Braille Monitor                                                           April 2007

(contents)

Braille Monitor

Vol. 50, No. 4                                                                    April 2007

Barbara Pierce, editor

Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by

The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, president

 

National Office
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
telephone: (410) 659-9314
email address: nfb@nfb.org
Web site address: http://www.nfb.org
NFBnet.org: http://www.nfbnet.org
NFB-NEWSLINE® information: (866) 504-7300

 

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 bpierce@nfb.org.

 

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

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES

        ISSN 0006-8829

____________________________________________________________________

Contents

Vol. 50, No. 4                                                                       April 2007

 

Convention Announcement  

The Memories and the Promise 

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel 
by Barbara Pierce

Spotlight on Affiliate Action  

Structured Discovery in Cane Travel  
Constructivism in Action
by Matthew M. Maurer, Edward C. Bell, Eric Woods, and Roland Allen

Travel Class from Hell
by Robert Gardner

2007 Convention Attractions

NFB Camp: It’s More Than Child’s Play
by Carla Mcquillan

Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation  
Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed!
by D. Curtis Willoughby

Children Will Listen
by Lynn Heitz

Dialysis at National Convention
by Ed Bryant

Convention Scholarships Available  
by Allen Harris

Recipes

Monitor Miniatures

 

Copyright 2007 National Federation of the Blind

 

Atlanta Site of 2007 NFB Convention

The 2007 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, June 30 through July 6, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. For room reservations call (888) 218-5399.

The 2007 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $61 and triples and quads $66 a night, plus a 15 percent sales 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, 2007. The other 50 percent is not refundable.

Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made before June 1, 2007, assuming that rooms are still available. After that time the hotel will not hold our block of rooms for the convention. In other words you should get your reservation in as soon as possible.

Guestroom amenities include cable television, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and high-speed Internet access. The Marriott has several excellent restaurants. The hotel is currently undergoing renovations that will result in some alteration in the configuration of these. We will report on the changes as the convention draws near. It still features indoor and outdoor pools, solarium, health club, whirlpool, and sauna.

We strongly recommend preregistering for the convention itself online or by mail any time starting March 1 and ending May 31. The 2007 convention will follow what many think of as our usual schedule:

Saturday, June 30 Seminar Day
Sunday, July 1 Registration Day
Monday, July 2 Board Meeting and Division Day
Tuesday, July 3 March for Independence and Opening Session
Wednesday, July 4 Tour Day
Thursday, July 5 Banquet Day
Friday, July 6 Business Session

2007 National Convention Preregistration Form

Please use this form or provide all the requested information.

Registrant Name ___________________________________________________
(print legibly)
Address _________________________________________________________
City ____________________________________________________________
State ___________________________________ Zip ____________________
Phone __________________________________________________________

___ I will pick up my registration packet at convention.
___ The following person will pick up my registration packet:

Pickup Name ______________________________________
Please register only one person per registration form.
One check or money order may cover multiple registrations.
Check or money order (sorry, no credit cards) must be enclosed with registration form(s).

Number of preregistrations x $15 = ____________
Prepurchased banquet tickets x $35 = ____________
Total ______________

All preconvention registration and banquet sales are final (no refunds).
Mail to: National Federation of the Blind
Attn: Convention Registration
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Registrations must be postmarked by May 31, 2007.

 

The Memories and the Promise

Every NFB national convention is unique. If it is your first, it is likely always to hold a special place in your heart because it includes so many firsts in your experience. Some readers who open this issue are still considering whether or not to take the plunge and travel to Atlanta for the 2007 convention. Many articles in the following pages will provide information about the things that will be happening at the Marriott Marquis Hotel during the first week of July. We hope you will find the information useful as you consider whether to take your courage in both hands and step into the unknown by traveling to the convention and, if so, how early to arrive.

But this first article may also be helpful as you think about whether or not to come. It is a report of a tiny piece of what went on during the 2006 convention. The report first appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of Future Reflections, the magazine of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. I hope that you will read it even if you are not the parent of a blind child. By providing a glimpse of one element of the convention activities last year, it can kindle your imagination as you consider what you might experience this year in the parts of the agenda and the activities in which you are particularly interested.

So read on. Consider the impact that these events made on the families who took part in them. Then allow yourself to imagine what adventures and new experiences could be waiting for you in Atlanta:

 

2006 Convention Photo Report
(knowledge - pity) + (skills x confidence) + blind role models = self-determination
self-determination + (talent x perseverance) = SUCCESS

Is the task of raising a child an art or a science? Probably both. At the 2006 National Federation of the Blind national convention last summer in Dallas, Texas, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) adopted a theme—“The Equation for Success”--from the world of science. With the help of dynamic, knowledgeable presenters and a wide variety of programs and activities for parents and kids, we explored together the elements of the equation that lead to success for blind children and youth. As always, parents also discovered that simply observing the thousands of blind people traveling independently around the hotel and doing all the normal things that people do at conventions was itself as valuable as all of the organized seminars, workshops, and activities combined.

The following photos and descriptions are highlights from the 2006 convention. Mostly we have selected photos that depict the programs sponsored at the convention by the NOPBC. (As many people have observed, the NOPBC programs alone constitute a conference within a conference.) For a thorough overview of the entire convention, see the August/September 2006 issue of the Braille Monitor. The issue is available on the NFB Web site at www.nfb.org (click on “Publications” and select “Braille Monitor”). Also back copies in print or alternate formats may be requested from the NFB Independence Market at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216.

The weeklong convention began on Saturday, July 1, a day set aside by the convention for NFB divisions to conduct seminars. And that’s where we begin our photo report:

Saturday, July 1, 2006

The NOPBC seminar begins with the annual “Kid Talk” with NFB President Maurer seated on the floor with the children. His time with the kids centers on the new Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader, dubbed the “best new invention ever” in the NOPBC agenda. Dr. Maurer shows them how the reader works, then passes it around while he patiently answers questions and encourages the kids to use their hands to examine the machine. “Lots of people don’t want us to touch things,” he tells them, “but that’s how blind people learn. At this convention we want you to touch things.”

After the children return to their seats, Ryan Strunk, president of the National Association of Blind Students, kicks off the adult portion of the seminar with a keynote address about the “Equation for Success.” He begins the speech with the statement that, in regard to the equation in the agenda, “in fact, there are two other elements involved: improv [improvisation] and luck.” With frankness and humor he explains that just before he came to the convention, he picked up some clothes from his dry cleaners and stuffed them in his garment bag. Unknown to him, the cleaners had removed the tags from his colored shirts (in his system, shirts with no tags are white) and gave him someone else’s dress pants, all of which he discovered only shortly before dressing for the seminar that morning. But, because he is flexible and has learned many problem-solving skills throughout his growing-up years--and with a little luck--he managed to put together a suitable outfit. Ryan continued to speak of his own experiences with sincerity and humor while delineating the components of the equation that combine to create successful blind adults.

Following Ryan Strunk, Eric Vasiliauskas, a pediatrician and parent of two blind sons, Vejas and Petras, speaks to parents on the topic, “The Power of Knowledge.” Who knew that Dr. V. (as he’s affectionately known) could turn such a dry-sounding title into a speech that moved many in the audience to tears? (This powerful speech was printed in its entirety in the March issue of the Braille Monitor.)

After lunch on Saturday Susan Osterhaus, a math teacher from the Texas School for the Blind, leads a standing-room-only workshop. As the attentive crowd looks on, Osterhaus describes math techniques, tools, tips, strategies, and resources for blind youth. The workshop was one of three topics in the middle school/high school strand. There were four workshop strands in all--early years, elementary years, middle school/high school, and special topics--and three workshop titles per strand, for a total of twelve different workshops for parents and teachers.

Angela Wolfe, coordinator of the “Art with Feeling” afternoon session for children ages eight to twelve, poses for a picture as youngster Cindy Plac (El Salvador) displays her latest creation. Kudos go to Wolfe for putting together and conducting this session at the last minute when the original program had to be canceled.

Matt Maurer, President Maurer’s brother, plays a Braille-related game with six-year-old Jasani Whitehead (Iowa) at the Braille Carnival. The Braille Carnival was reorganized this year into smaller, multiple sessions in order to provide more individual attention to each child.

In “Talk about It Theater,” coordinated by Carrie Gilmer, kids tackle difficult social situations they may encounter in their daily lives. Through a skit they create then act out, these blind and sighted youth learn how to react to ignorance and misinformation about blindness.

Instructor and mentor Barbara Pierce of Ohio, and Dasha Radford, age ten (North Carolina), quickly become close-knit friends at the knitting workshop for kids ages eight to twelve.

Jimmy Cale and R. J. Crease of Indiana are intrigued at the prospect of trying out newly developed lab tools for blind students during the “Chemistry: Seeing Color through Sound” program for teens. Organized and conducted by Andrew Greenberg of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, and blind chemist Cary Supalo of the Independent Laboratory Access for the Blind (ILAB) project, this workshop was one of three afternoon sessions offered to teens in collaboration with the NFB Jernigan Institute, Center for Blind Youth in Science.

The chance to get together with other teens to share experiences is a convention plus. While parents and younger kids relax and enjoy socializing Saturday night at Family Hospitality, teens talk about issues concerning dating, relationships with parents, social interactions, and more at Teen Talk, a regular NOPBC-sponsored session just for teens. Throughout the convention, NOPBC also offers a safe, supervised hangout environment in the Teen Hospitality room.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Orientation and mobility instructor Roland Allen of Louisiana teaches nine-year-old Nautica Whitehead of Iowa how to use a cane on stairs during the NOPBC-sponsored Sunday morning Cane Walk. On the Cane Walk blind children learn tips and techniques based on the structured-discovery method taught by (mostly) blind volunteer instructors while sighted parents and siblings have the option of experiencing a cane lesson under sleepshades.

Shawn Payne of Utah and his sons Andrew, age three, and Jacob, age five, pose for a picture after participating in one of the two Cane Walk sessions. Parents with infants and toddlers have the option at the Cane Walk to spend time with Joe Cutter talking about early movement and cane use.

On Sunday afternoon MATHCOUNTS Executive Director Lawrence Jacobson speaks to the Math Now! Forum and Seminar for Math Lovers about the need for our country to entice young people from diverse populations into math and engineering careers. The forum was preceded in the morning by a closed math competition between teams of four students--Hannah Weatherd, Michael Taboada, Kyra Sweeney, and Megan Bening--and four adults--Steve Jacobson, Nathaniel Wales, Jason Ewell, and Paul Dressell--using Brailled MathCounts local and regional level competition materials.

Kyra Sweeney concentrates on a problem in the individual round.

The members of the kids’ team listen intently while Kristin Chandler of MATHCOUNTS gives instructions. The results of the competition are announced at the forum. Engineer Nathaniel Wales of California gets the top score, but close on his heels was Louisiana seventh grader Michael Taboada, who took top honors for the kids’ team.

Jean Bugby is accompanied by her adult daughter, who is blind and severely multiply disabled, as she copresents at the Sunday afternoon workshop, “An Introduction to Active Learning.” The Texas School for the Blind (TSB) partnered with the NOPBC by providing two other presenters for the workshop--Amy Doezema and Sara Kitchen, both teachers at TSB.      

NOPBC board members Kevin Harris (left) and Brad Weatherd organize the first-ever Dads’ Night Out at the 2006 convention. The informal meeting at one of the hotel lounges featured buffalo wings, beer, camaraderie, and lots of talk about--what else?--their kids.

Monday, July 3, 2006

The NOPBC annual meeting on Monday afternoon pulls together parents at every stage of involvement in the NFB. Here president Barbara Cheadle (center) consults with NOPBC treasurer and longtime leader in Louisiana, Sandy Taboada, (left) and first-time parent Teri Turgeon (right) of Massachusetts. Teri and her husband John are among the eighteen sets of parents who attended the convention with funding from the NFB Parent Leadership Program--a new initiative to develop parent leadership at the state and national levels.

On Monday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Braille book lovers of all ages gather for the Braille Book Flea Market.

Ahbee Orton of Texas makes several selections and sits down to read.

Bianca Saranieco of California browses through a stack of Braille book titles, and Anna Walker reads a book with her mother, Carlton Walker of Pennsylvania.

The Braille Book Flea Market is fun for the entire family. The Colton family—Denise, Rick, and Katie--pause for a photo before Katie gives her Braille book selections to the UPS volunteers to be boxed and later taken to the post office to be shipped Free Matter for the Blind back to their home in Utah.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

If it’s Tuesday night, it must be IEP workshop night. Teachers Gail Wagner of New Mexico and Merry-Noel Chamberlain of Iowa, both past winners of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award, copresent a workshop for parents and teachers who are veterans of the IEP process (it was purely coincidence that Tuesday, and therefore the workshop, fell on July 4). Other workshop options included an IEP workshop for those new to the process and an “Access-It-Yourself” workshop about how to locate resources.

Nani Fife of Hawaii leads a workshop designed to put the fun back into exercising with her “Hula Workout” seminar for Federationists of all ages.

Lindsay Adair of Texas proudly shows off her Independence Day dress to the photographer who stops by NFB Camp to get a few snapshots of the kids whose parents take advantage of the NFB-sponsored childcare services, coordinated by Federation volunteer Carla McQuillan.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

On Wednesday the convention adjourns at noon, and the afternoon is free for convention attendees to relax, take in the local sights, or drop in for a little bit of Cane Talk with Joe Cutter and other Federation mobility instructors.

Kristin Turgeon (Massachusetts) and her father John examine and compare access technology in the vast exhibit hall. The convention brings together in one place at one time, about eighty vendors--nonprofits, for-profits, big companies and small--of specialized products, materials, and access technologies for the blind. The exhibit hall is a rare opportunity for blind kids and their families to, as one mom put it elsewhere in this issue, “Try before you buy.”

Levi Bressan from Colorado savors his chance to sit in a red 1957 Thunderbird, one of many coveted cars at the classic and antique car show in the parking lot of the hotel on Wednesday afternoon. The show was organized by the new Classics, Antiques, and Rods (CARs) Division of the NFB.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

On Thursday night a record-breaking crowd packs into the ballroom to partake of the festivities at the annual banquet.

Dr. Maurer delivers his banquet address, entitled “An Element of Justice,” to an enthusiastic crowd.

Friday, July 7, 2006

On Friday, after a general assembly session filled with roll calls, legislative reports, debates, and votes, we begin to depart the convention center in Dallas. Satisfied with a week full of fun, education, and rejuvenation, we bid farewell to many friends. Barbara Cheadle says see you next year to two-year-old Anton Kiwimagi of Colorado.

 

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel

by Barbara Pierce


From the Editor: In 2004 we published an article describing the layout of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The hotel is in the midst of making some alterations, though a number will not take place until after our convention. By and large the layout is the same as it has been. So, with appropriate adjustments, we reprint the May 2004 article for your use again this year to prepare for our national convention:

I don't know about you, but I always find it helpful to know something about a convention hotel before walking into it for the first time. Several people who have already visited this year's convention headquarters hotel have pooled their information to give you a preview of the beautiful Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and I have tried to present the material in a way you will find useful. I am grateful to them for their help, but the fact that we will be in the hotel during the transition may lead to some inaccuracies in this report. Please note that the old Garden Level is now the Atrium Level, and the Convention Level is now the Marquis Level.

The main entrance of the Marriott faces Peachtree Center Avenue, which is west of the hotel. To reach the Marriott from the street, you walk east through a covered courtyard formed by the Marquis One Office Tower on the south and the Marquis Two Office Tower on the north. Continue east through the courtyard to reach the main entrance doors.

The hotel lobby is long and narrow along its east-west axis. The bell stand and hotel registration desk are on the north side of the lobby at the west end, and the concierge desk is south of the main entrance doors on the west end. Escalators run from the west end of the hotel up to the Atrium Level, and down to the Marquis Level. On the south side of the Lobby Level at the west end is a new Starbucks and a new gift shop/deli called the M-Store, which sells salads, wrapped deli sandwiches, and the like. Alas the Atrium Express restaurant is no more, though the seating area and a bar are in the area, so the food sold in the M-Store will now be your best bet in the hotel for a meal on the run. Near the southwest corner of the lobby is the entrance to a complex of meeting rooms numbered L501 through L508.

The health center with exercise equipment and a spa is still located to the east of this area. It is free to hotel guests and open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The entrance to the pool is on the Lobby Level on the south side and toward the west end. At the east end of the building on the south side of the lobby are more meeting rooms numbered L401 through L406. Along the north wall of the lobby are hotel offices. New escalators connecting the Atrium, Lobby, and International Levels run along the east side of the hotel. Two elevators connecting the Lobby Level with the Marquis and International Levels and the parking garage are located at the east end. Stairs and escalators leading down to the Marquis Level and up to the Atrium Level can be found at the west end of the lobby (south of the hotel registration desk).

The elaborate set of glass elevators in the spectacular fifty-story atrium, pictured in the accompanying photograph, occupies the center of the lobby and can be reached on every floor by crossing any of up to four balustraded bridges. A word should be said about the elevators. All fifteen are located in the center of the atrium and stop at the Marquis, Lobby, Atrium, and Skyline Levels, but it is important to board the one traveling to the guest-room floor you are hoping to reach. They divide like this: floors 1 to 17, 18 to 30, 31 to 41, and 42 to 47. If you should find yourself heading to the wrong part of the hotel, press the button for the Skyline Level, which is the tenth floor, where all the elevators stop and where you can easily change from one bank of elevators to another.

The Atrium Level is immediately above the lobby. Two restaurants are located on this floor. The west portion of the Atrium Level is connected to the larger east side by walkways on both sides of the escalators and stairs that lead down to the outside of the main entrance. The courtyard in front of the hotel is beneath this west end. Access to the two office towers is from the south and north sides of this central space. The retail shops that used to be here are no longer in the center of this west end, but a group of four meeting rooms still occupies the far west end and northwest corner of the space. These rooms are numbered A701 through A708.

The entrance to the Peachtree Center Mall is on the south side of the west section. Access to the food court, a number of shops, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system is from this point on the Atrium Level.

On the north side of the Atrium Level is Champions. Choose from a wide assortment of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Champions is open for lunch, dinner, and late-night entertainment. It also offers wine, cocktails, and beers from sixteen countries. Entertainment includes twenty-six televisions with satellite technology, two big screens, basketball, football, and eighteen-hole putting games, pool tables, and more. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. If you seem to remember that Champions was in a different location, you are right. The Marquis Steak House is no more. Champions now occupies its space.

Almost in the northeast corner of the Atrium Level is Allie's American Grille: traditional American cuisine, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has an expanded menu because of the closing of the Marquis Steak House. It features a hearty breakfast buffet every morning. The hours are breakfast: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; a lunch buffet: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; dinner 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
In the southeast corner of the Atrium Level is the indoor/outdoor swimming pool, but please note that access to it is from the Lobby Level.
The Marquis Level is one floor below the lobby. The west end houses a cluster of meeting rooms numbered M301 through M304. The Kinko’s and Fed-Ex offices are also in this area. The Marquis Ballroom occupies the north wall of the Marquis Level across most of its west-to-east length. The smaller Imperial Ballroom, which divides into Ballrooms A and B, occupies the south wall, across from Marquis Ballroom 2. The southeast area of the Marquis Level contains a number of meeting rooms numbered M101 through M109. An escalator connecting the Atrium, Lobby, Marquis, and International Levels is at this east end of the hotel along with the two elevators that connect the Marquis and International Levels to the parking areas.

The International Level is immediately below the Marquis Level, on the hotel's east and south sides. The Courtland Street entrance is also in the International Level lobby.

To make your room reservation, call the Marriott at (888) 218-5399. The 2007 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $61 and triples and quads $66 a night, plus a 15 percent sales 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.
The 2007 convention will be like no other we have ever conducted. You won't want to miss the event, and it won't be the same without you. So make your travel arrangements and room reservation, go to <nfb.org> and save $10 by preregistering for the convention and purchasing your banquet ticket before May 31, then join us June 30 through July 6 for the most exciting and informative gathering of the blind to take place in 2007. See you in Atlanta.

 

In the Spotlight: Affiliate Action

From the Editor: The spotlight this month is on major affiliate projects. The first is an ambitious fundraiser. These are always lots of work, but done well they can be satisfying and eventually bring in significant funds and provide valuable public education for the organization. To ensure that any major project will succeed in meeting some or all of its goals, you must identify enthusiastic members with organizational skills and some experience in planning large events of some kind. You will also benefit from recruiting skilled assistance from beyond affiliate membership. Some people actually love to plan and execute large events. Before thankfully accepting an offer to help from such a person, however, it is wise to check on his or her track record. You don’t need the help of someone who cost another organization $30,000, even if the PR was great. Thelma Godwin of the NFB of Georgia describes that affiliate’s experience hosting an annual dinner and silent auction.

Chad and Erin Wilburn of the NFB of Utah describe that affiliate’s efforts to educate the public about blindness during Meet the Blind Month. Whether you are raising money or educating the public, complex events require careful planning, a scrupulous adherence to your timeline, and a hard-working committee.

This is what Thelma says:

The Black Tie-White Cane Appreciation Banquet

by Thelma Godwin

Thelma Godwin serves as second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia. She has been the driving force behind the NFB of Georgia Black Tie-White Cane Appreciation Banquet event. Here is what she has to say to affiliates interested in coordinating banquet fundraisers.

Raising money for the organization has continued to be one of the more challenging responsibilities members of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia face. We have been fairly successful with our candy sales and raffle tickets, and these fundraisers continue to raise money for the organization. I believe that arming members and friends with an NFB brochure and a small premium item is the best way to allow every member to get involved in the outreach, education, and fundraising efforts of the organization. However, in addition to these small-scale projects, we also wanted an event that would allow us to raise significant funds while promoting the organization in a more ambitious way. We wanted something formal and a bit elegant--an event that combined food, fellowship, and fun. We decided on a banquet. In a matter of approximately four months, we planned and hosted our first fundraising banquet. On October 7, 2006, the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia hosted our fifth annual Black Tie-White Cane Appreciation Banquet.

We have had many inquiries from brother and sister Federation affiliates about the event, so here is some information about the development and planning of the BTWC Banquet. The following is a summary of the steps we took to develop the event and some information about last year’s BTWC Banquet.

The first time we took a simple approach. We set a goal of one hundred attendees. We chose this number because we knew from our convention banquet attendance that we could get a hundred people to attend a banquet. In fact we ended up with over a hundred attendees. Next we shopped around for a venue. We had a relationship with the Holiday Inn in downtown Atlanta because we regularly hold the Christmas party for the Atlanta chapter there. So that is where we held the first banquet, but our subsequent events have been held at the fabulous Atlanta Marriott Marquis and have drawn over two hundred attendees. This year we will be at the Doubletree Atlanta-Buckhead Hotel because the BTWC Banquet will double as the banquet for our state convention, which is being held at that facility.

Before our first BTWC Banquet we met with the Holiday Inn Downtown Atlanta sales representative and discussed banquet room rental and menu prices. The meal was simple: salad, bread, chicken, two vegetables, tea, and a dessert. The total cost of the room, meals, and gratuity came to about $3,000. We used this figure to decide on the banquet ticket price. We wanted ticket sales to cover the cost of the event and raise a little money. We played with a variety of ways to determine the cost of the banquet ticket. We eventually decided the price by determining that the per-person expense (room rental and meal plus gratuity) would be $30, so we doubled this cost to establish our banquet ticket price at $60 a person.

Developing the event program was the next step. “Black Tie-White Cane” was catchy, but what did it mean? We adopted the following title and tag line, which has been included in the event description, banquet program, and sponsorship solicitation literature of each BTWC banquet. Here is the text of our promotional flyer:

Black Tie/White Cane Appreciation Banquet

This is the fifth annual Black Tie/White Cane Appreciation Banquet hosted by the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia. The banquet will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2006, at the Doubletree Hotel Atlanta Buckhead. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.

Our defining educational and fundraising event, the banquet denotes style and purpose. The black tie symbolizes the prestige and dignity blind people strive to attain in a society notably indifferent to the needs and aspirations of its blind citizens. The white cane is the tool we use to travel independently as contributing, productive members of the community and is a symbol of our independence.

Blind People
Sharing the Responsibility
Sharing the Reward

The National Federation of the Blind of Georgia works to improve the lives of all blind people. We believe that blindness is only a characteristic; given proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a mere nuisance. We work to remove the negative stereotypes associated with blindness and replace them with a belief in the true potential of blind people. We recognize that the greatest barriers we face are public attitudes that serve to reduce us to dependency with little or no benefit to others. We believe in the abilities of blind people, and we insist that it is respectable to be blind.

Those who strive for full participation must accept the responsibility entailed. We must be accountable, so we embrace a philosophy that inspires us to achieve excellence. We rescue other blind people from self-pity by promoting the understanding that we control our own destinies. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than the one others have set for us, trusting that they will come to realize that we can be vital, contributing, productive members of society.

The National Federation of the Blind of Georgia is part of a national movement fighting for the civil rights of the blind. We fight for only what we need to become contributing members of our communities. Though our tools and techniques may be different, we ask for no more than anyone else, but certainly no less! The rewards we seek are respect and dignity. We will accept our responsibility as members of society, and we triumphantly claim our reward and gratefully take our places as equal participants in achieving the American dream.

Black Tie/White Cane Appreciation Banquet
Sponsorship Opportunities

The NFB of Georgia is a 501c(3) nonprofit volunteer organization of blind people speaking for ourselves. We capitalize on the donated services and professional talents of our members. All funds donated to the NFB of Georgia are tax deductible and provide outreach, education, advocacy, training, and the other services necessary for blind people to obtain equality, opportunity, and security. With your help we train blind people in the leadership and advocacy skills they need to strive for full participation and self-determination.

$5,000 Prestige Honor Sponsor

$2,500 Dignity Honor Sponsor

$1,000 Independence Honor Sponsor

All sponsor names will appear in the banquet program in recognition of their support of the NFB of Georgia and the true independence of blind people. Individual tickets can be purchased for $60 each. Sponsors can use them as rewards for employees who have demonstrated outstanding community service over the past year. Tickets can also be returned to the NFB of Georgia for use by blind or visually impaired people.

Along with the banquet, we conduct a silent auction. We try to obtain quality items for the bidding. We have developed a relationship with a local gallery that provides us very nice artwork crafted by people with disabilities. We set the minimum bid price at the cost of the item, and the NFB of Georgia receives any income above the minimum bid.

With careful planning the event can run on automatic pilot once it starts. We have a reception with music while attendees browse and place their bids at the silent auction tables. We start dinner promptly. Thirty minutes into dinner we start the program, which consists of entertainment, award presentations, and then our keynote speaker. After all the formality we transition into a party with a variety of music and dancing.

I have served as the event coordinator since the conception of the banquet. This event requires a lot of coordination and broad participation by members. I must attribute our success to having a tremendous team of committed, talented Federationists who continue to volunteer their time to develop a quality event. If your affiliate is thinking about hosting such an event, my advice is to focus on having a good time and plan to cover your expenses. On its own the BTWC is an excellent educational opportunity that we would continue to host as long as we could cover our expenses. Thankfully we now actually clear approximately $6,000 with the event. Professional event planners told us that it is common to lose money the first time you coordinate such an event. Luckily we did not consult them before we made our plans the first time.

Changing What It Means to Be Blind
One Event at a Time

by Chad and Erin Wilburn

This year the Utah affiliate ventured into unknown territory. In previous years we have celebrated White Cane Safety Day by meeting our governor and conducting chapter activities, all of which were well attended and well received. This year we welcomed some great new leadership into our state student division, which in turn brought some new ideas. Chad Wilburn, president of the Utah Student Division and the Weber/ Davis Chapter, volunteered to chair the Utah Affiliate White Cane Awareness Day Committee.

Members of the NFB always want to educate the public and our families about what it means to be blind. So this was our goal for the first annual White Cane Awareness Fair, held October 20, 2006, at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City. We recognize that family members, friends, and work or school colleagues often know very little about how we do things and think we are remarkable because we are able to do the things they do. So we decided to sponsor an event to educate newly blind adults, families of blind children, and members of the public who, for whatever reason, were interested in learning more about blindness and blind people.

On October 19 at 10:00 a.m., Chad Wilburn and Ron Gardner were guests on a local talk show called Good Things Utah. They spoke about the issues surrounding blindness and how sighted people can help to dispel the myths about blindness. Unfortunately our air time was cut short, but off the air the conversation continued. The result was that we have been asked to return as guests for two additional segments, one on NFB-NEWSLINE® and another about cooking.

On October 20 from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m., the NFB was featured on Channel 2’s Morning News. We did four segments with a reporter at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Salt Lake City. Bill Gibson, the Division’s director, taught Allie how to bake cookies. Tai Tomasi taught her about Braille and the importance of Braille literacy. Everette Bacon demonstrated the Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader, and Ron Gardner, our state president, taught her how to use a cane. All of these segments were done under sleepshades.

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Gallivan Center each chapter of the Utah affiliate staffed a booth. We had information, Braille, technology, children’s toys and games, the latest accessible voting machine, cane travel, and food booths. Our families learned how to read and type their names in Braille. Our children played and danced to catchy music, and the public learned what it means to be blind and that it is respectable to be blind.

During the planning process we hit a number of bumps. Each of the TV stations Chad contacted turned down the opportunity to be associated with our fair. But, as we all know, persistence pays off. After many emails and phone calls they all agreed to participate, and each station expressed a strong interest in being more involved with the blind community of Utah.

The National Federation of the Blind of Utah is changing what it means to be blind, one event at a time. Here is an example. We received an email and picture from a grateful mother, Anne Harvey, whose 3-year-old son took a big step toward independence. She wrote: “My son Adam had a great time checking out the Gallivan Center with his cane. He has really started doing well with his cane travel, and we can’t wait to learn more. It was exciting to watch him explore the different surfaces with his cane--he has had a lot of trouble transitioning between different surfaces and different colors--I think he can’t tell if it’s a step or not. For the first time, at the Gallivan Center, I watched him cautiously extend his cane across two surfaces, and he could tell they were the same level and then felt safe to continue walking. And I felt safe too. Great! Really Great!”

Adam Harvey and other children like him are the reason we must educate ourselves, our families, and our communities about what it means to be blind. We will be conducting our fair again during Meet the Blind Month 2007.

 

Structured Discovery in Cane Travel
Constructivism in Action


by Matthew M. Maurer, Edward C. Bell, Eric Woods, and Roland Allen

From the Editor: The following article first appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 88, No. 04, December 2006, pp. 304-307. It is reprinted here with permission. The authors have names you will recognize: Matthew M. Maurer is a professor of education at Butler University, Indianapolis, where he teaches classes in educational and assistive technology. Edward C. Bell is director of professional development and research at the Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston. Eric Woods is a cane travel instructor and youth services coordinator at the Colorado Center for the Blind, Littleton. And Roland Allen is a cane travel instructor at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, Ruston. We have come to appreciate the value of structured discovery in training blind people to travel safely and confidently, but it is fascinating to watch them fit the method into the larger field of educational practice. This is what they say:

There is a general sense today that constructivist teaching isn't up to the task of preparing students for high-stakes exams. But the authors describe a highly effective constructivist approach used to teach students in a learning situation that takes the meaning of "high stakes" to another level.

Many educators today would call themselves constructivists. Yet we often lack the courage of our convictions. We say we believe in constructivist approaches, but we don't feel we have the time to use them. We see the test battery looming, and the high stakes attached to it push us back to a more didactic approach.1

But a small group of educators have important lessons to teach us about constructivist teaching: they are the teachers of cane travel. Cane travel refers to a set of skills a person who is blind or who has low levels of vision uses to navigate the world independently. The stakes involved are certainly high, but teachers of cane travel maintain a steadfast dedication to constructivism.

To begin to understand the context in which this kind of learning takes place, imagine the lives of people who are blind. First, let's imagine a young man in his midtwenties who has lost sight as a result of diabetes. Many people in this situation go through a period of depression and simply hole up at home. Blindness for our imaginary young man is a new condition, so he has no skills with which to navigate and may fear going out into the world.

Imagine another person—this time a girl who was born blind. Her parents, feeling a natural concern for her safety, may overprotect their daughter. In limiting the chances that she may come to harm, they may also limit her opportunities to go out and experience the world.
Both of these scenarios are real, and they offer skilled educators a chance to make a profound difference in people's lives. If a blind person can learn to travel independently, the freedom gained is enormous. That person can experience the world firsthand and can decide when and how to do so. The development of solid cane travel skills can deliver that freedom and independence.

Leaders within the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), over several decades of dedicated work, have developed methods for teaching cane travel.2 Much of this work was done by individuals who are blind themselves, and these techniques are today collectively referred to as “structured discovery” or the “structured discovery method.”3 This method is used in many training centers across the nation, but three of the strongest examples are found in the three training centers that are affiliated with the NFB: the Louisiana Center for the Blind, the Colorado Center for the Blind, and BLIND, Incorporated, in Minnesota.4

Although you will not find the word "constructivism" in any of the existing literature about structured discovery, it is a dominant element of the method. Elliot Eisner offers the following concise description of constructivism:

We have come to realize that meaning matters and that it is not something that can be imparted from teacher to student. In a sense, all teachers can do is to "make noises in the environment." By this I mean that we in education have no main line into the brains of our students. We are shapers of the environment, stimulators, motivators, guides, consultants, resources. But in the end what children make of what we provide is a function of what they construe from what we offer. Meanings are not given, they are made.5

Instructors using structured discovery intentionally guide their students in the construction of their own knowledge and skill with respect to independent travel. The method has a defined scope and sequence that begins with instruction covering the knowledge base necessary for independent travel. The constructivist aspect of the method is largely employed in the extended-practice portion of the training. The cornerstone of the method is the philosophy that undergirds it, an understanding that students must construct travel strategies for themselves making use of the guidance of experts. Moreover, students must learn to solve the myriad problems associated with traveling independently while using a cane.

Consider what is at stake in independent travel. When you are dealing with students crossing busy streets, boarding buses or trains, and generally navigating their world, the stakes are high indeed, and the constructivist approach works. Successful instruction leads to safe travel.6

As an example of how the technique works, consider the following transcript of a travel lesson. The student is a young teen who is about two weeks into the early guided practice phase of her learning. She is walking in step, when she suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. Note that both the instructor and the student are blind, so when they point, they make physical contact to do so.

Instructor: Why did you stop?

Student: I think I am at a corner.

Instructor: Why do you think you are at a corner?

Student: I don't know.

Instructor: What did you feel with your cane?

Student: Oh, yeah, it's going up.

Instructor: Good. How else might you have known you were at a corner?

Student: [Pausing.] Um, I don't know.

Instructor: Did you feel anything else with your cane?

Student: Well, it is a little more rough right here.

Instructor: Good, you felt a little texture change. What do you hear?

Student: Well, there is traffic over there. [Pointing to the left.]

Instructor: Good, what does that tell you?

Student: Well, that I am next to the street.

Instructor: Good. Does it tell you anything about the intersection?

Student: No. [Pausing.] Well, it might, if a car turned here.

Instructor: Yeah, that would help, but how else might you know you were about to walk into the street?

Student: I don't know.

Instructor: What else do you hear?

Student: Nothing, just the traffic over there.

Instructor: Listen far away. Do you hear anything far away?

Student: [Pausing and listening.] Oh yeah, I can hear traffic down that way. [Pointing to the right.]

Instructor: What does that tell you?

Student: That there is a street over there.

Instructor: Good. What street do you think that is?

Student: I don't know. [Pausing.] Oh, it must be Vienna.

Instructor: Yeah, good, Vienna. We traveled on Vienna yesterday. What was the traffic like?

Student: Busy. About as busy as Trenton.

Instructor: So, as you were walking along back there, could you hear the traffic on Vienna?

Student: I don't know. I wasn't really listening for it.

Instructor: Well, what was to the east of you as you walked along?

Student: You mean that way? [Student points to the right.]

Instructor: Yes.

Student: [Uncertainty in her voice.] I think there were buildings all along there.

Instructor: Remember on Monday when we checked that out?

Student: [Now with certainty.] Oh, yeah, there are buildings all along there.

Instructor: Do you think you could hear the traffic through the buildings?

Student: No.

Instructor: So what does that tell you?

Student: If I hear the traffic from the next street, I'm at a corner?

Instructor: Good. But you have to be careful about that. It might be something like a parking lot or a park or something, so you have to use your head. You might not be at a corner, but it is another piece of information you can use.

In this short interaction the instructor asked the student nineteen questions, reinforced her answers when they were leading in a positive direction, and redirected her thinking only when she was giving up or getting off track. The result of this small bit of instruction is anything but small in its importance to the student's learning. She constructed several ideas that she will probably retain and use in the future. By guiding the student toward her own discovery of the ideas of different sound profiles, for example, the teacher has enabled her to gain deep understanding of the concepts, and that makes it likely that she will be able to build on those concepts as she develops her travel skills.

Another important feature of structured discovery as it is practiced by the NFB training centers is the use of sleepshades. Students and instructors who have even minimal vision wear sleepshades while they learn. The sleepshades block out any remaining vision. The idea is that a student with some residual vision will tend to use that vision as the primary sense when traveling. In learning cane travel, the goal is for the student to learn techniques that are wholly nonvisual in nature. The student's residual vision often becomes a strong deterrent to learning. In effect the vision interferes—sometimes subconsciously—with the student's ability to construct the knowledge and skills of nonvisual travel.

In addition, students with limited vision who rely on this sense while learning cane travel can often become fatigued—physically or mentally—by the amount of energy they must expend. Physical fatigue can result from using the eyes to scan continually for curbs or obstacles. Mental fatigue can come from continuing to use old skills while simultaneously attempting to acquire and integrate new skills. The use of sleepshades reduces both fatigue and distraction and so increases a student's ability to focus on constructing the necessary learning. The result is a significant improvement in the ability of the student to construct the knowledge and skills of nonvisual travel as well as a significant shortening of the time it takes.

The idea behind having a sighted instructor wear sleepshades is conceptually different. As any good teacher knows, what we say has a small impact on learners, while what we do has a much stronger effect. Thus the majority of the cane travel instructors at the NFB training centers are themselves blind, but those who are sighted routinely don sleepshades when they work with students. There is no more powerful way to convey that safe travel is possible for the blind learner than by demonstrating it directly, and there is no one better to teach safe travel than someone who practices it every single day.

As all educators continue to teach in a climate of high accountability, it is important to make use of the most effective techniques at our disposal and to resist the temptation simply to teach students to perform well on written tests.7 The structured discovery method can serve as a model for us to follow. We must begin by choosing powerful settings for learning. Then we need to take the time and effort to ask questions that lead students, and we must patiently guide their thinking until they construct the knowledge and skills they need.
The final lesson we can draw from structured discovery as it is practiced in teaching cane travel at the NFB training centers is that of leading by example. If, as teachers we can metaphorically don sleepshades, our students may make dramatic emotional shifts in their learning. If we, ourselves, are the active, inquiring learners we wish our students to be, it is likely that they will follow our example.

1. Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, "The Courage to Be Constructivist," Educational Leadership, November 1999, pp. 18-24.

2. Maria Morais, Paul Lorenson, Roland Allen, Edward C. Bell, Arlene Hill, and Eric Woods, Techniques Used by Blind Cane Travel Instructors (Baltimore: National Federation of the Blind, 1997).

3. James Omvig, "The Characteristics of an NFB Orientation Center," Braille Monitor, April 2005, pp. 211-16.

4. A. G. Dodds, A Report to N.R.I.B. on a Visit to Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired: Blind Mobility Research Unit (Nottingham, U.K.: University of Nottingham, Report No. 138 to the Royal National Institute for the Blind, 1984), pp. 2-87.

5. Elliot W Eisner, "The Use and Limits of Performance Testing," Phi Delta Kappan, May 1999, p. 658.

6. James Baxter, "Stepping Out in All Weather," Braille Monitor, July 2004, pp. 495-97; and Connie Bernard, "Stepping Out," Future Reflections, No. 4 (Convention Report), 2004, pp. 35-36.

7. James O. Lee, "Implementing High Standards in Urban Schools: Problems and Solutions," Phi Delta Kappan, February 2003, pp. 449-55.

 

Travel Class from Hell


by Robert Gardner

From the Editor: Bob Gardner is president of the Black Hawk Chapter of the NFB of Illinois. He is a retired engineer who lost his sight halfway through his working career. He and his wife Nancy have two grown children and enjoy traveling. As Bob became more familiar with the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind and got to know people who don’t let blindness prevent them from doing what they want to do, he decided that he wanted truly effective blindness training. He enrolled in BLIND, Incorporated, our adult rehabilitation training center in Minneapolis, operated by the NFB of Minnesota. He has now graduated and returned home. Here is Bob's story of one particularly frustrating travel route and what he did about it:

“Where are we?” asked Jenny, irritation in her voice.
“I don’t know,” I snapped. “I thought we were where we’re supposed to be. But nothing checks out.”

The two of us had been sent out for our travel class at BLIND, Inc., the NFB training center in Minneapolis. The route had seemed simple: take a bus north to downtown Minneapolis, get off at 6th Street and Nicollet, walk one long block west to Hennepin Avenue. Cross hectic Hennepin, turn left, then find the entrance to Block E, a large interior mall. Our actual assignment was to locate the Borders Bookstore, but something had gone wrong. We’d made that final left turn to find the entrance to Block E. Yet nothing seemed right. We stood disoriented, long white canes in hand, but we didn’t panic. Jenny, an experienced traveler, had been at BLIND, Inc., for five months, and I’d been in training for two. We had been taught to use our heads to figure out how to get where we wanted to go.

Our downtown travel had submerged us in construction noise, and heavy traffic whooshed down the streets around us. The sidewalks were extra wide, crowded with pedestrians and a crude line of planters, garbage cans, streetlights, and assorted poles along the curb. Shorelining with the cane was impractical if not impossible. All we could do was walk as straight a line as possible, trying to keep toward the middle of the sidewalk. But dealing with such difficulties was the purpose of this downtown travel route, and both Jenny and I had tackled similar routes before.

We’d somehow gotten off track today. We’d followed our mental map of the route, but we weren’t where we should be. Finally I had to ask someone where we were. The man gave the common sighted response: “Where do you want to go?” But we hadn’t wanted to be taken anywhere. All we wanted was to be reoriented. With that information we were sure we could get where we needed to go.

Eventually the man explained that we were on the east side of Hennepin. To this day I don’t know how we had landed on the east side of the street rather than the west side, where we were supposed to be. Whatever we had done, neither Jenny nor I had caught it.

“Okay,” I then said to Jenny, “let’s walk north, and we can probably figure out where we are if we can check out the traffic on the cross street.” The traffic turned out to be one-way, going west. “That must be Fifth Street,” I said, remembering previous travel lessons from Zach, the mobility instructor at BLIND, Inc. “The odd-numbered streets down here are one-ways going west.”

“It’s Fifth,” replied Jenny. “Hear the bell over there? That’s the light rail, and it runs down the other side of Fifth.”

I heard the bell and knew Jenny was right. We’d learned about the light rail, a commuter train system, in an earlier travel session. Once more we were certain of our location. We were standing at the southeast corner of Hennepin and Fifth.

Using our straight canes, we scampered with new confidence across Hennepin, a nightmare street of six busy lanes, then strolled one block south. We again used our canes to discover various doors and finally found the entrance to Block E. That task had been simplified for us because early in the morning the main door to the mall was the only one unlocked.

We had been told that Borders was on the first floor. Exploring, we soon became frustrated when we couldn’t find it. Then we were told Borders was actually somewhere on the second floor of the mall. Jenny and I figuratively rolled our eyes and said the heck with it. We were both disgusted that nothing seemed to be going right. Jenny suggested we head back to the center before time for getting to our next class ran out.

We retraced our route, heading back to Nicollet Avenue to catch a bus back to the center. I was mad at myself. When I had first come to BLIND, Inc., I was unsure whether I could walk the half block from the apartment house to catch the bus for school. I’d made good progress in two months. Yet here for the first time on a travel route I’d become confused and didn’t know where I was. The situation hadn’t frighten me--I was just mad at myself. How had I screwed up?

Nicollet was a restricted-traffic street, relatively narrow and quiet. With all the background noise, I kept checking as we walked across Sixth to make sure we hadn’t miss the corner. At one point I sensed an opening to my right, the direction we wanted to go, so I turned. I immediately found myself tromping down a concrete ramp. Whoa! I’d stumbled into some kind of parking garage. I backed out of there as quickly as I could.

Anyway, we found the corner, then searched for the bus stop further down Nicollet. We boarded a #18 bus and bounded out at the familiar intersection of Nicollet and Twenty-second, only a block away from the center.

After the roar of the bus subsided, I searched for Jenny. She’d sprinted off without me, probably a sign that she was also steamed. But I was sure she’d crossed the wrong way there at the intersection. “Jenny,” I called. “Where are you?”

“Over here,” she called back.

“Get over here,” I yelled. “You went the wrong way.”

Jenny admitted that she’d made a mistake by crossing the wrong street. But had she? We strolled a block east, and crossed First Avenue; then I checked to the left with my cane for the short concrete wall fronting the center. And . . . there was no wall. My God, I’d messed up again! Jumping off the bus, I, not Jenny, had apparently gone the wrong way.

We eventually did make it back. We figured out we were on the south side of Twenty-second Street rather than the north where we should have been. Jenny was the one who finally found the steps up to the center. “Well,” I growled, shuffling in the front door, “that was certainly the travel class from hell.” Jenny just grumbled something under her breath. That concluded the worst travel session I had had to that date.

The next day in travel class I was still upset about the events of the day before, still disappointed in my performance. I asked Zach if I could do that route to Block E again. This time Jenny wasn’t in the class, and I did the route solo. And I made it to Block E, no problem. I was still confused about what had happened the day before, but I’d proven to myself that I could do that route successfully.
To up the challenge to myself, I decided to take a different route back to the center. I still needed to reconfirm my travel skills. Instead of going back to Nicollet, I hopped on a #6 bus that wheeled south down Hennepin. I stepped off the bus at Twenty-eighth Street, near the student apartments, then tracked down a nearby coffee shop.

I’d never been to that coffee shop alone before, but using my nose, my ears, and my cane, I found the door. I ended up sipping coffee at an outside table in the sunshine. I then crossed Hennepin at Twenty-eighth Street and caught a #17 bus back to the center.
I felt exonerated for the slip-ups of the day before. Although I’d traveled independently both days, getting where I wanted to go and getting back, today felt much better than yesterday. Wow, I thought. After only two months of training at BLIND, Inc., I’d gone from being unable to walk half a block to the bus stop to wandering around downtown Minneapolis and using the Metro Transit system at will.
Back at the center I couldn’t resist teasing Jenny. I joked about how I’d sauntered back to Block E--alone--and returned without complications. “Without you along,” I said, tongue-in-cheek, “everything went great. Maybe you were the problem yesterday.”
Little Jenny, coming only up to my chin, didn’t see the humor in my wisecrack. She snarled at me, and I jumped back. Travel was taken seriously at BLIND, Inc., and I should have known to keep my mouth shut.

 

An Overview of Planned Giving

Making a charitable gift is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. Each year millions of people contribute their time, talent, and treasure to charitable organizations. When you plan for a gift to the National Federation of the Blind, you are not just making a donation; you are leaving a legacy that insures a future for blind people throughout the country. Here are some of the special giving programs available through the National Federation of the Blind:

The National Federation of the Blind is a service organization specializing in providing the help to blind people that is not readily available to them from government programs or other existing service systems. The services of the NFB are specially designed to meet the needs of all blind people. By maintaining a widespread campaign of public education, advocating for the rights of blind children and their families, administering scholarship and mentoring programs for blind youth, providing financial and other specialized assistance, conducting seminars on blindness, evaluating and developing accessible technology, and providing information and services to senior citizens so that they can adjust to vision loss and live more accessible and independent lives, the NFB is changing what it means to be blind.

We will be happy to provide you with further information about the National Federation of the Blind or any of these giving opportunities. Please call or write us at:

National Federation of the Blind
Department of Outreach Programs
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2406
outreach@nfb.org

 

2007 Convention Attractions


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 2007 convention, June 30 through July 6. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The agenda will list the locations of all events taking place during convention week.

Access Technology Day at National Convention
by Steve Booth

In 2007 the NFB’s Technology Day is Saturday, June 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The NFB Jernigan Institute access technology team is offering four sessions covering a wide variety of topics of interest from Windows Vista to the accessibility of the Linux operating system and open architecture.

The first session, 8:30-10:00, will take a look at computer-based communications for the deaf-blind. This session is for those interested in learning about the latest methods for communicating with deaf-blind people. We demonstrate the latest technical solutions enabling deaf-blind people to talk in person or by telephone. Using Braille devices with keyboard input, they can talk in real time to other deaf-blind or sighted people.

Session two, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., explores PDAs and new cell phone technology. We will demonstrate how to keep contacts and calendar appointments on the computer, the PDA, and a notetaker and how to synchronize information between these devices.
In the afternoon, 1:30-3:00 p.m., we will take a look at Vista, the new Microsoft Windows operating system. We will explore its accessibility using popular screen-access programs. We will go through Windows Vista settings and demonstrate programs running under Vista.

The final session, 3:30-5:00 p.m., explores the Linux operating system and the available screen-access software that operates under the Linux environment. We will explain why someone might want to use Linux and will demonstrate programs being used.

Affiliate Action Action
by Joanne Wilson

The Department of Affiliate Action will sponsor a wide array of programs during this year’s national convention in Atlanta. Each of these agenda items will positively influence issues of members or money, the two primary pillars of volunteer NFB operations. Plan to come and take part in one or more of these exciting, member-oriented sessions at this summer’s convention. Specific details about room locations in the hotel for each of these functions will be available in the convention agenda. These events have been specially designed to appeal to a wide range of Federationists. We trust that one or more of the following activities will interest you:

Attention All First-Time Convention Attendees

We invite you to attend a reception previewing our 2007 NFB convention agenda. Along with President Marc Maurer, former rookies will be on hand to welcome you to the convention and to answer questions about the week's activities. Our annual convention is a truly memorable and exciting event, and we look forward to sharing the week with each of you. Please consult the agenda for the location of this Rookie Round-up, and check the Affiliate Action Suite for other rookie events throughout the week.

Date: Saturday, June 30, 2007
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Dress: Casual

For more information contact Pam Allen, (800) 234-4166; <pallen@lcb-ruston.com>.

BLIND, Inc., Karaoke Night
by Shawn Mayo

Whether you are a contender to become the next American Idol, shatter the stereotype about blind people possessing great musical talent, or fall somewhere in between, you'll have a great time at BLIND, Incorporated's annual Karaoke Night on Saturday, June 30 from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Bring all your friends or come make new ones and enjoy music, door prizes, and a cash bar.

Sing solo, with a group, or just sit back and enjoy the musical stylings of your fellow Federationists. Be sure to get there early to hear President Maurer sing. 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.

Admission is only $5, and song lists will be available in Braille that night. Don't miss your chance to be a rock star.

Volunteers for Children’s Activities Needed
by Melissa Riccobono

Do you enjoy spending time with blind and sighted children? Are you an energetic person who loves to participate in hands-on activities with equally energetic kids? Will you be at national convention on Saturday, June 30? If you've answered yes to all of these questions, we have a fantastic opportunity for you. We are looking for volunteers for a variety of children's activities on Saturday afternoon, June 30. Volunteers will be paired with one child or possibly two children to make sure they are safe and engaged in age-appropriate activities of many types.

If you would like to serve as a volunteer or would like more information, please contact Melissa Riccobono at <maricco@uwalumni.com>.

An Evening at the Colorado Center for the Blind
by Julie Deden

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a student at the Colorado Center for the Blind? Join the students and staff Wednesday, July 4, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. to discover what your future could hold. Hands-on demonstrations from cane travel to Braille. See what it’s like to rock climb and create sculpture. Learn about the latest in technology and pick up some new recipes. Come see us for door prizes and lots of fun. Consider training; it can change your life.

Charitable Estate-Planning and Gift Strategies Workshop
by Kristi Bowman

You are invited to attend a workshop to learn about planned giving through income-generating gifts and to receive information about the Jacobus tenBroek Society, conducted by Kristi Bowman, NFB outreach officer. Join us Wednesday, July 4, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology
by Gary Wunder

Do you love the exhibit hall but wish you had a chance to hear about products offered in a quieter atmosphere? Do you fear that, for all your searching, you are still missing some gadget or service? If the answer to either is yes, come join the Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology on Monday evening, July 2. Check your agenda for the location and time. If they make the request, we will give technology vendors five minutes to discuss their offerings and to hand out any information they wish.

For more information about our showcase, please write to Gary Wunder at 3910 Tropical Lane, Columbia, Missouri 65202 or email <gwunder@earthlink.net>.

Committee on Research and Development
by Curtis Chong

The Committee on Research and Development of the National Federation of the Blind will meet during the NFB convention from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. The committee is interested in a variety of issues. Can optical character recognition (OCR) technology be used to recognize mathematical expressions and convert them into an accessible electronic format? What should be built into hybrid (quiet) cars to make them easier to hear without annoying everyone in the neighborhood? Can we develop a portable device that will read the small displays that are becoming more prevalent on consumer electronic devices? How can we present audio information more quickly and efficiently? How can we attack the graphical verification problem which is preventing the blind from independently accessing a growing number of Web sites?

If any of these questions interests you, then come to the meeting of the Committee on Research and Development. Perhaps you can suggest an approach which nobody else has considered. For more information about the Committee on Research and Development or to learn more about the July meeting, contact Curtis Chong, the chairman of the committee. He can be reached by phone at (515) 277-1288 (evenings and weekends) or email at <curtischong@earthlink.net>.

Deaf-Blind Division
by Robert Eschbach

The Deaf-blind Division will be meeting on Monday evening, July 2, beginning with registration at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will start at 7:00. We will be finished no later than 10:00. We will have opportunities to learn about new technologies to assist the deaf-blind and discuss the future development of our division.

For those interested, limited convention assistance is available. Applications must be made by May 31. For an application, contact Robert Eschbach, president, at email <rmesch@earthlink.net> or phone (520) 836-3689. Those needing interpreter services should also contact Mr. Eschbach no later than May 31. Join us in Atlanta.

Diabetes Action Network Seminar
by Lois Williams

The Diabetes Action Network (DAN) seminar will be held July 2 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The theme will be “Lose to Gain”--lose a few pounds to gain better diabetes control. The speaker is Glenda Summerville, FNP-C/CDE. We will give special recognition to those who have an A1c of 7 percent or less.

Ham Radio Group Emergency Preparedness Seminar
by D. Curtis Willoughby

In accord with long-standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2007 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, June 30. We will discuss frequencies to be used during the convention and especially those to be used in the event of an emergency call-out during the convention. We will also discuss those architectural features of the convention hotel and other information that NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary.

The Ham Radio Group has a service project to serve the Federation by handling the distribution of special FM receivers. These receivers allow hearing-impaired conventioneers to hear a signal directly from the public address system. This signal is much easier to understand than the sound that regular hearing aids pick up in a large meeting room. These same receivers are used to allow Spanish speakers (those who do not understand English easily or speak it 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. Any Atlanta hams willing to do a little frequency scouting before the convention are asked to contact Curtis Willoughby, KA0VBA (303) 424-7373; <ka0vba@dimcom.net>.

Ham Radio Group Annual Business Meeting
by D. Curtis Willoughby

The annual business meeting of the NFB Ham Radio Group will be held at noon on Thursday, July 5.

The Human Services Division
by Melissa Riccobono

Are you a student majoring in psychology, social work, music therapy, dance therapy, addiction counseling, or a related field? Are you a professional employed in, or seeking employment in, one of these fields? If so, please join the National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division for our annual seminar and business meeting at this year’s national convention in Atlanta. The National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division will meet on Monday, July 2. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the seminar/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, please contact Melissa Riccobono, president, National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division, by phone at (410) 235-3073 or by email at <maricco@uwalumni.com>.

The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players
by Jerry Whittle

The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players presents Out of the Cradle, an original play by Jerry Whittle. A young blind man, struggling to find the meaning of life and still adjusting to his blindness, finds answers by helping other people. Tickets $5; all proceeds go to the summer training programs for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Two performances on Monday, July 2, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.

The 2007 March for Independence
by Ron Gardner

By this time it is no secret that at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3, hundreds, perhaps a thousand, Federationists will gather outside the Marriott Marquis Hotel to begin the first-ever March for Independence. Those who have raised at least $250 will be wearing their March T-shirts, and those who have raised at least $500 will have an additional yet-to-be-announced token. Together we will walk to beautiful Centennial Park, where President Maurer will introduce the dignitaries who have marched with us including civil rights pioneer, Congressman John Lewis and Honorary March Chairman Andrew Young, who has served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta. There also marchers who have raised $1,000 or more will receive medallions to acknowledge their achievement. By the time we complete this ceremony, we should have just enough time to return briskly to the hotel, turn in our signs, and march into the ballroom for the opening session of the 2007 convention.

You will not want to miss this memorable event. It is not yet too late to register online for the March and begin to work to raise funds from friends and family members. When you register, you will automatically receive a personalized Web page that your sponsors can use to contribute and to help you earn your T-shirt or even a medallion. Remember that the most difficult pledge to get is the first one. If you are a walker, bring your hiking shoes to the convention. But even if walking is not your thing, you will also be able to take part in this unforgettable event, so register and begin raising funds today. See you in Centennial Park.

Meet the Blind Month Activities and Other Special Events Seminar:
Plans and Action Equal Success

by Jerry Lazarus

October is Meet the Blind Month. Find out about lively and entertaining events that can occur so that sighted people can meet their blind neighbors. Session includes encouraging chapters to try new types of fundraising and meet-and-greet events. The seminar will be conducted by Jerry Lazarus, NFB director of special projects, Wednesday, July 4, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith
by Tom Anderson

The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will hold its annual meeting on Monday, July 2. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 1:00 p.m. The theme of this year’s meeting will be “Blessed are the peacemakers, overcoming challenges in faith-based communities through negotiation.”

A panel of Federationists will discuss the challenges they face and the way they use negotiation to achieve their goals in places of worship. Another panel of students will describe their experiences in faith-based educational settings. We will also have a business meeting in which elections will take place.

The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will again coordinate the devotional services that will take place Tuesday, July 3 through Friday, July 6. The theme of the devotions will be “Redemption and Reconciliation.” Devotions will be held an hour before the morning convention sessions and adjourn fifteen minutes before the opening gavel each morning.
Please contact me if you would like to preach or sing at these devotional services. My address is 5628 South Fox Circle Apartment A, Littleton, Colorado, 80120. My home phone number is (303) 794-5006. My work number is (303) 778-1130, extension 220. My email address is <tanderson@cocenter.org>.

National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs
by James R. Bonerbo, CPA

The National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs will hold its annual seminar for those who want information about starting a business on Saturday, June 30, room to be announced.

The seminar will take place from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. It will cover topics like accounting and tax problems, creating a business plan, types of organization, and other areas of importance to the beginning entrepreneur. We will have a further question and answer session and discussion of many current problems facing the small businessperson in today's competitive world.

National Association of Blind Lawyers
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 2, 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. For example, we will address the ongoing struggle to gain equal access to Web sites, employment, and legal texts and access to a level playing field for legal examinations like the LSAT and bar exams. Other discrimination and civil rights cases will be reviewed. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or visually impaired legal professional, focusing this year on the most effective technology for blind lawyers. We may also address voting rights and anticipated amendments to the Help America Vote Act. We will undoubtedly also hear from the American Bar Association as well as 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 hold 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 otherwise interested in law, the NABL meeting in Atlanta on July 2 is the place to be.

Newsletter Publications Committee
by Norma Crosby

The Newsletter Publications Committee is the Federation’s oldest committee. Its members meet to discuss issues related to the publication of affiliate and division newsletters and other materials designed to educate the public about the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind. We will meet this summer in Atlanta, and all newsletter editors should plan to attend. Affiliates not currently publishing a newsletter should consider sending a representative to learn how to get started.

In recent years the committee has met on Sunday evening, but be sure to consult the convention agenda for the time and place of this important meeting. We will discuss lots of practical topics, and you will come away with tips that will help you produce a better newsletter right away.

Mock Trial
by Scott LaBarre

The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its tenth annual Mock Trial at the 2007 NFB convention. This trial will reenact an old Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other arguing the merits of the two positions.

We have not selected this year’s trial, but it will undoubtedly highlight a case in which a blind person or persons have faced different treatment based on their blindness in the area of education, employment, or other civil rights. Stay tuned to Presidential Releases and NFB list servs for details on this year’s case. 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. Because this is the tenth anniversary of the Mock Trial, we anticipate making a Mock Trial highlight CD available for purchase. The trial will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 1, at 4:30 p.m. somewhere in the Marriott Marquis. Consult the convention agenda for the exact place.

National Association of Blind Merchants
by Kevan Worley

The National Association of Blind Merchants would like to thank our loyal snack pack customers over the past ten years. The snack pack not only has been a lot of fun and a great fundraiser for our division, but has also helped many conventioneers on tight budgets to snack pretty well. This year our plan is to sell our ever-popular snack pack again. Only $5 will get you a grab bag of snacks, salty and sweet. 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. I’m sure we will have something new to sell you. We are Federation merchants.

The annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants will take place Monday afternoon, July 2, 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. This year's agenda will focus on protection of the priority and the creation of new, robust business opportunities and outreach to young people to develop their interest in small business ventures. On Wednesday, July 4, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m., we invite you to our seventh annual Randolph-Sheppard reception. Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph-Sheppard opportunities. Check the convention agenda for location. On Tuesday morning, July 3, our Federation merchant team will be participating in the first-ever National Federation of the Blind March for Independence. We will carry our Federation merchant team banner high, proclaiming the independence of the blind.

National Association of Blind Office Professionals
by Lisa Hall

The National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will hold its annual meeting in Atlanta on Saturday, June 30. Please check the agenda for room location, which will be listed on the Web or when you arrive in Atlanta. Registration will start at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. If you are looking for an office job in customer service, Braille transcribing, Braille proofreading, medical transcribing, telephone switchboard operator, receptionist, or clerk or if you are an employment specialist placing blind people in office settings, we would love to have you attend the meeting to share concerns and information with our members. The agenda is still being worked on, but everything should be in place by the time convention rolls around. Get to the meeting early to learn about the resources in our movement. Some exciting things are happening this year.

If you would like to find out more about our division, contact Lisa Hall, president, 7001 Hamilton Avenue, Unit 2, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231-5262; (513) 931-7070 (evenings and weekends); email <lhall007@cinci.rr.com>.

If you would like to become a member or to pay your 2007 dues before the convention, membership dues are $5 a year and can be sent to Debbie Brown, treasurer, 11923 Parklawn Drive, Apartment 104, Rockville, Maryland 20852; (301) 881-1892 (evenings and weekends); email <dabro@loc.gov>.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Atlanta.

National Association of Blind Piano Technicians
by Don Mitchell

The national association of blind piano technicians will hold a piano technology seminar at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, July 2. We invite both career guidance counselors and those looking for a personal and financially rewarding career to join us to learn about opportunities in the field of piano technology for the blind. We will explore where and how you can get training. If you are unable to attend the seminar or want additional information, the president, Don Mitchell, will be arranging one-on-one meetings with working piano technicians to learn about this exciting career. Contact Don’s room during the convention using the hotel telephone switchboard. Check the convention agenda to find the location of this seminar.

National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
by Nadine Jacobson

It's truly hard to believe that our national convention will be here shortly. This year the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) meeting will be held on July 2 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. If you want to get the very latest information on all of the important issues concerning Braille, this is the place to be.

As has become tradition, we will also be sponsoring jointly with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) a children's Braille book flea market. Please help us find new homes with anxious young readers for those Braille books that are no longer being used. Watch for further details and contact information.

The Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is one of our most important projects, and you will be amazed at how much our contest participants read during the past year. In addition to our regular agenda items we will have some interesting items to auction off, with the proceeds helping to fund the contest. Please come and join in the excitement. If you have questions or possible agenda items, please contact Nadine Jacobson (952) 927-7694; email <nadine.jacobson@visi.com>. See you there.

National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals
by Carlos Serván

The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals (NABRP) will meet Monday, July 2, for our annual seminar and business meeting. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the seminar and business meeting will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The NABRP meeting is an opportunity for all rehabilitation professionals in the blindness field to get together, network, share mutual interests, find placement strategies, examine concerns about the rehabilitation profession, and generally shape quality services for the blind in the nation.

If you are involved in rehabilitation for the blind, you don't want to miss this meeting. We promise to have nationally recognized leaders in the rehabilitation field to help us examine and discuss current issues in rehab. If you have any questions about this meeting, feel free to contact Carlos Serván at (402) 327-0414, or send an email to <cservan@inebraska.com>.

National Association of Blind Students
by Ryan Strunk

The National Association of Blind Students will conduct its annual meeting on Sunday, July 1, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the NFB convention. Registration with a fee of $5 will begin at 6:00 p.m. We will also be hosting Monte Carlo Night on Wednesday, July 4, 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 Ryan Strunk, president, (402) 261-5368, or email <r_strunk@hotmail.com>.

National Association of Guide Dog Users
by Priscilla Ferris

The National Association of Dog Guide Users (NAGDU) will meet twice during the convention. Please consult your agenda for the meeting rooms. We have tried to plan some interesting program items and are sure you will enjoy them. Have your questions ready.
The first NAGDU meeting will take place Saturday, June 30. We will introduce special guests, hear reports from dog guide schools, and conduct our business meeting from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Registration will begin at 6:00 p.m.

On Monday, July 2, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., we will discuss “Making an Informed Choice.” A panel will address several ways of training with a guide dog. We will have several other agenda items and, of course, our popular Juno walks.

NFB in Computer Science
by Curtis Chong

The 2007 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will take place on Monday, July 2, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. during the convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

With the recent releases of Microsoft Windows Vista and Office 2007, it is important for all of us to understand whether or not these programs will work with access technology for the blind. New computers that are purchased today will have the Windows Vista operating system installed on them, and new purchases of the Microsoft Office product will get you Office 2007. Therefore we are planning to devote a portion of our meeting to a discussion of these new systems, hopefully hearing from blind people who have obtained practical experience with them.

Over the past couple of years, Microsoft has been promoting something called User Interface Automation. This is supposed to be the next generation of a protocol that would enable mainstream programs to communicate better with assistive technologies. However, it seems that this new protocol has not yet caught on. Why not? We will devote some time at our meeting to this topic if we can find the right people to talk about it.

Finally, we are planning one or more program items to address the concerns of blind information technology professionals (programmers, system engineers, technical support specialists, and the like). Perhaps we will talk about the techniques used by the blind to write software in the programming languages of today such as C Plus Plus, Power Basic, etc. For more information about our annual meeting or the NFB in Computer Science, you can contact Curtis Chong, president, NFB in Computer Science, by phone (515) 277-1288 during evenings or weekends, or by email at <curtischong@earthlink.net>.

National Organization of Blind Educators
by Sheila Koenig

On Monday, July 2, 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 different 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 required? During our seminar at the 2007 convention in Atlanta, 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. If you teach or are considering a career in teaching at any level, plan to join us.

National Organization of the Senior Blind
by Judy Sanders

We will have no time for senior moments at the upcoming convention of the National Federation of the Blind--particularly on the evening of July 1, 2007. This is when all those interested in issues affecting blind seniors will gather for the annual meeting of the National Organization of the Senior Blind (NOSB.)

We will open the doors at 6:00 p.m. to begin registration and our ever-popular somewhat silent auction. To make the auction work, we are once again counting on generous contributions of Federationists both in items for the auction and in emptying wallets and checkbooks. Please see that your items arrive in time for eager bidders. Our thanks to Ramona Walhof for coordinating this activity.
As the entire convention of the National Federation of the Blind holds its March for Independence, we will reinforce the right of every blind senior to retain control of his or her own life; our meeting will be packed full of information from and for blind seniors. Learn how we can partner with local community groups such as Lions Clubs to reach out to seniors. Are other NFB divisions of particular interest to us? In addition to hearing diverse speakers, we will consider changing the name of our organization. Do we want to make it clear that we are a proud part of the National Federation of the Blind? If so, we will discuss amending our constitution so that our name will include National Federation of the Blind.

The meeting will adjourn no later than 10:00 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for the agenda, call Judy Sanders at (612) 375-1625; email <jsanders.nfb@comcast.net>. One final thing: leave your ID in your hotel room. Everyone is welcome.

Performing Arts Division
by Dennis Holston

At this year’s convention in Atlanta, the Performing Arts Division will have its general meeting on Monday, July 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. During this meeting President Dennis Holston will discuss the division’s many ongoing projects and the new activities ahead. We will discuss the NFB songs album as well as the “Sight in Sound” album, the compilation album project that the division began putting together earlier this year. The division’s new mentoring program will also be discussed, and the division will hear a few words from Carlos J. Montas, the mentoring program’s coordinator. Along with all of this we will hear from some blind and visually impaired speakers who have established their careers in the performing arts. We will also have a question and answer segment at the meeting. Please join the division this year in Atlanta. Division dues are $5.

Rehabilitation Conference
Contemporary Issues in Orientation and Mobility and Rehabilitation

by Christine Brown

Saturday, June 30, 2007
8:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board, and the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness are proud to announce the sixth annual rehabilitation conference, which will be held at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The conference agenda will include presentations from key leaders and professionals working in the fields of rehabilitation and orientation and mobility.

Registration for the conference will begin at 8:00 a.m.. Room location will be listed on the convention agenda, available June 1, 2007, at <www.nfb.org>. The registration fee is $50 for professionals and $25 for students. Preregistration will be available online at <www.nbpcb.org> beginning April 1, 2007. A limited number of scholarships for conference attendance will be available; contact the Institute on Blindness for details.

The conference will be of particular interest to those currently working in the fields of rehabilitation for the blind, students in professional preparation programs, those interested in mobility training as a career, and those with general interest in rehabilitation for the blind.
Continuing Education Credits: Conference attendees will be eligible to receive CE units towards the following certifications: National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC), Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). For more information about the conference contact the Institute on Blindness at (318) 257-4554 or <instituteonblindness@nbpcb.org>.

Roman Catholic Mass
by Mary Ellen Jernigan

Father Gregory Paul, C.P., will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning, July 1, at 6:30 a.m. The room assignment will be listed in the agenda. I am happy to report that Father Gregory is now fully recovered from the knee surgery he had shortly before last year’s convention.

Showcase of Talent
by Adrienne Snow

The Talent Showcase will be held on Tuesday, July 3, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Check your agenda for the room assignment. Come and share your talent with the National Federation of the Blind community. We are looking for acts of singing, instrumental, poetry, or even comedy. You will be allotted a three-minute spot, so keep this in mind when planning your act. You can sign up for the talent showcase at convention by contacting Adrienne Snow in her guest room or Brooke Fox and the Performing Arts Division table in the exhibit hall. We encourage all NFB members to come and support your family and friends. Admission is $5 to all, including those performing. We hope to see you at convention.

Social Security Seminar
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 4. The purpose of this seminar is to share information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind, including the income subsidy program for those receiving the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
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 with many years of experience providing training and technical assistance to work incentives specialists and those receiving benefits throughout the nation. Social Security representatives may be available to hand out publications describing their programs and share tips about communicating with the Social Security Administration. Those wanting a better understanding of the programs and benefits offered by the Social Security Administration are strongly encouraged to join Jim and Terri at this seminar.

Sports and Recreation Division
by Lisamaria Martinez

Goalballs are round, footballs are not.
Sports and Rec has a meeting on Monday, come see what is hot.
Dance steps and yoga, cycling and more.
This is one meeting where you won't hear a snore.
Twelve thirty registration then one thirty to five;
Join us and learn how to jump and jive.
Come one, come all, come as you may;
Sports and Recreation Division has something important to say.
If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, contact Lisamaria Martinez at (510) 289-2577 or <lmartinez217@gmail.com>.

Travel and Tourism
by Doug Johnson

Welcome to Atlanta. For all members and potential members, our division's annual meeting will be held on Monday, July 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Speakers and meeting location to be announced. If you are interested in travel, this is the meeting for you.

Attention Veterans
by Dwight Sayer

Attention concerned veterans. On Tuesday, July 3, at 8:00 p.m., we will hold a meeting of veterans and other interested parties in the Affiliate Action suite to discuss forming an NFB Veterans Division. If we reach a consensus at that time, we will elect officers, collect dues, and move forward with the business of establishing a national veterans group. I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta.

Webmasters
by Gary Wunder

One of the fastest-growing sources of information today is the Internet, and the way people access it is through the Worldwide Web. Because much of our mission is to change public attitudes about blindness, we need to have a strong presence there, with affiliates whose sites reflect interesting, current, and visually appealing information.

To further the ability of chapters and affiliates to establish and maintain quality sites, we will conduct a meeting for division and affiliate Webmasters at our national convention. Our meeting will be held on Sunday evening, July 1, so please check your agenda for place and time. Suggestions for what you would like to see on our agenda may be sent to Gary Wunder, 3910 Tropical Lane, Columbia, Missouri 65202, or sent by email to <gwunder@earthlink.net>.

Writers Division
by Tom Stevens

The Writers Division will conduct a poetry- and short story/fiction-reading session on Saturday, June 30, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Registration without fee at the door is requested. Presenters are asked to make themselves known to the chair so they can be scheduled.
The division will also conduct its annual meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 2. Featured speakers include Robert Newman, Jerry Whittle, and Lori Stayer. Membership dues are $10, but there is no charge for attending the division meeting. Members receive a copy of the division magazine, Slate and Style, published quarterly on tape, in large print, in Braille, or by email. If you have questions, contact Tom Stevens at (573) 445-6091.

Youth Outreach Roundtable
by Mark Riccobono

At this year’s convention the NFB Jernigan Institute Education Team will facilitate a discussion for NFB members interested in increasing outreach in their affiliates to blind teens. This session will allow affiliates to share ideas about how they have successfully created youth outreach opportunities in local communities. We will also discuss programs of the NFB Jernigan Institute and the creation of new supports and tools to help affiliates build relationships with educators and students. The goal of this session will be to strengthen the network of Federationists motivated to empower youth through the NFB. Ideas discussed during the roundtable will also assist affiliates interested in submitting Imagination Fund grant applications for programs targeting blind youth. Additionally the Jernigan Institute will use this discussion as a springboard for future projects in youth empowerment. Check your convention agenda for the exact time and date of this discussion. We encourage each affiliate to be sure a representative is present. This session will last about two hours.

 

NFB Camp: It's More Than Child's Play

by Carla McQuillan

Programs and Activities: 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 article. Preregistration with payment on or before June 15, 2007, is required for staffing purposes. Space is limited, so get your registration in early.

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 and a longtime leader in the National Federation of the Blind.

Alison 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 workers with a constructive philosophy and healthy attitudes about our blind children. Carla and Alison 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 room is equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games, and books. Daily art projects will be prepared by Corrine Vieville, a member of the Oregon affiliate. In addition school-age children will have the opportunity to sign up for half-day trips to local area attractions. Some of the planned events include walks to Centennial Olympic Park to play in the fountain and a trip to the Coca-Cola Museum. Dates, times, additional fees, and sign-ups for field trips will be included in the registration packet. 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.

Banquet Night: 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 babysit during evening and luncheon meetings. We will have a list of babysitters at the NFB Camp table at convention.

Please use the NFB Camp registration form.

NFB Camp Schedule

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 to provide lunch for your children every day.

Date                              Hours

Saturday, June 30          8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 1              Camp is closed
Monday, July 2             8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 3             9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 4         8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 5            8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Banquet                        6:30 p.m.–30 minutes after closing
Friday, July 8                 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–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.

NFB Camp Registration Form
Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15, 2007.

Parent’s Name ____________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________

City _______________ State___________ Zip______ Phone _______________

Child(ren)’s Name(s)
________________________________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: $90 first child, $60 siblings No. of Children______ $_________
(Does not include banquet)

Per Day: $20 per child per day No. of Days_____x $20 per child $_________
(Does not include banquet)

Banquet: $15 per child No. of Children ______ $_________

Total Due $_________

We understand that NFB Camp is being provided as a service by the NFB to make our convention more enjoyable for both parents and children. We will pick up children immediately following sessions. We understand that if our child(ren) does not follow the rules or if for any reason staff are unable to care for our child(ren), further access to childcare will be denied.

Parent’s Signature ___________________________________________ Date ______________

Make checks payable to NFB Camp. Return form to NFB Camp, 5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478; phone (541) 726-6924.

 

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 about FM receivers at convention:

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 (notably Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide special receivers for these 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 of 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 of earphone offered. The receiver requires a 3.5 mm (formerly called 1/8-inch) earphone plug, in case you want to use your own earphone(s), Silhouette®, neck loop, adapter cable, etc. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of arriving at 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 loud-speaker. While earphones, and even neck loops, are sometimes available in the exhibit hall, 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, which goes 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 from your hearing aid to a monaural 3.5 mm (formerly called 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 Silhouette®, 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 that people will bring their own receivers for the Spanish-translation service, unless they are also hearing impaired and use an FM hearing aid system. Spanish speakers may, however, wish to bring their own ear phones. See above for a description of the type of plug needed.

Norm Gardner from Utah will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and he would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call him before convention at (801) 224-6969, or send him email at <ngardner@brlcenter.org>.
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 to 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 at <ka0vba@dimcom.net>.

The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing-impaired and Spanish-speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.

Children Will Listen

by Lynn Heitz

From the Editor: Lynn Heitz is first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania. In the following story she describes the important lesson she learned from her daughter. This is what she says:

As Federationists travel through life, we strive to demonstrate our abilities as blind people to those we meet. But I have recently discovered that we often overlook the impact our successes have on the people to whom we are closest. My youngest daughter was four years old when the doctors told me that I would eventually become blind as a result of a genetic condition. It was difficult for me to come to grips with the thought that I might have passed on this condition to any of my three children.

Moreover, the only blind person I ever remember seeing was a woman with a guide dog who rode the same buses I did. As she boarded the bus, people would scurry out of her way so that she could sit in the same seat every time, the “blind person's seat.” I knew that I did not want to become that woman, but I could not stop blindness from coming. It was inevitable.

Now I had to decide whether I should stay at home, allowing others to do things for me, or investigate my options. I never gave much thought to the way the rest of my family felt about my impending blindness. I guess I assumed they would just sit back and watch. In fact that was exactly what happened.

About three years after my diagnosis we learned that my youngest daughter had an acute learning disability. A new struggle was now before me. My child needed to be educated, and I was going to have to make sure that the school district provided the tools she needed to succeed. I never recognized that I had already provided the most basic tool, myself.

At about the same time I met a man named Ted Young. He started talking to me about this Federation and said that I might learn something if I joined the local chapter and came to meetings. Several months went by, each marked by a friendly telephone call from a woman named Patricia, reminding me about the upcoming chapter meeting. Each month I thanked her for calling and thought up a lame reason for not attending. It took about two years for me to give in and go to a meeting of the local NFB of Pennsylvania chapter in Philadelphia. I was not a regular at the meetings, but the people were nice, and I thought maybe I could learn something. It was scary being in a room full of blind people, but I hung in anyway.

I began my college education, first at the local community college, then at Temple University for my undergraduate degree. School was not easy. I faced many challenges in my personal life and with the state blindness agency. But my attendance at meetings became more and more regular, and the things I heard and people I met provided continuous support and encouragement. When I had a battle to fight, they were by my side, and when I had all I could do to put one foot in front of the other, they were there just the same. Throughout this time I was learning to integrate new tools and techniques into my life and fighting the state agency for the services they were supposed to provide. Though I had no idea my daughter was even paying attention, she was watching all along.

Through middle school and high school I sometimes had to remind school officials that she did not need so much support. She needed to stretch and grow, which would never happen if they kept spoon-feeding her. They were a little resistant but finally saw things my way. I took this stand unconscious that not very long before I had needed to stretch and grow myself. I did not realize that my stretching and growing had begun many years earlier when I started attending those chapter meetings. I was becoming more comfortable with my blindness. I wanted my daughter to understand that in spite of her learning disability she could be successful and that she should not let it hold her back. We continued our educations, she in high school and I in college. This past spring my daughter graduated from high school, and I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors, and I earned a master’s degree from an Ivy League university.

This past fall she began attending the local community college. In order for her to receive services from the disability office, her psycho-educational evaluation had to be updated. My husband and I met with the psychologist to get the final report. When we entered the office, the doctor immediately began by congratulating me on my master's degree. I wondered if this was going to be one of those look-what-a-blind-person-can-do conversations. My instinct was to become defensive. I told her that I really had not done anything spectacular; I had just gone to school and earned a degree that I hoped would get me a good job. She then told me what a wonderful role model I had been for my daughter. I did not understand. A good role model, me? Was that possible?

I turned to my daughter and said, “I was your role model?”

She said “Mom, I have spent the past several years watching what you do. I have seen how difficult some things were and how you struggled, but you never gave up." I hesitated because I did not see the connection. She then said, “Well, Mom, I just figured that, if I persevered just like you, I could also do well just like you.”

I was more than a little stunned to hear her comment. It did not seem possible that my achievements had had an impact on someone close to me. The National Federation of the Blind has become an integral part of my life. It has shown me that blind people can be successful. And through me it has also shown my daughter that she can be successful as well.

For the past several years I have been actively working with the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania, doing outreach and advocacy. As I have progressed through college and my many internships, I have been determined that those I meet develop an understanding that blind people can be productive members of society. But I had never considered the impact this effort was having at home.

The philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind has now become second nature to me. If I ever questioned whether I was doing the right thing or wondered whether anyone was paying attention to what I do or say, I now have my answer.

 

Dialysis at National Convention

by Ed Bryant

During this year's annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Atlanta, Saturday, June 30 to Friday, July 6, 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 contact the desired location in the Atlanta area for instructions well in advance. The convention headquarters will be in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

You can find dialysis units and how to reach them by going to <www.dialysisfinder.com>. Greater Atlanta has many centers, but the area is quite large, so early reservation is strongly recommended. Here are some dialysis locations. All of these are less then one mile from the headquarters hotel:

Please remember to schedule dialysis treatments early to ensure space. See you in Atlanta.

 

Convention Scholarships Available

by Allen Harris

From the Editor: Allen Harris chairs the Jernigan Fund Committee. He has an important announcement for those who would like to attend this year's national convention but find themselves short of funds. This is what he says:

The Jernigan Fund Committee has established criteria for the Dr. Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarships for 2007. These factors will be considered when awarding Jernigan Convention Scholarships:

When applying for a convention scholarship, please write a brief paragraph on why you wish to attend the convention. Submit your application letter and statement to Allen Harris, 524 4th Street, Apartment 502 B, Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2364, or by email.

Applications are due by Monday, April 16, 2007. Every effort will be made to notify scholarship finalists by Monday, May 14. The National Federation of the Blind annual convention is in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning on June 30, 2007, and adjourning on July 6 at 5:00 p.m. If you have questions or need additional information, contact Allen Harris.

 

Recipes

This month’s recipes have been contributed by members of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan.


Fred's Mexican Fiesta Casserole
by Fred Wurtzel

Fred Wurtzel is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. He and Mary, the Michigan affiliate’s first lady, live in Lansing along with their high school senior Marc, the youngest of their three children, their dog Schatzi, and their cockatiel Albert Einstein Wurtzel. This is what he says about his offering:

Since I retired in the summer of 2006, I have been experimenting a little with cooking. Mary would say, "Very little!" She also says about retirement, "Twice the husband, half the money." One of my creations is a pseudo Mexican concoction. Everyone who has sampled it agrees it is quite yummy. It is not gourmet, but very tasty. This is a good dish for a church potluck or NFB chapter potluck or get-together.

Ingredients:
3 cups brown rice, uncooked
7 1/2 cups beef stock or beef stock paste or cubes and 7 1/2 cups water
2 cups Chi Chi’s Fiesta Thick and Chunky Salsa (mild, medium, or hot depending on personal taste)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound chorizo or other savory bulk pork sausage (not link sausage)
Black pepper to taste
2 envelopes taco seasoning mix
2 cups water
2 medium onions, sliced or coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh garlic in oil
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 cans diced garlic tomatoes
1 can refried beans
2 8-ounce packages shredded Monterey Jack, Mexican, or cheddar cheese
Cumin to taste
4 cups crushed Doritos or other tortilla chips

Method: Combine 7 1/2 cups beef stock and rice in rice cooker or large saucepan and cook slowly until rice is tender. While rice is cooking, in large, deep frying pan sauté onions and garlic in butter or olive oil. When onions are soft and slightly caramelized, add sausage and brown for five minutes. Then add ground beef and brown thoroughly. Drain meat and onion mixture as needed, being careful not to lose onions. In separate bowl mix 2 envelopes taco mix and 2 cups warm water. Stir until powder is completely dissolved. When meat is browned and drained, return meat to deep skillet. Add taco seasoning mixture and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to simmer until liquid is reduced and somewhat thickened. Add black pepper and cumin to taste. I coarsely grind a generous amount of black pepper and add at least one teaspoon of ground cumin. Vary these amounts according to your taste.

When rice is cooked, place it in the bottom of a nine-by-thirteen-inch or larger casserole dish. I prefer Pampered Chef stoneware sprayed with cooking spray. You may wish to add salt and ground black pepper to the rice at this point. Evenly spread salsa over rice. Then evenly layer half of the shredded cheese over rice and salsa. Pat down a little to form a packed layer of cheese. Layer meat, tomato, and onion mixture over cheese. Then spread refried beans over beef. Use a wide rubber spatula to spread beans evenly over hot meat mixture. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over beans and top with remaining shredded cheese. You may wish to add some jalapeño or canned green chilies or other hot peppers to the onions and garlic mixture when browning. Cover baking dish with foil and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for fifty to sixty minutes. When dish is heated through and bubbly, uncover and serve. Generously serves eight people. I suggest serving with bottles of Corona beer with a wedge of lime stuck in each bottle. A scoop of cinnamon ice cream topped with chocolate syrup is a perfect dessert.

Kick It up a Notch Vegetarian Chili
by Ann Zanger

This recipe is a two-time winner in the city of Lansing citywide chili contest. The Commission for the Blind staff and blind vendors entered the contest and took first place. The recipe is an adaptation by Ann Zanger, daughter of Business Enterprise Assistant Administrator Constance Zanger. Ann is studying for her degree in orientation and mobility. Federationists David Robinson and Fred Wurtzel helped prepare the chili and served hundreds of people who visited the booth. Winning first place in a contest with many local restaurants is a good example of the abilities of blind people.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onions, chopped
1 cup red bell peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 to 3 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed, and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) [I use frozen corn]
1 1/2 pounds portabello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean, and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped [I use a good-quality canned, diced tomato]
3 cups cooked black beans or canned beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Essence, recipe follows, garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish

Method: In a large, heavy pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and Serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about three minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about six minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about thirty seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about twenty minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

To serve, place 1/4 cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning
(also referred to as Bayou Blast)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Method: Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup.
Recipe from New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.


Asian Mushroom Soup
by George Wurtzel

George Wurtzel is the brother of Fred. George is executive director of Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) and spoke at the 2006 national convention in Dallas. This recipe was developed for a segment of Cooking without Looking, a National Public Television cooking program. He is Michigan’s celebrity chef.

Ingredients:
4 quarts chicken broth (The more flavorful the broth, the better the soup will be. Homemade broth simmered with fresh vegetables and herbs is best.)
8 ounces button mushrooms
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces portabella mushrooms
8 ounces straw mushrooms
8 ounces crimini mushrooms
2 stalks celery
1 leek
1 large yellow onion
2 ounces jalapeños
4 cloves garlic
4 ounces sesame oil
4 ounces olive oil
4 ounces peanut oil
4 ounces walnut oil
4 ounces butter
1 medium knob fresh ginger root
Soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt

Method: Pour broth into four-quart or larger crock-pot and set on high to heat through. Chop all vegetables to medium fineness and keep separated from each other. Lightly sauté button mushrooms and leek in butter; set aside. Sauté shiitake mushrooms, onion, and garlic in olive oil; set aside. Sauté portabella mushrooms and celery in walnut oil; set aside. Sauté straw mushrooms and ginger in sesame oil; set aside. Sauté crimini mushrooms and jalapeños in peanut oil; set aside. When ready to serve, place some of each mushroom mixture in individual soup bowls and add broth. Season to taste with soy sauce, sea salt, and pepper and enjoy immediately.

Winter Salad
by Reggie Alvarado

Reggie Alvarado is a member of the Western Wayne County Chapter of the NFB of Michigan. He is a medical transcriptionist, a guide dog user, and a leader in the Michigan affiliate.

Ingredients:
1 can, about 8 ounces, mandarin oranges
1 can, about 16 ounces, cherry pie filling
1 can, about 8 ounces, crushed pineapple
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small carton Cool Whip, regular, not flavored
About 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Method: In a mixing bowl mix the sweetened condensed milk and the cherry pie filling. Drain mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple and add to cherry mixture. Mix in half of the cup of chopped walnuts. Fold in Cool Whip and top with the remainder of the walnuts. Cover and chill until ready to use. Can be served as a dessert or as a side salad with pork, turkey, or chicken.

Nacho Chip Dip
by Diane Thurston

Diane Thurston is a member of the Michigan Affiliate. She is the parent of April and Andrew, who are now college students. Diane reads for Fred and Mary in exchange for information about blindness to help her be the great parent she is. In addition to reading, Diane is responsible for sending thank-you letters to all contributors to the NFB of Michigan. Here is her recipe for nacho dip. Make sure you read the second recipe for her dad’s nachos. Yum!

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef, browned
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 pound Velveeta cheese

Method: Brown ground beef and drain well. Place all ingredients in crock-pot. Heat on low until cheese is melted and veggies are tender. Serve with Frito scoops.

Dad’s Microwave Nachos
by Diane Thurston

Ingredients:
1 prepackaged large single-serving bag tortilla chips
1 handful pre-grated cheddar cheese
1 microwave oven
1 television with remote
Ice cold drink of choice (Some people like adult carbonated grain-based beverage found in bottles or cans.)

Method: Remove enough tortilla chips from bag to cover standard dinner plate. Sprinkle handful of grated cheddar cheese over chips. Place plate in center of microwave oven. Turn on TV and place TV remote in left hand. Set oven timer for one minute on medium high. Adjust volume on TV and check out five or six channels. When microwave stops, remove plate carefully; plate and contents will be extremely hot. Select least offensive TV program and exchange remote for cold drink. Eat nachos directly from plate. Serves one (although children can be distracted by placing a handful of chips on a paper plate. The peace is well worth the loss of a few chips). Variation: use serving platter instead of dinner plate.

Peanut Butter Brownies
by Melinda Latham

Melinda Latham is a member of the Lansing Chapter. She is employed by the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department, where she is responsible for supervising youth programs at the Gier Community Center. She is Michigan’s Youth SLAM Coordinator and an all ’round great person.

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix
1 16-ounce container of Cool Whip
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Method: Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions. In a large bowl combine peanut butter and frozen Cool Whip. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about thirty seconds until mixture is fluffy. The key to this recipe is to make sure the Cool Whip is frozen, or the frosting will become too runny. Frost the brownies with the peanut butter topping. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
by Donna Posont

Donna Posont is immediate past first vice president of the Michigan affiliate. She currently serves as president of the Western Wayne County Chapter, where she has presided for many years. Donna is the mother of five great children.

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Hershey’s Kisses

Method: Combine and beat all ingredients, except Kisses, thoroughly. Roll dough into one-inch balls. Dip one side in sugar. Place sugar-side-down on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for eight to eleven minutes at 350 degrees. Remove cookies from oven. Gently press an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss in the center of each cookie and return cookie sheet to oven for three to five more minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Enjoy.

Hot Water Corn Bread
by Sue Perry

Sue Perry is an at-large member of the NFB of Michigan. She lives in Macomb Township.

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 generous pinch salt
1 1/4 cups water
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Method: Combine corn meal, salt, and water to make a thick batter or dough. Heat oil in a skillet and one at a time drop batter formed into balls made of two tablespoons of dough into pan. Press the mound to flatten as it cooks. Turn once halfway through frying. When corn bread is golden brown; remove to keep warm on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about seven individual cakes of corn bread.

 

Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

The Braille Book Flea Market Needs Books:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2007 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 books suitable for children are badly needed. Last year we boxed up over 550 Twin Vision books for children in just a half an hour.

In a few weeks we will have a local address in Atlanta 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 her at <peggychong@earthlink.net>. Look for a Braille Book Flea Market update in the Braille Monitor very soon.

Elected:
The Memphis Chapter of the NFB of Tennessee conducted an election on Saturday, January 20, 2007. The results were Lessie Hall, president; James Broadnax, first vice president; Geraldine Parker, second vice president; Helene Ballard, secretary; Evelyn Hogue, treasurer; and Lev Williams and June Mangum, board members.

Elected:
The Wisconsin Association of Blind Merchants conducted elections on Saturday, November 11, 2006, at the state convention in Milwaukee. Elected officers are Roger Behm, president; Tom Jeray, vice president; John Fritz, treasurer and secretary; and Larry Sebranek and Brian Brown, board members.

Elected:
On January 20, 2007, the Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas conducted an election. Here are the results: Angela Wolf, president; Mark Noble, first vice president; Norma Baker, second vice president; Cokie Craig, treasurer; Richie Flores, secretary; and Malcolm Graham and Pam Buttner-Brooks, board members.

Available Now:
“Dress for success!” “Maximize your message!” “Put your best foot forward!” These are more than tired old clichés; they are time-proven truths. The appropriate attire can boost your confidence and show the world that you are part of an important team. Imagine the impact your chapter or affiliate can make at educational events, public meetings, and fundraisers if all your members and supporters are attired in new, sharp, high-quality garments.

We can help you obtain shirts that will assist you in making that positive impression. Each short-sleeved golf shirt is stitched on the upper left chest with the National Federation of the Blind logo, including Whozit depicted in full color. These shirts can be customized to include the name of your state affiliate at no extra charge. Select a color unique for your affiliate or chapter and really stand out in the crowd at state and national conventions.

What an immediate and graphic reminder of the exciting opportunity we have to be proud members of the largest and most dynamic consumer organization of the blind in the world. Ordering is easy. Each chapter submits a prepaid order for shirts for its membership. Shirts will be shipped to the ordering chapter in about three weeks. They are available in adult sizes small to 3XL. We can process orders for twelve or more shirts, and your cost is an amazingly low $15 per shirt plus shipping. Available shirt colors are white, black, ash, California teal, heather gray, ivy, kelly, maroon, natural, navy, red, and royal. Order right away to ensure that you have the shirts before our 2007 national convention in Atlanta, June 30 through July 6. Interested in button-up shirts, caps, or tote bags? Ask for a quote on those too.

Those interested in more information should contact East Hillsborough Chapter member DJ Hackney at <donnajhackney@aol.com> or (863) 853-7776. Orders may also be placed and paid for online at <www.blind411.org/Golf.html>.

Elected:
The San Francisco Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California held an election on February 17, 2007 with the following results: president, Jason Holloway; vice president, David Chan; secretary, Lisa Gordon; treasurer, Lauren Manierre; and board members Paul Wich and Ryhonda Cruz.

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.

Small Donations Needed to Help Blind Women in Africa:
Greetings from Wendy Olson in Ghana.
You may remember from a past Monitor Miniature that I am an American teacher of the blind and visually impaired living and working in Ghana, West Africa. In the past three months I have started several disability-related projects, including one with the Blind Women’s Association (BWA) in the town of Wenchi, which has an unusually high population of blind people because many years ago the local high school created a resource room for the visually impaired. Several of the women who graduated from the high school met to form the BWA. Its main goal is to obtain employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed women.

About two months ago I was invited to attend a BWA meeting. The women had drawn up an impressive proposal for developing business opportunities for the neediest seven women of the group. The BWA selected these seven women because the government does not provide welfare; they have no jobs and no working husbands or family members to support them. Most have resorted to begging on the street. However, most of these women are more educated than their sighted peers.

BWA’s plan is to procure enough money to purchase kiosks or metal containers so that each woman can start a small business selling items such as soap, powder, lotions, or snacks. The group is currently researching options for micro-loans in order to purchase the goods to fill the stores. However, in order to qualify for a micro-loan, borrowers must already own land, some equipment, a small structure, or other asset. I am writing to members of the blindness community to ask for your assistance by donating a small amount of money to the BWA so that they can purchase a kiosk for each of the seven women (the cost of one kiosk is about $600). One hundred percent of your donation will go directly to the seven women in need.

If you are interested in making a donation, send your contribution to Sherry Ruth, 6922 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, Ohio 44035. Make your check payable to the NFB of Ohio. For more information you can contact me at <wendysueolson@yahoo.com>. You can also go to <http://blindwomenwenchi.blogspot.com> to see a photo of the seven women and an example of a kiosk which will be used for the businesses that they are hoping to start. Thank you. A dollar goes a long way in Africa.

Sincerely,
Wendy Olson, TBVI

Unverified, but Probably True:
President Maurer writes that it has recently been reported that Ralph Sanders, who has allegedly been employed by the Sagebrush Organization [currently denominated National Training Conference for Blind Vendors], a creation of the American Council of the Blind, was fired. Sanders, it may be remembered, was at one time a member of the National Federation of the Blind and served briefly as president of the organization in the 1970s. He ceased his membership in the Federation in the 1980s. He is now a member of the American Council of the Blind, some say a leader of the organization.

The facts reported to me are that Ralph was supposed to plan the meeting of the Sagebrush Organization but that he failed to appear when the delegates gathered for the meeting. The Sagebrush firing is not the first that Ralph has known. He has been fired before. However, it is also reported that he hired a lawyer to speak to Sagebrush and to persuade the members of the group to maintain his employment. The persuasion apparently worked to Ralph's satisfaction, although the reports I have indicate that it was heavy-handed. People without guts deserve the employees they get.

It is also reported that a crony of Ralph Sanders, Mitch Pomerantz, who was himself at one time a member of the National Federation of the Blind but who joined the American Council of the Blind decades ago, has attempted to write cogent, pungent, insightful prose expressing dissatisfaction with the National Federation of the Blind. Apparently Mitch doesn't like our policy regarding currency. Mitch calls part of his diatribe a "modest proposal." However, he does not possess the wit or the trenchancy of Jonathan Swift, who composed the “Modest Proposal” that we studied in school.

That Ralph Sanders and Mitch Pomerantz are part of the same organization and that they are apparently friendly with one another is ironic. Mitch Pomerantz ceased to be a part of the National Federation of the Blind because of the actions of Ralph Sanders. Both Ralph and Mitch at one time declared that they supported the principles of the National Federation of the Blind. Now both of them try from time to time to tear down what at one point they were attempting to build. All of this would be largely irrelevant if it were not that a number of people say the National Federation of the Blind should join forces with the American Council of the Blind. If we must abandon our principles to join forces with the American Council of the Blind, the sacrifice is too great. The alteration would cause irreparable damage.

Attention Governor Morehead School Alumni:
If you ever attended the Governor Morehead School (either campus), you are part of the alumni. You did not have to graduate from GMS. Your former classmates and dorm mates want to hear from you. We want to place you on the alumni mailing list. Please send your student name and your current name, address, and phone number to Joyce H. Kemp, 3009 Whiting Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28205.

Congratulations for 100 Years of Service:
We recently received the following press release:
The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, the general-interest monthly that Helen Keller called a godsend, begins its second century of publication in March with a special anniversary issue.

She made that declaration in a letter published in the magazine's March 1907 inaugural issue, in which she also called the Ziegler, as it is known, "one of the most wonderful boons in the history of mankind." This most famous deaf and blind woman gave such high praise to the magazine because she knew how difficult it was for blind people to obtain reading matter one hundred years ago.

The early twentieth century was a time when neither the government nor private organizations were able to provide much support for the disabled. With limited prospects for entertainment and employment, intelligent blind men and women had little to do in the early 1900s. One thing they could do was read, and the fortunate ones had books in either the Braille or New York Point systems of embossed print. But one big obstacle stood between the blind and the books they so enjoyed: money. A book in raised type cost ten times the price of the same book in print or more.

As the mother of a blind son, Matilda Ziegler was aware of this group’s great need for reading material, and as heiress to a baking-powder fortune she was in a position to help. In one of history's great acts of charity, Mrs. Ziegler decided to use her inheritance to publish a free monthly magazine for every interested blind person.

Upon hearing about plans for the magazine, thousands of blind people wrote for subscriptions. Finally, in March 1907, the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind came into the hands of its eager subscribers, instantly attracting attention from the news media and praise from luminaries. Dozens of newspaper articles were written about the magazine, which Mark Twain described as "one of the noblest benefactions" of his lifetime. Many others agreed with his description, including presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt, who both wrote congratulatory letters that appeared in the inaugural issue.

These former presidents' letters will appear once again in the 2007 centennial issue, along with a selection of 1907 newspaper articles written about the founding of the publication. The one hundredth anniversary edition will also contain some items of interest reprinted from volume one, number one, of the Ziegler Magazine. In addition to a letter from the eloquent Ms. Keller, there will be current events from 1907 and a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "This, Too, Shall Pass."

Every issue of the Ziegler features a Readers Forum, which usually covers a variety of topics. But the March 2007 Readers Forum letters are about just one thing: appreciation for the magazine from its subscribers throughout the world. (Today the Ziegler goes to ninety-one countries.)

In the years since its founding, the Ziegler Magazine has become an institution in the blindness field, having touched the lives of tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired people. Thanks to the foresight and kindness of Mrs. William Ziegler, who established and endowed a foundation before her death in 1932, any legally blind person can receive--at no charge--the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, published in contracted Braille, on four-track/half-speed cassette, by email, and online at <www.matildaziegler.org>.

Conference Announcement:
Candle in the Window, a small national nonprofit organization with the aim of building both individual skills and a sense of community among people with visual impairments, welcomes blind people with varied experiences to join them at their twentieth annual conference entitled "Can You Relate: Navigating Relationships as Blind People." We aim to address such questions as:

In addition to provocative presentations and stimulating discussions, we will have plenty of time for hiking, eating, singing, quiet reflection, and just plain hanging out.

The conference will take place from Wednesday, August 8, through the morning of Sunday, August 12, at Wooded Glen, a lovely retreat center located in Henryville, Indiana, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. The cost is $360 ($15 discount if we receive a $35 nonrefundable deposit by July 1); limited scholarships and payment plans are available.

For additional information please contact Peter Altschul at (573) 445-5564, email <atschu@erols.com>, or Kathy Szinnyey at (502) 895-0866, email <fredkate@insightbb.com>, or Jonathan Ice at (319) 298-2919, email <jkice@mwci.net>.

Attention Alumni of the Oregon State School for the Blind:
The Oregon State School for the Blind announces a reunion of alumni, staff, and friends to be held June 8 to 10, 2007, at the school in Salem, Oregon. Many stimulating and relaxing activities are planned including a sack lunch social, bowling, a banquet, and a dance with karaoke music. Limited lodging is available on a first-requested, first-served basis. Don't miss this exciting, fun-filled opportunity to visit with old and new friends. Registration packets have been sent to people whose names are on file. To ensure receipt of yours or for more details, contact Claude and Anne Garvin without delay: telephone (503) 232-1344, 3730 SE Alder Street, Portland, Oregon 97214-3208; email <cgarvin@dialoregon.net>.

A New Braille Song:
Rebecca Muzquiz is a sighted vocational rehabilitation teacher at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) in Austin, Texas. Although she is capable of reading Braille visually, she both learned and teaches it tactilely. She is a passionate supporter of Braille reading and an enthusiastic teacher.

The students in her Braille class got together and wrote a song, which was performed for the first time at the CCRC Louis Braille celebration. It’s easy to sing to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Try it.

Take me out to my Braille class;
Let's go learn some Braille.
Give me my slate and stylus,
Reading and writing mean independence.
So it's root, root, root for the Braille code.
If you don't know it, it's a shame.
With dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
It's a job you'll gain.

Let's go learn some Braille!

Looking for Campers:
If you know a blind or visually impaired youth who likes hiking, canoeing, swimming, sports, arts and crafts, campfires, and making music, we need your help. These are just a few of the activities at Camp T in Michigan. We're looking for campers.

If you know a kid who enjoys having fun while strengthening blindness skills, check out <www.campt.org>. Here are some upcoming events:

Family Camp--Includes networking and support for parents, siblings, and grandparents.
Adventure Sailing Trip on Lake Michigan, GPS/Technology Weekend--Experience high-tech travel from wilderness to city. For more information contact <Jackie@campt.org>, or call (866) 789-9065.


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.

Sony Laptop Model F520 for Sale or Trade:
Asking $400 or will trade for a Franklin Language Master. Laptop is about five years old and in excellent condition.
Also selling a reconditioned Perkins Brailler. Asking $350.

Payment plan can be negotiated for either item. If interested, contact Nino Pacini at (313) 885-7330 or email <NPACINI@ATT.NET>.

For Sale:
Freedom Scientific SARA (a stand-alone Scanning And Reading Appliance), still in shipping box. Never been opened. Comes with software upgrade to 7.8. Easy to use. Original price $2,795. Asking $2,000 or best offer.

Also Optelec Easy Link with PDA. Two years old. Hardly used. Comes with cable adapters, software, and cases. Asking $1,200 or best offer. Last, Victor Reader Vibe Portable CD Player with adapter. Hardly used. Original price $199. Asking $100 or best offer. Contact Lisamaria Martinez at (510) 289-2577 or by email at <lmartinez217@gmail.com>.

For Sale:
I have the following items for sale:

1. Olympia portable color CCTV—one year old, like new condition. Comes with carrying case, battery, and charger. Asking $750 or best offer.

2. Flipper portable CCTV with twelve-inch LCD screen. Comes with charger and carrying case, features 3x to 12x magnification and also allows for longer distance viewing. This unit is only six months old and was used only a few times. Asking $1,500 or best offer.

3. VoiceNote notetaker with thirty-two-cell Braille display and qwerty keyboard. Comes with case and charger. Asking $500 or best offer.

If you are interested in any of these items, contact Lisa Smith, email <oxsangel06@adelphia.net>; phone (540) 280-7040.

For Sale:
I have an almost never used Braille ’n Speak 2000 with flash memory, adapter, Braille manual, and carrying case. The only flaw is that the zipper on the case does not work. Asking $500 or best offer. Please call Stephanie at (660) 665-2404.

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.

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