Braille Monitor                          December 2019

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Aurora Chapter Holds Successful Meet the Blind Luncheon

by Dale Holden and Curtis Chong

From the Editor: Dale is the president of the Aurora Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. To celebrate Meet the Blind Month the chapter got a White Cane Awareness Day proclamation from the mayor, conducted a number of public education events at the public library, and held the Meet the Blind luncheon referred to in this article. The chapter made over $800 in terms of net profit for this luncheon, largely due to the generous pricing provided by the Rendezvous Restaurant at Heather Gardens. Here is what Dale and Curtis tell us about that event:

Curtis ChongFor many years in the National Federation of the Blind, we have celebrated October as Meet the Blind Month. We find opportunities and hold events to put the public in contact with real live blind people. We want our sighted friends and neighbors to know that blindness does not need to be a tragedy and that blind people can contribute to the community and live productive lives.

On October 12, 2019, the Aurora Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado hosted a Meet the Blind luncheon at the Rendezvous Restaurant at Heather Gardens (a community for active seniors). We partnered with the Rendezvous Restaurant, secured the support and sponsorship of the Heather Gardens Civic Affairs Committee, and invited lots of people to come and learn about blindness and the National Federation of the Blind.

Our chapter secretary, Curtis Chong, served as our master of ceremonies. He proudly announced that Bob LeGare, Mayor of Aurora, had declared October 15, 2019, to be White Cane Awareness Day in the city of Aurora. He then read the full text of the proclamation to the audience.

Scott LaBarreWe were privileged to have as our keynote speaker Mr. Scott LaBarre, blind attorney and president of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

Scott talked about October being Meet the Blind month across the country and October 15 being White Cane Awareness Day. He joked about how we who are blind were glad to allow light-dependent sighted folks to use lights, windows, and the other fringe benefits that come with sight. Scott's presentation was very informative to people who knew nothing about blind people. Thank you, Scott.

Edith and Dale HoldenDale Holden, our chapter president, talked about "denial" and "acceptance," explaining that he had lived most of his life with poor vision and did not become totally blind until he was sixty-five. Dale's talk was informative and moving.

Peggy Chong, otherwise known as the Blind History Lady, talked briefly about the importance of blind people learning from the successes and failures of blind people who had come before them.

We next heard about the Low Vision Support Group that exists at Heather Gardens for seniors who encounter blindness or poor vision later in life. Finally, Anahit LaBarre explained how seniors losing vision can obtain positive and meaningful support and information about blindness by contacting our Colorado Center for the Blind.

We extend our thanks to the Rendezvous Restaurant and the Heather Gardens Civic Affairs Committee for partnering with the Aurora Chapter to make this public education and fundraising event truly successful.

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