Braille Monitor April 2008
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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 2008 convention, June 29 through July 5. 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 Seminars
by the IBTC Technology Team
On Sunday, June 29, the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute’s Access Technology Team will conduct four seminars covering a wide range of access technology topics ranging from the basics of Webpages to the latest in optical character-recognition technology.
From 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. learn the basics of HTML and how to write a Webpage. We will also discuss tips and techniques for ensuring nonvisual accessibility.
From 10:30 a.m. to noon join us for a discussion of the latest advances in eBook technology: from new players, to where to get books, to tools for producing your own DAISY content.
From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. discover how all of your electronic devices can work
together to maximize your productivity. Don’t get overwhelmed by the computer,
the cell phone, the notetaker, the digital book reader, and all the other technology
blind people carry every day. We will talk about how to make it all fit together
and work for you. From 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. find out what the most recent technology
in the optical-character-recognition market has to offer. We will demonstrate
the new OpenBook 8.0, Kurzweil 11, Zoom-Twix, and the Eye-Pal. See you there.
Affiliate Action Action
by Joanne Wilson
The NFB Department of Affiliate Action will again sponsor a variety of programs at this year’s convention to strengthen membership in the Federation, expand our diversity, and develop our organization. Please plan to take advantage of this full array of chapter and affiliate membership-development programming. What follows is a list of the Department of Affiliate Action programs open to everyone at this year’s convention:
• Third Annual Spanish Seminar—Federationists Jessica Bachicha and A.Z. Martinez will facilitate a three-hour seminar conducted in Spanish, which will explore the roots of Federationism and will enable Latino members of our organization to network with one another. This event will be held on the afternoon of Monday, June 30, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
• Recruiting Workshop—A hands-on, how-to-recruit-people-to-the-Federation workshop, featuring interactive exercises, will again be sponsored the evening of Tuesday, July 1, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Come learn about effective strategies for inviting blind and interested sighted people to join the most vibrant and productive national consumer organization of the blind in America.
• Local Chapter Presidents' Networking Reception--A reception for local chapter presidents only will be held on Wednesday, July 2, in the Affiliate Action suite from noon to 1:30 p.m. In anticipation of the membership and chapter-building workshop later in the week, this informal gathering will allow local leaders to talk about issues of particular interest to Federationists at the grassroots level and begin to bond with one another as another level of Federation leadership. Please plan to attend this brief but important meeting if you are the president of a local chapter. Because of the number of NFB chapters, space constraints require that chapter presidents only participate in this first-ever local chapter presidents' reception.
• Back to Basics: Foundations in Membership and Chapter Development—As the name of this new four-hour seminar suggests, the staff of the Department of Affiliate Action will lead a thoughtful, detail-oriented session that will examine fundamental issues for strengthening individual membership and chapter vitality in the Federation. This seminar will occur Thursday afternoon, July 3, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. At the top of each hour during the seminar, focus will be given to a new aspect of individual and chapter development, allowing interested convention delegates to attend all or a portion of this event, depending on their particular interests. Seminar segments will be presented as follows:
1:00-2:00 p.m.—Membership building and new chapter development
2:00-3:00 p.m.—Running an engaging chapter meeting
3:00-4:00 p.m.—Community projects and chapter fundraising
4:00-5:00 p.m.—Weaving Federation philosophy into local chapter meetings
• Rehabilitation and Education Professionals Luncheon—Friday, July 4, from noon to 1:30 p.m. all directors or administrators of state rehabilitation agencies serving eligible blind consumers, and administrators of state residential schools for the blind or system-wide blindness special education programs are invited to attend an informal networking luncheon in the Affiliate Action suite to discuss current issues in rehabilitation and education of mutual interest to the profession and the Federation.
• Finally, participants in Department of Affiliate-Action-sponsored programs such as the Parent Leadership Program, the Scholarship Alumni Program, the Rookie Round-Up Program, NFB students, and affiliate presidents should be on the lookout for special invitations to attend events in the Affiliate Action suite at various times throughout the convention. Those involved in these programs will receive personalized invitations with time and location details.
For further information about the program initiatives of the Department of
Affiliate Action at the 2008 convention, contact Joanne Wilson, executive director
of affiliate action, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2335 or by email at <[email protected]>.
Attention All First-Time Convention Attendees
We invite you to attend a reception previewing our 2008 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: Sunday, June 29, 2008
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
For more information contact Pam Allen, (800) 234-4166; <[email protected]>.
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 Sunday, June 29, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. 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. Bring all your friends or come make new ones and enjoy music, door prizes, and a cash bar. Admission is only $5, and song lists will be available in Braille that night. Don't miss your chance to be a rock star!
Books on Time: Mobilizing the Troops for Action
Despite considerable effort over the past ten years, blind children still begin the first day of school without their books. Now is the time to educate and mobilize a force of advocates at the grass roots who will help us overcome this injustice. Each affiliate should send at least one person to this seminar Tuesday, July 1, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. During the seminar affiliate representatives will receive information about how the law is supposed to work, how to assist families in navigating the complaint process, how to create change at the local level, and how to assist the NFB national office in tracking the problems with timely, accessible textbooks. More specific details will be available in the coming months about the exact time, location, and agenda for this important training seminar.
Building Our Future: Youth Outreach in NFB Affiliates
From 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 3, the NFB Jernigan Institute will be hosting a networking and idea-sharing session for NFB affiliates undertaking youth outreach programs. Come tell people what your affiliate is doing in youth outreach and what resources you need, and learn from the Institute’s education team as well as others passionate about youth outreach. Affiliates in attendance will be asked for information about what they are doing in youth outreach and what barriers they are running into. This motivational, idea-sharing session is meant to expand the youth empowerment movement within the NFB. Those considering how to begin new youth outreach initiatives should come network and learn from those who are already building our future with the next generation.
Volunteers for Children’s Activities Needed
by Melissa Riccobono
Energetic and enthusiastic volunteers are needed to work with children ages five to seven on Sunday, June 29, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Volunteers will work one on one with blind and sighted children in structured activities while their parents attend workshops sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. This is a fantastic opportunity to serve as a blind role model to a young blind or sighted child and to spend the afternoon having fun. To volunteer or for more information, contact Melissa Riccobono at (410) 235-3073 or <[email protected]>.
An Evening at the Colorado Center for the Blind
by Julie Deden
Take charge; challenge yourself. You are invited to an open house on Thursday, July 3, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The staff and students at the Colorado Center for the Blind want you to discover what good training can do for you.
• Practice using a long white cane with our travel instructors.
• Meet our employment staff and take a quick career assessment survey.
• Create a piece of art with our art instructor.
• Try out a Braille puzzle.
• Learn about exciting innovations in the area of adaptive technology.
• Pick up some recipes and practice your techniques in food preparation.
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, July 3, at our open house.
Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology
by Gary Wunder
On Tuesday, July 1, a meeting of the Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology will conduct a meeting in which exhibitors from the convention hall will each be given a five-minute segment to tell us what they are exhibiting, where they are in the hall, and other contact information they may wish to share. Following these presentations, we will hold a brief meeting to conduct committee business, to evaluate the effectiveness of what we now do, and to consider programs we might conduct in the coming year. For more information write to Gary Wunder by emailing <[email protected]> or by calling him at (573) 874-1774.
Crafters Organizational Meeting
by Joyce Kane
Crafters in the National Federation of the Blind are planning an organizational meeting at convention in Dallas. Please come and be part of planning this new group, committee, or division. We will have demonstrations of some of our crafters’ skills. We will also have some give-it-a-try demonstrations. Please put this on your list of got-to-do activities, and check the convention agenda for day, place, and time. If you have questions, contact Joyce Kane at <[email protected]>.
Committee on Research and Development
by Curtis Chong
Anybody who has been active in the National Federation of the Blind for any length of time will remember some of the more outlandish inventions and research projects that have surfaced, ostensibly for the benefit of blind people. There was the toilet designed especially for the blind. Then there was the camera that transmitted tactile images from one's surroundings to a vibrating sensor on the tongue. These crazy projects have one thing in common—they were conceived with no meaningful involvement from the blind community—particularly the organized blind.
The Committee on Research and Development of the National Federation of the Blind is interested in technological developments and research projects that will truly benefit blind people. Think about the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader--a technology that was conceived, designed, and implemented with the full and active involvement of the National Federation of the Blind--and one can imagine what spectacular accomplishments are possible if blind people themselves are a meaningful part of any technological or research project. If you have an interest in new technologies that will benefit the blind, come to the 2008 meeting of the Committee on Research and Development at the National Federation of the Blind convention.
The meeting of the Committee on Research and Development will occur Thursday evening, July 3, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. The specific room location will be listed in the National Federation of the Blind convention agenda. Previous meetings of the committee have touched on a wide variety of interesting and thought-provoking subjects, and I feel confident that this meeting will be no different.
If you want more information about the committee or the meeting, contact Curtis
Chong, chair of the committee, using the following contact information: 3000
Grand Avenue, Apartment 810, Des Moines, Iowa 50312; home phone (515) 277-1288;
email <[email protected]>.
by Robert Eschbach
The Deaf-Blind Division will meet on Tuesday evening, July 1. Registration begins at 6:00; meeting starts at 7:00. This is an election year; we will also have time for committee reports and a discussion about the newest technology to assist deaf-blind people. We will conclude no later than 10:00. Don't forget our table in the exhibit hall. The traditional T-shirts will be available. We are also introducing NFB flipflops. See you there.
Diabetes Action Network Seminar
by Ed Bryant
Our Diabetes Action Network will have its seminar and business meeting on Tuesday, July 1, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Our keynote speaker will be Ann S. Williams, PhD, RN, CDE, who is a diabetes educator with much experience with diabetic issues. There will be plenty of time for your questions. We will also have a panel discussion on adaptive diabetes equipment, in which much information will be disseminated. Our seminar is free and open to the public.
by Buna Dahal
Successful employment demands effective leadership. We are planning a dynamic, practical, resourceful employment seminar. Whether you are a job seeker, trainer, or provider, you will find something valuable at this event. Imagine that you will be opening a beautiful surprise. When you combine employment and leadership effectively, they fit like a well-made glove; come discover that this seminar is one of a kind. Mark your calendar to unwrap the gift of employment on Sunday, June 29 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. For further information contact Buna Dahal, committee chairperson, (303) 758-1232; <[email protected]>.
Ham Radio Group Emergency Preparedness Seminar
by D. Curtis Willoughby
In accord with long-standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2008 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 Sunday, June 29. 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 architectural features of the convention hotel and other information NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary.
Any Dallas hams willing to do a little frequency scouting before the convention are asked to contact Curtis Willoughby, KA0VBA; (303) 424-7373; <[email protected]>.
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. The same receivers are used to allow Spanish speakers who do not speak English fluently or do not understand it well 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.
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 Friday, July 4. In addition to our regular business, we will consider the constitution for our conversion from an interest group to an NFB division, so all NFB hams should plan to be there.
The Human Services Division
by Melissa Riccobono
Are you a psychologist; counselor; social worker; music, art, or dance therapist; or someone working in a related field? Are you a student interested in a human service career? If so, plan to attend the annual meeting of the National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 1, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Dues are $5, and registration begins at 1:00 p.m. We are planning an exciting program this year which will include, among other things, an open question- and-answer period regarding the way human service professionals succeed in job interviews, fill out paperwork, read charts, and much more. Please come with your questions ready.
From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. we will have the opportunity to mingle and network with
one another in a more informal setting. If you have any questions about the
NFB Human Services Division, please contact Melissa Riccobono, president, at
(410) 235-3073, or by email at <[email protected]>.
by Ramona Walhof
Friday, July 4, at lunchtime Lions will meet. Anyone who is a member of a Lions Club is encouraged to attend. Those who would like to learn more about what Lions do or would like to work with a community service organization are also welcome. This is an opportunity to compare notes and share our experiences in Lions. Since a primary goal of Lions is to prevent blindness and assist those who are blind, Federationists can have a good influence in local Lions Clubs. Many clubs are coordinating their efforts with local chapters of the Federation.
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players
by Jerry Whittle
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players present Deja Blue, a musical play about a young man who suddenly loses his vision because of diabetes on Tuesday, July 1. Two performances featuring a live New Orleans-style band. Price $5. All proceeds go to the summer training program for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
The 2008 March for Independence
by Kevan Worley
Here we come, Texas! Here we come, Dallas! The blind are on the march, the March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity. Again this year at our national convention the March for Independence will be the culmination of our year-long Imagination Fund campaign. This year we will march in Dallas early the morning of Wednesday, July 2. Our plan is to assemble in the Anatole Hilton parking lot in front of the clock tower. We will be ready to march our 5K route, leaving at precisely 7:00 a.m. We will be heading to the AT&T Plaza at American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and site of large community events. The AT&T Plaza will be an extraordinary setting for another memorable rally. Imagine well over one thousand of this nation’s blind citizens marching into the plaza, the energy and enthusiasm of the blind magnified on the jumbo-trons surrounding the plaza. Again this year our March and ceremonies will exemplify the independent spirit and true capacity of the blind. As always in the National Federation of the Blind, we will do it with imagination, gusto, and flair.
Those who participated in our first ever March for Independence will remember the camaraderie, the solidarity of spirit, and the pride as we marched together as one movement through downtown Atlanta. Those who missed our first annual March for Independence must be sure to be a part of the action in Dallas.
Leading the March will be NFB President Marc Maurer. Walking shoulder to shoulder with him will be Congressman Pete Sessions, who serves as this year’s March for Independence Honorary Chair. Congressman Sessions (32nd District) is keenly interested in issues important to blind people and those losing vision. He serves in the Congressional Vision Caucus. Both President Maurer and Congressman Sessions will address the blind who lead the blind at the ceremonies, which will mark the halfway point of the March. The rally is sure to be a spectacle to remember, with even more surprises than last year. After our rally we will march back to the Hilton Anatole to begin the sixty-eighth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
So raise your money. Those who raise $250 will receive an official NFB March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity T-shirt. Those who raise $500 or more will also receive an official NFB March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity hat to keep that early morning Dallas sun off your head. Those who raise $1,000 or more will also be awarded a commemorative March for Independence gold medallion. We will be reading the names of all of the $1,000 medallion winners at the ceremonies, which will echo from the jumbo-trons. There were nearly one hundred medallion winners in 2007. At this March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity, let’s plan to double the number of names read and medallions awarded.
Raising money for our Imagination Fund is important work. Being a part of the
March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity with all of your brothers and
sisters is exhilarating. The T-shirt, the hat, and the medallion are fine tokens
of a job well done, but the work for which we raise the money is reward in itself.
The pride we will feel when we march as one Federation through the streets of
Dallas will be deeply fulfilling. So start now; ask your friends, family members,
and those you meet every day to contribute toward your participation in the
March for Independence?A Walk for Opportunity. And plan to be at the National
Federation of the Blind convention for our second annual march. Here we come,
Dallas! Here we come, America! The march of the blind continues.
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 exchanging successful ideas and encouraging chapters to try new types of fundraising and meet-and-greet events. The seminar will be conducted by Jerry Lazarus, NFB Jernigan Institute director of special projects, Thursday, July 3, 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 Tuesday, July 1. Registration will be at 12:30 p.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 1:00 and adjourn at 5:00 p.m. The theme of this year’s meeting will be Ambassadors of Confidence in Communities of Faith. We will have panel discussions regarding the education of the sighted in various facets of faith based activities. We will also receive updates regarding the production of Christian literature.
The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will again coordinate the devotional services that will take place Thursday, July 3, through Saturday, July 5. The theme of the devotions will be remission and reconciliation. Devotions will begin an hour before the morning sessions and will adjourn fifteen minutes before the opening gavel each morning.
Please contact me if you wish to preach or sing at these devotional services.
My home address is 5628 South Fox Circle, Apartment A, Littleton, Colorado,
80120. My home phone number is (303) 794-5006. My work phone number is (303)
778-1130, extension 220. My email address is <[email protected]>.
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 Tuesday, July 1, 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 Websites (including legal sites), access to employment, meaningful access to legal texts, and access to a level playing field for legal examinations like the LSAT and bar exams. We will also review other discrimination and civil rights cases. 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. Undoubtedly we will 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 Dallas on July 1, is the place to be.
by Scott LaBarre
The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its eleventh annual Mock Trial at the 2008 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 case, but it will undoubtedly highlight a case in which a blind person or people 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 listservs 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. The
trial will take place on Monday afternoon, June 30, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. somewhere
in the Hilton Anatole. Consult the convention agenda for the exact place.
NFB Jernigan Institute Open House
Take an opportunity Thursday afternoon, July 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. to drop in and speak with members of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute staff about the programs and initiatives of the four-year-old research and training institute operated by the NFB. This informal networking and exhibit session is meant to provide members of the Federation with a greater understanding of the Institute and an opportunity to discuss hopes and dreams that the Institute should pursue in the future. This is your Institute--come learn more, connect the work of the Institute to priorities in your state affiliate, be part of shaping the future, and imagine. Institute initiatives to be highlighted include education, parents, technology, Jacobus tenBroek Library, and partnerships.
Newsletter Publications Committee
by Norma Crosby
The Newsletter Publications Committee will hold its annual meeting during the 2008 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The committee and others in attendance will be treated to presentations about what should be included in a state newsletter, how to format a good publication, how to start a newsletter, publishing in accessible formats, and much more. We will have lots of opportunity to ask questions, and all newsletter editors are encouraged to attend. If your affiliate does not currently produce a newsletter, please send a representative so we can talk about how you might get started.
Newsletters are a wonderful way to publicize what an affiliate is doing, and
they can also be a great recruiting tool. Publishing a great newsletter should
be a goal of every affiliate. Our committee is willing to help, so come and
join us. The time and location of our meeting will be posted in the convention
agenda, and if you have questions about the meeting before convention, you can
contact Norma Crosby at (318) 251-1375 or <[email protected]>.
National Association of Blind Merchants
by Kevan Worley
Revolutionizing Randolph-Sheppard: Creating New, Robust, and Diverse Small Business Opportunities for the Blind of America will be the theme of this year’s annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants. This symposium will take place Tuesday afternoon, July 1, from 1:30 to 5:00 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. Our 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. For more than a generation the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly to protect and defend the Randolph-Sheppard program.
The need to expand business opportunities and to develop new business initiatives for the blind is essential. On Thursday, July 3, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m. we invite you to our eighth annual Randolph-Sheppard reception. Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph-Sheppard and other business opportunities we can create through our work in the National Federation of the Blind. Check the convention agenda for location. On Wednesday morning, July 2, our Federation merchant team will be participating in the second annual National Federation of the Blind March for Independence--A Walk for Opportunity. We will carry our Federation merchant team banner high, proclaiming the independence of the blind.
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. After all, we are Federation merchants.
National Association of Blind Office Professionals
by Lisa Hall
The National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, June 29. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting begins at 7:00 and ends at 9:00 p.m.
If you are employed in the clerical field or seeking work of this type, please come. An agenda attempting to meet everyone's information needs is being put together. Who should attend? Anyone who is employed as a telephone operator, receptionist, clerk typist, customer service rep, Braille transcriber, Braille proofreader, medical transcriber, or employment specialist. Maybe even job coaches should be included since job specialists and job developers sometimes work with blind people seeking employment in order to work out reasonable accommodations with employers in today's office setting. Many office software programs are proprietary and can cause problems for those installing access technology on networks because of security issues. We hope to address your problems getting access to information in an office. We plan to cover job-finding and job-preparation techniques and strategies for finding information about specific jobs. We also hope to include discussion of accessible phones blind people can use when working outside the office. We will discuss exciting developments in the Braille printing industry as well as my appointment representing Clovernook on the BANA board. If you know of someone who could speak about any of these topics, let me know as soon as possible.
This is an election year. I have been president of this division since 1996
and so will be wrapping up twelve years of service. I do plan to run again and
hope that other board members will run as well. Dues are $5 and can be paid
in advance or at the meeting during convention. If you are unable to attend
our meeting that week because of scheduling conflicts, I can be found in the
Ohio delegation or can be reached by cell phone at (513) 550-5155. I can also
be contacted at the following address: 7001 Hamilton Avenue, Unit 2, Cincinnati,
Ohio 45231-5262; home (513) 931-7070; email <[email protected]>. The
current board members are Lisa Hall, president (Ohio); Mary Donahue, vice president
(Texas); Sherri Brun, secretary (Florida); and Debbie Brown, treasurer (Maryland).
See everyone in Dallas.
National Association of Blind Piano Technicians
by Don Mitchell
Looking for a job that puts you in charge? Come to the piano technology seminar sponsored by the National Association of Blind Piano Technicians, Tuesday, July 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. This seminar will give you the opportunity to have hands-on experience with the craft of piano technology. For an appointment with a member of the division to receive personalized information, contact Division President Don Mitchell in Dallas. See the convention agenda for meeting room location.
National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
by Nadine Jacobson
It's hard to believe that soon our wonderful national convention will be upon us. This year we have planned a particularly exciting NAPUB meeting. In addition to our normal activities, we have some special guest speakers. Twelve of the winners of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest will be coming to our convention, and several will speak to us about their efforts and accomplishments. We will also have some exciting auction items to help raise funds for next year's contest.
On January 4, 2009, we will all be celebrating the two-hundredth birthday of
Louis Braille. Join us and help begin the celebration. Our meeting will take
place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. Come join us for this very special
National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals
by Carlos Serván
The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals (NABRP) will cosponsor the National Conference for O&M and rehabilitation professionals on Sunday, June 29. This conference promises to be the best of its nature in our country. We will address the structured-discovery method, working with blind seniors, working with blind people with additional disabilities, certification for residential training centers, certification for Braille instructors, and more. For location consult the convention agenda.
On Tuesday, July 1, the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals will meet 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 a great 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 rehabilitation 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, contact Carlos Serván at (402) 327-0414,
or send an email to <[email protected]>.
National Association of Blind Students (NABS)
by Tai Tomasi
The National Association of Blind Students will conduct its annual meeting on Monday, June 30, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Registration with a fee of $5 will begin at 6:00 p.m. Immediately following the student meeting join your friends and meet new ones in the Affiliate Action suite from 10:00 p.m. to midnight. Snacks and drinks will be served.
On Tuesday, July 1, NABS will be hosting a free pizza lunch from noon to 2:00 p.m. for all students wishing to attend. The informal lunch will be held in a suite, so space will be limited, and food will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Come eat pizza and socialize. The location is still to be determined. Details will be advertised on the student listserv. To join the student listserv, go to <http://www.nfbnet.org>. Details will also be announced at the student meeting on Monday, June 30.
NABS is also hosting Monte Carlo Night on Thursday, July 3, from 8:00 p.m.
until midnight. For the first time NABS will also provide board games for your
enjoyment in addition to your favorite card games. Come play Monopoly, Scrabble,
and other games with your friends for a $5 fee to support your student division
or pay-to-play card games for your chance to win awesome prizes. 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 Tai Tomasi, president, (801) 953-4340, or email
National Association of Guide Dog Users
by Marion Gwizdala
Have you ever wondered what exactly Islam teaches about dogs in general and service animals in particular? Do you want to know what the NFB’s stand is on guide dogs? Would you like an opportunity actually to work a guide dog to see if it might be for you? What’s all the buzz about the ownership policies of training centers in the United States? Are you interested in forming a guide dog users division in your state or strengthening an existing one? Then the annual seminar of the National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) is the place for you at this year’s national convention.
The National Association of Guide Dog Users, a strong and proud division of the national Federation of the Blind, will hold its annual meeting and seminar in conjunction with our national convention. This year we are planning several exciting and interesting activities that even those who do not use a guide dog will enjoy. Our dynamic programs will expand your mind, challenge your perceptions, and build bridges. Take a look at our many plans, and you will agree that NAGDU is changing what it means to be blind. On Sunday evening, June 29, NAGDU will hold its annual membership meeting. One of the many challenges faced by guide dog handlers is access to taxicabs. A frequent reason for this discrimination is the assertion by those of the Islamic faith that their religious tenets forbid them from having our dogs in their presence. In order to learn more about Islam, we are inviting a Muslim cleric to deliver the invocation at our business meeting and provide us an authoritative view of this issue.
NAGDU has been experiencing tremendous growth over the past few years. Our current constitutional leadership consists of only four executive officers: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. An amendment to the NAGDU constitution will be considered that would expand our board of directors to include three additional members to our board. After we consider and vote on this measure, we will hold elections to fill the available seats.
United States guide dog training centers have a variety of policies pertaining to the ownership of our guide dogs. Some provide full ownership upon graduation, others offer ownership after a probationary period, while some retain ownership for the life of the dog. We are putting together two teams to engage in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate on the question of ownership. In order to challenge and expand our perceptions and those of the training centers, we are asking training centers to provide representatives who will argue in favor of full ownership upon graduation, while the NAGDU team will take the opposing side. We are hopeful that such an exchange will help bridge the gap and create more consistency in ownership policies among the training centers.
Stress is a major concern for everyone. The way we manage our stress has a profound impact on our mental and physical health. The same is true for our dogs, whether they are our guide dogs or our pets. A very effective tool for managing stress is massage. Not only does a good massage help relieve tension in our muscles, the physical touch of another releases beneficial chemicals in our bodies that contribute to our sense of well-being. Dogs as well can benefit from massage. During our Tuesday seminar we will learn the art of massage for dogs.
A strong affiliate guide dog users division is a key element in protecting our right of access and educating the public on the issues faced by us. Many affiliates have guide dog users divisions that they would like to strengthen, while others would like to organize one. At this year’s convention we will hold a workshop presented by leaders who have burgeoning affiliate divisions to learn their secrets to success.
Many of you may wonder if a guide dog is for you. We are inviting guide dog training centers attending our convention to provide a demo dog that others can work. Experienced handlers will be on hand to answer questions about the impact of a dog in your life, including the practical aspects of caring for a dog. In addition we are planning a skills course to test our dogs. We will be inviting the public to an event where we will present a scripted demonstration of a working guide dog, expose the audience to the truth about guide dog use, and teach them about the National Federation of the Blind.
Whether you are a current guide dog user, are interested in obtaining a guide
dog, or would just like to become better educated about guide dog issues, the
NAGDU seminar will be an exciting and rewarding experience. Watch for the upcoming
release of the convention agenda for the details of times and places for these
activities. As we tell our dogs when asking them to work: join the NAGDU Division
as we move “Forward.”
NFB in Computer Science
by Curtis Chong
The 2008 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will take place on Tuesday, July 1, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration will commence at 12:30 p.m. Check the NFB convention agenda for the specific room.
This being an even-numbered year, there will be an election of officers and board members at this year's meeting as well as the usual informative and technology-oriented program items. Current officers and board members of the NFB in Computer Science are Curtis Chong, president; Steve Jacobson, vice president; Mike Freeman, secretary; Susie Stanzel, treasurer; and board members Brian Buhrow, Lloyd Rasmussen, and D. Curtis Willoughby.
While the formal program has not yet been finalized, we expect to hear from Google about its programs to enhance the accessibility of the many services available through its Website. We are working to put together a number of program items for blind people who are working in the field of information technology. It is possible that we will have an update from Microsoft about its accessibility efforts, and it seems high time to hear from America Online about what it is doing to make its Internet offerings accessible to the blind. All of this is to say that the program is still fluid, and suggestions are always welcome.
Membership dues for the NFB in Computer Science are $5. You can pay your membership
dues at the convention or send them directly to the NFB in Computer Science
president, Curtis Chong, 3000 Grand Avenue, Apartment 810, Des Moines, Iowa
50312; home phone (515) 277-1288; email <[email protected]>. I
look forward to seeing all of you at the convention.
National Organization of Blind Educators
by Sheila Koenig
On Tuesday, July 1, 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 contracted?
During our seminar successful blind teachers will discuss such questions. Seminar
participants will also meet in small groups specific to grade level and content
areas of interest. In this way we can create a network of mentors extending
beyond our meeting. If you teach or are considering a career in teaching at
any level, plan to join us.
National Federation of the Blind Seniors Division
Seniors Welcome You
by Judy Sanders
We have a new name, and we invite you to join us to see if anything else is different. We are now the National Federation of the Blind Senior Division. Reserve the evening of Monday, June 30, for an inspiring time with your elders.
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 make sure your items arrive in time for eager bidders. Our thanks to Ramona Walhof for coordinating this activity.
The focus of our meeting will be finding ways to spread our message of hope to seniors who have recently become blind. Are there new approaches that we can take to teach others to understand and embrace our philosophy? Are there unique activities that are sponsored in our states that attract the attention of our ever-growing population of blind seniors? The NFB is loaded with talented and enthusiastic people who are ready to share what they are doing so we can take their ideas home with us and implement them. Join us to hear about these innovative activities and thoughts, and bring your own visionary ideas to share.
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, or email <[email protected]>.
One final thing: leave your ID in your hotel room. Everyone is welcome.
Performing Arts Division
by Dennis Holston
This year’s Performing Arts meeting will be on Tuesday, July 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. We are excited about this upcoming Performing Arts Division meeting. This year we have representatives from Out of the Blue Records. They will speak to us about starting a record company and all the challenges that go into running one. We will also have one of the artists from our 2007 “Sound in Sight” album tell her unique story. This woman will be playing a major role in future Performing Arts initiatives. We will also have elections this year and a discussion about the new scholarship program that is being built. As always, we will have our yearly report and a question-and-answer segment. Join us for an action-packed division meeting, and help play a role in the future of the division. Membership dues are $5.
Consumers Shaping the Field of Rehabilitation
Seventh Annual Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Conference
by Edward Bell
8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Registration (fees are $50 for professionals working in the field and $25 for students)
9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Conference
This conference on Sunday, June 29, will be of particular interest to those
working in the field of rehabilitation for the blind, students in professional
preparation programs, and those interested in travel training as a career. Sponsored
jointly by the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals (Carlos
Serván, president); the Professional Development and Research Institute
on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University; and the National Blindness Professional
Certification Board (NBPCB) (Allen Harris, president).
Showcase of Talent
by Adrienne Snow
The Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind will hold its third annual Showcase of Talent on Wednesday, July 2, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., at the wonderful Hilton Anatole Hotel. This year’s show is bound to be the best yet; all proceeds from the show this year and in the future will benefit our newly devised scholarship program dedicated to and in memory of Mary Ann Parks. The scholarship program will begin in 2009. Admission for spectators and performers is $5 per person, collected at the door. Signing up can be done at the Performing Arts Division table in the exhibit hall or by contacting Adrienne Snow in her room at the convention. Consult your agenda for the Showcase room location. We look forward to seeing you all in Dallas.
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 Thursday afternoon, July 3. 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, governmental program specialist 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
Going for the Gold
by Lisamaria Martinez
The Sports and Recreation Division is planning a sports extravaganza in 2008. This is an Olympic year, and the S&R Division wants to go for the gold. Members of the division are busy planning activities that will last all week long. Keep an eye out for a detailed list of upcoming activities. However, plan on packing your bathing suit and flip flops as well as your sneakers and comfy clothes so that you can learn about goalball, triatholons, judo, skating, and much, much more. And don't forget the S&R Division meeting to be held on Tuesday, July 1, Division Day. We plan on having excellent speakers who are past and future Paralympians.
Celebrate the conclusion of our second March for Independence by unwinding at the end of the day in beautiful Anatole Park with a delicious dinner under the stars. Buy your tickets early for a Texas-style barbeque of beef brisket, grilled marinated breast of chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, beans, corn on the cob, warm cornbread and biscuits with honey butter, pecan pie, and warm peach cobbler. We will also enjoy live western swing and country music—all happening on Wednesday, July 2, starting at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 when purchased before May 31.
Travel and Tourism
by Doug Johnson
The Travel and Tourism Division meeting in Dallas will be on Monday, June 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. This year’s meeting will have an election of all officers and will be primarily a division business meeting. Dues-paying members only are eligible to vote and hold office. Annual dues are still $10. Those wishing to pay in advance may send checks to Doug Johnson and make them payable to NFB Travel and Tourism Division. For more information contact Douglas M. Johnson, president, Travel and Tourism Division, P.O. Box 597, Manchester, Washington 98353, (360) 871-3731, <[email protected]>.
by Dwight Sayer
The National Association of Blind Veterans is seeking veterans from across the nation to become members. They are encouraged to go to our Website at <http://www.nabv.org> to download the membership application. Forward your completed application to the address indicated along with $5 dues. Our next meeting will be in Dallas at our national convention. We are also seeking leaders across the nation to help us establish state organizations of the NABV. If you have questions, contact NABV President Dwight Sayer at (407) 877-8668 or email <[email protected]>.
Webmasters Meeting in Dallas
by Gary Wunder
On Monday, June 30, all Webmasters for NFB divisions and affiliates are encouraged to attend a meeting in which we will discuss the importance of an informative, accessible, visually attractive Website, how to develop the skills to be a Webmaster, and how to share the work of updating various information on a site by area of responsibility. Check your agenda for time and room, and feel free to contact Gary Wunder by writing to <[email protected]> or by calling (573) 874-1774 for more information.
by Robert Leslie Newman
The Writers Division will conduct two activities of interest at this year’s convention. On Seminar Day, June 29, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., a workshop titled “Everything You Should Know about Publishing Today and in the Near Future,” will be open to everyone. Cost is $5 at the door.
The division will conduct its annual meeting on July 1 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
We will develop our division, report on the accomplishments of our members,
and provide information and support for any blind person who wishes to write.
For more information contact Division President Robert Leslie Newman, email
Youth Track 2008
by Mary Jo Thorpe
Attention all teens between fourteen and eighteen: So your parents just told you that you are coming to the national convention in Dallas this summer. You may think this means kicking back and watching movies in your hotel room all day while your parents go to meetings. While having sole control of the cable is great, we’d like to invite you to join us for a different kind of cable entertainment.
The Education Department at the NFB Jernigan Institute is once again partnering
with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children to present the National
Convention Youth Track. This year’s theme, “C.A.B.L.E.—Challenging Adolescents
to Believe, Lead, and Explore,” is sure to have something for everyone, blind
and sighted alike. The NFB Youth Track is a great way for teens to find their
place and share their influence with our organization. Whether it’s participating
in the recreational activities, attending group workshops, or just hanging out
with teens from all over the country, come click with our clique. The week will
kick off at the NOPBC program the morning of Sunday, June 29. A detailed schedule
of activities for the week will be included in the convention agenda. For more
information or questions, contact Mary Jo Thorpe, education programs specialist
at the NFB Jernigan Institute at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or at <[email protected]>.
See you there.