Braille Monitor               December 2023

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News from the Federation Family

Santa and Winter Letters Available in Braille
Did you know that the National Federation of the Blind helps bring good cheer and fun to children all over the country during the winter season? The Santa/Winter Celebration Braille Letter Program does just that. Children from birth through age ten can receive a Braille letter from Santa or a Braille Winter Celebration letter in either English or Spanish. Along with the letters, children will receive a packet of activities that they can share with their siblings, parents, and grandparents because all the items in the packet are sent in Braille and print. The program doesn’t last long. This year’s celebration runs from November 6 through December 15. Request your letter soon!

Appreciating NFB-NEWSLINE®
This was received from a grateful reader in Kentucky.

“As someone who has been visually impaired all of her life, I really appreciate this service. NEWSLINE has provided me an opportunity to stay connected to my community as well as an opportunity to contribute to discussions with my sighted friends on current events. I could do that by listening to the news on the radio or TV, but listening to the story and getting all of the details of that story is something that is difficult to do if you aren’t actually reading it. If I miss something, I can hear the audio again just like my sighted friends can read the print again. I feel that I now have the same advantages that my sighted friends have with accessing information. I love to listen to my local newspapers and magazines in my “Pocket Favorites” on my brand-new Victor Reader Stream. I’m able to download “My Favorites” wirelessly. In just a matter of seconds, it’s on my player’s bookshelf. I really appreciate NFB-NEWSLINE.”

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.

Leader Dogs for the Blind Appoints Melissa Weisse as New President & CEO
Leader Dogs for the Blind announced the appointment of Melissa Weisse as its new president & chief executive officer, following an extensive, national search process. Weisse will replace Susan Daniels, who in May of 2023 announced her intention to retire.

Weisse is an industry-respected nonprofit executive with over twenty years of experience in fundraising and senior management, leading staff and services that support people who are blind or visually impaired. Weisse has served as the chief philanthropy officer at Leader Dog since 2008. During this time, Weisse has grown total philanthropic revenue at Leader Dog by 121 percent and estates revenue by 164 percent enabling greater client service provision. She also successfully led the largest capital campaign in Leader Dog’s history, raising $14.5 million for the renovation of its world-class canine development center. Weisse is one of just 117 people worldwide to hold the designation of Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE), the highest accreditation for professional fundraisers.

Prior to joining Leader Dog in 2003, Weisse worked for Christie’s London as a private client advisor managing an international portfolio of high-net-worth individuals. Weisse graduated from the University of Notre Dame and has a master’s degree from the University of Glasgow. She is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Non-Profit Executive Leadership Program and sits on the American Foundation for the Blind board of trustees. Weisse is also a proud member of Lions Clubs International.

Leader Dog Chair Kathie Davis said, “After an extensive, national search process, we are delighted to welcome Weisse as our new president & CEO. Weisse is an inspired, results-driven and values-driven leader who has a diverse background of experience and an excellent reputation of leadership in the nonprofit sector and field of blind rehabilitation. She is an industry thought leader with a proven track record of revenue and program growth. The Board looks forward to Weisse realizing the future vision and potential for Leader Dogs for the Blind and the entire community we serve.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Susan Daniels for her leadership. The improvements she has made to the organization’s structure, strategy, and operations leave Leader Dog well positioned for success. Sue retires after an extremely successful twenty-year tenure with our organization.”

Weisse said, “Thank you to Sue Daniels for her longstanding dedication and tremendous service to the Leader Dog mission.

“I am honored to be selected as the organization’s next president and CEO and to work with our clients and community around the world to advance our important work. I am looking forward to advocating for the Leader Dog mission with our clients to promote greater inclusion and access for people who are blind or visually impaired.”

Weisse will commence her leadership role on December 12 with Daniels staying on in an advisory capacity until January 2024.

For additional information, visit or contact Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications and Marketing at (248) 659-5013.

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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