The Braille Monitor                                                                              October 2005

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Training and Organizing People to Serve;
New Program Is the TOPS

by Rosie Carranza

From the Editor: Rosie Carranza is now working with Joanne Wilson at the National Center for the Blind to assist affiliates to become more effective in doing their work. Here is her report on an exciting new program to help in this effort.

Seeking ideas on how to liven up a chapter meeting? Are candy bar sales losing popularity and causing weight gain among your chapter members? Would you benefit from learning strategies for attracting new people to our organization? Looking for ways to motivate members to action?

Rosie Carranza 

Rosie Carranza

In response to these questions and many other inquiries, we have created an innovative leadership-development program to support Federationists as they strive to spread the positive message of the National Federation of the Blind. Training and Organizing People to Serve (TOPS) is a cutting-edge leadership-development program that offers practical advice on topics of prime concern to those who are interested in building our movement and in changing the lives of blind people. TOPS seminars combine engaging hands-on activities with lively discussions addressing issues such as membership development, public education, fundraising, and legislative action. Furthermore, TOPS seminars facilitate dialogue between members to exchange ideas and to share common experiences. Participants discuss how their personal talents and abilities can be employed to support the collective efforts of the organized blind movement. Most important, this training builds a sense of camaraderie between members and recommits participants to the mission and goals of the organization. Longtime members will feel rejuvenated, and rising leaders become inspired and ready to serve.

Through resources available from the Imagination Fund, we are pleased to offer affiliates the opportunity to have TOPS workshops conducted in conjunction with their state conventions. Workshops can be tailored to meet the needs of affiliates and to accommodate busy convention agendas. Workshops are being offered in the following areas: establishing a public relations plan, creating strategic initiatives, motivating members, building membership, planning fundraising activities, creating a legislative action plan, developing public speaking skills, conducting meetings, and developing effective advocacy skills. To obtain further information or to schedule a TOPS workshop for your state, contact Dr. Joanne Wilson at (410) 659-9314, extension 2335.

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