Vol. 53, No. 4 April 2010
Daniel B. Frye, editor
Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by
The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, president
200 East Wells Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
telephone: (410) 659-9314
email address: [email protected]
Website address: http://www.nfb.org
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National Federation of the Blind
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THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 53, No. 4 April 2010
Dallas Site of 2010 NFB Convention
The Blind Comment on Fairness of Proposed Google Settlement
by Daniel B. Frye
Selections from Let Freedom Ring
Blind Americans Raise Their Voices
in Support of Braille Literacy
Blind Toddler's Mother Has High Expectations
by Debra Lemoine
As the Twig Is Bent
by Jeff Altman
2010 Convention Attractions
Education: Top Down and Bottom Up
2010 NOPBC Conference
by Carol Castellano
by Carla McQuillan
Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation
Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed
by D. Curtis Willoughby
Dialysis at National Convention
by Michael Freeman
Newly Designed Count-A-Dose to Be Released in April
by Michael Freeman
Featured Book from the Jacobus tenBroek Library
by Ed Morman
Seville Allen Dies
by Charlie Brown and Fred Schroeder
Copyright 2010 by the National Federation of the Blind
The casino-themed, interactive bulletin board display in the Betsy Zaborowski Conference Room this quarter focuses on the five elements for success outlined in James Omvig’s book, Freedom for the Blind: The Secret Is Empowerment. The title of the board is Increasing Your Odds for Success. The green background of the board and the black ribbed border suggest a poker table. The center is a 2.5-foot square, protruding two inches from the board and angled so that the corners point toward the centers of the sides of the board. This square is the number five side of a giant die. Each of the five eight-inch felt dots features one element for success discussed in the Omvig book: it is OK to be blind, mastering blindness skills, coping with public attitudes, fitting in, and giving back. The words of each concept in print and Braille and a tactile symbol representing that concept appear on each dot. The title of the board—Increasing Your Odds for Success—runs around the entire perimeter of the die (in shiny red letters) starting at nine o’clock and continuing clockwise. On either side of the die are three hands of jumbo cards turned face down. Each hand features a picture of a successful blind person or people. The cards on the right side, from top to bottom, feature the NFB Training Center directors (Julie Deden, Shawn Mayo, and Pam Allen) receiving the Jacob Bolotin Award at the NFB national convention; NFB President Marc Maurer sitting with children in a circle at national convention; and Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, demonstrating how to use a chainsaw. The cards on the left side of the board from top to bottom feature Jim Omvig, author of Freedom for the Blind, giving a speech; Dr. Maurer with a group of young people, using a grill; and Ronza Othman and Jesse Hartle, government programs specialists for the NFB, posing for a picture with former Senator Obama and Senator Durbin of Illinois. Scattered around the hands of cards are real red, white, and blue poker chips.
The 2010 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Dallas, Texas, July 3-8, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. Make your room reservation as soon as possible with the Hilton Anatole staff only. Call (214) 761-7500.
The 2010 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $62 and triples and quads $67 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, 2010. 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, 2010, 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 soon.
Guestroom amenities include cable television, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and high-speed Internet access. The Hilton Anatole has several excellent restaurants, twenty-four-hour-a-day room service, first-rate meeting space, and other top-notch facilities. It is in downtown Dallas with shuttle service to both the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport and Love Field.
The schedule for the 2010 convention will follow that of last year:
Saturday, July 3 Seminar Day
Sunday, July 4 Registration Day
Monday, July 5 Board Meeting and Division Day
Tuesday, July 6 Opening Session
Wednesday, July 7 Business Session
Thursday, July 8 Banquet Day and Adjournment
Please register online at www.nfb.org, or print legibly on this form, or provide all the requested information and mail to the address below.
Registrant Name ___________________________________________________
State ___________________________________ Zip ____________________
___ 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 $40 = ____________
Prepurchased barbeque tickets x $40 = ___________
All preconvention registration and meal ticket sales are final (no refunds).
Mail to: National Federation of the Blind
Attn: Convention Registration
200 E. Wells Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Registrations must be postmarked by May 31, 2010.
by Daniel B. Frye
Over fifty Federationists traveled from states along the East Coast on Thursday, February 18, to support NFB President Marc Maurer as he spoke in favor of the fairness of the proposed settlement between Google and author representatives, who have reached resolution of a lawsuit that requires court approval. The initial dispute stemmed from Google's efforts to digitize the library collection at the University of Michigan and elsewhere with the goal of creating the world's largest digital library and bookstore. Blind consumers, heartened by the fact that the proposed settlement contains far-reaching provisions guaranteeing blind people’s access to the digitized documents that Google processes, have rallied in support of this agreement since last summer. The agreement promises eventually to make at least ten million books available to our community, a record volume of accessible material that will help to level the information playing field between sighted and blind people. (See initial coverage of this story in the August/September and November 2009 issues of the Braille Monitor.)
In fairness to the almost twenty individuals and organizations invited to register their objections to the settlement during this hearing, none opposed the tentative agreement based on its accessibility provisions. Instead their objections involved concerns about deprivation of intellectual property and copyright entitlements, based on the default, opt-out structure of the proposed settlement. Issues of privacy; federally prohibited monopolies; judicial authority to interpret and change copyright law substantially; and compliance with class-action processes, including concerns about adequate notice and international language accessibility of the proposed agreement dominated the detractors' list of grievances. Conversely, supporters of the agreement focused on the value of returning millions of hard-to-get books to the reach of the general public; the sociological advantages that the copyright law originally envisioned; and the argument, advanced by some, that adoption of the settlement would result in competitive benefits.
Judge Chin declined during the hearing to rule on the fairness question, a preliminary finding that must be made before the settlement can go forward, citing the amount of material and the complexity of the issues. No deadline has been announced for completion of his deliberation. He noted that the case attracted so much interest that an overflow courtroom had been assigned to accommodate the public. Judge Chin specifically observed the conspicuous presence of members of the National Federation of the Blind. Our presence and President Maurer's remarks were also referred to in many press accounts of the hearing. The following February 18, 2010, New York Times article is representative of the coverage of the hearing and our involvement. Here it is:
Judge Hears Arguments on Google Book Settlement
by Motoko Rich
The federal judge overseeing the proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against Google by groups representing authors and publishers heard from a handful of supporters and a parade of objectors to the deal at a hearing Thursday in Manhattan. At the beginning of more than four hours of testimony in a packed courtroom, Judge Denny Chin of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York said he would not rule immediately on the settlement because there was “just too much to digest.”
Among the supporters of the deal, which would allow Google to create an extensive digital library and bookstore, were the president of the National Federation of the Blind, the librarian of the University of Michigan, and a lawyer for Sony Electronics, all of whom said that the agreement would make millions of hard-to-find books available to a vast audience. Opponents—who cited various concerns relating to competition, privacy, abuse of the class-action process, and the violation of copyright—included lawyers for rivals Amazon.com and Microsoft, representatives of various authors and estates, literary agents, and speakers representing Pennsylvania and Germany.
William F. Cavanaugh, a deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department, reiterated points the department made in a filing this month that raised legal objections to the agreement. Mr. Cavanaugh said the Justice Department was continuing its antitrust investigation into the settlement. While saying that the department “applauds the benefits of mass digitization,” Mr. Cavanaugh said that “our concern is that this is not the appropriate vehicle to achieve these objectives.”
The settlement, originally announced in October 2008, arose out of a copyright infringement suit brought by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google, which had been scanning millions of books from libraries. The complex agreement outlined a plan that would allow Google to make the scanned books available online for searching, as well as create new ways for authors and publishers to earn money from digital editions of works that had long been off the market in print form.
Speaking in support of the settlement, Lateef Mtima, director of the Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice at Howard University, said the settlement would aid in the “development of a thriving, vibrant culture.” But because the settlement would allow Google to scan and profit from copyright-protected books without the explicit permission of individual authors, the deal generated a litany of complaints. Critics also pointed out that Google would have the right to scan and sell so-called orphan works, those whose authors could not be found or whose rights owners could not be identified.
“You can’t settle a claim for copyright infringement by authorizing the miscreant to continue to infringe copyright,” said Hadrian Katz, a lawyer for the Internet Archive, a nonprofit group that is scanning books for its own digitization project. Mr. Katz, along with the Justice Department and several other objectors, suggested that Google and its partners amend the settlement to require that authors choose to participate. Daralyn J. Durie, a lawyer for Google, said the deal was fair because it compensated authors and publishers for any works sold through Google. She said it would be prohibitively expensive to track down millions of authors and negotiate individual deals to display or sell their works digitally. Michael J. Boni, a lawyer for the Authors Guild, said that a rights registry that would be set up as part of the settlement would make every effort to find authors of orphan works.
There you have the report of the New York Times on the day's events. Here are the remarks that President Maurer delivered:
I am Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. The organization, which came into being seventy years ago, is composed of more than fifty thousand members from throughout the United States. Our goal is to create a climate in which the blind may be integrated within society on the basis of equality with the sighted.
The National Federation of the Blind strongly supports the proposed settlement in this case. We have heard arguments suggesting that problems exist with the proposal. However, we also understand that, within a specified time after the proposal becomes final, the books covered by it are to be available to the blind in a usable format. Estimates of the number of these books vary, but we are led to believe that ten million is not unreasonable to expect.
Blind people spend enormous amounts of time and energy hunting for ways to get at books. A few commercial establishments exist that provide recorded information that the blind and sighted can buy—mostly recent best sellers, often abridged. Three substantial specialized libraries for the blind have been created in the United States: the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which began producing books in Braille and in audio formats in the early 1930s; Bookshare, which has recently begun to collect electronic files of books created for blind college students; and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, which began recording college texts in the 1940s. The total number of unduplicated titles available from these libraries is under one million. No other substantial sources of reading matter exist for the blind in the United States. Audible tells us it has sixty thousand, but Google offers ten million. The excitement of the potential to gain access to this much information is almost palpable.
Digital books are quickly becoming the norm. This should be good news for the blind. Digital information can easily be presented in auditory, large-print, or refreshable Braille formats. However, despite the simplicity of building accessibility provisions into digital management products, many of the manufacturers of the technology have refused to consider doing so. On the other hand Google will give us access to ten million books. In the process of doing this, Google will help to make the point that access to information for all is achievable and desirable.
A number of universities have established programs to offer students and professors digital books, which are often cheaper than those produced in print. Similar proposals have been made about elementary and secondary schools.
The Apple iPhone, the Apple iPad, and the Apple iTunes U application have auditory systems built into them that the blind can use, but some publishers have declared that the books loaded on such devices will not be allowed to be hearable. The blind have access to the machines but not the content.
We believe that access to the storehouse of ideas, books, is essential for participation in a free society. The ability to think, to write, to invent, and to create opportunity expands in the presence of the writings of others. If our talents are to be used, we must be able to read. Thank you, Your Honor.
President Maurer convincingly made our direct argument for access to information. We now print the supporting testimony of Lateef Mtima, director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice and professor of law at Howard University, School of Law. Professor Mtima's remarks parallel our views on the social value of access to information. His statement reflects an allied spirit with the NFB and resonates with the passion of a great advocate of civil rights. The brackets in Professor Mtima’s testimony are his. Here is the full text of his remarks; Professor Mtima cautioned that time constraints prohibited him from delivering these comments verbatim to the court:
My name is Lateef Mtima, and I am the founder and director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice and also professor of law at the Howard University, School of Law. I would like to thank the court for this opportunity to address the issues before the court and hopefully assist in placing proper emphasis upon the copyright social utility obligations that are at stake in this dispute.
"Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities…and is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing [her] for later professional training, and in helping [her] to adjust normally to [her] environment. In these days it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if [she] is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, [when made available] must be made available to all on equal terms."
The significance of these concerns to the issues currently before the court is of course clear, since universal access to books will help to level the playing field of access to information, knowledge, and education. But what may come as a surprise is that these statements were neither made in connection with mass digitization of text, nor were they made by an educator, an academic, or even a social scientist. These words were written by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the landmark opinion of Brown v Board of Education in 1954. The fact that these words resonate with the present issue reminds us of the primary purpose of the copyright law.
The first American copyright law, enacted by the first Congress as the 1790 Copyright Act, was entitled “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning.” To the extent that significant segments of the population lack equal access to copyrighted works, however, they are unable to learn from and build upon these works and, in turn, make their own contributions to American culture.
The development of digital information technology offers great promise for the social utility goals of the copyright law as well as the aspirations enunciated in Brown, but while technology has dramatically increased the availability of literature, art, music, and information for some Americans, the poor, the elderly, the physically challenged, and many racial and ethnic minorities, stranded on the wrong side of a growing digital divide, have instead witnessed a return to the separate and decidedly unequal society of the pre-Brown era.
Whereas virtually all commentators agree that mass digitization of books is a necessary step toward satisfaction of the mandates of copyright social utility, objections have been raised to the Google initiative. Two important objections are (1) that it undermines the author permission function of the copyright law, and (2) that the benefits it seeks to achieve are best left to government.
The first objection distorts the constitutional balance between author incentives and the public interest. While American copyright is in some ways an author-centered, permission-based system, author property interests are neither inviolable nor even paramount. Unlike European systems, American copyright is not based upon natural rights but rather is positive social law. American copyright favors neither the author nor the individual user of aesthetic works, but rather holds paramount the interests of society in developing a thriving, vibrant culture. As the United States Supreme Court observed in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios Inc.:
“The monopoly privileges that Congress may authorize are neither unlimited nor primarily designed to provide a special private benefit. Rather, the limited grant is a means by which an important public purpose may be achieved…. private motivation must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts…. `The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the monopoly,'…`lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors.'”
The eminent copyright scholar, the late L. Ray Patterson, cautioned that our copyright law is regulatory in nature [protecting the public interest with rules to accommodate the interests of authors, entrepreneurs, and users in a complementary way] and not proprietary, as a proprietary model can all too quickly become a device to inhibit learning rather than to promote it.
Now that mechanisms have been included in the Google initiative that address author proprietary interests, the copyright balance requires that the emphasis be shifted toward the public benefit generally and, in particular, the needs of that segment of the public that has been largely overlooked, including that of marginalized authors, as well as underserved users of copyrighted works.
This brings us to the second objection: that the balance should be achieved by Congress. First, this argument overlooks that the courts can and have addressed this kind of “new technological use problem” in the past, in cases such as Whitehall Music, the cable cases in Fortnightly and Teleprompter, Sony, and, in the digital information context, Kelly v. Arriba, etc.
Second, there is precedent for private initiatives, such as the royalty collection societies created with the advent of sound recordings, which have flourished for one hundred years, strengthened by judicial and legislative involvement.
Finally, it is the fact that many governmental and even scholarly institutions have been slow to recognize the digital divide as a problem of copyright social utility that brings us to where we are. Now that a meaningful mechanism for bridging the digital divide has been presented from the private sector, it would be unfair to stop the clock after the digitally disenfranchised have been overlooked for almost a quarter of a century.
We recognize that the proposed settlement will not cure all the deficiencies of the digital divide. But to those who say that this will provide only trivial improvement, we suggest that they may be unfamiliar with what the disenfranchised and marginalized can do with only a little. Give a slave pig intestines and she will make chitterlings; secretly provide Frederick Douglass a few books, and he will provide our nation with insight into its character; literally toss George Washington Carver peanuts, and he will produce scientific and industrial marvels from which we can benefit for generations.
I’d like to close with this final thought. Be it the heartland of the Midwest, the rural South, or the urban inner city, equal access to libraries makes the difference; and, having traveled that path from 1960’s Harlem to some of our nation’s elite institutions of higher learning, I have witnessed that difference firsthand.
In drafting the Copyright Clause, our constitution’s framers penned a broad directive of social utility, one amenable, not only to legislative and judicial interpretation and application, but also to private initiative and adaptation to the changing realities of our evolving national culture. Copyright is intended to be an engine of cultural development, not a brake on it. We have an opportunity to take an important step on behalf of copyright in the digital information age, and it is one that can’t afford to be missed.
Once again, we’d like to thank the court for this opportunity to appear before it.
Time will tell whether Judge Chin allows this version of the Google settlement to go forward, but when it is ultimately approved in some version, blind Americans will have unprecedented access to the written word. We will be able to say that the National Federation of the Blind played an active role in bringing this reality to fruition. The Braille Monitor will keep readers apprised of the status of this ongoing legal saga.
From the Editor: Following its February release, we occasionally plan to print selected passages from Let Freedom Ring: Braille Letters to President Barack Obama, our volume of one hundred first-person accounts about the importance of Braille. Many of these narratives present compelling accounts of how the code, or its absence, has influenced the lives of blind people. These narratives should be helpful in local Braille advocacy initiatives; will be effective educational pieces for the general public on the value of literacy for blind people; and will introduce a series of interesting people, often accomplished blind role models.
This month we spotlight four contributions. Rosy Carranza is currently a doctoral student in education at the University of Maryland and a member of the staff in the NFB's Department of Affiliate Action. Mary Ellen Gabias, a longtime Federationist and mother of four, now lives in Canada with her professor husband and promotes the work and message of the NFB through the efforts of the Canadian Federation of the Blind. Mary Ellen has been a frequent contributor to the pages of the Braille Monitor. April Lynn Enderton, president of the NFB's Des Moines Chapter, works for the American Red Cross. Finally, Dr. Geerat Vermeij is a professor of geology at the University of California, Davis. Professor Vermeij serves as one of the NFB Braille ambassadors in our Braille Readers are Leaders (BRL) campaign. They share their impressions and personal experiences of Braille in the following four letters. Here they are:
August 29, 2009
Dear President Obama:
I grew up as the only blind person in a large Mexican family in central California. My parents migrated to the United States in the early 1970s in pursuit of the American dream. Upon their arrival they obtained employment working in the hot fields of the San Joaquin Valley picking grapes and other fruits. Earning less than $2 an hour, they worked tirelessly to give me the opportunities they had lacked in their own lives.
Aside from coping with the demands of being in a new country, my parents also struggled to find solutions to my failing vision. Possessing less than a sixth grade education and not knowing how to speak English left my parents feeling inadequate and intimidated; consequently, they entrusted my ophthalmologists and my special educators to make decisions that would help me thrive.
I navigated through the educational system led by the conventional approaches used to educate blind students at the time. Since I had some residual vision, I was not taught Braille. Instead I was armed with thick glasses, powerful magnifiers, and heavy large-print books. Even with the help of these things, I still had trouble seeing, and eventually my love for reading dwindled. With the loss of my literacy skills came many other losses--the loss of my self-confidence, the loss of my academic progress, and the loss of my dreams for the future. Yet most painful was the awareness that all of the sacrifices that my parents had made would be in vain; without being able to read, I would end up with the same limited opportunities that they had experienced in their own lives.
I graduated from high school unable to see well enough to read my own diploma. Depressed and uncertain of the future, I signed up to attend a boot camp for the blind. This program transformed my outlook on blindness and taught me Braille and other critical blindness skills—skills that I should have learned much sooner. Instead my school years were defined by the sleepless nights I spent crying about my vision loss, by the embarrassing moments I spent feeling inadequate because I could not read aloud when the teacher called on me, and by the looming feeling that I would always be a tremendous burden to my family and society.
Just as my parents had faced their fears to make a better future for themselves and for me, I too feel the same responsibility to change the future for blind children. It has been twelve years since I graduated from high school, and blind students today are still taught using the same failed approaches that were used to educate me. Through my work with the National Federation of the Blind I have met countless blind children, and I have witnessed their immeasurable potential fall through the cracks of the educational system and society. These students are smart, motivated, and ready to serve their communities; however, they are not being taught the literacy skills they need to contribute fully to the world. Essentially blind students are not emerging from school as products of their own abilities; instead, they are emerging as examples of the deficiencies in the systems that educate them.
President Obama, we need your help in creating a new educational avenue for blind students. We need a system that does not prepare blind students for a life of inequality. Instead we need a system that can help propel these students into first-class roles of productivity. In looking at my life and at the lives of my immigrant parents, I can see the amazing opportunities that our country has to offer. I sincerely hope that we can work to make sure that blind children have an opportunity to live the American dream.
Mary Ellen Gabias
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
August 1, 2009
Dear President Obama:
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
It’s been nearly half a century since I first read the opening paragraph of Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women, but the March family parlor, with its worn rug, broken-down sofa, and loving family has been part of my soul’s architecture ever since.
The entire city of Toledo had only one copy of the six-volume Braille book; I had to stand in line to get my hands on it. Someone else had volume 2 when I finished volume 1, so I grabbed volume 3 and read the book out of order. I didn’t mind. Braille books for leisure reading were such a rare treat that I read anything I could get my hands on, including the World Book Encyclopedia and several volumes of the dictionary. But it was the fiction that enthralled me. Under my hands the words on the pages came to life, and I was transported to times and places our family station wagon could never take me. I skipped through Alpine meadows with Heidi and blasted off with Space Cat when he visited Venus.
I loved recorded books too, but they did not allow me to participate in the author’s creation of the stories in the way that Braille did. When I read Braille, the characters spoke in the tone and with the accents I gave them. I also learned how words were spelled and sentences constructed.
Nobody told me Braille was slow and difficult to learn. When I started school at age six, all I knew was that I wanted to be like my older brothers. I wanted the miracle of learning from the words others had written. I wanted to share in adventure and humor. I wanted to revel in the beauty of written language. I wanted access to the realm of thought, and Braille was my key to the kingdom of ideas.
It never occurred to me that those who used their eyes and those who used their fingers should experience different reading ability. By the time I learned that Braille readers were expected to achieve speeds of only ninety words a minute, I was reading 222. I wanted to read quickly because there was so much to learn, so much I wanted to know.
My only problem was that there simply wasn’t enough Braille. Books had to be copied by hand by individual transcribers using the Braille version of a manual typewriter. There were a few Braille presses for making multiple copies of books, but the plates used in the pressing process had to be handmade. These labor-intensive production methods meant that, if I was very lucky, I might be able to get my hands on a book two years after my sighted friends had the print version.
Braille was also very expensive. That Braille copy of Little Women cost $22 at a time when a print paperback could be had for fifty cents. No wonder I squealed with delight on my eleventh Christmas when I ripped open a package to find two Braille volumes. For the first time in my life I owned a book! It was called Lumberjack by Steven Meader. It told the story of a teenage boy whose first job was helping a timber company log his grandfather’s wood lot. A mystery and some skullduggery were involved, though I’ve long since forgotten the details. It wasn’t exactly the sort of thing I would have chosen, but it was mine; at least for two weeks it was. A civic group had purchased the book to donate to the minuscule library in the resource classroom for blind children. They wanted it to be a gift to a blind child who would pass it along to the library after finishing the story. I was the lucky child who proudly carried it to school after Christmas vacation.
It wasn’t until high school that I discovered that the Talking Book library also had a Braille collection. A good thing too, because the library became my only source for Braille books. I’d chosen to leave the public school system for a Catholic high school; as a result I had no Braille textbooks. My algebra text cost as much as a year’s tuition, far more than my family could afford. An anonymous donor came up with the funds, but, when the book arrived, we discovered it was an old edition and of no use in my class. I did first year algebra and geometry successfully without a textbook. Afraid that I would be unable to master advanced algebra and trigonometry without Braille texts, I took only the minimum math requirement. As a result I was streamed into remedial mathematics in college and wasted the better part of a year catching up.
Although finding Braille books to read and study was a challenge, writing Braille was not. In the first grade I learned to use the Perkins Brailler, the Braille equivalent of a manual typewriter. I also mastered the slate and stylus, the Braille equivalent of a pencil. I used the Brailler for transcribing long documents; in the seventh grade I copied the entire U. S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in order to study it for an exam.
The slate and stylus served me well for most projects. I used my slate to take notes in college. To this day, though I own a Braille PDA computer, I wouldn’t dream of leaving home without a slate and stylus in my purse.
Braille remains one of the mainstays of my life, though the ways I use it have changed. As the mother of four, I’ve done a lot of reading to my children. Some of the classic children’s books that I’ve read to them weren’t available in Braille when I was young, so my children and I have explored them together. Thanks to computer technology, which has simplified production, I was able to buy the final book in the Harry Potter series on the day the print book was released. I downloaded the files onto my Braille Lite computer. Our family spent a glorious day and a half reading together.
Because of downloadable computerized Braille, I can now own a library of cookbooks. My wooden bookshelf could hold only five or six embossed Braille recipe books at a time. In digital form I can acquire a virtually unlimited number.
I don’t have a lot of time to sit quietly with a good book these days, but that doesn’t mean Braille use is dormant in my life. I keep financial information, phone numbers, appointment reminders, and hordes of miscellaneous notes to myself. I place Braille labels on important print documents, food packages, and the controls on my washing machine. My life would be chaos without Braille.
How ironic that, just when Braille has become more available than ever before, we are facing a crisis in Braille literacy. I hear the statistics, but I don’t think of percentages and totals. I think of children who will never grumble about no presents at Christmas in Jo March’s voice or skim through a cookbook looking for that perfect dessert. I worry about future adults who won’t be able to read their bank balances independently. Their futures, the quality of their lives, depend on this country’s commitment to ensuring them the possibility of achieving the sense of wonder that comes from independently reading a great book.
Mary Ellen Gabias
April Lynn Enderton
Des Moines, Iowa
August 1, 2009
Dear President Obama:
I invite you to read over my shoulder.
Dear Grandma Beulah,
When you drive down our road for the first time, you'll want to have your windows open so that you can savor the sounds and smells of the farm. You'll hear loose gravel pinging against your tires, while inhaling the aromas of freshly mowed hay, clover, wildflowers, and damp earth--all intermingled with the sharp, unmistakable odor of cow manure.
After all these years I am still composing letters to Grandma in my mind as I once did in Braille. It's a lifelong habit, I guess. Whenever something exciting would happen, I'd grab my Braillewriter and share my news with Grandma. Nowadays the phantom letters help me feel close to her, even though she's been gone for almost eight years.
Our story began back in the late 1950s, shortly after my birth, when the doctors told my mother and grandmother that I was blind. Although I had enough vision to read large print, I always understood that I would use Braille. I'm not sure what made Grandma decide to learn Braille. I always just took for granted that she did. At any rate, she was undaunted by claims that Braille was too complicated to master.
In those days Braille instruction wasn't offered until first grade. The night before my first day of first grade, I was so excited about learning Braille that I had trouble falling asleep. The first day of school our teacher asked for a show of hands for those who would be reading print and for those who would be learning Braille. My hand shot up for Braille.
I learned the Braille alphabet ahead of my classmates. My teacher gave me a little desk in the back of the room where I could write while she worked with the other students. Since I didn't know many words, I entertained myself by writing Braille numbers into the hundreds. Meanwhile, back home Grandma was learning Braille too. She bought a Perkins Braillewriter, slate and stylus, Braille paper, and books on Braille instruction.
Around that time I started receiving Braille books in the mail from our state library for the blind. One of my first reading ventures was The Little House by Virginia Burton. When Grandma asked what the book was about, I told her I couldn't read it because it was too hard for me. Grandma transcribed the book into print. For years the tale of the little house that moved from the country to the city was one of Grandma's and my favorite bedtime stories.
Grandma and I started exchanging Braille letters when I was in second grade. The first letters arrived at the school for the blind on heavy manila paper folded in fourths to fit into letter-size envelopes. With much of the Braille mashed in the creases, these early letters were difficult for small fingers to decipher. In her letters Grandma wrote about the weather, her garden, and Foxy, her fox terrier. These letters contained two or three pocket-size print storybooks for a teacher or a housemother to read to me.
By the time I reached third grade, the pocket books were replaced by poems. Grandma enjoyed poetry and frequently copied some of her favorites in Braille to share with me. Many of the poems dealt with nature: plants, animals, and the changing seasons. These poems inspired me to try my hand at writing poetry. Years later I won first place in a couple of poetry competitions.
In the late 1960s Revenue Foregone became law, allowing us to mail Braille materials free of charge. The law required that we leave the envelope unsealed and write "free matter for the blind" where the postage stamp would go. Gradually we moved away from standard envelopes to cardboard tubes. These letters posed a whole new set of reading frustrations. Out of the tube the pages would roll back up during reading. Eventually we discovered that the best way to send Braille letters was to fold the pages in half and print the mailing information on the back of the last page. With a few strips of scotch tape, these letters were good to go.
In the beginning Grandma's Braille skills far surpassed mine. She had been reading and writing for decades; now she merely needed to transfer her literacy to Braille. On the other hand I was just learning the nuances of language. But with continued exposure to Braille in and out of school, I quickly took the lead. Before long Grandma looked to me instead of the experts for answers to her Braille questions. Since I wouldn't have wanted to plead ignorance, it was crucial that I be knowledgeable about Braille.
Because her fingers lacked sensitivity, Grandma read Braille with her eyes. Many times I caught her reading over my shoulder. This was especially disconcerting when I was writing to a friend or writing in my journal. "What are you doing?" I would say with annoyance, as I covered the Braille with my hand.
"I'm just practicing my Braille," Grandma would calmly reply.
In sixth grade I started losing the precious little sight I had left. While some things such as travel and picking out my own clothes required a major adjustment, my reading and writing did not. Thanks to my early Braille training, my school work moved forward without a hitch.
Grandma's letters followed me into adulthood as I moved away from home. Often Grandma transcribed my letters into print so Grandpa could read them too. Grandma took literary license to tailor my letters to suit Grandpa. Once, when I had written that some friends and I went back to my apartment for drinks, Grandma wrote that some friends and I went back to my apartment for dessert.
When I announced to Grandma in a letter that I would be getting married, she wrote to say that she was "saddened" to hear of my plans. Angrily I wrote back accusing her of not using the proper Braille contractions in the word "saddened" and suggested that maybe she should focus more on her Braille and less on my business. She wrote back to say that I was probably right. Although she didn't use the proper Braille contraction for the word "right," I let that one slide.
Over the years Grandma seized many opportunities to use her Braille. If I wanted a recipe, Grandma would whip out a Braille copy and put it in the mail. For my children's birthdays she would copy their birthday cards in Braille so that I could read them. She also copied articles for me from the Reader's Digest and Prevention, two of her favorite magazines. Once I told Grandma that a friend and I had had a letter-writing contest to see who could write the longest letter. Grandma thought that sounded like great fun and challenged me to a letter-writing contest. This will be a breeze, I thought, recalling Grandma's two- and three-page letters. I'll beat her hands down. Imagine my surprise when a book-sized letter arrived in the mail for me.
Every time Grandma and I got together, our conversation invariably turned to Braille. Grandma asked me to create Braille worksheets to test her knowledge. "You really stumped me with that last worksheet you sent," she would say, laughing.
Grandma was outraged when I told her that blind children born in the 1970s and beyond weren't automatically taught Braille the way we had been. She strongly disagreed with the contention that Braille was obsolete and that cassette tapes and later screen-readers were an adequate replacement. Like me, she believed that Braille is literacy for blind people and that literacy is the key to success for blind and sighted alike.
In her late 80s Grandma reluctantly set her Perkins Brailler aside when her arthritis made writing Braille too painful. Grandma's Braillewriter, along with a catalog of my life (all the letters I had ever written to her), fell into my hands in 2001 upon her death. I cherished her Braillewriter for all the wonderful memories it evoked, but I didn't think I'd ever use it. Enter Alyssa Joy.
Born in 2002, our youngest child, Alyssa Joy, never knew Grandma. But early on she expressed a strong love for books. I borrowed books from our state library for the blind and bought books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children, but that wasn't enough. She would see a book in the store and demand that I take it home and read it to her. So I unearthed Grandma's Braillewriter and started Brailling Alyssa Joy's books. If I can Braille books to read to Alyssa Joy, the thought occurred to me, I can also Braille books for other children. In 2006 I started Brailling children's books to donate to the Braille Book Flea Market at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. I call my project BRL, the contraction for the word “Braille” and an acronym for Beulah Reimer Legacy, named for my grandmother, the wise and insightful woman who empowered me to become proficient in Braille. BRL's mission is to put Braille at the fingertips of as many eager readers as possible.
Alyssa Joy is seven years old now, and, although she is sighted, like Grandma she is learning Braille. What would Grandma think? I sometimes wonder. Hmmmm. Perhaps I'll write and ask her.
April Lynn Enderton
July 18, 2009
Dear President Obama:
One of Johann Sebastian Bach's great harpsichord pieces is playing in the background as I take a break from writing a book on evolution. In my pleasant home office I am surrounded by books, and next to me is a cabinet filled with fossil shells I have collected over the years, each sample carefully labeled. I consult my books and specimens frequently as I write papers and books. And there are vastly more specimens and books in my spacious office at the University of California, Davis, where I am a distinguished professor of geology. One long wall contains part of my enormous library, the product of forty years of constant reading of the scientific and scholarly literature. My research collection of fossil and modern-day shells contains tens of thousands of labels, which help me decipher the evolution and ecology of shell-bearing animals and their enemies. All this accumulated treasure trove reflects an active life as a scholar and teacher. It has allowed me to publish five books, almost two hundred scientific papers, and an assortment of other writings on subjects ranging from the shapes of crab claws and vine leaves to the mathematics of shell growth, the evolution of plant-eating animals, the causes of mass extinction, and parallels between evolution and economics. And I am still going strong, writing, reading, teaching, and conducting original scientific research all over the world.
But none of this would have been possible without Braille. Everything I have and do is in Braille. I have at my fingertips a library of tens of thousands of publications; and all the labels in my collections are in Braille. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to teachers in the Netherlands (my birthplace) and the United States for instructing me in Braille early and well, and to my parents, who from the very beginning of my blindness at age three understood that Braille was the only means by which their blind son could be educated. For my sighted peers such a tribute to print and to literacy would be considered superfluous and laughable; but for the blind, even in the twenty-first century, a plea for literacy and for the use of the one medium that makes it possible still appears to be necessary.
As one of the National Federation of the Blind's Braille ambassadors, I can only say that Braille is the single most important invention ever to have aroused the blind out of a state of pity and dependence to a rightful, productive place in society. How else could I have kept notes on a research ship after a day's field work on a reef in eastern Indonesia? How else could I record measurements on leaf shape in a rain forest in Panama, or document material collected in a mosquito-infested mangrove swamp in Madagascar? How else could I mine obscure papers for information about the timing of the great extinction that brought an end to the dinosaurs, or about the oldest member of a lineage of fossil snails I was working on?
How else would I know where specimens in my own collection came from or when I collected them? How else could I write and revise my own papers and books or keep track of other authors' manuscripts as they made their way through peer review in the scientific journals I edited?
Braille is an enabler, an essential ingredient of life for a blind person who wishes--and is expected--to engage in the world. On the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of its inventor, Louis Braille, we celebrate not only the man, but especially what he has made possible. Braille is the DNA of the blind, the code that gives our lives meaning.
by Debra Lemoine
From the Editor: We reprint the following story of hope and investment in our next generation of blind children. This article is taken from the January 28, 2010, issue of the Baton Rouge Advocate. The story is a fine reminder of what common sense in parenting can yield for blind children. It is also a commentary on the value of our Parent Leadership Program, one of the membership-cultivation programs that our Department of Affiliate Action and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children jointly sponsor. Here it is:
When Brock Kaiser of Walker, Louisiana, was born, his family feared the worst. “We noticed he couldn’t focus on anything,” said Joan Brock, his grandmother. ”It hits you like a ton of bricks--your whole family.”
Brock Kaiser, now twenty-one months old, was diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia, a condition where his optic nerve did not develop fully and caused blindness. The condition also has other issues, such as a hormonal deficiency, so Brock Kaiser takes daily growth hormone injections. But overall Brock Kaiser has a mild form of the condition, which can improve slightly as children get older, his mother Erin Kaiser said. Brock Kaiser can see images close up but is considered legally blind. His sight is not expected to improve much beyond that, she said.
Despite her son’s blindness Erin Kaiser, twenty-three, holds high expectations for his life. When Erin Kaiser began working full-time as an administrative assistant after graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University in May, Brock Kaiser was enrolled in a regular daycare for sighted children. “He keeps up,” she said. “He’s right where he needs to be.” At twenty-one months Brock Kaiser is a happy baby who toddles around the room. When he picks up his white cane, which his mother says is a sign of independence for blind people, he bangs it on the ground and says “tap, tap.”
At the suggestion of one of her son’s therapists, Erin Kaiser went to the state conference for the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, where she learned that her son can live a full, independent life. When she was there, she decided to get involved and has since attended the group’s national convention. “I learned that, if you hold high expectations, they’re going to be fine,” Erin Kaiser said. “They’re going to learn differently than sighted people, but they will learn.”
But that full life does not come without its obstacles. People who are blind have a 90 percent illiteracy rate and a 70 percent unemployment rate, she said. “I know the literacy rate,” Erin Kaiser said. “Brock is not going to be one of those who don’t know how to read.” Erin Kaiser taught herself Braille, so she can teach her son to “read the bumps.” She has baby books with the Braille bumps to get her son familiar with the system.She also mentors other mothers of blind children over the Internet. Erin Kaiser was recently selected as a parent leader for the National Federation of the Blind and will go to Washington, D.C., next week to attend workshops and lobby on behalf of people who are blind. For example, one issue she and Brock Kaiser will address is seeking legislation to require hybrid vehicles to make more engine noise, because blind people use the noise of car engines to determine when it is safe to cross the street, she said.
From the Editor: Several of the pieces in this issue address our current efforts to increase opportunities for the next generation of blind people. The following article, reprinted from the August 1989 Braille Monitor, demonstrates that we have long been mindful of the value of youth outreach (even before it became fashionable) as a means of building our organization and strengthening blind people with a philosophy that promotes self-respect and self-confidence. In this spirit we reprint Dr. Kenneth Jernigan's introduction and nine-year-old Jason Ewell and thirteen-year-old Michael Leiterman’s letter reflecting emerging personalities dedicated to collective action, strong advocacy, and simple justice. The NFB’s influence in Jason's life has definitely yielded direct benefits for our movement. Today Jason applies his intellect, passion, and expertise to the work of the Federation as a staff member in the Affiliate Action Department of our national office. Mike is a patent attorney practicing and living in northern Virginia. Here is the story:
From the Editor: When does a person become mature? At what age does he or she become responsible for helping make the world better, not only for himself or herself but also for others? More to the point (at least, for purposes of this discussion) how old must an individual be to become (in the active, full sense of the word) a Federationist? How about thirteen? What about nine? The associate editor and I recently received a letter from two students at the Ohio State School for the Blind, which helped me answer the question. I found the letter both delightful and heart-warming. I also found it instructive, for it told me that our message and philosophy are beginning to permeate every segment of the blind population--children, adults, and the elderly; the rich and the poor; the educated and the illiterate. It renewed my faith in the ability of people to act in their own enlightened self-interest and to do it collectively. It underscored something which, at the core of my being, I have never doubted--that the future of the National Federation of the Blind is going to be all right. Even now the leaders of the fourth generation are developing and reaching for maturity. They are learning their Federation philosophy at an early age and living it on a daily basis. Read the letter from the students at the Ohio State School for the Blind, and you will see what I mean. Here it is:
April 20, 1989
Dear Dr. Jernigan and Mrs. Pierce:
Our names are Jason Ewell (age nine) and Mike Leiterman (age thirteen), and we wish to tell you about our coalition--the Student Alliance Coalition (SAC) at the Ohio State School for the Blind. Our committee grew out of a minor student concern, which was soon put on the back burner for a major issue. Therefore we are writing to tell you about our efforts over the past year concerning totally blind students being discriminated against as dining room workers.
This policy is unjust because only students with high residual vision have been allowed to hold these positions. Collectively we decided to approach the administrator of residential services to share this concern because she oversees the dining room staff and, if persuaded, could use her authority to aid us. We shared with her our belief that our school should be a discriminatory-free environment, in which we could learn by trying as many things as we wished to attempt. She appreciated our honesty and position. Likewise she thought that other students should follow our example here at the OSSB. Dorm Council was started. Every two weeks we meet for around an hour or so to discuss issues which arise out of living in a residential setting. The dietitian, who acts as immediate supervisor over the dining room staff, came to one of our meetings and agreed to help by restructuring the hiring policy and developing a more efficient training program for all who wish to apply. Weekends and daily after school have been designated as periods for the training sessions.
At this time those interested seem to be satisfied with this new procedure. We feel glad that we were able to work together to end this problem. Even though this issue really only directly pertains to the totally blind, we felt it necessary that those with residual vision be active participants because what affects one of us, affects us all.
by Jeff Altman
From Barbara Pierce: What jobs do blind people hold? We have all been asked that question. The longer I live and meet Federationists across the nation, the harder I find it to give an answer. Blind people are doing all sorts of things. The following profile describes Dan Treffer, who is doing something that I would never have thought to list as a job a blind person can do. The profile appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of the newsletter of the Nebraska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Here it is:
Dan Treffer, 2000 graduate of the Nebraska Center for the Blind, runs a unique business from his home. He has devoted approximately half of his three-acre property to his metal recycling business, but thanks to the privacy fence that surrounds his work area, you might not know what business he is in. Dan takes metal of virtually any type, including old cars, appliances, and scrap from the farms, which he cleans up, and uses a torch to cut the metal into manageable, eighteen-by-thirty-six-inch pieces, for which the scrap yard pays a higher rate. To make this process faster, he has placed markers that he can feel on the hoses of his torch at eighteen and thirty-six inches so that he can compare the markings on the hoses to the metal. He is then able, in one easy step, to know where to begin each cut. Dan jokes that he has nearly set himself on fire a few times: “I’ll get done cutting up something and then forget and lean up against the hot metal. The next thing I know, my overalls are starting to smoke. No matter what, I think that is just one of the hazards of the work.”
Dan points out that the hardest part of the job is taking apart the appliances, since the scrap yard will not accept the plastics inside of them. He says, “You’d think that, after so many years of tearing apart appliances, I’d know how to do it pretty quick, but sometimes I’ll spend a lot of time looking for just one more screw that has to be removed before the plastic liner will come out. It can be very time-consuming and frustrating.”
At first, Dan says, he wasn’t really sure what to do with the plastic materials he was taking out of the appliances because the scrap yard didn’t want them, and trying to put them in his trash was creating a real mess. Then he found out that the scrap yard would accept them if they were inside the body of a junk car, so he has been doing that ever since. He also said that running the business has been a learning process for him. For example, he was throwing the wiring from the appliances into the car bodies along with the plastic parts until one of the scrap yard workers told him that they actually buy insulated wire, so now he makes a little extra money from every appliance he disassembles.
Another important part of the work is sorting out the different types of metal. For the steel and iron Dan uses a magnet. For other types of metal Dan uses his basic knowledge of what types of metal are usually used in the manufacture of certain items, such as plumbing pipes, which are often made of copper, and old lawn chairs, which are usually made from aluminum. Dan can also use his limited eyesight to identify the color of other pieces of metal, but it isn’t always simple to figure out exactly what they are. For example, Dan explains that there are three types of brass and two types of aluminum, and these have to be separated. “I sort out the metal the best I can, and the fellows down at the scrap yard help me out from there, when I take a load in.”
Dan stores the smaller pieces of metal in steel drums, which are painted different colors that he can see well enough to tell apart. He also has a loader to move the larger pieces around his work area in order to cut it up or otherwise process the materials. He says, “Sometimes I’ll run over something or bump into one of the junk cars, but it doesn’t really matter, since they are being scrapped anyway. As long as I take my time and I’m careful, I can handle the loader fine.”
Once he has enough scrap for a load, Dan hires either a family member or a friend to drive his truck down to the scrap yard. He processes from six to eight tons of metal each month, which really helps to supplement the family’s income. Dan also had done some mechanic work for a while after leaving center training, but he says that he doesn’t have the equipment or knowledge to work on the new vehicles, with all of the computer and electronic systems built into them, so he gave up on this part of his business. Aside from his scrap metal business, Dan babysits for his grandchildren, which he says “Doesn’t pay anything, but it’s my favorite job.”
Making a charitable gift can be 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. Special giving programs are available through the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).
Points to Consider When Making a Gift to the National Federation of the Blind
Benefits of Making a Gift to the NFB
Your Gift Will Help Us
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 2010 convention, July 3 through 8. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The convention agenda will list the times and locations of all events taking place during the week. Remember that times and dates announced in this column are still tentative and may change. Consult the convention agenda as the final authority for convention happenings. This listing is intended to give those planning or considering coming to Dallas a sense of what will be going on, but at the date of this writing (early March), some details remain fluid.
Access Technology Seminars
by the IBTC Technology Team
On Saturday, July 3, the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute’s Access Technology team will conduct four seminars covering a number of topics. Apple’s products will be discussed in the morning. Sessions on Blackboard Learn, eBay, and e-books will take up the afternoon.
The first session (9:00 to 11:30 a.m.) will be devoted to the increasing number of fully accessible Apple devices. The first hour-long session will provide an introduction to the Mac operating system. After a half-hour break, the session will resume with a focus on Apple’s portable devices—the iPod series, the iPhone, and the iPad.
From 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Ebay will co-present with the Access Technology Team to discuss the work they have done to improve accessibility on the buyer side of ebay.com.
Blackboard Learn is perhaps the most commonly used online platform for education. Blackboard has made great strides in enhancing accessibility in its latest release, and in this session (2:15 to 3:30 p.m.) we will discuss the access improvements as well as some of the outstanding issues in the platform.
From 3:45 to 5:00 p.m. the day’s final topic will be e-books. The Access Technology Team will examine the rapidly expanding market of digital books and the devices used to access them.
by Joanne Wilson
First-Time Convention Participants: You are invited to participate in a gathering for first-time conventioneers in the Affiliate Action suite on Monday, July 5, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. This gathering will be a great opportunity to meet new people and to have your convention questions answered by experienced Federationists. Food will not be available, but you are welcome to bring your lunch. See you there.
NFB Link: On Tuesday, July 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Affiliate Action suite people are invited to come and learn how to get connected through NFB Link, the National Federation of the Blind's online mentoring program. Each person is a resource of incalculable worth. As blind people we experience this reality in an especially powerful way through our participation in the National Federation of the Blind. Members of the Federation give and receive mentorship in countless areas, and we have an Internet-based mentoring program called NFB Link so that blind people throughout the world can share in this vibrant exchange of ideas and friendship.
Through NFB Link you can find a blind mentor who can answer questions on a wide variety of topics, including career choices, being a blind parent or a parent of a blind child, student issues, and the pursuit of hobbies from skydiving to knitting. Our 227 mentors come from a dazzling array of career fields. They include entrepreneurs, educators, computer programmers, engineers, artists, and CEOs. Currently, 272 men and women who are blind or who have questions about the skills of blindness are signed up as mentees with NFB Link.
This year at national convention you will have an opportunity to learn how you can be part of this exciting online mentoring program. Learn how to join NFB Link, network with mentors and mentees, and receive training on how to use the NFB Link site. Come and see how we have enhanced the program by introducing more personalized and thorough matching and evaluation processes, established contacts in each state between mentees and their local affiliates, and improved the operation of the NFB Link site. Through NFB Link blind men and women share knowledge and life experience, living the reality that it is respectable to be blind.
Assistive Technology Trainers Division
by Michael Barber
Are you an assistive technology trainer who would like to network with other trainers? Come join the NFB Assistive Technology Trainers Division Monday, July 5, from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. We will discuss determining the right notetaker for your student, plunging without fear into Windows 7 with Cathyanne Murtha of Access Technology Institute, assessing whether your client will benefit from Jsay Pro, and teaching the Mac.
You can always count on lively and informative discussions as we meet each topic head-on. Please come join us. If you care to join our division, dues are $5 per year, and we will be happy to add you to our email list. If you have questions, call Michael Barber at (515) 771-8348 or email him at <[email protected]>. Come join us in Dallas.
Attention All First-Time Convention Attendees
We invite you to attend the Rookie Roundup, a reception previewing the 2010 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. Check the Affiliate Action suite for other rookie events throughout the week.
Date: Saturday, July 3, 2010
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
For more information contact Pam Allen (800) 234-4166; <[email protected]>.
Back to Basics
by Rosy Carranza
Are you looking for new ways to reach potential members, strategies to energize existing members, or methods to liven up your chapter meetings? If so, you don’t want to miss this session, scheduled for Monday, July 5, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. At the top of each hour a new topic will be introduced, so you are welcome to come to some or all of the meeting. Topics include membership building, developing an action-packed chapter meeting agenda, designing and using public relations materials, legislation and advocacy, working with youth, fundraising, and including Federation philosophy in local meetings. Attendees will receive a membership development tool kit. Special recognition will be given to chapter presidents and to newly formed chapters. You don’t want to miss out—put this information-packed session on your convention calendar.
BEP: U. S. Currency Identification Focus Group
by Ellen Gano
Representatives of the United States Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) will once again attend the NFB’s annual convention to provide an update on the BEP’s progress to provide meaningful access to U. S. currency for blind and vision-impaired people. This year the BEP will conduct open forums on two days during the convention—one Tuesday, July 6, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. and one Wednesday, July 7, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.—to give attendees flexibility scheduling a session to fit their busy convention agendas.
In addition to a general update and an open discussion, representatives of the BEP’s Office of Product Development and the project manager of the Meaningful Access Team will discuss some of the feature concepts the BEP is currently testing. The BEP is interested in hearing NFB members’ opinions about the effectiveness of these feature concepts in helping blind and vision-impaired people identify U. S. currency.
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 the BLIND, Incorporated, annual Karaoke Night on Saturday, July 3, 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.
by Linda Mentink
The Blind Musicians Group will meet Sunday, July 4, at 1:00 p.m. Those interested are encouraged to come and share ideas and tips and network with other blind musicians in the NFB. For further questions or information beforehand, contact Linda Mentink, chairwoman, by phone (402) 563-8138 or email <[email protected]>.
by Joseph B. Naulty
The Classics, Antiques, and Rods or Special-interest Vehicles (CARS) Division of the NFB will hold its seminar and business meeting on Monday, July 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Come and hear speakers from various automobile clubs talk about their activities and participate in the division business meeting. On Sunday, July 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., join car enthusiasts at an auto show featuring classics, antiques, and special-interest vehicles. Join us for an exciting ride in 2010.
Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology
by Gary Wunder
On Monday, July 5, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., 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.
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 convention from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7. Of late the committee has considered such far-ranging topics as nonvisual access to automated transportation systems of the future, various ways for the blind to read commercially-produced electronic books, technologies to supplement the use of a white cane or guide dog in independent travel, and enhancements to refreshable Braille display technology to improve teaching methods for this valuable tool of literacy for the blind. The committee is also interested in the direction of technological developments because, for the most part, these developments tend to exclude the blind. Perhaps developers must change the ways future technologies are designed.
If any of these questions interests you, then come to the meeting of the committee on research and development. Perhaps you can suggest a technology or an approach that 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 by email at <[email protected]>.
by Burnell Brown
The National Federation of the Blind Deaf-Blind Division will meet on Tuesday evening, July 6. Registration will begin at 6:00 p.m.; division business, including presentations of interest to deaf-blind people and elections, will occur from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Visit our table in the exhibit hall and support our work. If anyone is in need of an interpreter for this meeting or for the convention generally, please contact NFB Deaf-Blind Division President Burnell Brown at (202) 832-0697; email: <[email protected]>.
Members of the Education Department at the NFB Jernigan Institute would like to help you develop quality programs for youth in your state while regenerating your Federation spirit. From Braille literacy programs like Braille Readers Are Leaders to science academy programs or youth mentoring, a fit for every shape and size affiliate can be found. Gain valuable insights and resources to strengthen your affiliate’s efforts. We will meet Sunday, July 4, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Friends of Recovery
by Gary H. Ray
All convention delegates involved in or interested in twelve-step recovery programs are invited to attend meetings during the convention from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, July 5 and 7. Questions may be directed to Gary Ray at (828) 505-0299; email <[email protected]>.
Diabetes Action Network Division Meeting and Seminar
by Mike Freeman
On the afternoon of Monday, July 5, the Diabetes Action Network (DAN), a division of the National Federation of the Blind, will hold its annual meeting and diabetes seminar. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m.; the seminar will take place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The seminar will include a presentation on diabetes by a certified diabetes educator or endocrinologist from the Dallas area; an update on the research into the efficacy of the use of insulin pens by the blind recently conducted by Dr. Ann Williams; a panel discussion on strategies to get medical insurance providers to cover diabetes management equipment accessible to the blind; and presentations on what's new in diabetes management devices accessible to the blind. Election of DAN officers and members of its board of directors will also be held during the seminar, and a report of DAN activities during the past year will be given.
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 8.
Ham Radio Group Emergency Preparedness Seminar
by D. Curtis Willoughby
In accordance with long-standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2010 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, July 3. 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.
Human Services Meeting
by David Stayer
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 Monday, July 5, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.; registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. Dues are $5. We are planning an exciting program this year. Please come with your questions.
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, contact David Stayer, president, at (516) 868-8718 or by email at <[email protected]>.
Independence Science LLC
by Pei-Lin Weng
Independence Science, LLC, a new start-up assistive-technology company, in collaboration with Purdue University researchers, will be conducting two focus groups to collect feedback on a new portable handheld data collection device for blind students to be used in high school science laboratories. We are seeking a limited number of participants to examine and offer feedback about this portable scientific information collection device. A modest stipend will be provided for those who volunteer to participate in this three-hour exercise. These sessions will be held on Saturday and Monday, July 3 and 5, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Contact Pei-Lin Weng at <[email protected]> by May 15 for more information and to participate in a pre-focus group questionnaire to assess suitability for study participation.
by David Stayer
A service for interested Jews attending the NFB convention in Dallas will be held on Sunday, July 4, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Consult the convention agenda for further details.
knfbReading Technology, Inc., Presents
by James Gashel
James Gashel, vice president for business development with knfbReading Technology, Inc., will present Experience the Blio Reader: Making the World's Books Enjoyable, Usable, and Accessible to Everyone. Learn how printed books are becoming digital and accessible to the blind through the Blio e-book reader developed and distributed by knfbReading Technology, Inc., Blio is free e-reader software specially designed for dynamic, flexible, and accessible presentation of digital media, including cookbooks, travel guides, how-to books, school books, children's stories, magazines, and more. Relax, learn, work, or play.
Shop endless titles at the online Blio bookstore with access to over one million free books and a huge library of today's best sellers as well. Read wherever you are by syncing your digital library to your favorite on-the-go-mobile device. To learn more about how Blio can enrich your life, come to one of our small group demonstration sessions on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, July 3 or 4, or to one of our evening sessions on Wednesday, July 7. Consult the convention agenda for specific times. Experience and share the joy of access to books through Blio.
Legislative Strategies Seminar: Moving Legislation on the State and National Level
by Ronza Othman
This interactive seminar, held on Tuesday, July 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., will focus on the best methods of increasing support for our legislative priorities on the state and national levels. Participants will have the opportunity to share firsthand accounts on how successful their affiliates have been at getting legislation enacted.
Jesse Hartle, Lauren McLarney, and Ronza Othman, the NFB Governmental Affairs staff, will facilitate this session. Each affiliate should send at least one representative. Plan to join us for this instructive session. Changing lives through laws is our business.
Library Services Committee
by Dave Hyde
The NFB library services committee, charged with working on organization policy toward the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, will meet on Sunday, July 4, at 7:30 p.m. Consult your convention agenda for an ending time for this meeting. Contact David Hyde, chairman, at (608) 758-6152; email <[email protected]>.
by Ramona Walhof
If you are thinking of joining a Lions Club or are already a Lion, we encourage you to join us Saturday, July 3, at 8:00 p.m. to meet Lions and share ideas and experiences. The better we coordinate, the more our clubs and districts can work with the blind. Several notes have appeared recently in the Lions Magazine about the Braille coin and other relevant matters. We will exchange names and contact information, take time to hear from all clubs represented, and plan future activities. If any blind Lions are going to the International Lions Convention in Sydney, Australia, please contact Ramona Walhof at <[email protected]>. We always learn new things at these meetings. Wear your shirts or vests, and we'll try to get a good picture.
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players
by Pamela Allen
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players will present two performances of Broken-Hearted River to Freedom on Monday, July 5, at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. During Civil War times a man loses his sight in the war, returns home, and learns to deal with his blindness and his family. The ticket price for this production is $5. All proceeds support the summer training program for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
Finding, Attracting, and Keeping New Members in our Chapters and Affiliates
by Ron Gardner
The membership committee of the National Federation of the Blind will convene for its annual meeting on Sunday, July 4, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For further information contact Ron Gardner (801) 299-0349; <[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 Monday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration will be held from 12:30 p.m. until the start of the meeting.
The purpose of our annual meeting and seminar is multifaceted. We will examine emerging trends in the laws that affect blind people and others with disabilities. For example, we will address the ongoing struggle to gain equal access to Websites (including legal-based 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. Other discrimination and civil rights cases will be reviewed. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or vision-impaired legal professional. We will undoubtedly hear from the American Bar Association as well as local law schools and bar associations about their outreach efforts to blind and vision-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 5 is the place to be.
by Scott LaBarre
The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its Thirteenth Annual Mock Trial at the 2010 NFB convention. This trial will reenact a previous Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other, arguing the merits of the two positions.
We have not yet selected this year’s case, 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 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 the past trials. A charge of $5 per person will benefit the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The trial will take place on Sunday, July 4, at 4:30 p.m.
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 Monday, July 5, from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. This year registration for our division meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. Our agenda will focus on protection of the priority and the creation of new, dynamic, and profitable 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 pressing.
National Association of Blind Office Professionals
by Lisa Hall
The annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will be held on Saturday, July 3. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m.; the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Consult your convention agenda for room location. If you are interested in working in an office and would like to learn about what blind people are doing in this profession, this is your chance to be involved. If you are a Braille transcriber, Braille proofreader, telephone operator, receptionist, or customer service representative or work in any other office position, you are welcome to come and participate in our discussions of challenges found in the office setting. You will learn what is new in adaptive technology, what jobs people are doing, and how blind people solve various problems at work.
Our agenda is currently being developed, and anyone wishing to submit suggestions may contact Lisa Hall by email at <[email protected]> or by phone at (513) 931-7070 in the evenings or during the weekends. Lisa can also be reached by cell phone at (513) 550-5155. Membership dues are $5 per year and may be sent to Debbie Brown, treasurer, 11923 Parklawn Drive, Apartment 104, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Debbie can be reached by phone at (301) 881-1892; email <[email protected]>.
National Association of Blind Piano Technicians
by Don Mitchell
The National Association of Blind Piano Technicians invites you to join us on Monday, July 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for a stimulating discussion of blind stereotypes. The field of piano tuning for the blind has long been considered a stereotypical career choice for the blind. Is this true? What can we do about it? Come join us and help us change what it means to be blind. Consult your convention agenda for room assignment, or contact Don Mitchell, division president, at the hotel.
National Association of Blind Students
by Arielle Silverman
The National Association of Blind Students (NABS) will again be holding its annual business meeting at the NFB convention in Dallas on Sunday, July 4, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Arrive early (between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.) to register with NABS and become a NABS member. Students, young professionals, parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in learning about issues affecting blind students are all invited to join our meeting. Come to learn about the latest developments in technology and resources for blind students and to meet other members of NABS.
On Wednesday, July 7, we will be holding a fundraiser and social from 8:00 to 11:30 p.m. Stay tuned for details. To learn more about the National Association of Blind Students, visit <www.nabslink.org> or contact NABS President Arielle Silverman at <[email protected]>.
National Association of Guide Dog Users
by Marion Gwizdala
The National Association of Guide Dog Users will convene for its annual business meeting on Saturday, July 3. Registration will begin at 6:00 p.m.; the meeting will run from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. A reception and seminar will also be sponsored on Monday, July 5, from 6:00 to 10:00 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 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration for this meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. This year’s theme for the meeting will be Meeting Challenges: Gaining Opportunities. We plan to have representatives from various faith-based libraries and publishing houses to describe what their organizations do. Time for questions will be available. Additionally, we will also have speakers who will discuss how their faith has helped them face and overcome challenges. We may also have a discussion regarding problems which members may be having with full participation in their places of worship. A brief business meeting will follow these discussions. In this business meeting we will work to set goals for the next year.
The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will again coordinate the devotional services that will take place Tuesday morning, July 6, through Thursday, July 8. The theme of the devotions will be Redemption through His Blood. Devotions will begin an hour before the morning sessions and will adjourn fifteen minutes before the opening gavel. Contact Tom Anderson 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 phone number is (303) 794-5006, and my email address is <[email protected]>.
National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
by Nadine Jacobson
This year our National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) seminar will be held on Monday, July 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. We will present information about the remaining commemorative Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars that can be purchased from the NFB's Independence Market and elsewhere, the NFB Share Braille Website project, and other Braille news. We hope to see you all in Dallas.
National Organization of Blind Educators
by Sheila Koenig
On Monday, July 5, 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.
Newsletter Publications Committee
by Norma Crosby
The newsletter publications committee will conduct its annual meeting and a brief workshop for affiliate newsletter editors on Sunday, July 4, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Join us to learn about developing an effective local publication to carry the Federation's message. For further information contact Norma Crosby, chairwoman, at <[email protected]>.
NFB Imagination Fund: Grant Writing Seminar
by Mark Riccobono
Each year 25 percent of the money raised through the NFB Imagination Fund is used to support innovative grant proposals presented by affiliates and divisions of the Federation. Come learn how to plan, write, and submit a strong grant application. Discover key points and strategies about the various components of the grants process including identifying appropriate funders, making a good impression, organizing your materials, and pulling together that winning proposal that any funder would be pleased to support. Preparing the NFB Imagination Fund grants is good practice for submitting proposals to funders outside the organization. We encourage each affiliate to send a representative to this meeting. This seminar will be held on Wednesday, July 7, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
NFB in Computer Science
by Curtis Chong
The annual meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will take place on Monday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Here are some of the program items that are being planned:
1. We will have a program item called The Macintosh as a Productivity Tool for the Blind. This will be a panel discussion. Panelists will be blind people who use the Apple Macintosh on a daily basis to get real work done--giving practical demonstration to the idea that the Apple Macintosh is, for many blind people, the tool that enables them to be productive every day of their lives.
2. Anyone who uses the Internet regularly has doubtless encountered the visual CAPTCHA--those pesky graphical representations of letters that a person is expected to copy into an edit box to prove that he or she is, in fact, a real human being. A CAPTCHA-solving service has been established called Solona, which is essentially a volunteer service that helps to crack the visual CAPTCHA. We will be hearing from Bernard Maldonado, the founder of this interesting service.
3. We will be hearing from a representative of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. I hope through this presentation to begin building a bridge between aspiring or currently employed blind information technology professionals and the mainstream information technology profession. What skills are important in today's information technology profession? Do blind people have what it takes to compete? Does the industry really understand what the blind have to offer, and does it have a realistic expectation of the contributions that the blind can make to this ever-changing and dynamic profession?
4. We plan to hear from Rob Sinclair, the director of accessibility at Microsoft. Four years ago Mr. Sinclair spoke to our members, and at that time he talked about Windows Vista and the fact that for the first time ever an operating system would be released that would be accessible to the blind right out of the box. We now have Windows 7, which seems quite accessible today, and we are facing the imminent release of a newer version of Microsoft Office. One wonders what other products from Microsoft can be made accessible to the blind.
This being an even-numbered year, the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will be electing officers and board members. Our current officers and board members are president, Curtis Chong; vice president, Steve Jacobson; secretary, Mike Freeman; treasurer, Susie Stanzel; and board members, Brian Buhrow, Lloyd Rasmussen, and D. Curtis Willoughby. Membership dues for the organization remain at $5 and can be paid in advance of the meeting or at the meeting itself. If you want more information about our 2010 meeting or are interested in paying dues to become a member of the NFB in Computer Science, contact Curtis Chong, president, National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, 3663 Grand Avenue, Unit 606, Des Moines, Iowa 50312; Phone: (515) 277-1288 (evenings and weekends); Email: <[email protected]>.
NFB Jernigan Institute: Where Do We Go from Here?
by Mark Riccobono
Three focused discussion times will be facilitated to gather input on priorities and directions for the only research and training institute developed and directed by the blind. While these sessions will give brief overviews of current Institute programs and activities, they are intended to be facilitated discussions about the concerns, hopes, and dreams of the blind of the nation in order to inform and direct future program development. Bring your ideas, solutions, and priorities so we can together formulate the programs that are most relevant to the blind of the nation. Sessions will have specific themes in order to focus the dialogue. Consult your agenda for themes, times, and locations.
NFB National Employment Seminar
by Buna Dahal
Please join the members of the employment committee at the employment seminar on Saturday, July 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to gain the secrets of obtaining and maintaining employment during this tough economic environment. For further information contact Buna Dahal, chairperson, at (303) 758-1232 or by email at <[email protected]>.
NFB-NEWSLINE® Seminar and Convention Events
by Scott White
Would you like to get the scoop on the latest enhancements to NFB-NEWSLINE®, the free audible newspaper service? Would you like to know about the new access methods like Podable News, which provides podcasts of publications and their sections that you can download to your MP3-playing device, and KeyStream, which streams NFB-NEWSLINE content over the Internet to your computer? If you would like to learn more about these initiatives and how you can use them to get even more benefit from the service, please attend one of the two seminars we’ll be hosting at the upcoming national convention, either on Sunday, July 4, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. or Wednesday, July 7, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
We will also be discussing our new voices and our new on-demand article request feature, so, whether you access the service on the phone or want to use the new online initiatives, we’ll have some good news to share with you. You may also visit us at our table in the exhibit hall, where you can learn more about and sign up to use NFB-NEWSLINE. For more information about NFB-NEWSLINE activities at the 2010 national convention, contact Scott White at <[email protected]>.
National Federation of the Blind Senior Division
Seniors Welcome You…with a Twist
by Judy Sanders
We are the National Federation of the Blind Senior Division, and we cordially invite you to join us for our annual meeting. Reserve the afternoon of Monday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. for an inspiring time with your elders.
But first here is something new. Many of us have had the opportunity to learn how to make our blindness become simply an inconvenience. However, many of our seniors have not had such a chance. Therefore the NFB Seniors Division is sponsoring a seminar on Saturday, July 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to provide some introductory blindness skills instruction. Blind instructors will introduce seniors to Braille; use of the long white cane; eating in public; games; and more. Of course this seminar will have a dose of Federation philosophy, and everyone is guaranteed to have fun. This seminar is not open to everyone. In order to give our students the attention they deserve, we are limiting attendance to around thirty-five people.
Who should come? Anyone who is new to blindness or, for whatever reason, has never had the exposure to things we take for granted is welcome to let us know of their interest. You can do so by emailing or calling me at the address and phone number found at the end of this article. This seminar is being cochaired by Ruth Sager and Ramona Walhof. Our hope is that our students will go home and demand that their state rehabilitation services give them their independence. A minimal charge for a box lunch will be assessed.
And now for our annual meeting, where everyone is welcome. We will open the doors on Monday, July 5, at 1:00 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 from Federationists, both in items for the auction and emptying of wallets and checkbooks. Make sure your items arrive in time for eager bidders. For questions about the auction and to let her know what you will donate, call Ramona at (208) 338-1595 or email her at <[email protected]>.
The theme for last year's meeting was Seniors in Charge, and it worked so well that we are continuing it. This is to prove we have longevity. As a continuation of Saturday's seminar, the focus 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 best moments to share.
If you have questions or suggestions for the agenda, call Judy Sanders at (612) 375-1625. Email: <[email protected]>. The agenda is not finalized; so, if you have a topic of interest to seniors, let me know.
Performing Arts Division
by Dennis H.R. Sumlin
Presidents and Treasurers Seminar
by Bridgid Burke
All state affiliate presidents and treasurers are asked to attend this session on Sunday, July 4, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. to learn the status of the state financial program, to ask questions regarding financial data, and to examine best practices for financial bookkeeping. We will talk about internal controls, state charitable registrations, end-of-year preparations, and individual state issues with presidents and treasurers. You will have an opportunity to address questions to and talk with Charlie Brown, Ron Gardner, Bridgid Burke, and Nick Lambright.
Public Relations Committee
Meeting and Seminar
by Chris Danielsen
How many times have you wished that the media would show up to your fundraiser or Meet the Blind Month event so that you could get the NFB’s message out to the public? Don’t wait for the media to discover you. Come to the public relations committee meeting to share ideas and strategies on how to harness the power of the media to enhance membership recruitment and fundraising efforts. We’ll discuss how to craft press releases, pitch stories, and give informative interviews educating the press and the public about the NFB’s positive philosophy of blindness and the issues that are important to blind Americans. Join us Monday, July 5, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Roman Catholic Mass
by Mary Ellen Jernigan
Father Gregory Paul, C.P., will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning, July 4, at 6:30 a.m. Everyone interested in this service is invited to attend.
Salsa Dance Party
by Norman Gardner
Are you a dancer? Are you not a dancer? Are you willing to learn something new and have fun? Then come to salsa dance lessons and Latin dance party at our convention in Dallas. Come and get into the rhythm of the convention, learn to dance the salsa, and dance the night away. Bring your partner or find one here. Group and individual instruction will be provided at any level of proficiency. Come and support this fundraising event for the Spanish translation committee. There will be a $5 charge at the door. We are planning this event for Saturday, July 3, from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m., but check the agenda for the exact time and place. If you have a special song request, send it to <[email protected]>.
Social Security Seminar
by Ronza Othman
An informational seminar, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know, will take place on Wednesday, July 7, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The purpose of this seminar is to give an overview of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind, including eligibility criteria, application process, reporting obligations, and the appeals process for denials and overpayment determinations. Special emphasis will be placed on information about the income subsidy program for those receiving the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Ronza Othman, government programs specialist for the National Federation of the Blind, will lead this seminar. Social Security representatives may be available to hand out publications describing their programs and to 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 encouraged to attend.
by Alpidio Rolón
Blindness is blindness, no matter what the language, and Federation philosophy can help to dissipate all the negative stereotypes others see in it. Join Alpidio Rolón and others at the fifth annual Spanish Seminar on Saturday, July 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Meet new and old friends, and learn the truth about blindness in Spanish.
Sports and Recreation Division
by Lisamaria Martinez
Get up off your couch and get ready to get fit. Don’t forget to pack your exercise clothes for this year’s convention because the Sports and Recreation Division promises to deliver a rockin’ physical week.
This year enjoy tandem biking, rowing, swimming, and much more. For specific details and times for sports and recreational activities, please check out our event calendar at <www.nfbsportsandrec.org>, or contact Vice President Christella Garcia at (916) 208-3213 or by email at <[email protected]>. See you there. Our annual meeting will be on Monday, July 5, from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m.
by Dwight Sayer
The National Association of Blind Veterans will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, July 4. Consult the convention agenda for time and meeting room details. This meeting will include our annual elections, final plans for our veterans celebration during the convention’s opening session, and discussion of the plans to grow our division in the coming year. Make plans to attend this important meeting of the NFB's Veterans Division.
Voter Registration Drive
Learn how to plan and host a voter registration drive that will attract new members to your chapter and serve your local community, by attending a seminar on How to Hold a Voter Registration Drive in Six Easy Steps on Tuesday, July 6, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The seminar will describe the steps necessary to hold a voter registration drive for the blind members of your community and will identify available resources. Consult your agenda for seminar location.
Webmasters Meeting in Dallas
by Gary Wunder
On Sunday, July 4, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. 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, how to share our strengths and expertise with one another, and how to spread the work of updating various information on a site by area of responsibility. Feel free to contact Gary Wunder by writing to <[email protected]> or by calling (573) 874-1774 for more information. Offers to present and recommendations for areas needing discussion are welcome.
by Robert Leslie Newman
Story Time Idol: Come tell and listen to tall and scary stories on Sunday, July 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 to get in the door and $1 to tell a story. Idol winners will share in the take. The annual Writers Division business meeting will be Monday, July 5, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. We will update members on division business, announce the 2010 winners of the youth and adult writing contests, visit with a published author and member of the NFB, and plan for the future.
Youth Track 2010
by Mary Jo Hartle
The Education Department of the NFB Jernigan Institute, in conjunction with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, will host activities specially designed to educate and entertain youth throughout the week of national convention. This year a Junior Youth Track has been added for students ages eleven to fourteen; older students will participate in the regular Youth Track. Events and activities will include field trips, workshops, games, discussions, and more. Consult the convention agenda for details of this week-long program.
by Carol Castellano
From the Editor: If you are the parent or educator of a blind child who has considered attending the NFB convention in Dallas this summer, you should read the following article carefully. Carol Castellano is president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. This is what she says:
I remember well my first reaction on that fateful day. My husband and I walked into the neonatal ICU, where our baby daughter had been a patient since her extremely premature birth four months before. A blur of doctors in green scrubs hovered over her bed. “Her retinas have detached,” they told us. “It is stage four. There is a good chance that she is going to be blind.” My first thought was: how was she going to get an education?
The education and development of our children are a primary and pressing concern for parents. Our questions are many, and our need for information is deep. We worry: Will our children learn? Where will they go to school? Will they be accepted? How will they get around? What will happen as they grow up?
Who among us has not contemplated—sometimes with fear—their child’s future as a blind person? What do we imagine when we look down that road? A life of sadness, helplessness, and dependence? Or a future of competence, confidence, and empowerment for our child? I know now that what we see depends largely upon what we have come to believe about blindness.
Our children’s ability to achieve independence and a full life—to whatever degree their full potential allows—depends to a great extent on the foundation their education provides. And the quality of their education depends to a great degree on the training and expectations of those teaching them. So it makes sense that we parents would be concerned both with educating our children—from the bottom up—and with the education their teachers receive—the top down. Our children need to be educated by teachers with high expectations and hopes for their future, and their teachers need to be educated by professors who share the progressive views and positive thinking of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind.
As I look back over the years, I can hardly believe I was so worried. My daughter is now a college graduate who has worked at a real job and is contemplating graduate school. We credit the positive philosophy, high expectations, mentoring, and guidance of the NOPBC and the NFB as the inspiration behind our daughter’s success. My family received so much from our association with NOPBC and the NFB and from our convention experiences. I want that for your family too.
Each year at our annual conference, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children brings parents together with experts who can address their information needs, answer pressing questions, and provide not only tips, techniques, and advice, but also inspiration and hope. Our conference is a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to meet other families and blind adults from across the nation, many of whom will become mentors, role models, and lifelong friends. It’s also a great place to have fun. We hope very much that you will join us this year.
Following is some insider information and a description of the special NOPBC activities for parents, children, and youth that will take place at the NFB national convention this year.
Saturday, July 3
Full-Day Seminar for Parents, Teachers, and Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Professionals
Welcome—Carol Castellano, president, NOPBC; Dr. Eddie Bell, director, Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University
Kid Talk with Dr. Mark Maurer—Kids get a chance to speak to the president of the National Federation of the Blind about anything that’s on their minds
From Alchemy to Chemistry: A Blind Scientist Breaks Through—Cary Supalo, chemist and PhD candidate at Penn State University
Youth Panel: Imagine the Possibilities—Mark Riccobono, executive director, NFB Jernigan Institute; Student Panelists
Teacher Training: The State of the Art—Dr. Ruby Ryles, Louisiana Tech University; Dr. Jerry Petroff, The College of New Jersey
Education: Top Down and Bottom Up—Dr. Fred Schroeder, 1st vice president, National Federation of the Blind and president, NFB of Virginia
Rehabilitation Training: The State of the Art—Dr. Edward Bell, Director, PDRIB, Louisiana Tech University
Note: At 10:20 young people and children not already at NFB Camp leave for the following activities: NOPBC Children’s Activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Be sure to register your child with camp—form elsewhere in this issue. Children in the Kid Talk session who are signed up for the Make-a-Book Workshop will be escorted to NFB Camp after the Youth Panel.
10:45 a.m.—Make-a-Book Workshop, (ages five to ten, in NFB Camp)
Children will work with writers from the NFB Writers Division to create beautiful story or poetry books to take home and forever remember Dallas 2010.
10:30–Noon–NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Sessions
Sponsored by NFB Jernigan Institute for youth ages eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen.
12:00–2:00 p.m.—Lunch on your own; pick up children from childcare
1:30 p.m.--Childcare Reopens
2:00–3:00 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
The Conquest of Independence
Discover ways to foster and encourage the natural drive toward independence and to avoid hindering it. This workshop will offer helpful strategies for raising and working with the blind child in the early years of development. Instructor: Carla McQuillan, founder and executive director, Main Street Montessori Association
The Blind Student in Science Class
Tools and techniques are available to include blind students in all aspects of science class, from elementary through AP courses. Instructors: Cary Supalo, Dr. Lillian Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, TVI; Dr. Andrew Greenberg, chemist
Braille Reading Rates
Can Braille readers compete? What does the research really show? This workshop will include Braille reading demonstrations and information on how your child can become a Braille reading speed demon! Instructors: Dr. Eric Vasiliauskas, parent; Jerry Whittle, Braille teacher
Let Your Child Grow Up
When is the right time to begin stepping back as a parent? When is your child really ready for more independence? Instructors: Rosy Carranza, program services coordinator, NFB Affiliate Action; Andrea Beasley, parent
3:15–4:15 pm—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
ABC and 1, 2, 3
How to create an atmosphere that encourages the development of early literacy and number understanding in the young child in the home and at school. Instructors: Heather Field, special educator; Stephanie Kieszak-Holloway, parent
I Survived Math Class
Strategies and tips for ensuring that your child learns, keeps up with, and even learns to love math. Instructor: TBA; panel of blind students
The area of social interaction is often a concern for parents. This workshop will explore strategies for fostering the development of age-appropriate social skills in the young blind child. Instructors: Denise Mackenstadt and Angela Frederick
Low Vision: Focus on Success
Sometimes it feels as if the low-vision child is caught between two worlds. This workshop will explore the reality of having low vision and will offer ways to ensure that the child is prepared with techniques and tools for success in school, at home, and in social life. Instructors: Mark Riccobono, executive director, NFB Jernigan Institute; Marla Palmer, parent
4:30–5:30 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
Get Your Child Going
How can you get your child moving and exploring the world? Explore ways to enhance and promote independent movement in the young or delayed child. Instructor: Denise Mackenstadt, NOMC
What technology do blind kids need and when? Come learn what technology is available and hear from students on how they employ it. Instructor: Richard Holloway, parent; blind students
Behavior: From Control to Support in Five Easy Lessons
This workshop will focus on problem behavior in blind and vision-impaired children and how parents and teachers can use the positive behavior support approach to support the child’s behavior and encourage self-determination. Instructor: Dr. Jerry Petroff, The College of New Jersey
Is Your Child Job-Ready?
This workshop will focus on the many components of job readiness, how your child can gain experience and skills, and the role of the child, the parent, school guidance, and vocational rehabilitation. Instructor: TBA
3:30 p.m.–NOPBC Children’s Activity (ages five to ten, in NFB Camp)
Diggin’ into Science
Children will participate in interesting and exciting hands-on science activities involving instant snow, glaciers, magnets, UFO ball chains, Alka Seltzer rockets, and volcanoes. Instructors: Dr. Lillian A. Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, teacher of the visually impaired
Note: NOPBC children’s activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Be sure to register your child for camp.
2:00–5:00 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Sessions
2:00–3:30 p.m. High School Readiness—Junior Youth Track
3:30–5:00 p.m. College Readiness—Youth Track
Fashion—Junior Youth Track
Fitness—Junior Youth Track
5:00–7:00 p.m. —Mix and Mingle Reception—Professionals and Parents
7:00–9:00 p.m. —NOPBC Family Hospitality
Relax and chat in an informal atmosphere. This is a great opportunity for new families to meet and connect with others. Veteran parents will be on hand to welcome and provide information.
Sunday, July 4
No NFB Camp on this day
9:00–10:30 a.m.—Cane Walk Session I
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. —Cane Walk Session II
Learn and experience the discovery method of travel at these special workshops. Parents, teachers, blind children, siblings welcome. Coordinator: Jeff Altman, NOMC
4:00–5:30 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Activity
Writers Workshop (ages eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen)
Create an original work of art with members of the NFB Writers Division.
Monday, July 5
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth and Youth Track Activity
Meet and greet with NFB division representatives.
1:00–4:15 p.m.—NOPBC Annual Meeting: Issues and Advances in Education
Keynote address by the 2010 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, Issues and Advances in Accessible Textbooks, special guest speakers, Braille Readers Are Leaders and Writers Workshop presentation, Summer Programs for our kids, Parent Power, business meeting, elections, and much more!
1:00–4:30 p.m.—NOPBC Activities for Middle and High Schoolers
1:00–2:30 p.m.—Diggin’ into Science (ages eleven to fourteen)
In this hands-on session, children will participate in interesting and exciting science activities involving instant snow, glaciers, magnets, UFO ball chains, Alka Seltzer rockets, and volcanoes. Children will learn the science principles behind the activities as they test the behavior of different materials and learn that hands-on exploration leads to enjoyable science without the need for sight. Instructors: Dr. Lillian A. Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, teacher of the visually impaired; with assistance from Cary Supalo, chemist; and Dr. Andrew Greenberg, chemist
3:00–4:30 p.m.—Peer-To-Peer Technology (ages eleven to eighteen)
Calling all geeks! Come teach, share tips and advice, and learn from others. middle schoolers and high schoolers can expound on the technology they love and the technology they love to hate. Moderators: TBA
3:00–4:30 p.m.—The Future Is Here in Science (ages fourteen to eighteen)
Enter a world of discovery as you engage in hands-on chemistry activities and explore science from a new perspective. Understand chemical phenomena and empower yourself to learn science in a whole new way. Use a cutting-edge laboratory interface for more independence in the laboratory classroom. Limit: twenty-four participants. Instructors: Cary Supalo, Dr. Andrew Greenberg, Dr. Lillian Rankel, Marilyn Winograd
5:00–7:00 p.m.—Braille Book Flea Market
A book lover’s dream. Come browse tables of new and used Braille and print/Braille books. UPS volunteers will ship the books to your home free of charge. Donations requested to support the Braille Readers Are Leaders program. Cosponsored by NOPBC and NAPUB. Coordinator: Peggy Chong
7:00–8:00 p.m.—Girl Talk and Guy Talk
Four separate sessions for guys and girls eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen. Led by experienced blind mentors—no parents allowed.
7:30–9:00 p.m.—Dads’ Night Out
All dads, sighted and blind, are welcome.
Tuesday, July 6
7:00–8:30 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
IEP Workshop for Beginners
This workshop will focus on the basic principles of writing an effective IEP for parents who are more at the beginning of the process. Topics will include evaluations, goals, strategies, and what the law says. Instructor: Carlton Walker, parent and attorney
Getting to Yes
When all members of the team are pulling in the same direction, more progress will be made. This workshop will focus on ways to resolve conflict so that your child can benefit and make the most progress. Instructor: Dan Frye, trained legal advocate
Tactile Maps and the Development of Spatial Awareness
Spatial awareness enables a blind person to travel safely and independently. This workshop will explore ways to promote the development of this important skill in your child. Instructor: Debbie Kent Stein, editor, Future Reflections
8:30–10:00 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
IEP Workshop for Veteran Parents
This workshop will be for parents who have been through the IEP process a few times but still need assistance in getting a good education plan in place. Instructor: Carlton Walker, parent and attorney
This workshop will examine issues of testing and accommodations in statewide standardized tests and college entrance tests. Instructors: Barbara Mathews, parent and attorney, and a representative of the College Board
Having accessible materials ready at the time they are needed is a key component of making the education of a blind child work. This workshop will explore ways to adapt and create useable materials for student success. Instructor: TBA
7:00–10:00 p.m.—NOPBC Activity for Kids (ages six to fourteen)
Kids whose parents are attending NOPBC workshops are invited to come for an evening of hands-on astronomy, crafts, games, and movies.
7:00–8:00 p.m.—Astronomy at Your Fingertips
Fun-filled astronomy-related activities in an out-of-this-world workshop. Instructor: Noreen Grice, astronomer
8:00–10:00 p.m.—Crafts, Games, Movies
7:00–10:00 p.m.—NFB Youth Track Activity (ages fourteen to eighteen)
Throwback Dance Party
Wednesday, July 7
7:00–8:45 a.m.—NOPBC Board Meeting
NOPBC Insider Information
National convention is a complicated week of events. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized and take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available.
NOPBC 2010 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
Enclose a check made out to NOPBC and mail with this form to:
Pat Renfranz, NOPBC Treasurer
397 Middle Oak Lane
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Save money by preregistering. Preregistration must be postmarked by June 10.
After June 10 please register onsite in Dallas.
By June 10
Onsite in Dallas
Child 5-12 years
Youth 13-18 years
Adult Name ____________________________________________________
[ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other____________________
Adult Name ____________________________________________________
[ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other____________________
Please list additional adults on a separate sheet.
Address ______________________________ City _____________________
State _______ Zip _____________ Phone _______________________
Email ____________________________ Alt. phone ____________________
Children’s names (first and last), ages, and brief description of vision and any additional disabilities:_____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________
How many? Preregistering by June 10 Onsite reg.
Adults _____ @ $25 = $______ or @ $30 = $______
Children _____ @ $ 5 = $______ or @ $10 = $______
Youth _____ @ $15 = $______ or @ $20 = $______
Total enclosed: $_________
___ I receive Future Reflections ___ I am a member of my state NFB/POBC
___ This is my 1st national convention ___ If not, how many have you attended?
___ I cannot attend the conference, but please put me on the NOPBC mailing list. (Please fill out contact information above and mail in form.)
Please note: Preregistrations postmarked after June 10 will be returned.
Also remember that registrations for the NOPBC conference and NFB Camp are separate and must be mailed to different places.
(Please see workshop descriptions in previous pages)
Saturday, July 3
Children (Please mark how many will attend session.)
NOTE: These activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Child must be registered for NFB Camp in order to attend.
_____ A.M. Session: Make-a-Book Workshop (ages 5–10)
Name _____________________ Age_______
Name _____________________ Age_______
_____ P.M. Session: Diggin’ into Science (ages 5-10)
_____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session
Name _____________________ Age_______
Name _____________________ Age_______
Youth (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ A.M. Jr. Youth Track Activities (ages 11-14 and 14-18)
_____ P.M. High School Readiness (ages 11-14)
_____ P.M. Fashion (ages 11-14) or _____ P.M. Fitness (ages 11-14)
_____ P.M. College Readiness (ages 14-18)
_____ P.M. Fashion (ages 14-18) or _____ P.M. Fitness (ages 14-18)
2:00–3:00 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ The Conquest of Independence
_____ The Blind Student in Science Class
_____ Braille Reading Rates
_____ Let Your Child Grow Up.
3:15–4:15 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ ABC and 1, 2, 3
_____ I Survived Math Class
_____ Social Skills
_____ Low Vision: Focus on Success
4:30–5:30 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ Get Your Child Going
_____ Behavior: From Control to Support in Five Easy Lessons
_____ Is Your Child Job Ready?
SUNDAY, JULY 4 (Please mark how many will attend session)
Cane Walk Session I: 9:00–10:30 a.m. _____ adults _____ children
Cane Walk Session II: 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. _____ adults _____ children
Youth (ages 11-14 and 14-18) (Please mark how many will attend session.)
_____ 4:00–5:30 p.m. Writers Workshop
MONDAY, JULY 5 Youth (Please mark how many will attend session.)
_____ 1:00–2:30 p.m. Diggin’ into Science (ages 11–14)
_____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session
_____ 3:00–4:30 pm Peer to Peer Technology (ages 11-14 and 14-18)
_____ 3:00–4:30 p.m. The Future Is Here in Science (ages 14-18)
(Sign up early—limited to twenty-four participants)
_____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session
_____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Girl Talk (ages 11-14)
_____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Girl Talk (ages 14-18)
_____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Guy Talk (ages 11-14)
_____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Guy Talk (ages 14-18)
TUESDAY, JULY 6 (Please mark how many will attend session.)
_____ IEP Workshop for Beginners
_____ Getting to Yes
_____ Tactile Maps and the Development of Spatial Awareness
_____ IEP Workshop for Veteran Parents
_____ Adapting Materials
Children (ages 6-14)
_____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Astronomy at Your Fingertips
Name _____________________ Age_______
_____ 8:00–10:00 p.m. Crafts, Games, Movies
Name _____________________ Age_______
Youth (ages 14-18)
_____ 7:00–10:00 p.m. Throwback Dance Party
by Carla McQuillan
From the Editor: The childcare service at NFB conventions has for many years now been known as NFB Camp. Here are a description of this year’s program, the schedule of camp hours, and various registration forms and permission slips. If you are considering placing your youngsters in childcare, please read the following information carefully and note that the deadline for registration, assuming that capacity is not reached sooner, is June 15. Here is the information:
If you are between the ages of six weeks and ten years, NFB Camp is the place to be at national convention in Dallas. During meetings and general convention sessions NFB Camp will be open for fun.
Our camp rooms are divided by age with toys and activities appropriate to the ages served in each room. We have rooms for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. The infants and toddlers spend much of their time in the room with occasional walks around the hotel and stories read from Braille books. The preschool group will enjoy Braille story time, a few arts and craft projects, and small group play on the hotel lawns. The school-age children will have special-guest presentations on writing stories, science and technology, music and movement, and blind people employed in different professions. In addition, we will have daily excursions to the hotel lawns for outdoor games and water play.
NFB Campers will enjoy their own banquet night activities beginning with their meal. Afterwards the children will be dazzled by the exotic animals of the Creature Teacher. Hairless guinea pigs, iguanas, and hedgehogs are just a few of the animals in the Creature Teacher's hands in this educational presentation. Immediately following the creature teacher's lesson, the children will relax with a movie and popcorn.
NFB Camp is under the supervision of Carla McQuillan, a longtime member of the Federation. Carla, who is the executive director of Main Street Montessori Association, operating three Montessori schools and a teacher education program, has directed NFB camp since 1996. Alison McQuillan serves as the activities and staff coordinator for camp. Alison monitors the daily programs, drop-off and pick-up, staff-to-child ratios, and ensuring that only parents and authorized adults are allowed into camp rooms.
Each of the three camp rooms has a supervisor who is responsible for the activities of that age group. These leads are chosen because of their experience and demonstrated capacity to handle groups of children and workers. They are often staff members of Carla's schools. Other workers and camp volunteers are drawn from within the organization. We usually have a mix of blind and sighted teens and adults who trade off for the working shifts throughout the week.
NFB Camp maintains a list of people who are interested in providing care outside of the scheduled hours for camp. The list is at the check-in desk for NFB Camp. Parents are welcome to review names on the list if they are in need of caregivers during off hours. NFB Camp and the National Federation of the Blind are not responsible for the actions and behavior of those on the babysitting list. We do not screen the people; we merely maintain a central list for the convenience of convention attendees.
Because of the limited space, we require that parents wishing to enroll their children in NFB Camp complete and return the registration forms to follow no later than June 15, 2010. You may also e-mail or call to reserve your child(ren)'s space: <[email protected]> or (541) 726-6924. Any questions can also be directed to Carla McQuillan at the same address, email, and phone.
NFB CAMP REGISTRATION FORM
Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15, 2010.
City__________ State___________ Zip______ Phone _______________
Cell Phone _______________ Cell Phone _______________
___________________________ Age_____ Date of Birth___________
___________________________ Age_____ Date of Birth___________
___________________________ Age_____ Date of Birth___________
Include description of any disabilities or allergies we should know about: ____________________________________________________________
Who, other than parents, is allowed to pick up your child(ren)?__________
Per Week: $80 first child, $60 siblings No. of Children_____ $_________
(Does not include banquet)
Per Day: $20 per child per day
No. of Days_____ x$20 child $_________
(Does not include banquet) S M T W TH (circle)
Banquet: $15 per child No. of children _____ $_________
_____Turkey Sandwich _____Cheese Sandwich
We understand that NFB Camp is being provided as a service 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, OR 97478; (541) 726-6924; and <www.mainstreetmontessori.org>.
NFB CAMP SCHEDULE
NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. The hours for NFB Camp are tentative. The actual hours will be based on the beginning and ending of sessions so that parents can drop off their children thirty minutes before the start of session and must pick up their children within thirty minutes of the end of session. On occasion the actual end or beginning of session may be earlier or later than the agenda indicates. We charge a $10 per quarter-hour per child late pick-up fee. NFB Camp provides morning and afternoon snacks. You must provide lunch for your children every day.
Date NFB Camp Hours
Saturday, July 3 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 4 Camp is closed.
Monday, July 5 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 8 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 adjourn.
Times are tentative and will be based on thirty minutes after sessions adjourn. You are required to provide lunch for your child(ren) each day.
Kids’ Field Trip at Convention
Fort Worth Stockyard Station
On Monday, July 5, 2010, NFB Camp will be sponsoring a trip for 5-to-12-year- olds to the Stockyard Station in Fort Worth. The children will gather at the hotel in the NFB Camp rooms at 9:00 a.m. We will board a bus and set out for the stockyards. First on the agenda will be a presentation by an authentic cattle herder. This demonstration will include a verbal description of the gear and attire worn by the herders, as well as some hands-on exploration. After that the children will witness one of the oldest and longest-running cattle drives in the country.
After a lunch break the children will experience the cattle pen maze. This was a favorite on the kids’ trip in 2008. The children have to work their way through an extensive maze of cattle gates. We found the blind kids often fared better than the sighted ones on this adventure.
When we have spent time solving the maze, we’ll get back on the bus and make our way back to the hotel. We estimate our arrival around 4:00 p.m. The cost for this trip is $40 per child ($30 each for those registered for the full week of NFB Camp); this includes all admission fees, transportation, lunch, and an NFB Camp T-shirt. Registration and payment for this trip must be made by June 15, 2010. Priority will be given to NFB Campers, with consideration given to other children on a first-come, first-served basis. This trip is for children ages five to twelve.
Field Trip Registration
The field trip fee for 2010 is $40 per child, unless enrolled for the entire week at NFB Camp; then the fee is $30 per child. The tour leaves at 9:15 a.m. Please have your children at NFB Camp at 9:00. We will return at 4:00 p.m. Please be prepared to pick up your children at this time unless they are enrolled in NFB Camp.
Child’s Name _____________________ DOB ______ $______
Child’s T-Shirt Size: S M L XL
Sandwich Choice: tuna, turkey, cheese
Child’s Name _____________________ DOB ______ $______
Child’s T-Shirt Size: S M L XL
Sandwich Choice: tuna, turkey, cheese
Parent’s Name _________________________________________
City ______________________ State _______ Zip ____________
Daytime Phone _______________ Evening Phone ____________
Field Trip Permission Slip
Child’s Name ___________________________ DOB ___________
Child’s Name ___________________________ DOB ___________
Emergency Contact ______________________ Phone __________
Emergency Contact ______________________ Phone __________
(Please list emergency contact names and numbers for people available to respond during convention.)
In the event of an emergency, NFB Camp has my permission to call an ambulance or to take my children to any available physician or hospital at my expense and to obtain medical treatment for my children. In most emergencies, 911 is called and the child is transported to the nearest hospital and seen by the doctor on call. (Parents are always notified as soon as possible.) This permission is effective the date this form is signed and continues for the duration of my children’s enrollment at NFB Camp.
Date ____________________, 2010
Please return form and check or money order to:
5005 Main Street
Springfield, OR 97478
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 (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 $40, 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 the end of the banquet or within thirty minutes of adjournment of the last convention session that the borrower plans to attend. 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, 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 loudspeaker. While earphones, and even neck loops, are sometimes available in the exhibit hall, you cannot be certain of purchasing one there.
Many severely hearing-impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking to a receiver in the hearing aid. Some of these 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 your 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 know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person's hearing system must have to work with the Federation's system at convention.
Even if your hearing aid is not of the FM type, 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 earphones. 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 <[email protected]>.
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 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 (D. 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 <[email protected]>.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.
by Michael Freeman
From the Editor: Mike Freeman is president of the Diabetes Action Network, the Federation's division for blind diabetics. He offers the following information on dialysis services for those who will need them at the national convention in Dallas this summer. Here is what he says:
During this year's annual convention in Dallas, dialysis will be available. People requiring dialysis must have their local servicing unit set up the desired location well in advance. The convention will take place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. You can find dialysis units and directions for reaching them by calling the DialysisFinder hotline at (866) 889-6019 or by going to <www.dialysisfinder.com>.
The following units are located near the hotel:
Davita Dialysis: 8230 Elmbrook Drive, Dallas, Texas 75247; phone (214) 630-4180; 2.6 miles from the hotel.
Brookriver Dialysis: 8101 Brookriver Drive, Dallas, Texas 75247; phone (214) 951-7789; 2.7 miles from the hotel.
FMC Dallas South: 1150 N. Bishop, Suite 200, Dallas, Texas 75208; phone (214) 942-2900; 3.4 miles from the hotel.
This is not an exhaustive list. You can find many more dialysis facilities by calling the DialysisFinder telephone number or by looking at the DialysisFinder Website. Planning your dialysis in advance will enable you to enjoy the convention fully with a minimum of disruption.
by Michael Freeman
From the Editor: Michael Freeman, president of the NFB's Diabetes Action Network, introduces in the following article the soon-to-be-released Count-A-Dose, a newly designed, simple, low-tech instrument that blind diabetics can use to measure and draw up their insulin accurately. The NFB's Independence Market expects to have a supply of this product for sale by late April. The Federation will sell the device for $40. President Freeman's comments on the function and history of the Count-A-Dose and some information from Diagnostic Devices Inc. (DDI), the manufacturer of the product, follow:
One of the questions most often asked by people new to diabetes and vision loss whose treatment plan includes insulin injections is whether and how they can continue to measure and inject their insulin accurately (see the December 2009 issue of the Braille Monitor). Many blind people, including me, successfully use insulin pens to do this. However, insulin pens are more expensive than insulin vials and syringes. Hence, for those who cannot afford health insurance or who cannot persuade their health insurance providers to cover the cost of insulin pens or who use unusual mixtures of insulins, insulin vials and syringes are still the best and most easily obtained option to draw up and inject insulin.
Until a couple of years ago, the most accurate device to measure and draw up insulin without sight was the Count-A-Dose, manufactured by MediCool of Torrance, California. Apparently the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to require more rigorous and stringent testing standards for the Count-A-Dose than were applied when it was initially introduced. While this decision made sense medically, the rumor-mill in the community of blind diabetics had it that MediCool did not wish to expend the effort and money to ensure that the Count-A-Dose met the more rigorous FDA standard. Whatever the truth of this rumor, MediCool announced that it would no longer manufacture the Count-A-Dose.
This left blind diabetics who wished to continue using syringes and vials of insulin few satisfactory alternatives other than to try to obtain one of the few remaining new Count-A-Dose devices; this was necessarily a surreptitious undertaking since medical devices cannot be marketed and sold in the U. S. without FDA approval.
Fortunately, Diagnostic Devices, Inc. (DDI), makers of the Prodigy Voice, the only fully accessible talking blood glucose meter on the U. S. market today, has decided to begin manufacture of the Count-A-Dose, now to be known as the Prodigy Count-A-Dose. It should be available some time in late April from the NFB Independence Market. The information I have received indicates that the price of the Prodigy Count-A-Dose will be comparable to that of the earlier version, made by MediCool. Blind diabetics who draw their insulin using vials and syringes will again be able to purchase and use the Count-A-Dose, the best device ever developed for this purpose.
Information from DDI about this newly designed product follows:
The Simple Way to Fill Insulin Syringes
The Prodigy® Count-A-Dose® is a simple way to fill insulin syringes safely and accurately with one or two bottles of insulin (any brand). The bottle holder is marked to identify bottles for easy mixing—one raised dot for the first bottle and two raised dots for the second bottle. With the click dial starting all the way down toward the raised minus (-) sign, the user simply moves the click dial the number of times, or clicks, per unit of insulin needed. Each click of the dial toward the plus sign (+) will draw one unit of insulin into the syringe.
• Easy to use
• Measure and mix two insulins at one time
• Lightweight; easy to carry everywhere
• Low-vision and blind friendly
• Safe and accurate
Fill Syringes with Independence
The Prodigy Count-A-Dose is a simple system to learn, is well adapted to the use of nonsighted alternative techniques, and allows a blind diabetic to measure from one to fifty units of insulin in single-unit increments. The Prodigy Count-A-Dose uses a BD (Becton Dickinson) lo-dose 50-unit (1/2 cc) insulin syringe or a Prodigy 50-unit (1/2 cc) syringe.
by Ed Morman
From the Editor: With some regularity we spotlight books in the tenBroek Library. Here is librarian Ed Morman's description of a recent acquisition:
We’re all familiar with the tired stereotype of blind people having greater innate musical talent than the sighted. While your tenBroek Library staff has no interest in encouraging such foolishness, we have noticed that a good number of blind achievers--including Louis Braille, himself--have been accomplished musicians.
Among the more fascinating of those blind musicians is Louis Thomas Hardin Jr. (1916 to 1943), better known to some as Moondog. Hardin was a familiar sight in the 1960s to office workers, tourists, and others who had occasion to encounter him stationed on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Dressed in a Viking costume of his own design, this tall, silent, bearded man seemed out of place even in the midst of the great diversity of people that flowed around him. Most simply passed him by, unaware that he was a composer of significance and that he regarded most of the rest of humanity as inferior to himself and other Nordic types.
Hardin was born in Kansas and spent the sighted years of his childhood in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Missouri. Like Louis Braille and Jacobus tenBroek, Moondog lost his sight as the result of a childhood accident (in his case, by tinkering with a detonation cap carelessly left at a construction site). His family lived in Iowa at the time, and he subsequently studied at the Iowa School for the Blind. Unfortunately, he was a quarter century too early to benefit from Kenneth Jernigan’s training program at the Iowa Commission for the Blind.
An exceptional person in every way, Hardin developed his own alternative techniques for getting around. He traveled alone around the U. S., eventually making his way to Manhattan, where there’s a traffic light at almost every corner and where he taught himself to cross streets with confidence (and no white cane) by tuning into the sound of the lights’ changing. He did not, however, go to New York to teach himself how to cross streets; Hardin became Moondog in order to participate in the vibrant musical scenes--classical, jazz, and folk--of the big city.
Moondog was married briefly and fathered a child. He was an honorary member of the New York Philharmonic. He spent time in jail. He didn’t mind leaving a mess for others to clean up. He prevailed on other musicians to provide him shelter when he was broke. And, although he admired the genius of African-American jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and he lived rent-free in the apartment of composer Philip Glass (who is Jewish), his seriousness about being a Viking led him to some distasteful beliefs. In his preface to this book, Glass says of Moondog:
As amazing as he was, he was a difficult guy, and a bit of a racist, too. He spoke of not liking black or Jewish people. He asked me whether I was Jewish, and I said I was. He then wondered why this happened to him--why all his best friends happened to be Jewish and black. He seemed genuinely sad and confused by this unfortunate circumstance.
In 1974, after releasing his second album on the Columbia label, Moondog moved to Germany, where he spent the rest of his life and met with increasing artistic and financial success. Because of his eccentricities and strange appearance, one might expect Moondog’s music to be edgy. In fact it is fairly conservative in its harmonies, while sometimes making use of advanced rhythmic patterns. His music is consistently inventive, entrancing, and worthy of a bigger audience than it currently has.
The inkprint edition of Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue comes with a twenty-eight-track CD of Moondog’s music, but you needn’t buy the print edition—or any of Moondog’s CDs—in order to hear his music. This book is already available as a downloadable Talking Book from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And to satisfy your curiosity about this unique individual who happened to be blind, check out the many samples of Moondog’s music on YouTube <www.youtube.com>. You’ll be glad you did.
by Charlie Brown and Fred Schroeder
It is with deep sadness that we report that our longtime Federation friend and colleague Seville Allen died after a long illness on February 23, 2010, at the age of sixty-five. Totally blind since childhood, Seville had a long and distinguished career as a social worker, federal and state official, and community volunteer. Mostly she spent her life helping others.
With degrees from American and Michigan State Universities, Seville worked in the federal civil service for nearly thirty years. As computers became increasingly important in employment, including employment with the federal government, Seville became a recognized expert on access technology for the blind and others with disabilities. Eventually she assumed a high-profile position in the Defense Department’s Computer Accessibility Program. In this position Seville helped DOD employees and employees of dozens of other federal agencies gain access to computers and other high-tech devices. This allowed countless blind people and others with disabilities to obtain and maintain productive employment within the federal government. It also gave Seville the chance to spread Federation philosophy, the belief that, given proper training and opportunity, blind people can compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers.
For many years Seville worked closely with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) in both volunteer and professional roles. In the 1990s she served a six-year term on the DBVI’s advisory board, including a stint as its chairman. In 2002, shortly after her retirement from the federal government, Governor Warner appointed Seville chief deputy commissioner of the DBVI, where she brought a spirit of optimism to the agency. She recognized and praised the staff’s desire to offer effective programs but never hesitated to speak openly and forthrightly about the need to improve services for blind Virginians. Seville believed in blind people and wanted all of them to have access to the very best training possible. During this time she initiated many reforms grounded in high expectations, especially in the agency’s cane travel training program, changes that endure today.
Seville also gave generously of her time and talent to her community. As a thirty-five-year resident of Arlington, Seville was a respected civic leader. She served for nine years on the county’s Commission on Persons with Physical Disabilities, chairing that body in 1996. She volunteered with the voter registration office, helping the registrar deal with disability issues. She taught Braille classes and worked in various capacities at the Independence Center of Northern Virginia. In 2004 Arlington County’s Commission on the Status of Women honored Seville with its Vision Award for “inspiring hope and possibility.”
As a faithful and committed member of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, Seville took on numerous responsibilities. She was a lector and worship leader. She helped with support group ministries and worked as a Stephen Minister. She also served two terms on the church vestry.
Federationists will remember Seville best for her tireless leadership at the local, state, and national levels. Those who have attended Washington Seminars through the years will remember her efficiency and cheerfulness in the Mercury Room, where she supervised literature distribution and took reports. She served as a local chapter president, participated on numerous national committees, held membership on the Virginia state board, and served as the first vice president of the Virginia affiliate for twenty years until her death. As first vice president she led the Federation’s highly successful state legislative efforts, including improved access to Braille instruction for blind students, pension rights for blind state sheltered workshop employees, and protection against insurance discrimination.
In 2008, in recognition of the Virginia affiliate’s fiftieth anniversary, Seville prepared a history of the Federation’s half century of growth and accomplishment. She was keenly aware of our collective past and how far blind people had come in a relatively short time. She wanted us to remember the days when the lives of blind people were entirely dominated by the agency, the days of forced sterilization, the days of little hope for employment beyond the sheltered workshops; and she wanted us to remember that we, the National Federation of the Blind, working together, had freed ourselves from the agency’s domination, its total control over our lives, and together had forged new opportunities for blind people everywhere. At the fiftieth anniversary convention we presented Seville with the affiliate’s President’s Award in recognition of her many contributions to the progress blind people had made in Virginia and the nation and for the hope and encouragement her work had inspired.
As all who knew her would attest, Seville lived a balanced life. She had a demanding career, gave tirelessly of her time and energy to the Federation, and still found time to enjoy life and to share that joy with others. Seville loved to cook, and the Braille Monitor has featured many of her favorite recipes. Those who had the pleasure of breaking bread at Seville’s table enjoyed a wonderful meal and the company of a gracious hostess.We will miss Seville--miss her for her leadership, miss her for her generosity of spirit, miss her for her kindness and quick smile. We will miss her wisdom, her love of people and her love of her cats, and her sense of humor; and we will miss the irrepressible and irreplaceable friend who showed us through her life’s example what it means to give all you have and then give some more, give without the need for recognition or acclaim, give because you believe in a cause greater than yourself.
This month’s recipes were contributed by members of the National Association of Guide Dog Users, which is not the division mentioned in last month’s column.
Beet-Tomato Dog Cookies
by Daryl Dowding
Daryl Dowding is the owner of Mimi’s PupCakes and has been very generous to the National Association of Guide Dog Users. Her PupCakes are a favorite annual fundraiser for the division. Here is a sample that your dog may enjoy:
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup beet powder (If you want to use canned beets, process the drained beets into a puree. Reserve the beet liquid to use if the cookie dough is too dry.)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup powdered egg
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
Method: Combine all ingredients until they form a dry dough. If it cannot be rolled out, add more flour (if too wet) or beet juice or water (if too dry). Roll out to thickness of a quarter inch and cut with cookie cutters. Place cookies on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for an hour or until hard and dry. If the cookies are dry enough, they will last for up to one year, but all the moisture must have been driven out. Store the cookies in a tight container.
People Puppy Chow Snack Mix
by Margo Downey
Margo Downey is president of the New York Association of Guide Dog Users and serves on the NAGDU board of directors.
1 12-ounce box Crispix cereal
1/2 cup butter
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Method: In medium microwave-safe bowl combine butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips and microwave on high for two to three minutes, stirring once during cooking, until mixture is melted and smooth. Place the cereal in a large bowl and pour the melted mixture over the cereal, stirring gently until the cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour the powdered sugar into a large plastic food bag and then pour the coated cereal into the powdered sugar and shake until the sugar coats it very well. Pour the cereal onto wax paper to cool and dry. Store in tightly covered containers at room temperature.
by Sherrill O’Brien
Sherrill O’Brien is president of the Florida Association of Guide Dog Users and serves on the NAGDU board. She says that there is no reason why you can't add your own special touches to this classic dish. Use ground lamb instead of beef, or use a combination of the two. If you use lamb, be sure to add some dried rosemary and thyme. Use peas instead of corn, or use both.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and other herbs if desired
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups corn, canned or frozen
2 pounds potatoes, cooked and mashed, using your preferred method for mashing potatoes
Method: In a frying pan brown the ground beef in the butter or oil. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and seasonings. Lower the heat a bit and cook until vegetables are wilted, about ten minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring to a boil. Add the butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly to thicken. Using a whisk works best for this. Pour into large shallow baking dish. The filling should be about one and a half inches deep. Allow to cool for a few minutes. (At this point, if you like, you can refrigerate the dish overnight and finish preparation the following day. Be sure to bring the dish to room temperature before continuing.)
Spread corn evenly over the meat mixture, and top with the hot mashed potatoes. If desired, using a fork, make peaks so the potatoes will brown nicely. Drizzle top with melted butter. Bake at 325 degrees for thirty-five to forty minutes or until browned and bubbly. Serves six.
by Marion Gwizdala
Marion Gwizdala is the president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users.
1 16-ounce package lasagna noodles
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 16-ounce jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound bay scallops
1 pound imitation crabmeat, chopped
20 ounces ricotta cheese
6 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, mushrooms, Alfredo sauce, shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat. In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, and pepper. Coat the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with Alfredo sauce and layer uncooked noodles, ricotta mixture, Alfredo mixture, and shredded cheese. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, reserving enough Alfredo sauce and shredded cheese for the top. Seal with a sheet of heavy foil and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until noodles are al dente. For best results carefully uncover dish so that the steam can escape safely and allow lasagna to stand for a few minutes to set before serving.
by Marion Gwizdala
Marion says, “Strawberries are the primary cash crop in Tampa, Florida, where I live, so anything with strawberries is very popular here.”
2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
1 3-ounce package strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 9-inch pastry pie shell, baked
Method: In a saucepan mix together the sugar and cornstarch; make sure to blend cornstarch in completely. Add boiling water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Arrange strawberries in baked pie shells; position berries with pointed ends up and stem ends down. Pour cooled gelatin mixture over strawberries. Refrigerate pie until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
by Meghan Whalen
Meghan Whalen is the president of the Wisconsin Association of Guide Dog Users and serves on the NAGDU board of directors.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
Method: Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in flour. Adding a splash of vanilla or almond extract makes these cookies all the more amazing. Roll dough out on lightly floured board and cut into shapes with cutters or just use a knife to cut squares or triangles. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for fifteen to twenty minutes. Makes about twenty-eight cookies, depending on their size. Store in a tightly closed container if you have any left.
News from the Federation Family
Braille Book Flea Market:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2010 Braille Book Flea Market, sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille, to be held at our national convention in Dallas, Texas. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks, Twin-Vision books, and books suitable for children are particularly needed. Do not forget those Twin-Vision books. We always run short.
Box up the books so they do not get damaged during shipping, and tape the box closed. Books can be sent Free Matter for the Blind to the following address: Vanessa Peña, UPS Customer Counter, 10155 Monroe, Dallas, Texas 75229. Search through the boxes in your basement and spare room, and get your Braille book donations ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or email her at <[email protected]>.
Time to Register for the Race for Independence:
The Race for Independence is the expression of our desire to speed toward our goal of achieving first-class citizenship in society at an ever-increasing pace. This campaign anchors the National Federation of the Blind’s Imagination Fund, the annual campaign to raise proceeds for NFB programs at the national, state, and local levels. One of the primary initiatives of the NFB Jernigan Institute is improving access to technology for the blind. With the Race for Independence we focus our efforts this year on bringing public attention to the need for full and equal access for blind Americans to modern technology in everything from home appliances to automobiles.
If you want the important and innovative work of the National Federation of the Blind to continue, start your engines. Register for the Race for Independence, then find neighbors, friends, and family members who will invest in our work and send donations in. For any questions or help with registration and fundraising tools call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2371, or email <[email protected]>. You can also register or get more information at the Race for Independence Website at <www.raceforindependence.org>. We are not content with merely traveling by foot--our imagination is putting us in the driver’s seat. So come on, let’s race.
The NFB of Maine reports the following election results from its October 17, 2009, state convention: Steve Sawczyn, president; Pat Estes, vice president; Jennifer Sawczyn, secretary; Yohannes Millay, treasurer; and Joshua Canning and Lee Canning, board members.
We regret to report that Richard Bennett, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware, died on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Educated at the Maryland School for the Blind and reared in southern Maryland, Richard entered the field of piano tuning and established a successful business in Delaware, Maryland, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. He is survived by his daughter Donna Meyers, four grandchildren, and his longtime companion Pat Sunderland. Richard devoted the majority of his adult life to improving program and service opportunities for blind people in Delaware. In addition to his intermittent service as Delaware affiliate president since 1994, Richard was a longtime member of the consumer advisory board of the Delaware regional library for the blind.
Catherine Newman, president of the NFB of Delaware student division, offered the following tribute to Richard on behalf of the state's youth, a segment of the blind community in which he took a particular interest.
The Delaware Federation family will deeply miss "Papa Richard." He was a kind, caring, and wise man. Respected by all who knew him, Richard was truly a champion for the cause of blind independence. Ever compassionate and always patient, he was willing to explain things in such a way that everyone could understand them. He was a lamp in the darkness and a living example of what we all hope to become--completely free and independent blind people, fully capable of fulfilling our dreams. His encouragement helped us to become stronger people. The Delaware student division is committed to keeping Richard's memory alive and passing on his legacy of reform for generations to come.
The Greater Seattle Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington reports the following election results from its Saturday, February 20, 2010, local chapter meeting: Mike Mello, president; Rita Szantay, first vice president; Noel Nightingale, second vice president; Doug Johnson, treasurer; Kaye Burrows, secretary; and Kris Colcock and Jim Jenney, board members.
NFB Braille Reading Pals Club:
The NFB Braille Reading Pals Club is an early literacy program that encourages parents to read daily with their blind children (ages infant to seven years). Registration for this program is now open for its new year, beginning April 1, 2010. Participating club members will receive:
1. A print-Braille book and a plush reading pal
2. A monthly parent e-newsletter promoting tips for early Braille literacy
3. Quarterly Braille activity sheets for young children
4. Braille birthday cards for child participants
5. Access to a network of resources devoted to serving parents of blind children
The program's mission is to introduce young families and their children to Braille; provide parents with literacy strategies to use with their children; direct parents to essential resources for promoting success for their young blind children; and help parents promote early literacy skills, a love of reading, and a positive attitude about Braille through daily reading with their blind children.
For further information or to register for this program, visit <http://www.nfb.org/readingpals> or call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2295, and speak with Treva Olivero in the Education Department of the NFB Jernigan Institute. The NFB Braille Reading Pals program is jointly sponsored by the Jernigan Institute Education Department and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, an NFB division.
The San Antonio chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas reports the following election results from its January 2010 local chapter meeting: A. Z. Martinez, president; Cindy Garcia, vice president; Mary Donahue, secretary; Bryan Baldwin, treasurer; and Sarah Litzler, board member.
Touch the Earth:
The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce the release of a new tactile book created with the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Touch the Earth: A Multimedia Book about the Earth's Biomes was written by Amy Hansen and conceptualized by Elissa Levine. It includes tactile graphics created by Noreen Grice.
This book aims to educate middle school students while also providing guidance for teachers on how to incorporate this book into classroom instruction. Each book contains contracted Braille and large print, along with tactile and visual graphics to illustrate important concepts in both tactually and visually friendly ways. Each book also comes with a colorful tactile map of the continents of the Earth.
Exclusively available through the NFB Independence Market, Touch the Earth (product# LSA91B) can be purchased for $20. To place an order, visit the NFB Website and navigate to the Independence Market retail page or call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2216.
We are pleased to announce that we are offering one free copy upon request to libraries and schools for the blind across the country. Contact Mary Jo T. Hartle, director of education for the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or by email at <[email protected]> to request a free copy for your institution.
Diabetes Resources from the NFB Independence Market:
The following diabetes-related products and resources can be ordered from the NFB Independence Market:
Bridging the Gap: Living with Blindness and Diabetes--This book focuses on nonvisual methods of managing diabetes. This volume has been prepared to answer common questions from blind diabetics. The book includes a collection of some of the best articles from the Voice of the Diabetic and a useful resource section. Print or MP3 audio CD; no charge.
Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes (2008)--Use this booklet, produced and distributed by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association, to learn about healthy eating, the first step in taking care of diabetes. The information about carbohydrates, proteins, and fat contained in various food groups will assist with meal planning. Braille or MP3 audio CD; $10.
Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit--This palm-sized device enables the user to measure blood glucose levels independently and track average readings over time. All commands are voiced, and the buttons can be differentiated tactilely. The meter even features a repeat button and an earphone jack. The test strips are coded automatically. The kit includes a carrying case, control solution, ten test strips, ten lancets, and a lancing device. The unit measures 2-by-2-1/2-by-3/4 inches and runs on two AAA batteries (included). Audio instructions on CD are also included. Cost, $75. Test strips for the Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Meter--fifty per package--$25.
Prodigy Count-A-Dose--This device assists diabetics in filling syringes with insulin. It holds one or two bottles of U-100 insulin (any brand), uses lo-dose (1/2 cc) disposable insulin syringes, fills in one-unit increments, and makes a distinctive click that can be heard and felt with each increment. The unit is small enough to fit in the palm of the hand. (Available by late April 2010). Cost, $40.
For more information contact the Independence Market staff by phone at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2216, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or by email at <[email protected]>.
NFB of Illinois President and National Board Member Patti Chang reports the following:
It is with deep sorrow that I report the death of Carmen Dennis, a longtime member of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois and its Chicago Chapter. She died on January 24, 2010, following a massive stroke. Carmen was born in 1946 in Joliet, Illinois, the sixth of eight children. When she was ten, she enrolled at the Illinois School for the Blind and Sight-Saving (now the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired) in Jacksonville. Carmen was devoted to the school throughout her life and worked tirelessly to insure its students the best possible education.
Carmen worked for more than thirty years in the vending program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. She attended her first NFB national convention in 1973 and became a dedicated Federationist overnight. Over the years she held a variety of offices in both the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois affiliate. She contributed in countless ways, from Brailling convention agendas to handing out Federation literature. Carmen is best remembered for her extraordinary generosity toward people in need. She always had time to listen. She was always ready to set another place at the table, and her home always had room for one more.
Carmen is survived by her husband, Charlie Dennis; her daughters, Penny Laney and Kristy Dennis; four grandchildren; and a host of loving friends. She will be greatly missed.
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.
D. Boone Consultants is pleased to announce that classes will be forming for people seeking to improve travel skills. The classes will be offered in a group format, but training will be adjusted to the needs of individual students. Two five-day classes are planned, with a limit of four people per class. For those who are clients of their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency, authorizations for payment may be available in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act. A pretraining survey will be requested in advance of the training, to group participants according to skill needs.
Is this training right for you? If you have always wanted to travel better in your personal or professional life, then you are a candidate. If you are getting itinerant teaching several times a month but want your skills sooner, you can benefit. If you want instruction based on the structured-discovery learning model, this training is for you.
Doug Boone has worked in the field of blindness rehabilitation since 1976 and has operated his own consulting firm since 1992. Nearly one thousand state agency staff from agencies across the country and internationally have participated in his intensive sleepshade O&M training with positive outcomes.
This training will not take the place of immersion training at a quality training center, but it will get you well on the way to the improved independence you seek. Applications for training slots will be on a first-come, first-served basis. For dates, location, costs, and other details, contact Doug Boone, president, D. Boone Consultants, LLC at (269) 372-6610 or by email at <[email protected]>.
The 2010 Touch of Genius Prize:
National Braille Press invites candidates to apply for a $20,000 award to honor those innovating in the field of tactile literacy. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation was developed to inspire innovators to continue the promotion of Braille literacy for blind and deafblind people worldwide. The $20,000 prize will be granted to a group or individual for a new educational method, a new tactile literacy product, or a new technological advance in tactile literacy. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation may be awarded for a completed project or anticipated concept that shows viability and will improve opportunities for blind people.
Applications must be received by May 24, 2010. For more information and to download the application, visit <www.touchofgeniusprize.org>. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is provided through support from National Braille Press and the Gibney Family Foundation.
Participants for an Academic Study Survey Needed:
Caitlin Singletary, a doctoral student at Louisiana Tech University, is completing her dissertation with the help of NFB training centers. Specifically she is looking at psychological characteristics and how they are related to blindness skill sets. She is working with six national training centers, including the three NFB centers, using current students as study subjects. She also needs participants who have not been to a residential training center as a control group. If you have not attended a residential training center and would like to participate or to receive more information, contact her at <[email protected]> or (337) 263-2812. The survey takes approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes to complete on the telephone. Please note that, if you have completed blindness training through public school or summer programs, you can still help.
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.
I am selling the following items:
Item 1: PacMate Omni BX420. The firmware is the latest version, 6.2. The unit is in excellent condition, including all cells on the Braille display.
Features include: access to the mobile version of Windows PowerPoint®; Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time synchronization of email, calendar, contacts, and tasks; smart filtering for rapid location of email messages; easy information searches using Windows Live Search; support for the Windows Live Messenger voice clip feature, providing users with push-to-talk functionality in instant messaging; and plug and play support for popular WiFi and Bluetooth® cards
The package will include the following items: PacMate Omni; twenty-cell PacMate portable display; AC adapter; Braille quick reference guide; USB cable; standard to mini USB adapter; 2 CF cards; CF modem adapter; CF Ethernet adapter; CF wireless adapter and drivers; executive products carrying case with shoulder strap and accessory pouch for the AC adapter; CD documentation and demos by Jonathan Mosan; FS Reader; and FSCommander; and Total Commander.
Alone this unit is worth $3,795. With accessories it is being sold for $1,000, including standard shipping. I will sell it to you for $1,150 if you prefer to work out a payment plan.
Item 2: Romeo RB25 original. The Romeo 25 is a tough, transportable single-sided embosser with a singular reputation for outstanding Braille quality, rugged durability, and unmatched value. Ideal for student, personal, or home office use. This Romeo embosser is in excellent condition.
Included are power cord, parallel printer cable, twenty-five pin serial cable, and two-way parallel port switch box with cable.
Features: A transportable single-sided embosser with the capabilities of embossing on multiple sizes of paper at twenty-five cps (cells per second); regular (12.5 dots per inch) and high-resolution (17 DPI) graphics; dynamic Braille scaling for different Braille sizes (even within a document); six- or eight-dot Braille; impact adjustment for heavier or lighter paper; and multi-copy up to ninety-nine copies of a document.
Romeo 25 Technical Specifications: print speed, twenty-five characters per second; line width, forty characters with Library of Congress spacing; paper, continuous tractor-feed paper; width, adjustable 1.5 to 13.25 inches (3.8 to 33.6 cm); paper length, selectable 3 to 14 inches (7.6 to 35.6 cm); paper weight, variable; physical description, width, 21.25 inches (53.9 cm); depth, 13.25 inches (33.6 cm); height, 8.25 inches (20.9 cm), 6.00 inches (15.2 cm) without lid; weight, thirty-two pounds (14.5 kg); sound level, seventy-two DBA, sound level may vary with ambient conditions; case style, plastic carrying case with handle; electrical, line voltage, 105-130 VAC or 210-260 VAC; interface, (Port 1) Centronics compatible parallel, (Port 2) serial, 25-pin, RS 232D, DTE.
This is the Romeo RB25 original model. It is no longer sold by Enabling Technologies Inc. This unit plus accessories is being sold at $700, including standard shipping. I will sell it to you for $1,000 if you prefer to work out a payment plan.
If seriously interested in either product, please email me at <[email protected]>. I prefer PayPal.
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.