Future Reflections Winter 1994, Vol. 13 No. 1


by Jerry Whittle and Betty Niceley

For the past five years, the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana has held a Braille-A-Thon at its state convention as a means both to promote Braille literacy and to raise funds for the state affiliate. During the past five years, the NFBL has raised over five thousand dollars and has received some excellent publicity about Braille literacy in almost every major city in Louisiana.

Volunteer Braille readers pledge to read a set number of Braille pages between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the Friday before a state convention begins. For several weeks prior to the state convention, these volunteer readers procure sponsors, and then the volunteers gather in a large room in the hotel where the state convention is held and complete their page goals. Some read as many as three hundred pages, and others read just a few pages. For example, Harold Wilson raised over $1,300 on just ten pages the first year the event was held.  

Because of the success of the Louisiana Braille-A-Thon, the National Association to promote the use of Braille (NAPUB) has decided to hold a similar event at the 1994 NFB Convention in Detroit, and if successful, it will be continued at each National Convention. "We expect to have excellent Braille readers and brand-new Braille readers participating on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Detroit," said Betty Niceley, President of NAPUB.

"We should have at least two hundred people reading Braille in one room in Detroit, and we will try our best to have every major television station and newspaper in the Detroit area there to cover the event. We will be calling on our membership in NAPUB to pledge to read their pages and to find sponsors in their home states who would be willing to pay them handsomely for their hard work. Half of the money will go to NAPUB and half will go to the national organization. If Louisiana can raise two thousand for state convention, there is no reason why we couldn't raise over one hundred thousand for national Braille-A-Thon," said Niceley, smiling. "We want to make this an annual event. I bet it will be one of the quietest fund raisers we could ever have."

If you would like to participate and receive some sponsor sheets, you may contact either Betty Niceley, 3618 Dayton Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 70402, (502) 897-2632, or Jerry Whittle, 101 South Trenton Street, Ruston, Louisiana 71270, 1-(800)-234-4166.