Braille Monitor                                               December 2013

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News from the Federation Family

2014 Washington Seminar:
This notice comes to the Braille Monitor courtesy of Diane McGeorge.

The 2014 Washington Seminar will be held on Monday, January 27, through January 30, 2014. As in previous years it will be held at the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. The Great Gathering-In will begin Monday afternoon at 5:00 PM in the Columbia Room on the first floor of the Holiday Inn Capitol and will adjourn at 7:00 PM. Legislative appointments should be made for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the Senate and House office buildings. Meetings for NFB members to review the legislative progress and provide guidance will occur Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Room rates at the Holiday Inn Capitol are $177 for single, double, triple, or quad rooms with a 14.5 percent tax per night. Please do not contact the hotel to make your reservations. To make your reservation, you may call (303) 778-1130, extension 219, or email Lisa Bonderson at <>. Room reservations must be made by December 17, 2013. If you wish to have room space for meetings prior to or during the seminar, please have those requests in to Lisa Bonderson by December 17, 2013.

National Federation of the Blind Deaf-Blind Division Launches Operation Outreach:
The Deaf-Blind Division has been hard at work since the National Convention putting together a plan to advance our deaf-blind projects. Before the 2014 convention the division intends to:

  1. Identify more people with deaf-blind issues
  2. Ensure that all eligible people are aware of and have applied for equipment under the iCanConnect program
  3. Help people with deaf-blind concerns communicate with each other
  4. Encourage membership in the NFB
  5. Ensure interested deaf-blind citizens understand the resources available to them—they may need guidance in working with the agencies responsible to provide their services.

To make all this happen, we need two things: first, we need the help and support of every state affiliate. Second, we would appreciate names, addresses, and email addresses so we can make contact to determine the level of interest on the part of each deaf-blind individual in each state affiliate.

We want to keep it simple. We have been fortunate that members of the Deaf-Blind Division have stepped forward and have offered their assistance and dedication to Operation Outreach. The board could not have done this without their support. We need every helping hand. We have been excited by the progress we have received so far. People are starting to take notice of the deaf-blind and their issues.

Each member of the Deaf-Blind Division who is participating in Operation Outreach has been given the names of state affiliate presidents to contact. Affiliate presidents now have the opportunity to name a person to be committee chair for their affiliates, keep in contact with the Deaf-Blind Division, and be responsible for Operation Outreach in their state, as well as assisting the affiliate in establishing a committee and eventually a division in that state. At this time all fifty state affiliates have been contacted. All affiliate presidents who were present at the national convention were given introductory letters introducing them to Operation Outreach. They were then contacted post-convention to establish a relationship with their national Deaf-Blind Division contact person and to answer any questions they may have or discuss the logistics of establishing a committee in their state.

Operation Outreach is a very important project for the NFB and the Deaf-Blind Division. It will help to address the needs of the deaf-blind and ensure them equal access. As we say in the NFB Deaf-Blind Division, “We’re changing what it means to be deaf-blind.”

Thank you to all who support Operation Outreach. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. President Joe Naulty can be reached at (321) 768-9500 or <>.

The New York Association of Guide Dog Users held elections recently with the following results: president, Jessica Snyder; first vice president, Margo Downey; second vice president, Joyce Carrico; secretary/treasurer, Lucy Mar; and member at large, Cheryl Echevarria.

Blind Author Offers a Book to Change Attitudes:
Cover art for The Heart of Applebutter HillEver wish you could do something to make sighted people just get it? What would it take to create a quantum shift in the level of fear, pity, low expectations, and negativity regularly displayed by the sighted world? Try giving them a good story for the holidays, like The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill ( An adventure-mystery for general audiences, it features a 14-year-old legally blind heroine. The Heart of Applebutter Hill is not a "coming-to-terms-with-blindness story." The adventure could have happened to a sighted kid. If the author, who was born legally blind, had been willing to write blindness out of the story, she wouldn't have had to self-publish it.

The Heart of Applebutter Hill has received recommendations from professionals in the fields of education, rehabilitation, and the arts as a valuable resource for diversity-inclusivity and anti-bullying initiatives in colleges and secondary schools. Recommenders include Louisiana School for the Blind Braille teacher and author Jerry Whittle, NFB Writers' Division president and chair of the NFB's Communications Committee Robert Leslie Newman, Future Reflections editor and novelist Deborah Kent Stein, and web accessibility expert Dr. Brian Wentz. You can read their comments at: <>.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and you have a great opportunity to influence public opinion, support a blind author, and share an exciting adventure-mystery. The proceeds from The Heart of Applebutter Hill provide Braille books for blind students.

Throughout history, from Uncle Tom's Cabin and Oliver Twist to Roots and Children of a Lesser God, fiction has played a major role in enlightening the general public about social justice issues. The privacy and intimacy inherent in reading will provide a safe place for people to confront their own prejudice and to develop an intuitive understanding that blind people have valuable and unpredictable contributions to make in all aspects of life as employees, students, coworkers, citizens, and friends.

You may obtain a copy of this book from Amazon and/or Bookshare. Buy, share, and read.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

To Prospective NASA Student Interns with Disabilities:
NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. NASA has a 2 percent hiring goal for employment of people with disabilities, and internships are a good way to get experience. Students can apply for summer 2014 internships right this very minute. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, March 14, 2014, and we will begin extending offers to students as early as Monday, February 3, 2014. We encourage you to apply early because the best opportunities are likely to be filled early. Plus, your likelihood of being selected decreases the longer you wait. You can register for an account anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at <>. However, students will not be able to see Summer 2014 opportunities until November 1. Summer 2014 internships run from early June until early August for college students and from late June until early August for high school students. All student interns get paid. For example, last summer at Goddard college students received a stipend of $6,000 and high school students $1,800. As an intern you are responsible for your own housing. NASA internships for college and high school students are also offered during spring, fall, and year-long sessions through the OSSI website.

NASA has internships for high school students and for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] fields. A rising freshman is a high school student who has been accepted to an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university, at the time of the internship. Applicants must be US citizens, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for college and 3.0 for high school; however, applicants must understand that the competition for internships is keen. High school students must be at least sixteen years old at the time the internship begins.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit a completed application, whether they apply to a specific opportunity or not. However, applying to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center. Applicants may apply to as many as fifteen opportunities. For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland because SDO is located there. Not applying to an opportunity means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Students who are selected for summer internships will receive an offer letter by email sometime after February 3, 2014. They will then have five days to either accept or reject the offer through their OSSI: NIFS account. The offer will automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help with applying:

Kenneth A. Silberman, Esq.
Education Office Code 160
NASA/GSFC Mailstop 160
Greenbelt, MD  20771
Voice:  (301) 286-9281
Email:  <>
Email is preferred.

Ski for Light is Alaska Bound. Applications Are Due November 2013:
The 39th annual Ski for Light International week will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, from Sunday, February 23, through Sunday, March 2, 2014. Join over 200 active blind and sighted adults from across the U.S. and around the world who pair up for what many have called the experience of a lifetime. We will stay in downtown Anchorage at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center and ski at nearby Kincaid Park.

This year’s event fee, including hotel accommodations for seven days, all meals and other extras will be $850. Financial stipends may be requested when completing the application, and applications are due this month. For more details and to submit your application, please visit the fully accessible web site at <>.

If you need more information, please contact the Visually-Impaired Participant Application Coordinator in Michigan: Lynda Boose, (906) 370-7541, or by email at <>

New Speak To Me Catalog:
Give the gift that says something; check out our new Fall/Winter 2013 catalog, packed with exciting gift-giving ideas. This catalog is focused on some of our newest arrivals, products that didn’t appear in our summer catalog. We are introducing a special new category of products for those of you with mobile devices that need to take your sounds on the go. You’ll find keyboards for your phone, headsets and earphones, and ways to charge and carry your books or music. Order early: this is the busiest time of the year for us. We want to make sure that all of your gift-giving desires are met with no disappointments if stock should become limited. Call us at (800) 248-9965 or visit our website at <> to place an order online.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

For sale:
I have several items for sale: first, a PAC Mate Classic with 40-cell Braille display in good condition. The PAC Mate comes with a case. I am asking $1,700 (plus shipping). Second, I have a talking MaxiAids Super Cube clock for which I am asking $20 (plus shipping). Next, I have a cigarette lighter charger for the PAC Mate and mini USB cable for flash drives, and I’m asking $5 for each (plus shipping). Last, I have two one-gigabyte compact flash type II cards, for which I’m asking $5 each or both for $10 (plus shipping). Contact Jeff Rutkowski by phone at (651) 756-8684 or using email at <>.

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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