Braille Monitor                                                                 February 1985

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My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time

by Betty Niceley

(Note: Betty Niceley is the President of the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). She is also President of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky.)

A few months ago I shared with Monitor readers a dream, which I had previously shared with Dr. Jernigan. Fortunately I have never been afraid to dream, and I have never doubted that many of our dreams can be made to come true. Perhaps that is what drew me to the Federation, for certainly NFB is the fulfillment of many dreams.

The thrill of realizing a dream was indeed present among the enthusiastic crowd which gathered in Phoenix last summer to witness the official birth of the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. The need for NAPUB was clearly recognized as we waded through the long enumeration of those circumstances designed to discourage the use of Braille. To any other group, this mountain of problems would have seemed insurmountable. However, there was an unmistakable display of that indomitable spirit we have come to expect from Federationists. We stood tall and committed ourselves to the task which must be done.

Having started the sharing of our dreams, let us dream further together. NAPUB must be able to lead the way toward greater accessibility to Braille materials, better training for teachers of blind children, and more accountability on the part of providers of library services. Also, we must somehow come up with the financial provisions to set up a model work station for the purpose of demonstrating the fact that blind people should and can have ready access to Braille insurance policies, instructional booklets for appliances, professional manuals, and any other piece of information they wish to have at their fingertips. At first glance, these may appear to be impossible undertakings, but through NAPUB we will see our dreams become realities.

How far have we come since Phoenix? At present there are NAPUB members in thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia. Also, a number of Braille Action Committees are in place. NAPUB and the Parents of Blind Children Division, NFB, are jointly sponsoring a nationwide Braille reading contest for school children in grades kindergarden through twelve. Participation time began in mid-November and will end March first. We have a good beginning toward our goal to prepare a list of existing instructional materials for the teaching of Braille.

The NAPUB cassette labeling slate is available on request at a cost of $6.50. This slate is specially designed to accommodate pressurized labels such as those used by NLS. We have now located a supplier of these labels, which enables us to sell them at four cents each. Slates and labels can be ordered by writing to: Betty Niceley, 3618 Dayton Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40207. Checks should be made payable to NAPUB. Our first newsletter should reach all members by the end of January. Anyone who has paid dues and does not receive a newsletter should let us know so we can check the file.

It is a pleasure to report that the Alaska affiliate has given NAPUB a contribution of $500 to help us come one step closer to the complete fulfillment of our dreams. We would say to other state affiliates: "Go ye, therefore, and do likewise."

With all these Braille oriented activities underway, no wonder my dreams are getting better all the time.