of the general session. What better way to get your message across than to have the attention of all of our attendees? In addition, the Title Sponsor(s) will also select the featured speaker to address the community partnership breakfast. The first Title Sponsor to sign up will receive the entire back cover of our national convention program agenda for advertising. The second Title Sponsor to sign up will receive the inside back cover. A featured picture ad will be displayed on the National Federation of the Blind home page for thirty days, in addition to links direct to your Web site from our NFB Web site.
But additional benefits are available for all sponsors. We will open the exhibit hall for a special evening dedicated to sponsor level exhibitors only. This includes the various categories: Title, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Exhibit Hall. On Tuesday evening, July 5, the exhibit hall will reopen from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. for these exhibitors only. (Nonsponsor exhibitors will not be allowed to open during these special hours.) We encourage you to invite guests into the hall for special offers and demonstrations. During these hours the amplification system will be available to sponsors that would like to make announcements about their products or offer special deals to those in attendance. A submitted article can appear in our online publication, Voice of the Nation’s Blind, that premiered in the fall of 2004.
The following breakdown provides specific details on each of the levels of sponsorship. Please read through the merits associated with each of these levels and choose the one that best suits your needs.
For more information about signing up as a sponsor for the convention, please review the information that came in your convention packet or contact Jerry L. Lazarus, director of special projects, Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (410) 659-9314, extension 2297, email <[email protected]>.
Health and Sleep Survey of Blind Women
by Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D.
From the Editor: The NFB has agreed to work with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School to gather data that may shed light on breast cancer risk. Here is the information:
Over the past fifty years the incidence of breast cancer has risen dramatically in the U.S. Similar increases have also been seen in countries that have recently developed Western-style economies. The explanation for these increases is in doubt, although family history, diet, medication, smoking, alcohol use, and reproductive history can account for about 50 percent of the known risk. The search for other factors associated with modern living that relate to breast cancer risk is ongoing in order to identify those which are avoidable, which can be altered by providing health and lifestyle advice to women.
One notable factor in modern society is the use of artificial electric light, which has eliminated much of our natural exposure to darkness. Light exposure at night has effects on the human body such as stimulating the brain to be more alert and changing the timing of the internal twenty-four-hour body clock. Light exposure at night also stops the production of a hormone called melatonin, which occurs only at night. Exposure to even room-level lighting is enough to stop melatonin production, and brighter lights or longer exposure causes more suppression. The effects of stopping melatonin production at night are unknown. Many animal studies, however, suggest that melatonin may slow down growth, particularly in breast cancer. Such studies have not been conducted in people, and the way melatonin relates to cancer risk in humans is not known. If melatonin production does affect cancer risk, we may expect several groups who are regularly exposed to bright light for long durations at night to have more cancer. Based on this theory, several U.S. and European studies have investigated female shift workers who are exposed to light at night and have found a 36-60 percent increase in breast cancer risk in women working night shifts regularly over many years. Similar findings have been made in surveys of female flight attendants who are also exposed to light at night when traveling across time zones.
The theory suggests that women who are not exposed to light at night may be at a reduced risk of breast cancer. This hypothesis has been examined in several studies of cancer risk in visually impaired women. These studies have shown that visually impaired women are at a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to sighted women and that reduced risk is related to the severity of visual impairment: totally blind women are least at risk and have about 50 percent of the risk of the sighted population. One potential explanation for this finding is that totally blind women have more melatonin, which protects them against cancer risk. So far, however, several small studies have not found their melatonin levels to be any higher than those of the normal population, although larger studies need to be performed to test this idea fully. There are also many other possible explanations for why totally blind women appear to be at a reduced risk, for example differences in diet, drug and alcohol use, or reproductive history.
But one possible cause of cancer development is the twenty-four-hour body clock—circadian system—which controls the timing of many biological processes, including the cell. Because they lack light perception, over half of totally blind people cannot maintain their body clocks on a twenty-four-hour day and, as a result, suffer from cyclic sleep disorders. The possible role of the circadian system in cancer development is an area of active research and may also be found in shift workers and flight attendants, who have problems remaining synchronized to the twenty-four-hour day.
In this month’s issue of the Braille Monitor Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and Harvard Medical School in collaboration with the NFB are beginning a nationwide survey of health and sleep in visually impaired women aimed at addressing why blind women appear to have less risk of developing breast cancer. If the factor(s) reducing risk can be identified, this information can provide health and lifestyle advice for all women, not just visually impaired women, to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
If you are interested in assisting with this study, consult the miniature describing it in detail in the “In Brief” section.
Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed!
by D. Curtis Willoughby
From the Editor: Curtis Willoughby is a member of the NFB’s Research and Development Committee and head of our Ham Radio Interest Group. Here is his announcement:
Again this year at national convention we will offer special arrangements for severely hearing impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. This will consist of transmission of the public address system signal over a special short-range radio transmitter for the severely hearing impaired. Also Spanish language translation of convention proceedings in general sessions and the banquet will be provided using a similar arrangement. The special receivers required for these services will also be provided.
In cooperation with several state affiliates (Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide receivers for these special transmissions to those needing them. The receiver-lending will be managed by the Ham Radio Group and will be operated from a table just outside the meeting room. A deposit of $25, cash only, will be required of anyone wishing to check out one of the Federation’s receivers. The deposit will be returned if the receiver is checked in at the checkout table in good condition by adjournment or within thirty minutes after adjournment of the last convention session. Batteries for the receiver will be provided. Anyone checking out a Federation receiver will be given, upon request, a miniature earbud type earphone to use with the receiver.
Along with explaining what will be available, it is important that we explain what will not be available. The miniature earbud loudspeaker type earphone will be the only kind offered. The receiver requires a 1/8-inch earphone plug, in case you want to use your own earphone(s), neck loop, adapter cable, etc. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of the convention. Other than the earphone jack on the receiver, no means of connection to a hearing aid will be available from the checkout table. The receiver does not have a built-in loudspeaker. Though earphones and even neck loops are sometimes available in the exhibit room, you cannot be certain of getting one there.
Many severely hearing impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking, to a receiver in the hearing aid. Many such hearing-aid systems can be tuned to receive the Federation’s special transmitters. In this case the hearing-impaired person may simply tune his or her own receiver to receive the Federation’s transmitter and will not need to check out a Federation receiver.
Some audiologists and rehabilitation agencies are now buying digital and other FM hearing aids that cannot be tuned to the Federation’s frequency. If you have one of these or if you have any other type of hearing aid, you should obtain from your audiologist an adapter cable to connect your hearing aid to a monaural 1/8-inch earphone jack. This will allow you to plug the cable from your hearing aid directly into a receiver you check out from our table. This will allow you to hear as well as anyone else using one of our receivers.
The transmitter for the hearing-impaired will be connected to the public address system so that the signals from the head table and the aisle microphones will be transmitted on channel 36 (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). (People must not operate their personal transmitters on channel 36 or on channel 38, because that would interfere with the reception by others.) This means that folks wishing to use their own receivers (rather than checking out one of the Federation’s receivers) need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel 36. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers. Caution your audiologist that there is more than one channel 36, and he or she must also verify that the frequency matches our frequency.
This announcement is published now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention. It contains this amount of detail so that any audiologist who works with this type of equipment should be able to know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person’s FM hearing system must have to work with the Federation’s system at convention.
Even if you do not use an FM hearing aid, you may be able to purchase a neck loop or an adapter cable to couple the signal from a Federation receiver directly to your hearing aid. Your audiologist should also be able to help you with this.
The service for Spanish speakers will be similar, except that a live Spanish translator will speak over a separate transmitter on channel 38 (75.275 MHz narrow band FM). We do not expect people to bring their own receivers for the Spanish, unless they are also hearing impaired and use an FM hearing aid system.
Norm Gardner of Utah will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and he would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call him prior to convention at (801) 224-6969, or send him email at <[email protected]>.
Finally, if other state affiliates or chapters are interested in purchasing this type of equipment for use in state and local meetings, they are encouraged to purchase equipment that is compatible with that which we are using and allow it to be used in the pool of equipment that the Ham Radio Group administers at national convention. I, Curtis Willoughby, would like to help you choose equipment that is compatible with that which the NFB is using. I may also be able to help you get the good prices the NFB has been getting. You may contact me at (303) 424-7373 or <[email protected]>.
The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing impaired colleagues and to our Spanish speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.
by Ed Bryant
During this year’s annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind from Saturday, July 2, through Friday, July 8, dialysis will be available. Individuals requiring dialysis must have a transient patient packet and physician’s statement filled out prior to treatment. Conventioneers must have their unit social worker contact the desired location in the Louisville area for instructions, well in advance. The convention will take place at the Galt House, 140 N. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.
Individuals will be responsible for, and must pay out of pocket prior to each treatment, the approximately $30 not covered by Medicare, plus any additional physician’s fees and any charges for other medications.
Dialysis centers should set up transient dialysis locations at least six to eight weeks in advance. This helps assure a location for anyone wanting to dialyze. Places fill up quickly. There are many centers in the Louisville area, but that area is quite large, and early reservation is strongly recommended to guarantee a place and spare you a long taxi or bus ride. Here are some dialysis locations:
Please remember to schedule dialysis treatments early to ensure space. See you in Louisville.
The recipes this month have been contributed by members of the NFB of Arizona.
by Sandie Addy
[PHOTO: Cassandra Addy]
Sandie Addy is president of the Tri-City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona and a member of the board of directors of the NFB of Arizona.
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Method: Cream shortening and sugar in an electric mixer. Beat eggs, then add them to sugar mixture. Add mashed bananas and mix well. Add vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and beat into the creamed mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts, but be warned that, if they are used, the bread will not be as flavorful. Place batter in 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, which will be a little over half full. Bake in a 325-degree oven for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If this bread is baked above seven thousand feet, raise temperature to 350 degrees and increase baking time by fifteen minutes. You can substitute solid-pack pumpkin or apple sauce in place of the mashed bananas, but the loaf will need additional baking time.
by Terry and Art Dinges
[PHOTO: Terry & Art Dinges]
Terry and Art Dinges live in Phoenix and are longtime Federationists. They are both great managers of fundraising projects. This is a great diabetic recipe for backyard picnics on hot summer days.
1 16-ounce can of whole kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped English cucumber
1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2-3/4 teaspoons seeded, minced jalapeño peppers
Method: Combine the five ingredients in a medium bowl and toss well.
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Method: Mix dressing ingredients well and pour over corn salad. Cover and chill at least two hours. Serves four with two-thirds-cup portions.
by Ashleigh Feliz
Ashleigh Feliz is the daughter of NFB of Arizona first vice president Mark Feliz and Debbie Feliz. Ashleigh enjoys going to state conventions and being a runner for the door prize pull. This is her favorite baked salmon recipe. She finds it quick and easy when time is short. This Czech recipe uses freshwater fish such as salmon or trout, but saltwater fish such as mackerel can also be used. It is very simple but a tasty meal because the fish cooks in its own juices. Serves six.
4 pounds whole salmon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 to 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges for garnish
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut the fish in half lengthwise. Place the salmon, skin-side down, in a lightly greased roasting tin and brush with the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the caraway seeds and then lemon juice. Bake the salmon loosely covered with foil for twenty-five minutes or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve hot or cold. Cook’s tip: Take care when cutting the fish—dip your finger into a little salt to help you grip the fish better.
Nola’s Hot and Spicy Chili
by Nola Baker-Jones
Nola Baker-Jones has lived in Mesa, Arizona, most of her life. She has developed a taste for spicy, down-home Southwest flavor in her cooking. If you like mouth-watering, zesty, spicy, meaty, hot chili, this recipe is for you. What makes this recipe unique is that you use sausage. Just add John Morrell hot smoked sausage and taste the awesome, flavorful chili as it develops into a succulent meal.
2 pounds ground meat (ground chuck or ground round)
2 1.5-ounce packages chili seasoning mix
3 28.5-ounce cans Hunt’s chili beans
1 10-ounce can hot Rodale tomatoes
2 cans El Patio jalapeño tomato sauce
2 12-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 4-ounce cans green chilies
2 large onions
8 John Morrell hot smoked sausages
Garlic powder to taste
Pinch of chili powder
Pinch of cumin
Method: In large pan cook ground meat. Drain grease and remove from pan. Brown onions in the pan. In large pot place meat, onions, chili and other seasoning, and tomatoes and simmer for five minutes. Cut up sausage any way you like. Add to pot. Simmer for five more minutes. Open remaining canned ingredients and add to pot. Simmer over medium low heat for thirty-five minutes. Chili is ready to serve.
by Tony Sohl
[PHOTO: Tony Sohl]
Tony Sohl is a member of the NFB of Arizona’s East Valley Chapter and served as secretary from 1991 through 2004. He currently serves on the East Valley Chapter board of directors.
1 package tortillas (corn or flour)
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion (optional)
1 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese (your favorite kind)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Method: Brown meat and onions. Drain off grease if necessary. In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, spread one layer of the tortillas. Top with meat mixture, followed by a layer of beans. Top with a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat the process and finish with a layer of tortillas. Bake at 350 degrees till cheese is melted and pie is heated through. To keep the bottom layer of tortillas from burning or sticking to the pan, line the pan with foil.
by Mary Hartle-Smith
[PHOTO: Mary Hartle Smith]
Mary Hartle-Smith and her husband Mike Smith have lived in Arizona for four years. Mary is first vice president of the East Valley Chapter and serves on the NFB of Arizona board of directors. She comes from a family of chocoholics.
1 8-inch baked pie shell
1-1/4 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk at room temperature
Method: Beat egg yolks and milk by hand; stir slowly into one cup of sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch, which you have stirred well to mix in the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Be sure that the lumps of cornstarch are gone before beginning to add the liquid. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture has thickened. Pour custard into baked pie shell.
Make a meringue by beating egg whites using an electric mixer at high speed. Gradually add a quarter cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently spread meringue over pie, sealing at edges. Place pie in preheated 300-degree oven. Bake for twenty minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. For best results allow to cool but serve at room temperature. Leftovers, if there are any, should be refrigerated.
News from the Federation Family
Braille Book Flea Market at Convention:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2005 Braille Book Flea Market sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks, Twin Vision® books and other books suitable for children are badly needed.
The address in Louisville where you can send the Braille Books you wish to donate for this summer’s event is UPS, 6716 Grade Lane, Suite 903, Louisville, Kentucky 40213, attention Shawntay Jordan. Begin your search through the boxes in your basement or spare room and ship them to UPS as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about the type of material we are looking for, please contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or email <[email protected]>.
[PHOTO: Ruth Anne Schaefer]
Ruth Anne Schaefer, June 16, 1925 to January 23, 2005
Steve Benson, who was the president of the NFB of Illinois for very many years, wrote to report the following: With great sorrow I tell you of the death, January 23, 2005, of Ruth Anne Schaefer. Ruth Anne, along with her husband Allen, met and joined the Federation in 1968. Their involvement in the Illinois affiliate began in 1970. Ruth Anne served as NFB of Illinois treasurer from 1974 to 1982. She served as treasurer of the Prairie State Chapter for over twenty years. But Ruth’s involvement in the National Federation of the Blind far exceeded the limits of time. Ruth Anne and Allen Schaefer were an inseparable team, a dynamic, tireless force for change in the lives of people. I always took enormous comfort in their being on our side whenever we initiated effort to improve the quality of life for blind Illinoisans.
Ruth Anne Schaefer was always ready to help. She drove tens of thousands of miles, helping to build chapters, move initiatives through the general assembly, and provide information and encouragement to hundreds of blind people. Ruth Anne and Allen Schaefer along with Rami Rabby, Peter Grunwald, Steve Hastalis, and a few other stalwarts helped build a strong, effective affiliate in Illinois that achieved the implementation of key legislation. She and Allen distributed hundreds of thousands of pieces of Federation literature. Ruth Anne understood our mission and our philosophy as well or better than many who are totally blind.
Ruth Anne had a strong identity all her own and opinions she wasn’t afraid to share. She was an outstanding teacher and a consummate musician. As the daughter of parents who were both ministers and evangelists, Ruth sang with the Billy Graham Crusades and in other major church choral ensembles. Ruth will also be remembered for her great sense of humor and her ready laugh.
It was my pleasure in 1979 to present Allen and Ruth Anne Schaefer the Gwendolyn Williams Award for their enduring service to our Illinois affiliate. This award is the highest honor the NFB of Illinois can bestow. Ruth Anne Schaefer will be deeply missed, but she will not be soon forgotten by those who knew her and valued the work she did on our behalf. Our condolences go to Allen, who has asked that memorial gifts be sent to the National Federation of the Blind in tribute to this special Federationist.
The Austin Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas elected officers at its January meeting to serve a one-year term. Elected were president, Jim Shaffer; first vice president, Margaret (Cokie) Craig; second vice president, Angela Wolf; secretary, Norma Gonzales Baker; treasurer, Mike Marshall; and board members, Diane Yoder and Kevin Daniel.
A Girl’s Best Friend is Back:
Barbara Cheadle writes to say that the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) is pleased to announce that the delightful book A Girl’s Best Friend, (ages eight to twelve) by award-winning author Harriet May Savitz has been reissued and is once again available for sale online at <www.iuniverse.com/>. An original Apple Paperback/Scholastic Book, A Girl’s Best Friend is an engaging book with a realistic blind char-acter. For that alone I am happy to see it back. But I have another reason to be glad: the author has arranged for a portion of the proceeds from the re-issued book to be donated to the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, a division of the National Federation of the Blind. What a deal! With one purchase you can give an entertaining gift, educate a child about blindness, and help fund the work of the NOPBC.
Personally I plan to buy several copies as gifts for my niece and nephews and other special children in my life. Here is an excerpt of a description of the book written by Peggy Chong, who reviewed the book in 1997 for Future Reflections and the Minnesota Bulletin: “The story centers on Laurie, a twelve-year-old blind girl and her dog. No, not her guide dog, the family dog, who is getting old and may have to be put to sleep. Laurie is a normal twelve-year-old, with all the problems, hopes, and dreams of any child that age. ... Laurie uses a white cane, writes letters to her grandmother (with her slate and stylus), roller skates, and walks her dog, just like the other kids in her neighborhood. She also has problems in her new school with a substitute teacher who does not understand how to treat a blind student... . The book shows how, for those who are blind, attitudes about blindness play an important part in the success of everything in life. Laurie has to work through her own attitudes about herself when others treat her differently because she is blind... . I plan to give each of my nieces a copy of the book for Christmas. It will help the younger members of our family grow up with a better philosophy about blind people.”
The book has been Brailled and recorded by the Library of Congress Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped system. Copies, therefore, should still be available through your regional library for the blind. My library had the title listed as Girl’s Best Friend, but it was the same book.
Title: A Girl’s Best Friend. Price: $8.95. Size: 5-by-8. Pages: 114. ISBN: 0-595-33944-1 Published: December 2004. For international orders, call 00-1-402-323-7800.
The following Oregon affiliate members were elected to its board of directors at the state convention, November 5 to 7, 2004: president, Carla McQuillan; first vice president, Chris Morse; second vice president, Joyce Green; secretary, Jim Jackson; treasurer, Elizabeth Rousseau-Rooney; and board members, Jerry Hathaway and Bill Scott. Frank Lowells and Celyn Brown are serving continuing terms.
The Inclusive Home Initiative
A Showcase and Resource:
We all know the challenge of finding accessible home appliances and electronics. Manufacturers are quickly replacing buttons and knobs with touch screens and visual menus. Finding an accessible oven or washing machine takes extraordinary effort, and that old standby, Consumer Reports, is useless here. Where can a blind consumer turn for help?
The National Federation of the Blind Inclusive Home Initiative will provide the resources you need to learn about the accessibility of various makes and models of home appliances and electronics. With your help we will gather experiences and survey most major types of appliances and electronics—washing machines, ovens, VCRs, etc—and make available the information to help guide you through the aisles of your local appliance store. We will even tell you which stores stock the most accessible products.
The Inclusive Home Initiative will consist of two parts: the Inclusive Home Showcase, a display of nonvisually accessible products at national convention in Louisville, which will then become a permanent exhibit at the NFB Jernigan Institute in Baltimore; and the Inclusive Home Resource, a Web-based center of information, including articles and ratings of various products. We are not trying to replace Consumer Reports but to provide the critical next step in ratings information that blind people need to make informed purchases.
Automatic teller machines and cell phones were once considered beyond accessibility. The National Federation of the Blind changed that misconception forever. The same can be true for household goods and electronics. This effort will take time, but meanwhile we will begin by sharing information about the devices that work well for us today.
Ultimately we hope to raise awareness of the accessibility issue among manufacturers. It is not enough to have sleek-looking products with whiz-bang controls; operating them nonvisually should also be possible. Don’t miss the Inclusive Home Showcase in Louisville.
Three new officers were elected at the NFB of Pennsylvania’s convention in November. Those elected to serve as members of the board of directors were Harriet Go, Kristen Jocums, and Cary Supalo.
At its twelfth annual convention on November 20, 2004, the NFB of Puerto Rico reelected Alpidio Rolón Garcia, president; Lydia Usero Quiñones, first vice president; Carmen León Bosque, second vice president; Vasthi Pérez Jiménez, secretary; Ana Casilda Rodriguez, treasurer; and Eduardo González, Gerardo Martinez, Vladimir Ortiz, and Gladys Franco Garcia, board members.
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.
Mouse Hole Scholarships Available:
The 2005 Mouse Hole Scholarships are now open. Visually impaired students and sighted students with visually impaired parents who will be entering college in the fall are encouraged to apply.
Three scholarships are offered: $500, $400, and $250. For details visit <http://www.blindmicemart.com/> and click on the link “Mouse Hole Scholarships.” You may also call Dale Campbell at (713) 876-6971 or email <[email protected]>. Entries will be accepted until May 15, 2005.
New Radio Station:
CJoy Radio is a new Christian Internet radio station for the blind and physically handicapped, now live-streaming twenty-four hours a day. For links contact <[email protected]> and follow the instructions you receive.
Attention Those Interested in Piano Technology:
The Emil Fries School of Piano Tuning and Technology is seeking new students for the 2005-2006 school year. The career of piano technology was established when Claude Montal began developing it at the Paris Institute for the Blind in 1830. Since then hundreds of blind people have taken up this noble profession. The career involves tuning, repairing, and servicing all makes, styles, and sizes of pianos. To be successful, the technician must be able to navigate independently in the community and in unfamiliar locales. The ability to work with people effectively and sell service work is essential. Technicians work with instruments in schools, churches, music stores, and the home. Some technicians with highly developed piano technology skills may work for concert artists.
Piano technicians work with a large variety of tools, some of which are specialized for the trade and others commonly-used woodworking tools. The piano-playing mechanism requires very precise adjustments to perform at its highest level. The reconditioning of old and worn parts requires use of a variety of adhesives to replace wooden, felt, and leather parts. To accomplish this, the technician must order and maintain an inventory of parts and supplies.
This career offers financial rewards commensurate with the amount of work the technician does. Our training program is a twenty-month course in piano tuning and repair for both blind and sighted men and women interested in a career that supports music and the arts. Our school is located in Vancouver, Washington. We have been training students for fifty-five years and have had students from all over the world in addition to the United States and Canada.
All full-time instructors are blind or visually impaired, and blind students work alongside sighted students as equals in all ways. Students live in apartments in the community. Scholarships and other financial aid are available.
Hundreds of blind men and women enjoy total financial independence in this rewarding and challenging career. More than 4,000 sighted and blind people operate tuning and repair piano service businesses. Contact us by email or telephone to learn about this rewarding career: email <[email protected]> or phone (360) 693-1511. Or you may consult our Web site, <www.pianotuningschool.org>.
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:
Mother’s Day is May 8. Shop from the comfort of your home for Mother’s Day or any occasion. Visit BlindMiceMart.com and browse through a selection of over 4,000 products. Just a few ideas for Mom: The Dreams nightshirt, Kitchen Grip Oven Mitts, a delicate glass Mom vase and red rose, or a beautiful sterling silver beaded bracelet. You can browse through our selection of glass and crystal items, wall and garden plaques, scented candles, perfumes, jewelry, silk flowers, and much more.
Visit the Mother’s Day department at <http://www.blindmicemart.com/>, or, if you don’t have access to the Internet, call (713) 876-6971, and we will be glad to assist you. Braille Monitor readers can save 15 percent off orders. If shopping online, use the coupon code “NFB” at checkout. If shopping by phone, mention you saw this in the Braille Monitor.
Accepting Art for Exhibit:
The sixteenth annual Insights Art Exhibition calls for submissions. Work by legally blind artists in all media except video will be considered. The show will run in August 2005 at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery at City Hall. Cash prizes will be awarded. Submission deadline is Monday, May 2, 2005. To receive an application by mail, contact Sarah Millett, exhibition coordinator, at (415) 431-1481, ext. 286 or visit the presenter’s (San Francisco LightHouse) Web site to download an application at <www.lighthouse-sf.org/activities/insights/documents/
Wellness Seminars During Convention:
Paul Gabias, Ph.D., LL.D., and Mary Ellen Gabias, longtime leaders in the National Federation of the Blind, write to say that the Gabias Wellness Center is part of a large network of wellness consultants in thirty-five countries affiliated with Nikken, a Japanese multinational giant in the wellness and direct sales industry. Nikken’s goal is to create 10,000 healthy millionaires and to be in 100 countries by the year 2010. At the moment over sixty wellness consultants in North America are associated with the Gabias Wellness Center. Eleven are blind, nine of whom are members of the National Federation of the Blind. By the year 2010 the goal for the Gabias Wellness Center is to have 15,000 wellness consultants associated with the Center. We plan to create six healthy millionaires. Two will be blind.
Part of the impetus for this tremendous growth comes from some alarming statistics. In the United States in 2003, over 108,000 people died in the hospital while on prescribed medication. In addition, in 2003 over 250,000 people died while taking medication prescribed by their doctors. Recently some pharmaceutical companies have been under investigation for misrepresenting test results on drugs they are currently marketing. They have also been under investigation for price fixing and bribing medical scientists and healthcare professionals.
Even though the United States spends more on healthcare than all other countries combined, the United States is the leader in degenerative diseases. To no one’s surprise, people are looking for alternatives, and by the year 2010 wellness will grow into a trillion-dollar industry. Indeed many people say that they feel under pressure and too much stress. More and more people know that excess stress has been linked to cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and many auto-immune diseases. People are looking for a way out, and they prefer to avoid drugs or surgery.
The Gabias Wellness Center has a solution for you. We offer 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 offering you two free wellness seminars at the convention.
The first will be held on Saturday, July 2, between 6:30 and 10:00 p.m. The same wellness seminar will also be held Wednesday, July 6, between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Each seminar will begin with a wellness preview, which will last about an hour. The preview will highlight the Nikken product technologies and their benefits. During the preview and afterwards there will be plenty of time for testimonies, personal interactions, and product demonstrations. The last hour of each presentation will concentrate on business and training issues and what makes working with Nikken stand out in a trillion-dollar industry.
To reserve your place at either seminar, call the Gabias Wellness Center toll-free at (866) 218-2953. If you were referred by a Nikken wellness consultant, please let us know the name of the consultant. Everyone is welcome.
The Washington Center (TWC) Internship Program for Students with Disabilities:
Top Ten Reasons to Come to Washington, D.C., this fall:
10. A third of all TWC alums with disabilities have been offered employment, second internships, or longer mentoring relationships as a direct result of their internships.
9. Students live in beautiful (and yes, parents, very safe) apartment buildings in southern Maryland and northern Virginia, just blocks from the Metro.
8. The Metro. It’s beautiful and clean and highly accessible. Check out <www.wmata.com>.
7. D.C. has a highly temperate climate. Early fall will be warm and midfall colorful and cool, and we even get a little snow in late fall and early winter.
6. We’ll organize your internship on Capitol Hill, with a federal agency (Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, etc.), or within the federal court system (including the Department of Justice).
5. Networking, networking, networking!
4. Lots of great free things to do—from festivals on the Mall to the Smithsonian Museums and TWC activities—there are always things to do and people to do them with.
3. TWC values diversity in all forms.
2. Ninety-percent scholarships are available to undergraduate students with disabilities.
1. Washington is where the country comes together to make a difference.
Come to D.C. and learn about how you can be part of it all. We are accepting applications until May 5 (competitive deadline). For more information check out the new and improved TWC Web site: <http://www.twc.edu/students/public-services.html>. Our Jaws-accessible site is <www.aapd-dc.org>. Or contact J.T. Taransky, internship logistics coordinator, (V/TTY) (202) 457-0046, <aapdjt @aol.com> (email and IM), <jennyt @twc.edu> (email only), 1629 K Street NW, Suite 503, Washington, D.C. 20006.
Scholarships are available thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Volunteers Needed for National Survey:
The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute has teamed with researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, to launch a nationwide survey entitled, “Health and Sleep in the
Visually Impaired.” The project is headed by Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D.
The purpose of the study is to survey the health of blind women, especially risk of breast cancer. Previous studies in Europe have suggested that breast cancer risk may be lower in visually impaired women than in the sighted population and lowest in women who are totally blind. The aim of the current research is to find out whether this is the case in the United States and, if breast cancer risk is lower in visually impaired women, to discover the reasons why. Possible factors include changes in hormone levels, sleep and circadian rhythm disorders, reproductive history, and other factors such as smoking, exercise, or alcohol use. If we can understand why visually impaired women have a reduced risk, we hope that this information will be used to help both sighted and blind women make more informed lifestyle choices that may reduce their risk of developing cancer. We will keep participants updated on progress with a yearly newsletter summarizing our findings.
Any legally blind adult female can volunteer to take part, regardless of her health. The study is in two parts, and volunteers can choose to complete either Part 1 alone or both Parts 1 and 2. Part 1 is a survey that asks detailed questions about you and your health. Part 2 is a home-based study in which we will ask you to complete a daily sleep and nap diary for up to eight weeks and collect urine samples for at least two twenty-four to forty-eight-hour periods while living at home. The samples will be measured for hormones to assess the timing of your twenty-four-hour body clock and reproductive function. The survey and any instructions will be provided in the format of your choice including large print, Braille, audiotape, computer disk or CD, email, or oral interview. The survey can also be completed on the Internet. The equipment used to collect the urine samples will be provided and has been specifically adapted for visually impaired people.
If you are attending the NFB national convention and wish to volunteer for the study, you will be able to complete the survey there and also arrange to provide some of the urine samples at the convention. The researchers will be there to complete the surveys, provide instructions, and arrange sample collection. You will be asked to complete the sleep diaries in the weeks leading up to and following the convention.
If you are interested in volunteering for the study or want more information about the study, please call the toll-free number (888) 8-BVI-BWH—(888)
828-4294; go to <www.BVIhealthsurvey.bwh.harvard.edu>; email <[email protected]>; or write to Erin Evans, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Include your contact telephone number, address, or email address.
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.
Like-new Type ‘n Speak with disk drive, serial cable, and carrying case.
Asking $800 or best offer. Contact Lerone at <[email protected]> or call (225) 284-5939 or (888) 227-9177.
Speaking Language Master handheld speaking, spelling, Webster’s Dictionary, one-and-a-half years old, includes word games and all accessories.
Asking $400, includes shipping and
handling. Contact Tina Black at <[email protected]> or call (207) 443-2406.
Braille ‘n Speak Developer’s Kit Wanted:
This kit contains a C compiler and development environment for the PC. It was manufactured by Softools, sold by Blazie, but has now been discontinued by Freedom Scientific. I am seeking a complete package in good condition with all media and manuals. I will be using it for hobby purposes only, so pricing must be reasonable but can be negotiated. Contact Deborah Norling, (408) 921-5957, <[email protected]>.
Pac Mate BX400 for sale, only a year old, very rarely used, in perfect
condition, with memory card, companion CD’s, manuals and reference guides, carrying case, adapter, software, maintenance agreements, and all original product information. Price to be negotiated. Email Shelley Richards at <[email protected]> or call (856) 577-3564.
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.