Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Receives 2007 Mayor’s Business Recognition Award

Innovative Program for Blind Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Honored

Baltimore, Maryland (November 21, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, was awarded a 2007 Mayor’s Business Recognition Award for civic leadership and outstanding community service on November 20.  The NFB was honored for the innovative Youth Slam program, which took place at Johns Hopkins University in July.  Two hundred blind high school students from across the nation gathered in Baltimore and participated in four days of inspiring and engaging activities conducted by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and other partners.  The purpose of this unprecedented gathering was to help the blind youth of America find their voice and encourage them to consider pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We are pleased to receive this prestigious award from the Greater Baltimore Committee.  The Federation is committed to improving the lives of blind people throughout the entire nation.  Starting at our national center here in Baltimore, we are paving the way for expanded opportunity for future generations of blind students.”

“The 2007 Youth Slam was a pioneering event for blind students,” said Mark Riccobono, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, which conceived the program.  “These students gained access to methods and materials that will help them to build a foundation of scientific knowledge that they are often unable to develop in their public schools.  And more importantly, they gained self-confidence and the belief that they can pursue any course of study or career that they desire.”

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon will present the award to the National Federation of the Blind during luncheon ceremonies on December 7, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore.  The 33rd annual business awards program is an initiative of the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Baltimore Development Corporation.