FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, March 24, 2008
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Public Relations Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
Beth Mullennex
Barb Clapp Advertising & Marketing, LLC
(410) 561-8886

National Federation of the Blind to Hold 2008 Celebration

Celebrating Thirty Years of Building a Brighter Future in Baltimore and Beyond

Baltimore, Maryland (March 24, 2008): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will host its annual celebration of the history, growth, and achievements of the NFB in Maryland and nationwide.  This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the NFB’s headquarters in Baltimore.  The 2008 Celebration will take place on Friday, April 4, at the NFB Jernigan Institute in Federal Hill.  More than five hundred friends, colleagues, and blind people from across the nation are expected to attend.  The event promises an evening of food, fun, and entertainment.  Close to twenty Baltimore area restaurants, including Bonefish Grill, La Scala, Matsuri, Rub Authentic Texas BBQ, and more, are set to cater the event, while a Beatles tribute band will provide music and entertainment.

Beginning at 6 p.m., attendees will be able to enjoy food from some of Baltimore’s finest restaurants, along with the opportunity to bid on silent auction packages.  A live auction (including Beatles memorabilia) and brief program will begin at 7:45 p.m.  Gerry Sandusky, sports director of WBAL Channel 11 in Baltimore and the voice of the Ravens, will be the master of ceremonies.  A citation from Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon recognizing the National Federation of the Blind for its thirty years in Baltimore will be read, and Congressman John P. Sarbanes will briefly address the gathering.   The program will be followed by entertainment from Beatlemagic…the ultimate beatles experience.  This nationally acclaimed Beatles tribute act will provide an entertaining program spanning the career of the legendary Beatles, complete with costume changes.

The event is sponsored by nearly forty companies, including Deque Systems, IBM, M&T Bank, Microsoft, and Smith Barney. 

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is pleased and proud once again to welcome the Baltimore community to our Jernigan Institute facility for what is sure to be a truly memorable evening.  Although each Celebration is special, this event is particularly exciting because it commemorates our thirtieth year in Baltimore.  In 1978, we purchased a dilapidated factory building and turned it into the most modern facility providing resources and services to the blind anywhere in the world.  We expanded upon this achievement in 2004 with the opening of our beautiful Jernigan Institute.  Our facilities draw thousands of visitors each year to Baltimore.  We are delighted with our location in this great city and we look forward to continuing to serve our community and the nation throughout the twenty-first century.”

The NFB Jernigan Institute is truly one of a kind.  It is the first research and training center in the United States for the blind, led by the blind.  The goal is to better understand the challenges encountered by those who are blind or have low vision, and to develop technologies, products, services, and educational programs to foster independence.

The NFB Jernigan Institute welcomes over four thousand people every year to innovative training programs for those who are blind or have low vision and their families, as well as for those who work in the blindness field.  The institute is particularly focused on traditionally underserved groups of blind people, such as children and the elderly.  In addition, researchers continually test existing technologies for the blind and develop new ones.  Recently, the NFB launched the knfbREADER Mobile, a cell phone application that allows a document photographed with the phone’s camera to be read aloud to a blind user.

The NFB was founded in 1940 by a convention of sixteen participants from seven states.  Today, there are affiliates in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; seven hundred local chapters; and fifty thousand members nationwide. 

For more information about the 2008 Celebration, please contact Jerry Lazarus at (410) 659-9314, extension 2297, or by e-mail at jlazarus@nfb.org.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.nfb.org or through Liz Makowske at (410) 659-9314, extension 2419 (emakowske@nfb.org).  For more information about the NFB or the Jernigan Institute, visit www.nfb.org.