Future Reflections         Summer 2011

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POBC Roundup

by Laura Weber

From the Editor: Laura Weber is president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). She serves as a resource to Parents of Blind Children (POBC) chapters throughout the country. Here she gives an overview of developments in several active states.

Alaska:I'm very excited to report that Alaska has a brand-new POBC chapter. Pamela Gebert is president, and she and her daughter Julia attended their first NFB convention this summer. I think we'll be hearing more from Pamela in the near future.

Wisconsin:Wisconsin put on a great seminar for parents and kids this year. It was called "Have Skills, Will Grow." President Andrea Beasley writes:

"We had speakers who came and talked about independent cooking, Braille, and technology. Then graduates and staff from all three NFB centers and from our state school for the blind talked about their programs. The kids learned how to make beds, clean and set a table, vacuum, fold clothes, and make lunches. To make lunch they spread cheese or peanut butter on celery, assembled a Panini sandwich and set it on the maker, and measured and heated the ingredients for Rice Krispies treats. They also cleaned up after themselves, which included doing dishes. When all the hard work was done, they each got to play with their very own homemade Play Doh, in three different colors/flavors.

"In the afternoon the kids played while two O&M instructors spoke to the parents about cane use. They answered questions about when blind kids should get canes.

"Later the parents and kids got together and formed groups of three or four for a scavenger hunt called The Amazing Race. We gave each group clues that led to different spots in the hotel. Each group got its clues in a different order to keep things from getting too congested. There were five clues and candy had to be found at each stop. The first team back won a prize. When all of the teams got back, we had a discussion on how people felt about the activity and what worked and what didn't. We all had a great deal of fun!

"Oh, I forgot one really important thing! The kids wore sleepshades in the morning, and EVERYONE wore them for The Amazing Race!"

New Jersey:New Jersey POBC has been very active on the legislative front. Working with the whole New Jersey affiliate, the chapter is leading a huge grassroots effort to protest cuts to funding for certified teachers of the visually impaired (CTVIs) across the state. A number of parents and kids have testified, receiving a good deal of news coverage.

Maryland:In conjunction with Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM), Maryland POBC held a workshop for parents and a fun game/learning day for kids in April. It was the second annual "Be OK with Blindness" workshop. Sessions included cooking without looking, O&M techniques from pre-K to college, homework struggles, and the need for blind mentors.

Indiana:Indiana POBC held a Bowl-A-Thon on April 9th. The event was a fundraiser and a chance for everyone to get together and have fun. President Amber Hall writes:

"Fifty or fifty-five people attended, and we had around thirty-five bowlers. Most of the food was donated, and we had a special appearance from the "Pizza Pizza" guy from Little Caesar's Pizza. He passed out coupons and a lot of the kids had their pictures taken with him. We charged $10 per person. (It cost $6.00 per person to bowl two games.) Each bowler received a door prize ticket. Bowlers received extra tickets if they brought in $50 or more in pledges. We also held a raffle that brought in $329. The biggest prize was a two-night stay in an RV at Lake Rudolph Campground. We had lots of door prizes and called out names all during the event. Altogether we raised a grand total of $2,061, and we had a great time! It was lots of fun!"

Illinois:In April the NFB of Illinois put on its third annual spring seminar. This year's event was called "Spring into Action: Home, School, and Beyond." Three programs ran simultaneously--the sessions for parents, Kids Camp for children eleven and under, and The Teen Scene for kids between twelve and eighteen. The parents heard presentations by TVIs and advocates, a parent panel, and a teen panel. In the afternoon they had hands-on demonstrations of various technologies used by blind children and adults.

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