Braille Monitor                                                                                 January 2006


Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family


Please note that the telephone number listed in the December issue for making room reservations at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the 2006 convention cannot be used. Reservations will only be accepted at (214) 761-7500, which is the number for the Dallas facility. The Anatole has recently become a Hilton property. We regret the confusion caused by corporate wheeling and dealing. Consult the convention summary at the front of this issue for up-to-date information about room reservations and convention preregistration.

First Call for Braille Books:

Donate your gently used but no longer needed Twin Vision™ books to the 2006 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 and Twin Vision books suitable for children are badly needed. We still have many books left from last year on other subjects. In other words, this year all we need are Twin Vision books and cookbooks.

In a few months we will have a local address in Texas where you can send the Braille books you wish to donate. Begin your search through the boxes in your basement and spare room, and get them ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or email at <>. Look for a Braille Book Flea Market update in the Braille Monitor very soon.


The following were elected to the NFB of Pennsylvania board of directors at the affiliate’s November convention: president, Jim Antonacci; first vice president, Judy Jobes; second vice president, Lynn Heitz; secretary, Connie Johnson; treasurer, Chuck Morgenstern; and members of the board, Denice Brown, Rod Powell, and Mark Stracks. Harriet Go, Kristen Jocums, and Cary Supalo continue to serve as board members for one more year.


The Parents of Blind Children of Michigan board of directors was recently elected. Members are president, Sharon Darga; treasurer, Debi Marlow; secretary, Sharonda Greenlaw; and board members, Cindi Dail and Tonya Erickson.

2006 National Federation of the Blind Science Academy:

The NFB's National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) is currently planning our 2006 Science Academy. The Rocket On! session for high school students will be July 14 to 22, while the Circle of Life session for middle school students will be July 29 to August 5. For more information or to apply to be a part of the Science Academy, visit <>. Applications must be returned by March 31, 2006. For more information contact the Education Department at the Jernigan Institute at (410) 659-9314.


The Des Moines Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa held its annual election on January 14, 2006, with the following results: president, Michael D. Barber; vice president, Al Bickell; secretary, Cindy Ray; treasurer, Roger Erpelding; and board members Joy Harris, Merry-Noel Chamberlain, and Sandi Ryan.

In Brief

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

New Uncontracted Braille Scripture Book Available:

Touched by God's Word is a collection of over 100 comforting scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Bible, compiled and translated by Sandy Price into an easy format to help those who struggle with reading Braille. The contents are double spaced and Brailled on one side only. It is spiral bound with a nice leatherette cover. Available in jumbo uncontracted, standard uncontracted, and contracted (Grade II) Braille. All translations are $14.95 each plus shipping and tax. To order a book, call Sandy Price at (804) 550-3733 or email <>.

Announcing an Accessible World Symposium “The World of Work in the 21st Century”:

Don't miss the upcoming online four-hour symposium with experts in the area of employment, hosted by Talking Communities. You will hear professional pointers on job-seeking skills, whether beginning or changing your career in today's workforce. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of presenters. All you need is a computer with a sound card and speakers. You may interact with presenters by either text chat or a microphone. Consider having groups of students and individuals seeking employment remotely view this symposium for advice and tips by placement specialists.

When: Thursday, March 30, 2006, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST. Please contact Pat Price, events coordinator, for further details by emailing <> or calling (317) 254-1185.

All symposia are free to the public from anywhere in the world. Programs are also archived for those who cannot attend the live events. To ensure you receive information about each event, join the Accessible World Announce List. Go to <>. Select the “subscribe to the announce list” link near the bottom of the page. You will then be taken to a preaddressed message in your email client. Send that message, and your name will automatically be added.

Did You Know?

A toll-free information service is now available to all phone users in the United States. Federal, state, and local government numbers are also available from the same source. The service will even dial the number at no cost to the caller. Cell phone companies charge $1 or more for 411/information calls. Instead, when you need to locate a phone number, try dialing (800) FREE-411, (800) 373-3411. The only charge you will incur is that for the cell phone minutes required to make the call.

Canadian Federation on the Move:

We recently received the following press release. It speaks for itself:

Victoria Children Learn that Braille Is Beautiful
with Help from Times Colonist Grant

Members of the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) are teaching grade four students in School District 61 about Braille and about blindness through the Braille Is Beautiful education and curriculum program.

"It was cool to learn about how blind people do things just like us,” says a grade four student at George Jay Elementary School.

"Braille is an essential form of literacy for blind people—just as print is an essential form of literacy for sighted people—and it should be a mandatory part of the education of blind and visually impaired children," says Elizabeth Lalonde, CFB president. "I had a bit of sight when I was young and, because of this, was not taught Braille. This was a major mistake since print was next to impossible for me to read," said Lalonde.

In the presentations blind CFB members teach children about the importance of Braille and provide a hands-on, interactive learning experience for the students. They also use the time to send a positive message about blindness and the abilities of blind people.
"It's great for the kids because they get to be involved. They watch a video about a blind person and get a chance to try Brailling their names and the alphabet with a slate and stylus—equivalent to a pen and paper for sighted people," says Lalonde.

The Canadian Federation of the Blind received a grant from the Times Colonist Book Drive Disbursement Fund as well as assistance from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), its sister organization in the United States. "The support from the Times Colonist, and the National Federation of the Blind in the U.S. made it possible for us to provide this valuable program to schools," said Lalonde. "It is also great that our own members who are blind are doing the teaching. We in the Federation believe the best way to give a positive message about blindness is for blind people themselves to give the message."

The Braille Is Beautiful program provides resources to the schools that teachers can use now and in subsequent years. Every class gets a kit that includes a teacher's guide, a video set, thirty sets of the student instruction book and workbook, a ream of Braille paper, twelve sets of slates and styli, forty-eight paperback books with real and fictional stories about Braille and living with blindness, thirty Braille alphabet cards, a teacher's guide on teaching Braille writing with a slate and stylus, and materials and instructions for doing Braille service projects.

"It was a wonderful presentation. The children really enjoyed it and learned a lot. They just love the slate and stylus and love to make Braille messages for me to figure out, and all the resources the CFB provided are wonderful," said Tracey Chrystal, grade four teacher at George Jay Elementary School.

The CFB has already taken the Braille Is Beautiful program to George Jay and Gordon Head elementary schools, and will visit James Bay, Northridge, Eagle View, Vickwest, and Frank Hobbs between now and the end of the school year. They will go to James Bay Elementary School on Tuesday, January 17.

The Canadian Federation of the Blind is a grassroots nonprofit organization made up of blind people committed to the equality and empowerment of blind Canadians. It is modeled after the National Federation of the Blind in the United States, the largest and most influential grassroots group of blind people in the world.

For more information about the Braille Is Beautiful program and the Canadian Federation of the Blind, contact:

Elizabeth Lalonde, president
Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB)
P.O. Box 8007
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada V8W 3R7
phone (250) 598-7154
fax (250) 595-4849
email <
Web site <>

Retreat Counselors Needed:

The Sacramento Society for the Blind is seeking several energetic and highly motivated counselors age nineteen and over to work for its annual summer youth retreat. These individuals will have to be not only self-directed, highly organized team players, but skilled in areas of blindness. The youth retreat will be an approximate three-week commitment in July 2006. Counselor training will take place prior to the camp, which spans from July 17 to July 29. Stipends will be given for work performed as well as any transportation costs incurred. For more information or an application please contact Michelle Bruns at <> or (916) 452-8271, ext. 328.

Online Writers Workshop:

Disabilities Task Force Chairman Sanford Rosenthal of the National Writers Union At-Large Chapter is launching a workshop project in mid March. It will be a weekly one-hour telephone format that participants can access from their homes at a scheduled day and time.

Writers will mentor aspiring writers on writing and publishing. We all have stories to tell, which should help to empower us all. Contact Sanford Rosenthal to get on the roster: <>, (954) 563-9449.

Monitor Mart

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

For Sale:

Tina Hubley wishes to sell a black-and-white and color CCTV. She is asking $1,200 or best offer. If interested, contact Tina Hubley, 971 Bancroft Road, Weston, Maine 04424, phone (207) 448-2719. If she does not answer, leave a message on her answering machine.

Hoping to Buy:

I am looking for a used Braille Blazer Embosser made by Freedom Scientific. The new list price is $1,895, but the most I can afford to spend is $900. If you can help me locate a used Braille Blazer as soon as possible, I'd greatly appreciate it. Please contact Melody Heath by email at <>, by mail at 3237 Yanceyville Street, Apartment 4-A, Greensboro, North Carolina 27405, home phone (336) 638-5287, cell phone (336) 988-2835.

For Sale:

I have a TeleTouch for sale. It is a mechanical device used with deaf-blind people mostly. It is in perfect condition, and I'm asking $400 including shipping. Please call (815) 654-3190, evenings; or email <>.

NFB Pledge

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