News from the Federation Family
Writers’ Division 2016 Writing Contest:
The 2016 writing contest has gotten under way. Sponsored by the Writers’ Division of the National Federation of the Blind, it is a contest for writers of all ages of youth and adults, with the youth contest being done to promote literacy in Braille. There are two new things to be aware of for this year: one, members of the Writers’ Division will have discounted entry fees; and two, there is a new category in the youth contest.
This new category is called Federation History. Entries can be written in any form or genre, but must pertain to the history of the National Federation of the Blind. The best of this category will have the chance to present their piece at the National Convention in Orlando this July to the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. In the youth contest, there are still the traditional categories of poetry and fiction, all of which are broken down by grade level.
In the adult contest, there are four categories: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and stories for youth. Be sure to read through the guidelines for all specifics. These can be found at <http://writers.nfb.org/ContestPage.html>. And remember, the contest closes on April 1st so that the results can be announced at the July business meeting in Orlando. If you have any further questions, contact Eve Sanchez, president of the Writers’ Division at <[email protected]>.
Now go put on your thinking caps and limber up your fingers to start writing the words you want. We cannot wait to read them all.
Circle City Chapter Celebrates Twelfth Annual Angel Child Gifting and Service Award Banquet:
On December 5, 2015, The Circle City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Indiana celebrated its twelfth annual Angel Child Gifting and Service Award Banquet. This program assists qualified families coping with blindness to overcome some of the holiday obstacles and also honors members in the community with twenty-five years or more of service while raising the expectations of blind citizens.
This year's honorees were Mr. William (Bill) Powell, director of assistive technology of Bosma Enterprises; Mrs. Brenda Jinks, orientation and mobility instructor; and Miss Nancy Ford Winters, social worker/Social Security advocate. Each recipient has thirty-five years of service and continues to strive in their specified careers.
This year’s keynote speaker was Mr. James Michaels, vice president of programs, Bosma Enterprises, and his speech was "Keys To Success and Happiness."
Free Braille Books Available:
Great news! Every blind or visually-impaired child (ages zero to twenty-one) in the US and Canada may now get three free books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children! Seedlings has expanded its Book Angel Program for 2016. The program was originally called "Anna's Book Angel Project" in memory of our Director's nineteen-year-old daughter who was killed by a drunk driver in 2001. Each year, every blind child registered received one free book in Anna's name, but thanks to Seedlings' generous donors, that number is now three! Just register your child or student by going to <http://www.seedlings.org/bkangel2009.php>.
For more information about the program, or about Seedlings Braille Books for Children in general, check out our website at <www.seedlings.org>, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SeedlingsBrlBks).
KNFB Reader App Wins Golden Apple:
Since its launch in 2012, the AppleVis Golden Apple Awards have afforded blind and low vision users an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and dedication which developers have put into making great and accessible iOS and OS X applications during the given year.
To be shortlisted for this year's Golden Apple Awards, apps must:
Candidates for Developer of the Year must:
The 2015 AppleVis Golden Apples consist of awards in five categories:
For the Best iOS App of 2015, the AppleVis community chose Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple. Perhaps not surprising as Workflow has already won an Apple Design Award this year for its VoiceOver support and been rated an App Store Best of 2015. 1Password - Password Manager and Secure Wallet took second place, and Overcast: Podcast Player came third.
In the closest ever vote in the history of these Awards, Dice World - Dice with Friends! took the Golden Apple for Best iOS Game of 2015. A Blind Legend followed as a very close second, and Blindfold Bowling was just a handful of votes further back in third place.
Kid Friendly Software (Creator of the ‘Blindfold’ series of iOS audio games) was voted as the Developer of the Year, with MIPsoft (Creator of BlindSquare) and DeskConnect, Inc. (Creator of Workflow - Powerful Automation Made Simple) rounding out the top three.
Robert Vick Wins Another Award:
Lifetime-member of the NFB of New Mexico Robert Vick won the US Food's Food Fanatic Hero Award for the menu in his restaurant, Vick's Vittles Country Kitchen, but also for his generosity and employment of disabled people. Earlier this year, Robert also won the New Mexico Restaurant Association's Restauranteur of the Year award, during the organization's Hospitality Industry Awards September 14, 2015.
The NFB of New Mexico's Albuquerque Chapter meets each month at Vick's Vittles Country Kitchen for our local chapter meeting. Many of those nights, Robert is on hand greeting his guests as well as chapter members to his place of business. The chapter has been meeting at Vick's free of charge for the past several years.
The year 2015 has been full of ups and downs for Robert. We in the Albuquerque Chapter thank Robert for his generosity and congratulate him on his latest honor.
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.
Three New Courses on Unified English Braille:
The Hadley School for the Blind's UEB Braille classes have been the most popular of any of our course offerings since our inception ninety-five years ago. We are pleased to announce two new Braille courses:
UEB Braille Literacy 3: Uncontracted Braille available February 29, 2016:
Increase your ability to read and write Braille by learning uncontracted Braille in which every word is written out letter for letter (often called grade one Braille). The course covers the Braille alphabet, numbers, punctuation, and some special signs. Directions for using the Braillewriter as well as the slate and stylus are included.
Prerequisite: “Braille Literacy 1: Tactile Readiness” and “Braille Literacy 2: Learning the Braille Alphabet,” or the ability to read all letters of the Braille alphabet by touch.
Course ID: EBR-923, Media: DTB [digital talking book] with UEB workbook; Lessons: nine.
This tuition-free course is designed for Hadley students who are blind only—not for sighted family members in our Family program or for sighted blindness professionals in our HSPS program.
UEB Contracted Braille available March 31, 2016:
The Braille code used for most written material is contracted Braille. Being able to read and write in contracted Unified English Braille (UEB) will enable you to assist your family member or client who is blind. After attaining this goal, you may decide to advance your Braille skills by enrolling in a professional transcriber course or other advanced Braille and Braille teaching courses.
Prerequisite: Completion of Hadley’s "Introduction to Braille" within six months prior to enrollment in "Contracted Braille" and with a grade of B or higher OR adequate competency as determined by Hadley’s "Uncontracted Braille Assessment."
Course ID: CBR-213, CBR-223, Media: OL [online] or P [print]; Lessons: twenty-five
This course is designed for sighted students in either our Family or HSPS (blindness professionals) programs.
An Uncontracted Braille Assessment is also available on March 31, 2016. Here is some information about it:
Have you learned uncontracted Braille in another setting, or has it been over six months since you completed Hadley’s “Introduction to Braille” or "Introduction to Braille, UEB Edition" course? Enrollment in “Contracted Braille, UEB Edition” requires a certain level of proficiency with uncontracted Braille. This short assessment measures your ability to read and emboss letters, numbers, and a variety of punctuation marks in uncontracted Braille. The results determine which Braille course is appropriate for you.
Assessment: UBA-010, Media: LP [large print] or OL [online]; Lessons: 1
This assessment is designed for sighted students in either our Family or our HSPS (blindness professionals) programs.
Prospective and current students should call Toll Free: 800-323-4238 to ensure course availability—enrollment dates are subject to change.
Norwegian Cruise Lines Demonstrates Continued Commitment to Accessibility:
Norwegian Cruise Lines recently christened a new ship, Escape. The christening was a special two-day event, open only to those agents and press personally invited to attend. Because of all the work Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria have done with Norwegian Cruise Lines, they were part of the select crowd at this event. It wasn’t all champagne and Pitbull concerts, though. Cheryl got the chance to speak to Cathy Vazquez, access manager of Norwegian Cruise Lines and Mr. Andrew Garnett, president and CEO of Special Needs Group. There were three specific topics that Cheryl addressed with Ms. Vazquez and Mr. Garnett: the Norwegian Cruise Lines app, the KNFB reader, and the introduction of Braille onboard Norwegian Cruise Lines ships.
The Norwegian Cruise Lines iConcierge app is free to download on Apple or Google Play Store, but unless you are booked on the cruise line, you do not have access to it at all. The app is to help you make dining reservations, spa reservations, and find out about activities going on across the ship. Some of it worked, and some did not. Ms. Vazquez took notes on the problem areas of the app to pass on to the appropriate people.
The KNFB Reader app for Android had just come out the week before, and Cheryl took the opportunity to demonstrate how the app could be used to read a print menu. Both Ms. Vazquez and Mr. Garnett were impressed and interested in how the app would make cruising easy and accessible for their customers.
The final bit of business they discussed was about Braille. Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering Braille menus produced through Special Needs Group. The company also handles guide dog relief boxes, wheelchair and scooter rental, and many other services and products. But Ms. Vazquez told Cheryl that Norwegian Cruise Lines is testing and learning to use Braille embossers so that, when they have a customer who reads Braille, all of their printed materials can be offered in Braille for the customer’s convenience. The ultimate goal is to have the Braille materials ready and waiting for the customer in their cabin upon arrival.
New State Resource Handbooks Available:
I have created ten screen reader-friendly Resource Handbooks containing resources pertaining to the blind and visually impaired, for use by consumers and professionals. This handbook is for the residents of those states and includes the many organizations for the blind and visually impaired covering areas such as employment, housing, transportation, and more. Currently available are handbooks for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, and Texas.
The handbook includes contact information on the local, regional, and national level.
For more information on pricing and formats please contact Insightful Publications by email at <[email protected]>, by phone at (808) 747-1006, or visit our website at <http://www.in-sightful.com/orderpage.html>.
UEB Course Offering for People Who Want to Read Braille Visually:
Want to read Braille visually? This introductory course provides the tools for those interested in learning to read and write Braille, so they can communicate with family members who use Braille. It presents the fundamentals of the Braille code, including the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation. The goal is to enable you to read and write uncontracted Unified English Braille (UEB). The course includes nine lessons and is available in print and online. A slate and stylus is mailed to the student. Interactive programs that simulate the Braillewriter and the slate and stylus are included in the online course only. These programs are for practice purposes and cannot be used to produce Braille.
For more information contact Sheryl Bass, Hadley School for the Blind by writing to <[email protected]> or by calling (847) 784-2751.
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.