Braille Monitor                                     June 2017

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News from the Federation Family

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB Resolutions Committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2017 National Convention the resolutions committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 11. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. If passed by the convention, these resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Riccobono or to me by June 27, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you send a resolution to me by email and do not receive a response acknowledging your email in two or three days, please call or send it again. If you miss the deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, [email protected]; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, MD 21045.

New Text-to-Give Campaign:
Our Imagination Fund Committee is pleased to announce a text-to-give campaign that we will kick off at our national convention. Text-to-give allows anyone to make a $25 donation to the National Federation of the Blind with a simple text message from his or her mobile phone.  Anyone who can text can give easily, and thanks to AT&T covering the cost for a limited time, the National Federation of the Blind will receive 100 percent of each contribution. Contributors can make a gift regardless of which phone carrier they use. This is an opportunity for us to identify those individuals who are not members of the organization but want to support the good work that we do. We need your help identifying individuals in your extended network of family, friends, colleagues, and service providers. Their gift will assist a newly blind person with independent travel through our free white cane program, help a child to learn to read through our Braille Reading Pals program, assist blinded veterans to regain their independence, and so much more. Please take the time to share the names and email addresses of potential supporters by visiting When the campaign starts we will send an email inviting all of these individuals to share in the great things we do every day to help blind people live the lives they want.

Announcements from the NFB Cancer-Survivors Group:
The NFB Cancer-Survivors Groups' purpose is to help all cancer survivors get well, stay well, provide preventive measures, create a platform for cohesive dialogue, and help provide accessibility to information that may enhance the lives of cancer survivors. Our primary goal is to make sure that blind cancer survivors have information in an accessible format—Braille, large print, or electronic.

Join the NFB Cancer-Survivors Group for a commemorative celebration of life dinner at the Cafe Osceola Restaurant inside the Shingle Creek Hotel, Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. We will commemorate the lives of our three Angels: Marie LaFargue, Julia Rembert, and Denise Shaible. This will be followed by "Why I am Thankful" tribute and a Commemorative Gift to registered NFB cancer survivors only. To secure your seat by June 23, call (803) 735-0821.

Smile: NFB Cancer-Survivors, join us for a Cancer-Survivors group photo on Friday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m. inside the front lobby of the Shingle Creek Hotel. Be sure to wear your NFB Cancer-Survivors T-shirt. Don't have yours yet? Place your order by calling (803) 735-0821. T-shirt sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large are $18.00; 1X, 2X, 3X are $20.00.

You are invited to join the NFB-Cancer-Survivors mailing list. This list is sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind. To join the list go to or send an email to [email protected] and put “subscribe” on the subject line.

STEM Tutorials for Blind Students to be Offered at the 2017 NFB National Convention:
Are you a blind student interested in studying science, technology, engineering, or math? Do you feel daunted by the prospect of doing lab work in a chemistry class or producing visually readable results in a math class? Perhaps you're a professional in a technical field who finds it challenging to produce graphs and charts for sighted colleagues? If so, then come to the convention of the National Federation of the Blind and plan to arrive in time for Seminar Day on Monday, July 10. The NFB in Computer Science, the NFB Science & Engineering Division, and the NFB National Association of Blind Students Division will host the STEM tutorial workshop. STEM educators and technologists will come from around the world to help blind students and professionals learn to use a variety of tools to assist them in excelling in their chosen technical field. Best of all, individual tutoring sessions will be offered throughout the week for those folks who want one-on-one training from experts who are familiar with the access technology they're teaching, as well as the technical field it's being used for. The topics to be discussed and for which tutoring will be available include accessing math in electronic materials directly or to convert it to Braille; writing math in formats directly accessible to sighted people; reading STEM graphs, charts, and diagrams, and creating simple graphics; and participating in chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering labs.

There is no charge to attend either the seminar on Monday or the tutoring sessions throughout the week. The seminar on Monday will give an overview of the technologies to be taught, as well as an introduction to the tutors themselves. It is strongly recommended that folks who are interested in being a part of this invaluable opportunity plan to arrive at the convention in time to begin participating in events on the morning of July 10.

For more information, contact: John Gardner, STEM tutorial coordinator, at [email protected].

Sharon Maneki, the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland writes: Join me in welcoming the newest division of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, the Maryland Association of Blind Merchants to our Federation family. The new officers of this division are: Melba Taylor, president; Patti Hollman Eitington, first vice president; Steve Brand, second vice president; Tassi Thompson, secretary; and Andre Sconion, treasurer. The three board members are: Don Morris, Mike Bullis, and Dr. Michael Gosse. At its creation on May 6, twenty-two people joined the division. I am sure we will be hearing more from this division in the coming months. Congratulations and welcome! 

First Pitch:
The Columbia Fireflies baseball team kicked off their opening season on Tuesday, April 25, highlighting the work of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. This served as the perfect opportunity for one of the Federation’s leaders, Isaiah Nelson, who is a blind cancer survivor and serves as the second vice president of the Columbia Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, to have the honor of first pitch. Isaiah said, "This was a historic moment and a great early birthday gift," since Isaiah's birthday is in August. The moment came: Isaiah, with a baseball in hand, reared his arm back to the right, slightly bent his right knee, lifted his left leg, and pitched the ball. In his own words, “The crowd cheered, and I felt invigorated. It was one of the most exciting times of my life and will be forever cherished. Since my favorite sport is wrestling, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something different, and it was awesome!”

Live the Life You Want Senior Retreat:
The National Federation of the Blind Senior Division will sponsor a retreat.

When: October 8 to 14, 2017

Where: Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center. This is a rural setting, a camp owned and operated by the South Carolina affiliate of the NFB. It is a beautiful location in the mountains.

Cost: $325 per attendee. This does not include transportation to and from Greensville, South Carolina, the nearest airport to the camp. Transportation will be provided from Greensville to Rocky Bottom. Cost includes room, board, training, and any activities during the retreat. Applicants are encouraged to look for sponsors from service organizations, state agency, or to fundraise if necessary.

Who Is Eligible? Legally blind seniors age fifty-five and older with a strong desire to learn alternative, nonvisual techniques taught by blind instructors. One must be responsible for taking all medications independently and have the stamina to be actively engaged for five full days of activities.

Classes Taught: cane travel, daily living and cooking skills, computer and other technology such as using digital recorders, PenFriend; discussions on adjusting to blindness with family, community and social interaction, self-advocacy, confidence-building, and leisure activities.

How Do I Apply? Send a letter requesting a retreat application to the attention of Mr. David Houck, 119 South Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. Send the completed application back to the above address. All applicants will then have a telephone interview with officers from the Senior Division so we can learn more about your needs and desires. You will be able to ask your questions and learn more about what the retreat entails. The deadline to apply is August 1. Space is limited, so if you are truly interested, don't wait until the deadline. Applicants will be notified by August 15 if accepted. Monies are due at the very latest by September 1, 2017, and payment can be made to the NFB Senior Division, c/o Duncan Larsen, Colorado Center for the Blind, 2233 West Shepperd Avenue, Littleton, CO 80120. For further information contact Ruth Sager, president, Senior Division of the NFB at [email protected].

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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