Future Reflections Summer 2009
by Deborah Kent Stein
As many of you know by now, Future Reflections editor Barbara Cheadle retired on May 1, 2009. She was with the magazine since its inception almost twenty-eight years ago. She brought it into the world, nursed it through its infancy, and helped it grow and thrive for nearly three decades. Under her leadership Future Reflections has become a unique and invaluable resource for parents and teachers of blind children, promoting the positive philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind. I feel honored, excited, and a bit daunted to have been asked to serve as the new editor of Future Reflections. I hope to maintain the high standard Barbara established, and to help the magazine meet the ever-changing needs of today’s parents and teachers.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself. I have been totally blind since birth. I grew up in New Jersey, where I began my education in a resource room and was later fully mainstreamed. I earned a BA in English from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from Smith College School for Social Work. For four years I worked in community mental health at University Settlement House on New York City’s Lower East Side. I then moved to the town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and embarked on a new career as a writer of books for young readers. My first novel, Belonging, was published by Dial Press in 1978. It draws upon my experiences as a blind student in a regular high school. Writing as Deborah Kent I have published nearly two dozen young-adult novels and many nonfiction titles, mostly on topics in US history. Since 1983 I have lived in Chicago with my husband, Dick Stein, also a writer of children’s books. We have one daughter, Janna, age twenty-five, who is currently teaching and thinking about going to graduate school.
For more than twenty years I have been an active Federationist in Illinois and in some of our efforts and programs on the national level as well. I feel that every aspect of the organization’s mission is vital, but my greatest passion is for our work to enhance the lives of blind children. I have served as NOPBC liaison in Illinois since 1991, advocating at IEP meetings, planning seminars, and providing resources for teachers and parents wherever I can.At NFB national conventions I have had the pleasure of meeting and learning from many teachers and parents from around the country. As editor of Future Reflections I look forward to widening and deepening my acquaintance with all of our readers. I welcome your ideas and questions. Especially I welcome your articles and news items for Future Reflections. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and suggestions. I believe the magazine should reflect the triumphs and concerns of parents and teachers, and should map a course toward the best possible future for today’s blind children.