NFB Leadership and Advocacy in Washington, D.C., (LAW) Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to make any hotel arrangements if my child is selected?
No. It is our expectation that families stay in our accommodations at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute as this lends itself nicely to evening family interactions in our “Harbor Room”—a common/family style room located down the hall from the sleeping rooms—and helps foster informal mentoring of participants (both child and parent) by blind adult mentors. This on-site lodging also helps us maximize our event time and keep our events on schedule (Baltimore is a large city and can be difficult to navigate with traffic, especially if you are not familiar with the city). Additionally, it helps us to minimize transportation costs for our participants.
Who can attend with the youth?
We recommend that a parent/guardian, teacher of the blind, or blind mentor from the youth’s home state attend with the participant. However, if a parent/guardian is not able to attend, a grandparent, family friend, teacher, or other family member whom the parent has authorized can attend. Older siblings can also serve as the child’s chaperone if they are over the age of 18.
Where will selected participants stay?
Selected participants and their chaperones will stay together in dorm-style rooms located here in our building.
What is the setup of the rooms?
The sleeping rooms in our building are similar to those you might find in a dorm room or hotel. They each have their own bathroom with a shower/tub combination. All linens are provided. Each room contains at least two twin beds. However, some of our rooms contain more than two twin beds. In these situations, families should expect to be paired up with other families of a similar gender makeup. For example, mother/daughter partnerships will most likely be rooming with other mother/daughter pairs. This also applies for father/son pairings. Mother/son or father/daughter pairings will most likely have their own rooms.
What kind of transportation will be provided and who will make these arrangements?
All participants will have their transportation arranged for them by our staff upon selection. Our staff will work with each family to make appropriate arrangements from their area to Baltimore and back. Where it is realistic to do so, we will ask families to drive (i.e., those in close proximity to Baltimore) and reimburse their travel costs. Otherwise, we will arrange for flights or train tickets depending on your location and pricing of these tickets. Any changes to our transportation arrangements (e.g., you want to stay in the area for a few extra days or are traveling to a destination other than your original point of departure) must be managed by the parent/guardian, and the parent/guardian is responsible for any additional charges to the fare. Individuals who opt for a different mode of transportation than what is provided by us (e.g., you are not comfortable flying and would prefer to drive or take a train) will only be reimbursed up to the cost of what our organization would have paid for the original arrangement.
For what additional fees or expenses might the participants be responsible?
All room, board, and travel arrangements are covered and arranged by our staff as noted on the Web site for selected applicants and one parent/guardian. A $250 registration fee per student/chaperone pair will be due upon selection. All attendees will also need to pay for their lunch in Washington DC for two days, which will be approximately $10 per person per day. Program participants are responsible for any bag fees, changes to airline or train tickets made by the participant, incidentals, or souvenirs.
Can I arrange for additional family members (e.g., second parent/guardian, siblings, grandparent, teacher, etc.) to accompany me and my child to the event and participate in the event if they can stay in accommodations off site?
We would love to have additional support members for participating families be a part of this event. However, due to the logistical nature of this program we are unable to allow for this. If this were offered to one family, it would then become only fair that we offer this to all selected participants, and we are not equipped to accommodate the extra logistical issues this would raise. We understand some families have other children for which to care and would therefore like to bring them to the program as well. Unfortunately, we recommend that families find an alternative caregiver for the days they will be here, or reconsider their application for this program. Families who make vacation arrangements to coincide with this program can invite family members to attend the closing social, held on the Tuesday evening of the program, if they let our staff know ahead of time for logistical purposes.
How will I know if I am selected?
We will notify the youth and his/her parent/guardian by e-mail at the address provided on the initial application if the youth is selected, and we will follow this with a hard-copy letter. Applicants who are not selected or who are placed onto the wait list will receive a hard-copy letter. All selection decisions should be finalized by mid-February.
How will selected applicants be determined?
We will be looking at a number of factors when determining who to select for this program. We regret that we cannot take more than approximately twenty-four students for a total of around forty-eight participants.
First we will look to see that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements (see postcard or general information on the Web site for more information). Then, we will consider a number of other factors such as the applicant’s home state, gender, exposure to similar programs, and experience with our organization. We want to select a pool that will have a good mix of boys and girls and represents a wide range of states. We also will give preference to youth who have not previously had the opportunity to attend an NFB event. If an applicant fares well in all these areas, but is still not accepted, it is most likely because of the overwhelming amount of applications we received and is no fault of their own. In cases where we have several highly-qualified applicants, it may come down to random selection from that pool.
What will accompanying adults do during the program?
We are planning a set of parallel activities and seminars for accompanying adults on topics specific to raising and educating blind/low-vision youth. Adults will attend these sessions in conjunction with the youth’s activities. However, the two groups will be together much of the week, including sightseeing times and visits to important activities in the D.C. area.
Can my chaperone and I break off from the group to do some additional sightseeing in the D.C. and Baltimore areas during the event?
We have a very exciting program scheduled for our participants and would ask that if you are accepted to attend this program, you then plan to participate in all the scheduled activities with the group. This will help us to ensure the safety of all involved, as well as help us to present a meaningful program. We understand the excitement of visiting this area and have tried to be mindful of this when planning our agenda for this event. We aim to provide all participants with an enriching experience and some great opportunities to visit some of the wonderful sights in the area.
Can participants get school credit for attending this program?
We have provided a list of national educational standards that this program will meet in the social studies, civics, and language arts areas. However, we do not have any formal arrangements with any schools to provide academic credit for your participation in this program. It is the responsibility of the participant and his/her parent/guardian to discuss these possibilities with the school. We can, however, issue a formal letter from our organization, the National Federation of the Blind, on behalf of the student to his/her school to help show the credibility of this program or to aid in the excusing of the student’s absence. You will need to contact the NFB to request this.