Braille Monitor                                     October 2017

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News from the Federation Family

NFB Helps Santa Answer His Mail:
Santa Claus has made the staff at the National Federation of the Blind honorary elves.  He has asked us to help him send letters in Braille to very young blind boys and girls (those under the age of ten) in the United States.

Between November 13 and December 15, parents can go online at and fill out a Santa Braille Letter request form. The form can also be printed and faxed to (410) 685-2340.  Beginning December 4, the Braille letters from Santa will start going out to boys and girls around the country. The Braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy (for mom and dad to read) as well as some other fun Christmastime activities.

The deadline for letter requests is December 15 to ensure that a return letter in Braille is received before Christmas. For more information, please visit our website at

NFB 2018 Scholarship Program:
These scholarships are for legally blind high school seniors through grad school students. The program begins November 1, 2017, and closes at midnight EST on March 31, 2018. Thirty scholarships are available ranging from $12,000 to $3,000 plus other gifts. Go to To apply during the five-month open period: read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2018 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete an interview by an NFB affiliate president. Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for detailed information. Chairperson is Cayte Mendez; email [email protected] or call (410) 659 -9314, ext. 2415, (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST).

2018 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards:
Application materials will be available beginning November 15, 2017, and must be received electronically or postmarked by March 31, 2018. These awards (named for a pioneering blind physician who practiced in the early twentieth century and are made possible through the generosity of his late nephew and niece) recognize individuals and organizations working in the field of blindness that have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. Only individuals who are over eighteen years of age may apply for a Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award. For more information, please go to

National Federation of the Blind Assistive Technology Trainers Division Notes:
Nancy Coffman sends us the following announcement: The National Federation of the Blind Assistive Technology Trainers Division met on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, during our annual convention. Several topics were discussed during our meeting including deciding what tasks are best suited to what devices. How can we incorporate Structured Discovery techniques into the communication technology classroom? We were pleased to hear from the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired about new video lessons available on using Voiceover on the Macintosh.

We adopted a new name for the division this year since the constitution had to be reviewed and approved. It is reflected in the title of this piece. We let everyone know that by paying dues, they are invited to a members-only list.

Stay tuned. Next year, we are planning to have a trainer’s breakfast in addition to our meeting.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with a Gift to the National Federation of the Blind:
Have you received gifts from the National Federation of the Blind? Lots of us have. A mom recently thanked us for sponsoring a Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy by sharing:

Rudy and I would like to thank all that made Braille BELL Camp this Summer possible. Since Rudy does not qualify for Braille and mobility services through his school, this camp is an answer to our prayer for helping Rudy learn. There was an unfortunate conflict in planning his summer that jeopardized the chance of him attending, which caused a great deal of worry. Rudy stated, "I have to go! It helps me so much." My heart ached as I saw how much he wanted and needed the professional touch these smart teachers provided. Thankfully we were able to sort out our conflict, and he was able to attend. The relief in his eyes was enough to realize how powerfully important this week was towards supporting and educating Rudy while he learns how to read and navigate.

Thank you ALL from the bottom of our hearts.

Libby Houston

We make dreams come true. You can help. We give people free white canes, literacy, and confidence. If you have gained from contact with the NFB or NFB members, enjoyed our publications, or participated in an academy or program, we are asking you to give back. Celebrate the holiday season by donating much needed funds. It is easy. You can mail a donation or give online.

To mail your donation simply make out your check to the National Federation of the Blind. Please mail it to 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Attention: Outreach, Baltimore, MD 21230. To give online visit

Together with love, hope, and determination we will continue making dreams become reality.

Webmasters Group Meets at Convention:
Affiliate, division, and chapter webmasters met at the 2017 convention to discuss how to create and maintain websites that are clearly branded as part of the National Federation of the Blind. One of the issues for website developers is to use a content management system, a clever piece of software that lets someone other than the webmaster update the part of the web for which he or she is responsible. Because we know that many of our affiliates, divisions, and chapters use both Drupal and WordPress, the webmasters group is offering templates, and a training course for Drupal users was held on the last weekend in August. Our commitment is to make the same kind of quality impression when one visits our websites as we try to make when they visit our national headquarters. To be a part of the webmasters mailing list, go to, activate the Join or Drop NFBNet Mailing Lists, and find the webmasters group. We look forward to helping you, and in turn, giving you the opportunity to help others.

The Deaf-Blind Division held elections at its meeting during convention: president, Alice Eaddy (New Jersey); first vice president, Marsha Drenth (Pennsylvania); second vice president, Janice Toothman (Maryland); secretary, Danielle Burton (Kentucky); treasurer, John L. Williams (Florida); and board members Brian Norton (Florida), Mark Gasaway (Georgia), Dana Tarter (Georgia), and Robert Stigile (California).

The United Blind Industrial Workers of America Division held elections at the convention with the following results: president, Sandy Halverson; first vice president, Tom Page; second vice president, Kevan Worley; recording secretary, Norma Crosby; treasurer, Kathy Tooten; one-year board members Glenn Crosby and Anitra Weber; two-year members Paul McNeal and Leonard Silkey, leaving two unfilled positions.

The following members were elected to the board of the National Association of Blind Lawyers at the 2017 National Convention: president, Scott LaBarre; first vice president, Ronza Othman; second vice president, Timothy Elder; secretary, Ray Wayne; treasurer, Larry Povinelli; and board members Noel Nightingale, Denise Avant, Anthony Thomas, Randy Farber, Jackson Walker, Deepa Goraya, and Al Elia.

The National Federation of the Blind Assistive Technology Trainer’s Division elected the following officers and board members during the 2017 National Convention: president, Nancy Coffman; vice president, Chancey Fleet; secretary, Chip Johnson; treasurer, Jeanine Lineback; and board members Wesley Majerus, Amy Ruell, and Jim Portillo.

The Human Services Division held elections, the results are as follows: president, Candice Chapman; first vice president, Jonathan Franks; second vice president, Tabea Meyer; secretary, Jessica Snyder; treasurer, Merry Schoch; and board members Dezman Jackson and Nooria Nodrat.

After elections at the convention, the board of directors of the National Association of Guide Dog Users is as follows: president, Marion Gwizdala; vice president, Michael Hingson; treasurer, Linda O’Connell; secretary, Sherrill O’Brien; and board members Aleeha Dudley, Raul Gallegos, and Jessica Snyder.

The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children would like to present the 2017/18 NOPBC board of directors elected during the 2017 National Convention: president, Kim Cunningham (TX); first vice president, Laura Bostick (LA); second vice president, Holly Miller (NJ); secretary, Penny Duffy (NH); treasurer, Sandra Oliver (TX); board members Carol Castellano (NJ); Pamela Gebert (AK), Jean Fultz (NY), Carol Akers (OH), Melissa Riccobono (MD), Jean Bening (MN), Kimberly Banks (FL), Corbb O’Connor (MN), Tabby Mitchell (VA), and Carlton Walker (PA).

The National Organization of Professionals in Blindness Education Division election results are as follows: president, Eric Guillory; first vice president, Denise Mackenstadt; second vice president, Jackie Anderson; secretary, Emily Gibbs; treasurer, Krystal Guillory; and board members Michell Gip, Shannon Kemlo, Casey Robertson, and Carlton Walker.

The following were elected during the meeting of the Science and Engineering Division on July 12, 2017: president, John Miller; vice president, Ashley Neybert; secretary, Louis Maher; treasurer, Alfred Maneki; board members Donna Posont and Kristen Johnson.

The results of the election held by the Sports and Recreation Division are as follows: president, Jessica Beecham; vice president, Audrey Farnum; secretary, Lisamaria Martinez; treasurer, Danielle Fernandez-Frampton; board members Roland Allen, Mike Armstrong, Maureen Nietfeld, Amber Sherrard, and Cathy Tuton.

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.

New Brailler Repair Business:
The Chesapeake Brailler Service run by Steve Bishop in central Maryland is open and looking forward to serving the NFB community. Our family is active with the Maryland Parents of Blind Children. We work on all models of the classic Perkins Brailler (regular, large cell, light touch, and electric). Our basic service fee is $100; this includes a thorough cleaning and any adjustments needed to return the machine to factory specs. Repairs may incur additional charges. Find us on Facebook at Chesapeake Brailler Service. You can call us at (410) 315-9664 (voice only) or email at [email protected].

If you have any questions, please contact me by phone or email. Thank you for helping me get the word out about my new business.

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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