Meet the Blind Month 2011

WhozitThank you to all those who participated during the month of October to make Meet the Blind Month a success! The following events qualified for the Meet the Blind Month Challenge.  The winning affiliate or chapter will receive a gift basket filled with great items from IVONA and Trader Joe's and a Meet the Blind Month plaque. Please see below for more information about IVONA and Trader Joe's.

Congratulations to the White Sands Chapter of the NFB of New Mexico!

Qualifying Events

Option A - Chapter: Beach Cities Chapter of Carlsbad of the NFB of California
Details: A series of presentations about blindness were given at several senior centers focusing on senior citizen education.

Option B - Affiliate: NFB of Delaware
Event: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the White Cane but Were Afraid to Ask
Details: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the White Cane but Were Afraid to Ask” was the theme of Delaware’s 2011 State Convention. Topics discussed included cane etiquette, the White Cane Law, demonstration of the GPS cane, cane techniques, and an opportunity to ask questions.

Option C - Chapter: Valdosta Regional Chapter of the NFB of Georgia                   
Event: Valdosta Regional Chapter Community Meet & Greet
Details: The Valdosta Regional Chapter held its first Community Meet & Greet at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 3274 Inner Perimeter Road in Valdosta, Georgia, and was a huge success! The members pounded the pavement of that parking lot, heating things up. Before they knew it, there were individuals stopping by the display table with questions, words of motivation, and even some incredible donations. They managed to hand out plenty of NFB literature and answer as many questions regarding blindness as they possibly could. They were even able to get contacts of potential chapter members, both blind and sighted.

Option D - Affiliate: NFB of Georgia                  
Event: Video Pamphlet
Details: The production of the video took place during the month of October. Members were recorded giving answers to the following questions:  Who are you? What do you like to do? Why did you join the NFB?
The goals are to post the videos to the NFB of Georgia Web site, have them copied onto DVDs, and play them at various locations throughout the state.

Option E - Chapter: Indianapolis Chapter of the NFB of Indiana
Other Sponsor: Indy Thunder Beep Baseball Team
Event: Indy Thunder Beep-ball
Details: Chapter members teamed up with the Indy Thunder to host a beep-ball game.  Many came out on the beautiful day to hit the beep-ball and run to a beeping base. The chapter was well represented. In the three hours we raised seventy-six dollars for the Indianapolis Chapter. 

Option F - Sponsor: Dolores Reisinger, Des Moines Chapter of the NFB of Iowa
Details: Dolores Reisinger hosted a series of presentations that covered all of the following topics:
Are You a Senior Struggling with Vision Loss?
Braille Is Beautiful
What Is the National Federation of the Blind?
Braille Readers Are Leaders
Do You Know a Blind Person?
Straight Forward Answers About Blindness
Led a Meet the Blind Month Presentation at the Iowa Convention

Option G - Chapter: Old Capitol Chapter of the NFB of Iowa                             
Event: Meet the Blind at Iowa City Story Hour
Details: Members of the Old Capitol Chapter attended the weekly Iowa City Story Hour held for children and adults at the Iowa City Public Library “Children’s Room.”  Members read twin-vision children’s stories. Members also “acted out” specific stories to engage the children in the story-hour activity. NFB members provided information about blindness and Brailled child and adult names on Braille cards. The event was broadcasted live and rebroadcasted to the Iowa City community on PATV. 

Option H - Chapter: Greater Louisville Chapter of the NFB of Kentucky
Event: Stampede for VIPS
Details: Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS). This was a 5K run/walk to raise money for VIPS.  There was an information table and members walked in the event.

Option I - Chapter: North Central Chapter of the NFB of Louisiana
Other Sponsors: All proceeds will benefit the Junior Auxiliary of Ruston, a nonprofit organization.
Event: City of Lights Fashion Show
Details: It was a night to remember! Attendees enjoyed a variety of fashions from several local boutiques and stores including kids clothing, high-end fashion, everyday fashion, men’s and women’s fashions, and more! All models were blind people from across the state of Louisiana; many were from here in Ruston. The evening included refreshments, door prizes, a silent clothing auction, and a variety of fashions.
Event Blog:

Option J - Chapter: Greater Baltimore Chapter of the NFB of Maryland
Other Sponsors:  The Stoop
Event: Stoop Story Telling
Details: Maurice Peret, one of our blind chapter members, will participate as one of the seven featured story tellers in this event. He will share his experience with Erik Weihenmayer's 2001 Mount Everest expedition sponsored in part by the NFB. Erik was the first blind person to climb the highest mountain in the world and Maurice was part of the base camp support team. To share more information about the NFB, blindness, and the abilities of the blind, we will staff a literature table at this event.  We will also have information about the subminimum wage issue and collect signatures on our petition to eliminate this disgraceful practice. Listen to Maurice Peret tell his story.

Option K - Chapter: Sligo Creek Chapter of the NFB of Maryland
Other Sponsors: Montgomery County Board of Election 
Event: Voter Registration Drive
Details: Vote and make a difference. Attendees had the option to register and/or change their address, meet with the Board of Election staff to get answers, practice voting on an accessible machine, and learn about NFB programs.

Option L - Chapter: Jackson Chapter of the NFB of Mississippi
Event: Meet the Blind in Louise
Details: The Jackson chapter held its monthly meeting in Louise, MS.  Two other chapters also attended.  We invited local officials to join us.  Dinner was served following the meeting.  There was time for meeting and greeting.  Materials were given to the officials and other guests.

Option M - Chapter: Jefferson City Chapter of the NFB of Missouri
Event: Walk-A-Thon
Location: McKay Park
Details: Participants asked for pledges, a flat rate or an amount per kilometer that the participant walked. NFB literature and T-shirts were available to participants as well as prizes, refreshments and entertainment. View pictures of the event.

Option N - Chapter: Omaha Chapter of the NFB of Nebraska
Event: Employer Luncheon
Details: Three local employers who, during 2011, have either hired a blind person, or accommodated an existing employee who is newly experiencing blindness were honored at this event. The invitation to lunch was extended to both the employer and the blind employee. The businesses being honored were presented with a framed certificate of recognition.

Option O - Chapter: Northern Nevada Chapter of the NFB of Nevada
Other Sponsors: Office of Disability Resource Center
Event: Disability Awareness Day
Details: Event was hosted on a college campus. Members Brailled business cards and made donation requests. There was a panel discussion titled, “What Does ADA Mean to Me: Demonstration of Assistive Technology.”

Option P - Chapter: Garden State Chapter of the NFB of New Jersey
Event: Meet the Blind At Our Community Yard Sale
Details: The Garden State Chapter, of Cherry Hill, NJ, sponsored a "Meet the Blind Month" event during a local community yard sale. In addition to handing out NFB literature, sharing information, connecting with others, and exchanging contact information with community members, chapter members participated in a community-wide yard sale with several items that were collected by the chapter members for the event. As an extra perk, they also sold delicious, hot popcorn and beverages during the event, which everyone seemed to enjoy. View pictures of the event.

Option Q - Chapter: White Sands Chapter of the NFB of New Mexico
Other Sponsor: Eagles
Event: Blind Awareness and Benefit Concert
Details: The event presented local musical talent that included blind performers as well as performers from the community at large. The chapter included performers from the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind Adult Orientation Center. The format of the show was similar to shows like “The Tonight Show.” There was a host that interviewed various people who discussed their blindness, as well as their interests, thus promoting the fact that blind people live normal lives. Interviews were conducted between setups for the next performer, thereby allowing for a fast-paced show with little down time. The short animated video, “What to Do When You Meet a Blind Person,” was included. The relationship that the City of Alamogordo has with blind students was highlighted. Many blind New Mexicans have received their education and training in Alamogordo since before New Mexico was a state. Two Louis Braille coins were given out in a door prize drawing using print-Braille cards. The audience was encouraged to use the alphabet cards to read their numbers in Braille.

Option R - Chapter: Lorain County Chapter of the NFB of Ohio
Event: Annual Walk-A-Thon
Details: Individuals received pledges to walk. Members collected a fair amount of money that was donated to the state affiliate to support the state convention.

Option S - Chapter: Central Oklahoma Chapter of the NFB of Oklahoma
Other Sponsor: Chesapeake Boat House
Event: A Series of Events of Blind Rowers On the River
Details: The Head of the Oklahoma is a competitive regatta hosted by the Chesapeake Energy Corporation, headquartered in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma River has become a training site for the Olympic rowing teams. The Head of the Oklahoma attracts rowing teams from all over the United States. Over six hundred teams are expected to participate and over fifteen thousand attendees are expected. Twenty members of the Central Oklahoma Chapter volunteered to attend the regatta to cheer on those members on the all-blind rowing team and to engage the attendees in activities that center on alternative techniques for daily living. The Central Oklahoma Chapter will have a booth on the grounds where they will distribute information and answer questions to educate the public. Additionally, Braille cards were handed out and candy will be awarded to those who can decipher the message. The chapter also held a dinner and canal rides event in the Bricktown District. Twenty to twenty-five members of the Central Oklahoma Chapter met in the Oklahoma City Bricktown District for dinner and for canal rides through downtown Oklahoma City. The canals are a heavily trafficked area by both locals and tourists to the Oklahoma City area. Several events were taking place downtown and there were a lot of people in this location. It was chosen because of the number of people who would be impacted by a large group of blind individuals participating in fun activities with family and friends. Educational information will be made available to all and the chapter members will be wearing Meet the Blind Month T-shirts. Information was gathered from interested parties in order to continue growing the chapter and the affiliate overall. View pictures of the event.

Option T - Chapter: Happy Valley Chapter of the NFB of Pennsylvania
Event: Penn State Homecoming Parade
Details: Bob Swaim’s daughter is a blind graduate of Penn State. He collects, builds, and demonstrates unique bicycles. The chapter’s favorite bike of his is a seven-person-circular group bike that they rode in the parade. Everyone wore their white Meet the Blind Month T-shirts. Two members took turns walking ahead of the bike carrying their NFB of PA Happy Valley Chapter banner to raise awareness about the chapter to the Penn State community and to show that blind people can get out and join in on the fun too!

Option U - Chapter: Belvedere Chapter of the NFB of South Carolina
Event: Blindness
Details: The event was part of an ADA requirement for understanding and employing the disabled. Those in attendance were very receptive to working with the NFB and asked to come to South Carolina’s next state convention. Attendees seemed sincerely interested in giving blind people a chance to work. There were about sixty in attendance.

Option V - Chapter: Sumter Chapter of the NFB of South Carolina
Event: We Lost Our Eyesight but Not Our Vision to Drive
Details: The Sumter Chapter of the NFB hosted a booth at their county fair for a week, raising both awareness and funds. Laura Skelton was very creative with the models for their Blind Driver Challenge® display. There were hundreds of people that came by and looked at the booth and learned about blindness awareness. The members utilized this opportunity to network and gained contacts of blind and sight-impaired individuals in their surrounding area. View pictures of the event.

Option W - Chapter: Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas
Details: On October 1st, the Austin Chapter launched, "Keep Austin Blind, but Not In the Dark About Blindness,” magazine, a monthly magazine with articles written by the Austin Chapter members. The intended purpose of the magazine is to bring Austin out of the dark about the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind of Austin. The publication can be found on NFB-NEWSLINE® and the Austin Chapter Web site. The chapter also teamed up with a mentoring program to participate in the annual SCARE for a CURE to educate the public about blindness and to support another Austin-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises money for local charities. The chapter members joined the mentors and mentees, "one SCREAM at a time", for Austin's only extreme, full contact, and interactive haunted house adventure.

Option X - Chapter: Abilene Chapter of the NFB of Texas
Event:  White Cane Day Rally
Details: The rally started with speeches from local blind leaders, advocates, students, and agencies discussing the realities about being blind in Abilene today by putting a local face on blindness.  Topics included history, the NFB, Division for Blind Services, employment, local transportation, sidewalks, education (Pre-K through 12 and college), O&M (cane & guide dogs), safety, technology, and civil rights. The rally was opened by a blind child leading off the council meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, then the White Cane Day Proclamation by Mayor Archibald.

Option Y - Affiliate: NFB of Utah
Other Sponsors: Senior Division, Red Rock and Iron County Chapters
Event: Southern Utah Senior Seminar
Details: The affiliate hosted a five-hour senior seminar in southern Utah in the retirement town of Saint George. They rented conference rooms at the Hampton Inn and thirty people attended. Robert Olsen, the area chapter president organized the seminar, which included guest speakers and multiple thirty minute sessions. Ron Gardner opened the session with a great talk called "It Is OK to Be Blind." The session topics included: (1) Ask the doctor, (2) Introduction of technology tools, (3) A session for spouses and friends of the blind, (4) Cane and Braille orientation, and (5) Meet the chapter presidents. The feedback was exceptional and the affiliate hopes to conduct additional seminars in the future.

Option Z - Chapters: Potomac and Springfield Chapters of the NFB of Virginia
Event: Disability Awareness
Details: Six blind speakers, four of them cane users and two with guide dogs, visited several hundred elementary school students in their classrooms over a two-week period.  Time was limited to approximately fifteen minutes and the speakers focused on the importance of Braille literacy, assistive technology, mobility, and how blind people can lead successful lives with proper training in alternative techniques.  Leaving time for student and teacher questions was also a very important part of the presentations.  Read the article that was published in the Alexandria City Public Schools Daily Digest about the event.

Option ZA - Affiliate: NFB of Washington                           
Other Sponsors: Vision Loss Center, North Olympic Peninsula
Event: Vision Loss Information Fair
Details: Community Resources and Contacts had multiple booths at a fair to acquaint community members with services that enhance the ability of individuals living with blindness and vision loss to be independent.  The North Olympic Peninsula area of Washington State is very rural with a large senior population.  This was an opportunity for individuals to actually meet service providers and to meet other individuals who are successful blind persons.  The NFB has two local groups in the North Olympic Peninsula Area, Port Angeles and Sequim.  This was a way to meet blind people in the area and to encourage participation in these groups.

Voting is now closed.

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