Braille Monitor January 1985
April Reisinger is the President of the Trumbull County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio. It is not a large chapter, but t here is every promise that it will be. Many longer-time local affiliates could profit by its example. Here is April Reisinger's letter:
October 22, 1984
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Things are happening at an unbelievable pace in Trumbull County. On October 1, 1984, an article (enclosed) appeared in the Warren Tribune Chronicle describing some of the problems encountered by dog guide users. The press coverage was arranged because of inappropriate hospital policies concerning guide dogs and guide dog users having equal access in hospitals. Two of our three local hospitals, after receiving correct accurate federal guidelines concerning dog guides, are revising their policies to grant equal access to blind persons.
On October 3, 1984, we attended our first annual Homemakers' School sponsored by a local radio station and some local merchants. We displayed various home aids and appliances used often by blind homemakers, provided free literature, answered questions on blindness, and sold greeting cards, coasters, and cookbooks as fundraisers. Our homemakers are undoubtedly a well educated bunch when it comes to bargains, and the folks on the radio advertised free cookbooks which was indeed the case. We all received gift bags with cookbooks, recipes, coupons, and certificates from various merchants, but the ladies began walking away with our cookbooks, and we had to enlighten them as to why we were there. All went well, though, and thanks to the creativity of our treasurer, Mrs. Grace White, we began cutting pies and cakes and accepting donations from hungry people who had been looking at food all night. Next year we're thinking about baking for fundraising. We also met lots of people who had just read the article in the newspaper two nights before. Some of those interviewed were not yet part of our local chapter, but they were there, too, asking and answering questions whenever possible. The key words there are "were not yet," for they now have asked to join with us and we're glad to have them.
On September 17th I attended my first City Council meeting--alone. The lady met me at the door or the otherwise empty chambers and asked, "What's this?" "A dog," I said. "We heard on the radio today that you were going to discuss having buses in the area, and we are here in behalf of the National Federation of the Blind to express our interest and find out what we can do to help." So the meeting was a success. They couldn't believe that I actually came to their meeting by myself. How would I get home, they wondered, and my answer was, "Well, certainly not by bus." The meeting helped me to meet people from the Tribune to get things started.
Then for our October meeting we invited people of both major political persuasions to leave literature so we could produce a program for the local Radio Reading Service and one of the candidates, the challenger for one of the county commissioners positions stayed to answer questions from the members. Though it was not good for protocol, the fact that our transportation choices are extremely limited in Trumbull County was further emphasized as I was almost a half hour late for the meeting. I wouldn't encourage that sort of embarrassment upon anyone, but it did help to make a point. We had continual feedback from the local politicians' headquarters, each telling us who was in the area and where. The political scene is new for me, but as a Federationist and a responsible citizen I have enjoyed meeting our local leaders and challengers.
Some of our contacts have been from concerned Activity Directors in Nursing Home facilities. Last week I went in behalf of our NFB chapter to meet some of the patients who were losing their sight and offered some practical suggestions as to what would be helpful to them. One example was this. There is a man who was formerly employed as a sports and recreation director in another city and he loved working with youth. He felt he wanted to keep up with sports and help young people, too, if he could, so I asked him if he would share some of his experiences with us either at a meeting or via cassette and suggested he start receiving Sports Illustrated on disc. The activity director is considering buying some large print playing cards, a talking clock for the activities center, and a few other things. She is also checking into getting a small radio for him with earphones so he can listen to his sports programs, which she hadn't thought of until it was suggested.
We have been reaching out anywhere and everywhere to find out where blind people are--and they're here--lots of them; some of them have more or less sight, of course, but they all need to know that somebody is finally here. In Trumbull County the time for the National Federation of the Blind has definitely come.
NFB-O, Trumbull County
If you or a friend would like to District of Columbia non-profit remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, a corporation, the sum of $______ (or "percent of my net estate" or "The following stocks and bonds:") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."