American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Fall 2016       ANNOUNCEMENTS

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2016 Jacob Bolotin Awards
Contact: Chris Danielsen, (410) 659-9314, Extension 2330
[email protected]

On July 5, 2016, the National Federation of the Blind presented the ninth annual Jacob Bolotin Awards at the NFB national convention. The cash awards, amounting to $50,000, were presented to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. The 2016 awards honored four innovators who are helping blind people live the lives they want.

A $5,000 award was presented to Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc., a Wisconsin-based transcription service that converts textbooks for schoolchildren into Braille and is able to provide immediate transcription services for other classroom materials. A $10,000 prize was awarded to Oskar and Klaus Publishing, a company that produces children's books detailing the adventures of a real blind cat (Oskar) and his feline pal (Klaus), with the message of accepting those with different characteristics and not allowing blindness to prevent a cat, or person, from embarking upon extraordinary adventures. A $15,000 award was presented to Winston Chen for his creation of the mobile application Voice Dream Reader, which makes reading and navigating a variety of electronic documents possible with synthetic speech and an innovative, accessible user interface. A cash prize of $20,000 went to the Semitic Scholars, a group of three blind graduate students who created a Braille code for ancient Biblical languages. The code makes it possible for blind students to study source documents of religious texts independently in their original context--a feat that was previously impossible.

2016 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation
National Braille Press
(617) 266-6160
Deadline for Applications: January 9, 2017

The Touch of Genius Award was established in 2007 by Frank Gibney of the Gibney Family Foundation to inspire people to go beyond what was once thought possible to further Braille and tactile literacy. An award of $20,000 will be granted for professional software and apps, educational software and apps, gaming software or apps that promote tactile or Braille learning, or Braille or tactile-related hardware. The 2015 Touch of Genius Award was presented to Dr. Betsy Flener and Joni Nygard for the development of the TactileTalk Toolkit and Guidebook for iPad: Strategies for Functional Communication and Literacy, a comprehensive program that teaches and reinforces tactile communication and literacy.

New President
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
(847) 446-8111

The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired is pleased to announce that Julie S. Tye joined as president in May 2016. For the prior twenty-three years she served as president and CEO of the Cradle, a nationally recognized child welfare program specializing in adoption services. She spent the first part of her career in hospital and health care management. She received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and her BA from Pace University in New York.

New Partnership
Envision Research Institute
Contact: (718) 404-9277
[email protected]

The Envision Research Institute and Wichita State University's Regional Institute on Aging have announced a partnership that will increase resources for both organizations and promote greater professional and academic interest in low vision rehabilitation. The goal is to inspire WSU's students and faculty to solve problems faced by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Envision will benefit by gaining exposure across WSU departments to achieve a cross-disciplinary perspective that the organization deems essential to drive innovation and effect meaningful changes in the lives of those it serves.

NASA Internships
Application Deadline: March 1, 2017

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers by recruiting students with disabilities to its regular internship programs. Disability is interpreted to mean both physical and mental disabilities. NASA has a 2-percent hiring goal for employment of people with disabilities, and internships are a good way to get experience. Paid internships for 2017 will be available for both high school and college students. Students can begin to apply on or about November 10, 2016. NASA will begin to extend offers to students in January and will continue until all positions are filled. As the number of positions is limited, those who apply early have the best chance of being accepted. To subscribe to an announcement-only list about NASA internships for persons with disabilities, send an email to [email protected] with "Subscribe" in the subject field, or visit <>.

Destination Imagination
<> to register a team for the 2016-2017 season
Contact: (888) 321-1503
[email protected]

If your child or student is creative, is crazy about puzzles, can build anything out of cardboard boxes, writes amazing stories, is totally into science, or has rewired your toaster into a working time machine, then he or she will love Destination Imagination (DI)! DI challenges are all about fostering creativity, courage, and curiosity, and about teaching children how to think, not what to think. Each year DI offers seven open-ended challenges in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as fine arts, service learning, and early learning. Students form teams of two to seven members and work with a team manager (a parent or teacher). The team manager helps the team stay on track, but does not directly help the team with its solution to the DI challenge. Teams have the opportunity to showcase their challenge solutions to trained appraisers at a tournament.

PARCC and Smarter Balanced Survey
Contact: Valerie Yingling, (410) 659-9314, Extension 2440
[email protected]

The NFB is asking that parents, students, and teachers who have participated in PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments take time to complete the NFB's Common Core Assessment online. In particular, the NFB wants to know when and where accessibility and accommodation failures happened in order to ensure that any problems are fixed.

Rehabilitation and Employment Survey
Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB)
Louisiana Tech University
Contact: (318) 257-2029
[email protected]

If you are blind or visually impaired, reside in the United States, and are at least eighteen years of age, PDRIB cordially invites you to participate in this survey. The purpose of the survey is to gain a better understanding of your experiences as an adult who is blind or visually impaired, including your experiences with education, employment, training, and vocational rehabilitation. The survey should not take more than ten minutes of your time. If you complete the survey, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a gift card worth $100.

Art and Disability Institute
Art beyond Sight
Contact: Kashfia Huda, (212) 334-8720
[email protected]

Art Beyond Sight, in partnership with the Dedalus Foundation, and with the generous support of the Rubin Foundation, is pleased and proud to announce a new initiative, the Art and Disability Institute (ADI). ADI is a seminar-based critical study and professional development program serving emerging professional visual artists with disabilities and artists whose work engages with disability issues. It will begin its pilot year in October 2016. The ADI leadership team is currently seeking artists to participate in the program's pilot year and would like to request your help. Participating artists will attend fifteen seminars; plan, curate, and install a year-end exhibition of participant work; engage with peers and leaders in the contemporary art world; contribute to the development and shaping of the ADI program; and serve as mentors for future ADI participants.

Free Accessibility Training Boutiques
Contact: Clara van Gerven, [email protected]
Location: NFB Jernigan Institute
200 E. Wells St.
Baltimore, MD 21230

The NFB Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to Education, Public Information, and Commerce (CENA), with support from the Maryland Department on Disability through a nonvisual access initiative grant, continues to offer accessibility boutiques (introductions to accessibility) free of charge and open to the public. "Accessible Websites, Made Accessibly: An Introduction to Drupal" will be held on September 26, 2016. Check the website for more announcements!

Inclusive Education Conference: Achieving Education for All
Contact: (868) 662-2002
Location: University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Conference Dates: February 15-17, 2017

The University of the West Indies, in collaboration with the State University of New York at Potsdam, will host an international conference on inclusive education. Among the subthemes of the conference are inclusive approaches and practice in regular education, early childhood special education, using technology to achieve inclusion, social justice and advocacy, and student voices.

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