Future Reflections Special Issue, Vol. 14 No. 2

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NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLIND STUDENTS

by Olegario (Ollie) D. Cantos, VII

[PICTURE] Ollie Cantos addresses the 1995 annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Students.

[PICTURE] Student meetings are full of enthusiasm, high spirits, and creative ideas.

Imagine this. You're at a major hotel and you are walking past a whole bunch of meeting rooms. In particular, your attention turns to a room where it's obvious that people are excited about SOMETHING. You draw closer and the level of noise seems to intensify. Curious, you walk even closer. Right when you're about to walk in, someone says, "Hi. Are you here for the Student Division meeting?"

"Is THAT what all the noise is about?" you say.

"Yeah! You're here just in time. It just started." After registering you walk in to find a room full of hundreds and hundreds of blind students from around the country. They've come together to talk about the issues that are important to them, to encourage one another to reach for even greater heights of success, and to establish new friendships and renew old ones. Right away you feel welcome for all the people around you are excited that YOU are there, too. What's more you realize how needed you are, how YOU have the power and potential to positively affect the lives of literally thousands of people just by being there, by being part of this group. Beyond that, as you meet more and more people you almost instantly become friends with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and with similar, and sometimes not so similar, interests as you.

This is not an imaginary situation. In fact, it is the reality of what happens at meetings of the National Association of Blind Students (NABS), a division of the National Federation of the Blind. As different and unique as each student is, we all share a commitment to the organized blind movement.

Our commitment to one another takes many forms. Whether it involves fighting for the rights of blind students to choose their own readers in standardized test-taking situations, informing one another about rehabilitation services, guarding against the custodialism of disabled student services offices, coming together at the national or state level to energize one another and provide support, or lending an ear to one another one-on-one, the National Association of Blind Students is there for us. It is an active, vibrant organization that seeks to institute immediate and long-term change in societal beliefs and expectations about the blind. Through this organization our individual efforts on a daily basis lead to collective results which benefit blind students in the present and for years to come.

If you are a student, we want you to join us! We NEED you! Come and be a part of who we are and make a difference in the lives of blind students (including your own)! Don't THINK about doing it. Just GO FOR IT!

Students from a variety of educational programs are welcome to join NABS. Such programs include colleges, universities, vocational/technical schools, residential training centers for the blind, community colleges, high schools, graduate schools, and schools offering correspondent courses. Dues are $5.00 per year. For more information contact Ollie Cantos, President, National Association of Blind Students, 1420 Queen Summit Drive, West Covina, California 91719-3949, (818) 918-8977.

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