'American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Convention 2019      ANNOUNCEMENTS

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General Announcements


2019 American Prize
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults was honored with the American Prize, one of the 2019 Literacy Awards from the Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and award sponsor David M. Rubenstein presented the award at the National Book Festival gala. Originated by Rubenstein in 2013, the Literacy Awards honor "organizations doing exemplary, innovative, and replicable work. They spotlight the need for communities worldwide to unite in working for universal literacy." Also receiving awards at the gala were ProLiteracy Worldwide and ConTextos.
The American Action Fund received the American Prize due to its longstanding commitment to literacy for blind children and adults and its work alongside the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to promote the Braille code and the advancement of literacy for blind people. As part of the award, Mark Riccobono, executive director of the Action Fund, presented at the Best Practices Conference at the Library of Congress in October.

Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards
Contact: James Gashel, 808-234-9259
[email protected]
Deadline for Applications: April 15, 2020
The Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards are presented each year to persons or organizations that demonstrate exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in improving the lives of blind people in the United States. An application can be made by the applicant directly or by third parties who nominate an applicant. Each application requires an essay describing the work or project to be recognized. In addition, each application must have at least one letter of recommendation in support of the nominee.

Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation
National Braille Press
88 St. Stephen St.
Boston, MA 02115
Deadline for Applications: January 10, 2020
The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is an annual prize of $10,000 awarded to a project, or projects, that show the most innovative idea in the field of Braille and tactile literacy. Winners and applicants have submitted projects for professional software and apps, educational software and apps, gaming software or apps, and Braille- or tactile-related hardware. Innovators have come from all over the world in the fields of education, technology, engineering, tactile graphics, and literacy. This is the only prize to foster and reward innovation in the area of Braille and tactile literacy for the blind and deaf-blind communities. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation has been funded through support from the Gibney Family Foundation. The prize was developed to inspire an innovator to continue the promotion of Braille literacy for blind and deaf-blind people worldwide.


Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
Contact: [email protected]
Contest Reading Period: December 1, 2019-January 18, 2020
Deadline for Registration: January 18, 2020
Deadline to Submit Reading Logs: February 2, 2020
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is pleased to announce the third annual Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest (BRAL). Students in grades K-12 compete with those in their grade category to read the most Braille pages during the contest period. The top three students in each grade category will receive cash prizes, and every student who submits a reading log at the close of the contest will be sent a packet of Braille-related gifts. This year a category for adults has been added to encourage those who are learning Braille or who wish to improve their Braille skills.

Third Annual Braille Poetry Contest
National Braille Press
88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115
Contact: [email protected]
Deadline for Submissions: February 7, 2020
The theme of this year's Braille Poetry Contest is freedom—freedom to be you, freedom in the world, fighting for freedom—let your creativity run free! Writers of all ages are encouraged to enter original Braille poetry for a chance to win a grand prize. Winners will be announced on World Poetry Day, March 21, 2020. Contestants may enter in the following age categories: Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12; and Adult. Poems must be original works of 125 words or less, written in UEB or English Braille American Edition. Poems may be submitted electronically in BRF format or in hard copy Braille. 

Every December the National Federation of the Blind helps Santa send letters in Braille to young blind children across the country. How did it start? More than ten years ago Santa asked folks at the NFB to be his honorary elves. Ever since, they've been helping him send letters in contracted Braille to blind children age ten and younger in the United States. Along with the Braille letter, Santa includes a print letter so parents who might not read Braille can follow along. He also includes a tactile coloring sheet. 


Los Niños Training Workshops
Contact: [email protected]
Location: Various locations in New York City
Dates: Several sessions up to March 2020
Los Niños Training, LLC, provides valuable professional development and learning experiences about early childhood, focusing on challenges and ways to overcome them. These sessions aim to help early childhood professionals more effectively teach, care for, and intervene with young children and have them reach their full potential. Continuing Education credits are available.


Contact: Anne Steverson or Karla Antonelli, 866-675-7782
[email protected]
The NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University is recruiting field test participants for a new app project, 4to24, designed to help parents and youth focus on employment. The app provides information, resources, and activities that will help youth build independence and skills for employment as an adult. The researchers are seeking parents of blind or low-vision youth between the ages of four and twenty-four, and blind and low-vision young people ages sixteen to twenty-four, to participate in a study using the app for a six-month period.

K-12 and Higher Education Survey
The NFB is gathering information regarding the accessibility of educational technology used in our nation's schools, kindergarten through graduate level. If you are a student, parent, teacher, or administrator who uses screen access software or other accommodations to participate nonvisually in educational programs or services, or if you are the parent, teacher, or administrator of someone who does, please complete this survey once a semester.


Insightful Publications
Contact: Christine Chaikin, 808-747-1006
[email protected]
Insightful Publications has compiled a series of state-by-state electronic resource guides that list organizations and agencies pertaining to the blind. Listings cover employment, housing, transportation, and more.


UNO® Braille
UNO, the number one card game globally by Mattel, has announced the debut of UNO Braille, the first official UNO card deck featuring Braille. The new game will make game play widely accessible for the more than 7 million blind and low-vision Americans in the United States. Designed in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, UNO Braille features Braille on the corner of each playing card to indicate the card's color and number or action. UNO Braille is now available at Target. Instructions are available at the URL above.

LEGO® Audio and Braille Instructions
LEGO Audio and Braille Building Instructions makes the popular instructions for LEGO kits available as audio or text for Braille readers, giving blind and low-vision children of all ages an opportunity to build with LEGO sets and to enjoy the developmental benefits of creative LEGO play. LEGO Audio and Braille Instructions are developed by the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation with scientific support from the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence and partners from the blind community. The first four sets of audio and Braille building instructions are now available on this website, and more will be added regularly.

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