The Braille Monitor                                                                              October 2005


NFB of California Hosts JPL Interns

by Nancy Burns

From the Editor: Nancy Burns is president of the NFB of California. In the following brief article reprinted from the summer 2005 issue of the NFBC Journal, the publication of the California affiliate, she reports on some of the activities the Jet Propulsion Laboratory interns enjoyed with affiliate members last summer. This is what she says:

The EXCEL (Excellence through Challenging Exploration and Leadership) program, launched by the NFB Jernigan Institute in partnership with NASA, created an internship for blind or visually impaired students. The nationwide search resulted in the placement of six students--three at Goddard and three at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory--for a six-week internship. The first week was spent at the NFB convention in Louisville, serving as NASA ambassadors. The next five weeks were spent at their intern locations.

This internship combined work experience through NASA with mentoring and support from the NFB. The JPL interns monitored the Mars Rover Web page to determine if any accessibility issues existed.

While in California, the three bright young JPL student interns got to know NFBC members. David Wright, eighteen, was from Chicago, Illinois; Grace King, nineteen, was from Madison, Wisconsin; and Thien Vu, twenty-one, was from Sacramento, California. On one occasion the interns were invited to the NFBC office for breakfast and to mix and mingle with Federationists. After breakfast several of us took a short bus and subway ride to downtown Hollywood, because the students had expressed a desire to tour that area. The group checked out stars on Hollywood Boulevard, picked up souvenirs at gift shops, and enjoyed lunch at Johnny Rocketís, a fifties diner.

During their last weekend in California an NFB member invited the students to her home for pizza, swimming in the condo pool, and a trip to Newport Beach. The three interns enjoyed some California sun and surf. Their hosts, Anne and John Hartzell, generously opened their home and provided some of the transportation for the interns.

Early one Tuesday morning the three interns--accompanied by Connie Gennaro, Mars public engagement outreach coordinator and intern supervisor--spoke to the Burbank Sunrise Rotary Club. Their presentation was well received, and many questions were asked. The students did a great job of discussing their intern experience and fielding enthusiastic questions from Rotary Club members.


Life Insurance--The Forgotten Gift?

Do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? Perhaps your other assets have grown to provide the protection you require, and the insurance policy lies forgotten in a safe deposit box. Did you know that the policy would make a wonderful charitable gift to the National Federation of the Blind?

Instead of giving cash or stock, you could sign over your policy to the National Federation of the Blind and, generally speaking, receive a charitable income tax deduction for the replacement value of the policy. The National Federation of the Blind could put those dormant dollars to work right away.

Your gift of life insurance can be used to fund a special project or educational program or to honor or memorialize a loved one. The policy could also be used to assist the NFB Jernigan Instituteís Imagination Fund.

If you have insurance you would like to contribute or if you are currently paying premiums on a policy and would like to know how it might work as a gift, contact Izzy Menchero, director of outreach programs, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2408. He will be pleased to meet with you or talk to you and describe the various ways insurance can be used to make a planned gift. You are also encouraged to meet with your insurance representative and discuss your charitable giving plan.