Braille Monitor

Vol. 52, No. 4                                                     April 2009

Barbara Pierce, editor
Daniel B. Frye, associate editor

Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by

The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, president

National Office
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
telephone: (410) 659-9314
email address: [email protected]
Website address: http://www.nfb.org
NFBnet.org: http://www.nfbnet.org
NFB-NEWSLINE® information: (866) 504-7300

Letters to the President, address changes,
subscription requests, and orders for NFB literature
should be sent to the National Office.
Articles for the Monitor and letters to the editor may also
be sent to the National Office or may be emailed to [email protected]

Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation about twenty-five dollars per year.
Members are invited, and nonmembers are requested, to cover
  the subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to
National Federation of the Blind and sent to:

National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998


        ISSN 0006-8829



Vol. 52, No. 4                                                     April 2009


Detroit Site of 2009 NFB Convention

Lead Photo

The 2009 Washington Seminar
by Daniel B. Frye

Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans:
Priorities for the 111th Congress, First Session

Enhancing Pedestrian Safety: Ensuring the Blind Can Continue
to Travel Safely and Independently

A Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind

Removing the Earnings Penalty: A Common Sense Work Incentive for Blind
Social Security Beneficiaries

The Other Side of History
by Fredric K. Schroeder

On Living with the Nuisance of Diabetes
by Mike Freeman

Convention Attractions

NFB Camp: It’s More Than Child’s Play
by Carla McQuillan

The Future Is Ours and Theirs
NOPBC 2009 Annual Conference
by Carrie Gilmer

Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed
by D. Curtis Willoughby

Dialysis at the NFB National Convention in Detroit

Jury Finds Iowa Department for the Blind’s Guide Dog Policy Does Not Discriminate

University of Vermont Raised-Line Drawing Project
by Mike Rosen


Monitor Miniatures


Copyright 2009 by the National Federation of the Blind



Detroit Site of 2009 NFB Convention

The 2009 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Detroit, Michigan, July 3-8, at the Detroit Marriott, Renaissance Center, 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan 48243. Make your room reservation as soon as possible with the Detroit Marriott staff only. Call (800) 266-9432.

The 2009 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $62; triples $66; and quads $68 a night, plus a 15 percent sales tax. The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $60-per-room deposit is required to make a reservation. Fifty percent of the deposit will be refunded if notice is given to the hotel of a reservation cancellation before June 1, 2009. The other 50 percent is not refundable.

Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made before June 1, 2009, assuming that rooms are still available. After that time the hotel will not hold our block of rooms for the convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon.

Guestroom amenities include cable television, coffeepot, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, high speed Internet access for a charge, and free wireless Internet service in the lobby. The Detroit Marriott has four excellent restaurants, twenty-four-hour-a-day room service, a food court on the Prominade Level, and other top-notch facilities. It is in downtown Detroit with excellent access to air, train, and bus service.

The schedule for the 2009 convention is a full day shorter than recent conventions:

Friday, July 3 Seminar Day

Saturday, July 4 Registration and Packet Pick-up Day

Sunday, July 5 Board Meeting and Division Day

Monday, July 6 Motor City March and Opening Session

Tuesday, July 7 Business Session

Wednesday, July 8 Banquet Day and Adjournment


2009 National Convention Preregistration Form

Please register online at <www.nfb.org> or print legibly on this form or provide all the requested information and mail to the address below.

Registrant Name ___________________________________________________
Address _________________________________________________________
City ____________________________________________________________
State ___________________________________ Zip ____________________
Phone __________________________________________________________

___ I will pick up my registration packet at convention.
___ The following person will pick up my registration packet:
Pickup Name ______________________________________
Please register only one person per registration form.
One check or money order may cover multiple registrations.
Check or money order (sorry, no credit cards) must be enclosed with registration form(s).

Number of preregistrations x $15 = ____________
Prepurchased banquet tickets x $35 = ____________
Total ______________

All preconvention registration and banquet sales are final (no refunds).

Mail to: National Federation of the Blind
Attn: Convention Registration
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Registrations must be postmarked by May 31, 2009.



The 2009 Washington Seminar took place from February 8 to 11. Federationists swept across Capitol Hill visiting their senators and members of Congress. The Capitol Police have gotten used to giving visitors good directions, and the officers staffing entrance security quickly adjusted to providing audible cues and helpful oral instructions. We met with aides in every House and Senate office, and a number of members of Congress and senators made time to listen to our 2009 legislative agenda.


The 2009 Washington Seminar

by Daniel B. Frye

The 2009 Washington Seminar, our thirty-seventh annual midwinter legislative event, occurred only three weeks after the inauguration of Barack Obama. The enthusiasm and energy of the over five hundred Federationists who filled the Columbia and Discovery ballrooms in the Holiday Inn Capitol--our traditional headquarters hotel--were palpable. The crowd was buoyed by the celebratory air of a new administration, a welcome change in leadership at the U.S. Department of Education, and the hopeful prospect that our legislative priorities for 2009 would be favorably received by a new Congress and executive.

President Maurer called the gathering to order at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 8, a full week later than usual. The old tradition, though, of starting the Washington Seminar on Sunday evening was resurrected this year, after several years of beginning on Monday night. Among the many Federationists present to educate the 111th Congress were fourteen members of the NFB board of directors and representatives from forty-eight of our affiliates.

Everyone was given a red and white 2009 NFB in D.C. button to wear that said, "Ask me about Braille." The word “Braille” was written using the Braille dots for “Brl,” the contraction for Braille, so as to be a conversation starter. In addition to the several legislative issues addressed, our efforts surrounding the two hundredth birthday of Louis Braille dominated our internal discussions in Washington this year.

But, even before the great gathering-in meeting occurred, an entire weekend full of pre-Washington Seminar programs and activities had already happened. Here is a partial list of these events:

During the great gathering-in meeting, NFB First Vice President Fred Schroeder reviewed several components of our national Braille Readers are Leaders (BRL) campaign. He invited everybody to attend the launch of the Louis Braille Commemorative Bicentennial Silver Dollar at the National Center on Thursday, March 26, 2009. Those unable to attend the launch were urged to visit <www.braille.org> to remain current on the NFB's BRL initiative throughout the year. Fred also urged Federationists not otherwise scheduled to be on Capitol Hill to attend an international symposium on Braille, jointly sponsored by the NFB, the World Bank, and others, at the U.S. headquarters of the World Bank on Tuesday, February 10. Fred was the keynote speaker for this international conference, and it was convenient and fortunate that this event coincided with our 2009 Washington Seminar.

President Maurer announced that the NFB has become a nationwide distributor of the knfbReader Mobile. NFB Board Member and KNFB Reading Technology, Inc., Vice President for Business Development James Gashel demonstrated the newest features of this revolutionary reading machine to Washington Seminar participants. Longtime Federationist and World Trade Center survivor Michael Hingson was introduced as the one who will coordinate our national sales effort. Interested people can learn more about the knfbReader Mobile by contacting him at (888) 965-9191 or through the Internet at <http://knfbreader.michaelhingson.com>.

John Paré, NFB executive director for strategic initiatives, along with Jim McCarthy and Jesse Hartle, NFB government program specialists, then briefed the audience on our three legislative priorities for this year: reintroducing and promoting H.R. 734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, to members of Congress; floating the concept of developing an accessible technology bill of rights; and unveiling H.R. 886, new legislation to enhance work incentives for blind recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance. Our legislative fact sheets, providing more detail on these initiatives, are printed elsewhere in this issue. Federationists blanketed Capitol Hill on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to discuss these issues with every member of the House and Senate and their staffs.

Now that we have returned home from Washington, the hard work begins. We must follow up with the staffers responsible for the issues we discussed. We must urge that our U.S. Representatives cosponsor H.R. 734 and H.R. 886. We must remain at the ready to follow any instructions our national legislative staff may give at a moment's notice so that the collective power of the NFB can continue to influence public policy for blind people in America. We must not let the momentum started at the 2009 Washington Seminar subside; our work has just begun.


Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans:
Priorities for the 111th Congress, First Session

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States. As the Voice of the Nation’s Blind, we present the collective views of blind people throughout society. All of our leaders and the vast majority of our members are blind, but anyone can participate in our movement. There are an estimated 1.3 million blind people in the United States, and every year approximately 75,000 Americans become blind. The social and economic consequences of blindness affect not only blind people, but also our families, our friends, and our coworkers.

Three legislative initiatives demand the immediate attention of the 111th Congress in its first session:

For more information about these priorities, please consult the attached fact sheets. Blind Americans need your help to achieve our goals of economic security, increased opportunity, and full integration into American society on a basis of equality. Enactment of these legislative proposals will represent important steps toward reaching these goals. We need the help and support of each member of Congress. Our success benefits not only us, but the whole of America as well.  In this time of national economic insecurity, these measures will contribute to increasing the tax base and encouraging the purchase of consumer goods.


Enhancing Pedestrian Safety: Ensuring the Blind Can Continue to Travel Safely and Independently

Purpose: To require hybrid, electric, and other vehicles to emit a minimum level of sound to alert blind and other pedestrians of their presence.

Background: Until recently independent travel for the blind has been a relatively simple matter, once a blind person has been trained in travel techniques and has learned to use a white cane or travel with a guide dog. Blind people listen to the sounds of automobile engines to determine the direction, speed, and pattern of traffic. Sounds from traffic tell blind pedestrians how many vehicles are near them and how fast they are moving; whether the vehicles are accelerating or decelerating; and whether the vehicles are traveling toward, away from, or parallel to them. With all of this information, blind people can accurately determine when it is safe to advance into an intersection or across a driveway or parking lot. The information obtained from listening to traffic sounds allows blind people to travel with complete confidence and without assistance. Studies have shown that sighted pedestrians also use this information when traveling.

Over the past few years, however, vehicles that are completely silent in certain modes of operation have come on the market, and many more silent vehicles are expected in the near future. These vehicles are designed to have many benefits, including improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, but they do not need to be silent in order to achieve these intended benefits. An unintended consequence of these vehicles as they are currently designed is that they will reduce the independence of blind Americans and endanger the lives, not only of blind people, but also of small children, seniors, cyclists, and runners.

Currently the most popular of these vehicles is the gasoline-electric hybrid, which alternates between running on a gasoline engine and on battery power (although a few electric automobiles are already on America’s roads and new all-electric models are planned). The blind of America do not oppose the proliferation of vehicles intended to reduce damage to the environment, but for safety these vehicles must meet a minimum sound standard. 

On April 9, 2008, Congressmen Ed Towns and Cliff Stearns introduced H.R. 5734 (the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008). This legislation sought to solve the problem of silent cars by authorizing a two-year study to determine the best method for allowing blind individuals to recognize the presence of silent cars, and by requiring that, two years after the study was completed, all new vehicles sold in the United States must comply with the solution determined by the study. In the 110th Congress, eighty-eight members of the House cosponsored this legislation.

Need for Congressional Action: For several years the National Federation of the Blind has been concerned about the proliferation of silent vehicles. Recently automobile manufacturers have acknowledged the problems posed to blind pedestrians by silent vehicle technology and have begun to work with the National Federation of the Blind to seek solutions. However, federal regulators have indicated that, in the absence of statistics on injuries or deaths caused by hybrid vehicles, nothing can be done. Congress must therefore direct the Department of Transportation to take action. It is crucial that this problem be addressed before the inevitable avalanche of tragedies involving blind people, small children, seniors, cyclists, runners, and newly blinded veterans shocks the nation.

Proposed Legislation: Congressmen Towns and Stearns have reintroduced the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act to direct the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study and establish a motor vehicle safety standard that provides a means of alerting blind and other pedestrians of motor vehicle operation, based on appropriate scientific research and consultation with blind Americans and other affected groups. This national motor vehicle safety standard must have the following characteristics:

The standard need not prescribe the apparatus, technology, or method to be used by vehicle manufacturers to achieve the required minimum sound level. This approach will encourage manufacturers to use innovative and cost-effective techniques to achieve the minimum sound standard. 

The addition of components to emit a minimum sound discernible by blind and other pedestrians will not negatively affect environmental benefits of gasoline-electric hybrids and other automobiles running on alternate power sources, and the emitted sound need not be loud enough to contribute to noise pollution. Automobiles that operate in complete silence, however, endanger the safety of all of us; silent operation should be viewed as a design flaw comparable to the lack of seatbelts or airbags.  

Requested Action: Please support blind Americans by cosponsoring the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act to authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish and promulgate regulations specifying a minimum sound standard for all new automobiles sold in the United States. In the House of Representatives, members can be added by contacting Emily Khoury in Congressman Towns’s office, or James Thomas in Congressman Stearns’s office. In the Senate, members can support independence for blind Americans by sponsoring companion legislation.


A Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind

Purpose: To create a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind that mandates consumer electronics, home appliances, and office equipment to provide user interfaces that are accessible through nonvisual means.

Background: In recent years rapid advances in microchip and digital technology have led to increasingly complex user interfaces for everyday products like consumer electronics, home appliances, and office equipment. Many new devices in these categories require user interaction with visual displays, on-screen menus, touch screens, and other user interfaces that are inaccessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. No longer are settings on the television, home stereo system, or dishwasher controlled by knobs, switches, and buttons that can be readily identified and whose settings can be easily discerned, with or without the addition of tactile markings by the user. Moreover, the use of inaccessible interfaces on office equipment such as copiers and fax machines makes these devices unusable by the blind and therefore a potential threat to a blind person’s existing job or a barrier to obtaining new employment.

This growing threat to the independence and productivity of blind people is unnecessary since digital devices can function without inaccessible interfaces. Today text-to-speech technology is inexpensive and more nearly ubiquitous than it has ever been; it is used in everything from automated telephone systems to the weather forecasting service broadcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Indeed, a few manufacturers have incorporated this technology into their products to create talking menus or to articulate what is on the display; there is no reason why other manufacturers cannot do so as well. And text-to-speech technology is not the only mechanism by which consumer electronics, home appliances, and office equipment can be made accessible to blind people.

Need for Legislation: Currently there are no enforceable mandates for manufacturers of consumer electronics, home appliances, or office equipment to make their devices accessible and no accessibility standards to provide guidance to manufacturers on how to avoid creating barriers to access by the blind. Congress should therefore enact a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind, which clearly establishes that manufacturers must create accessible user interfaces for their products, provide a means for enforcement, and establish standards that will provide meaningful benchmarks that manufacturers can use to make their products accessible.

Congress need not mandate a single, one-size-fits-all solution for all consumer technology. Rather any such legislation should mandate regulations that set meaningful accessibility standards, while at the same time allowing manufacturers to select from a menu of potential solutions that, singly or in combination, will allow blind users to operate the technology easily and successfully. This will not only give manufacturers the freedom and flexibility they desire, but encourage innovations that make consumer technology more usable for everyone.

Proposed Legislation: Congress should enact a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind that:

Requested Action: Please support blind Americans by introducing legislation to create a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind (or by cosponsoring once legislation has been introduced) so that blind people will be able to participate fully in all aspects of American society. Increased access leads to increased independence, increased employment, and increased tax revenue.


Removing the Earnings Penalty: A Common Sense Work Incentive for Blind Social Security Beneficiaries

Purpose: To promote and facilitate the transition by blind Americans from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries to income-earning, taxpaying, productive members of the American workforce.

Background: The unemployment rate for working-age blind people is over 70 percent. Part of the reason for this disproportionately high statistic is the myths and misconceptions about the true capacities of blind people. These erroneous perceptions are manifested when employers refuse to hire the blind.

In addition, governmental programs intended to help blind people meet their basic economic needs, especially the SSDI program, have had the unintended consequence of creating an incentive for blind people to remain unemployed or underemployed despite their desire to work. Low societal expectations result in low representation of the blind in the workforce. This low representation of the blind reinforces low societal expectations—it is a vicious circle that perpetuates systemic employment discrimination against the blind.

Despite the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind, blindness still has profound social and economic consequences. Governmental programs should encourage blind people to reach their full employment potential; they should not encourage economic dependence.

Existing Law: Title II of the Social Security Act provides that disability benefits paid to blind beneficiaries are eliminated if the beneficiary exceeds a monthly earnings limit. This earnings limit is in effect a penalty imposed on blind Americans when they work. This penalty imposed by the SSDI program means that, if a blind person earns just $1 over $1,640 (the monthly limit in 2009 following a Trial Work Period), all benefits are lost.

Section 216(i)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act defines blindness as a disability based on objective measurement of acuity and visual field, as opposed to the subjective criterion of inability to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). For blind people, doing work valued at the SGA earnings limit terminates benefits but does not terminate disability. Only blind people not working or those with work earnings below an annually adjusted statutory earnings limit receive benefits.

Need for Legislation: When a blind person enters the workforce, there is no guarantee that wages earned will replace SSDI benefits after taxes are paid and work expenses are deducted. For example, Jane worked as a customer service representative with an annual income of $35,000 until she became blind from diabetic retinopathy. Jane meets the criteria for SSDI benefits, which provide income of $1,060 a month (or $12,720 a year) tax-free while she is not working. Jane wants additional income to meet her financial needs. After an adjustment period and blindness skills training, she finds employment as a part-time representative making $10 an hour for 35 hours a week. Jane grosses $350 a week for an average of $1,517 a month. Using a conservative 25 percent withholding tax, Jane nets $1,137.50 from her work, combined with her $1,060 disability benefit, for a net total of $2,197.50 a month. If Jane should have the opportunity to work fulltime (40 hours), her weekly salary would go up to $400 a week for a monthly average of $1,733. This amount is over the 2009 earnings limit, so Jane loses all of her disability benefits. Using the same 25 percent tax level, Jane nets only $1,300 a month—working an extra five hours a week has cost Jane $897.50 net income (over $10,500 a year). This example illustrates the work disincentive contained in current law.

A gradual reduction of $1 in benefits for every $3 earned over the earnings limit would remove the earnings penalty and provide a financial incentive to work. The benefit amount paid to an individual will gradually decrease, while the individual’s contribution to the Social Security trust fund increases over time. Under this approach, as Jane earns more, she pays more into the trust fund, and her dependence on benefits decreases.

Monthly earnings evaluations are unnecessarily complicated for both the beneficiaries and the Social Security Administration. Since the medical prognosis for blind people rarely changes, and because blindness is objectively measurable, blind people should be subject to an annual earnings test with the limit equal to twelve times the applicable monthly SGA amount.

Under current law blind workers frequently pay for items and services related to their disabilities that are necessary for them to work, and they are permitted to subtract these Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE) from monthly earnings when determining monthly income. Properly crediting IRWE poses a serious challenge to the SSDI program and creates a lack of predictability for the blind person trying to determine whether benefits will be available. To address both issues, Congress should permit SSDI recipients to claim the same amount used when determining an income subsidy under the Medicare prescription drug program, currently 16.3 percent.

Congress should enact legislation to

Requested Action: Please support blind Americans by cosponsoring legislation that provides a common sense work incentive for blind Social Security beneficiaries.



The Other Side of History

by Fredric K. Schroeder

From the Editor: On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, NFB First Vice President Fred Schroeder keynoted a Web conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., titled “Actuality of Braille in Different Socio-Economic Settings.” Ryan Strunk, who is assisting Fred in directing the NFB’s Braille Readers are Leaders campaign to raise the visibility of Braille and the recognition of its importance in this bicentennial of Louis Braille’s birth, played a significant role in preparing these remarks. Here they are:

Everyone has heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20. At some time in our lives we have all said that, if we had only known what would happen, we would have made a different decision or acted differently. Often, when we look back, it is with regret or longing. "If I had only known the train would be late, I would have slept in." "If I had only known the market would be so unstable, I would have invested differently." It is easy for us to say what we would have done when we stand on the other side of history, and it is easy to become mired in "should haves" and "might have beens."

But we must also remember that from the other side of history we are given a unique opportunity to change the future. Yes, we may have lost something in the past and been affected by a consequence we did not foresee, but, with the experience and wisdom we gain from history, we can arm ourselves with the knowledge and foresight to forge a new path. Sometimes we forge this new path to make our own lives easier, but sometimes we do it because we want to change the future for others.

Louis Braille was born two hundred years ago in a small village in France. No one would have guessed that the son of a humble saddle maker would one day become a symbol of hope and independence for millions of blind people around the world and throughout history. After being blinded at a young age, Braille and his family knew that, in order for him to receive a quality education, he would have to travel to Paris and attend the school for the blind there. Braille and his family recognized the diminished expectations for blind people; they knew that without an education the best Braille could hope for was a life lived on the charity of others.

At school Braille experienced what passed for literacy among the blind: oversized books with raised letters that were not only cumbersome to read, but incredibly difficult to produce. He wanted something different--not just for himself, but for all the students at his school. So at a young age Braille created the code that would later become arguably the greatest invention for the blind throughout history. He could not have known then the incredible impact his work would have on future generations; in fact, his code was neither recognized nor celebrated until years after his death. But from the other side of history we understand the real value of his gift, and we offer him profound and abiding thanks for it.

Not until the 1930s did Braille gain acceptance in the United States. Blind children in those days were sent to special schools for the blind, and there they learned to read using Braille. Whether they were totally blind or had some residual vision did not matter. If a student was blind, he learned to read Braille. In those days everyone assumed that the blind could do no more than menial work, so, even as Braille was widely taught in schools for the blind, it was never taught with the expectation that it would empower us to seek meaningful employment. Even so, it was taught. And more than a generation of blind Americans were raised with the understanding that Braille was a viable means of reading and writing, not something to be ashamed of.

In 1940 a group of pioneering blind people formed the National Federation of the Blind, ushering in a new era of advocacy and empowerment. With our positive philosophy of blindness and our belief in our own abilities, we began to leave the sheltered workshops and armchairs; we set aside our begging bowls and low expectations in favor of meaningful employment and productive lives. We learned Braille in school, and we learned advocacy from one another. With these skills we began the task of proving to the rest of the world that blindness does not equal second-class status, that it is respectable to be blind, and that, given the right training and the right opportunity, the blind can compete on terms of equality with their sighted counterparts.

Our good fortune with Braille was not to last, however, for, even as the blind grew in status, our means of literacy was slowly being eroded. In the mid-1960s schools began to operate on the conviction that print was superior to Braille and that, if a student had some remaining vision, she should learn to read large print. Beginning in the 1970s, many blindness professionals, parents, and blind people themselves began to assume that the new technologies like books on tape and synthesized speech were sensible alternatives to Braille instruction.

By the middle of the 1980s the literacy rate among blind children had decreased to approximately 10 percent. In the space of a few decades we went from a generation in which almost all children were taught Braille from an early age to a generation that was raised to believe that Braille was slow, difficult, outdated, and―worst of all―inferior. It was viewed―as it had been during the life of Louis Braille―as something that would drive a wedge between the blind and the sighted. It was viewed this way even as the literacy rate fell and the number of blind students graduating from school decreased. People who became blind later in life were falsely taught that Braille could not be learned after childhood, and blind seniors, instead of being taught that Braille could be used to manage medications and help them maintain their own independence, were sent to nursing homes and care facilities.

Led by the National Federation of the Blind, since the 1980s informed people have undertaken a number of initiatives to combat the decline in Braille literacy. These have included raising public awareness about the benefits of Braille and seeking to adopt state laws that strengthened access to Braille instruction and instructional materials for blind children. While significant progress was made in the 1990s in changing public policies related to Braille and raising awareness of the importance of Braille to the blind, the literacy statistics for the blind still show that far too few blind people have access to quality Braille instruction despite the fact that recent research demonstrates a significant relationship between knowledge of Braille and employment. That is, better than 80 percent of employed blind people use Braille in their daily lives. Contrast this statistic with the fact that only 30 percent of blind people of working age are employed.

We now understand the link between literacy and employment, between the ability to read and write and a quality education. We know that Braille, independence, confidence, success, and literacy are all tied together. It is now our responsibility as blind people to ensure that we put this knowledge to more aggressive use. We must not stand on the other side of history someday and wonder what we might have done differently. Rather we must continue in our efforts, and we must make certain that history does not repeat itself.

In 2006 the members of the National Federation of the Blind successfully urged the U.S. Congress to pass legislation authorizing the minting of a commemorative coin to honor the two hundredth anniversary of Louis Braille's birth. The Louis Braille Bicentennial Commemorative Coin, which will be released on March 26 of this year, will mark a significant step toward insuring that literacy for the blind is once again a priority in America.

To coincide with the unveiling of the prototype of the Louis Braille coin in July of 2008, the National Federation of the Blind began its Braille Readers are Leaders initiative. This initiative is the most significant investment in literacy for blind people ever--raising eight million dollars for Braille literacy programs into the future--and an innovative network of programs that dramatically enhance opportunities and education for the blind. With this initiative we proclaim to people everywhere that the blind are not content with illiteracy; we want to read, we want to learn, and we want to work--and we are willing to support these desires with concrete action.

By 2015 we will double the number of blind children who read Braille. To help them to learn to read, we will pass legislation which requires that all teachers certified to teach blind children have to obtain and maintain the National Certification in Literary Braille. We will develop programs and strategies to make Braille more accessible to the blind, and we will teach the public that Braille is not to be dismissed but embraced as the only viable means of literacy for blind people.

As we work with the public to build support for these programs, we will also dedicate significant resources to enhance our knowledge of Braille. We will help improve Braille-related programs by filling gaps in the Braille knowledge base, designing studies to evaluate the effectiveness of currently available Braille curricula and pedagogical strategies for blind people of all ages, and disseminating accurate information about Braille-related research. We know that the people best suited to design programs for the blind are blind people themselves, and we are willing and eager to take up the challenge.

Finally, the National Federation of the Blind will establish a technology development team made up of strategic university, industry, and other partners to generate new Braille-related technologies and bring them to market at an affordable price. We understand that in the twenty-first century literacy requires integration of and accessibility to technologies that facilitate reading, writing, and access to information. We want to be at the forefront of this development, and we want to insure that the technology is designed in such a way as to make Braille accessible to as many blind people as possible.

Much work remains, but we are confident of our success. We are not simply a few individuals with dreams, but thousands of blind people united in our dedication to the cause of literacy for all. Alongside us are our friends and allies among the sighted public--steadfast individuals who believe--as do we--that the blind deserve first-class status.

The time for action is now. The opportunity for change is at hand. We stand together, united in our beliefs and determination, willing to shoulder the responsibility that our efforts demand. We will go forward with confidence and purpose, and when--generations from now--our descendants stand on the other side of history, they will stand in a world where Braille is accepted, where literacy is not a dream but a reality, and where the blind, equipped with this essential skill, will truly be independent.

Giving a Dream

One of the great satisfactions in life is having the opportunity to assist others. Consider making a gift to the National Federation of the Blind to continue turning our dreams into reality. A gift to the NFB is not merely a donation to an organization; it provides resources that will directly ensure a brighter future for all blind people.

Seize the Future

The National Federation of the Blind has special giving opportunities that will benefit the giver as well as the NFB. Of course the largest benefit to the donor is the satisfaction of knowing that the gift is leaving a legacy of opportunity. However, gifts may be structured to provide more:

NFB programs are dynamic:

Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB planned giving officer.


On Living with the Nuisance of Diabetes

by Mike Freeman

From the Editor: In January of this year the NFB made the difficult and painful decision to cease publication of the Voice of the Diabetic, our quarterly magazine for blind diabetics, which had been in continuous publication since 1986. Many considerations went into the decision, but the organization continues steadfast in its commitment to helping blind diabetics and diabetics losing vision to manage their disease independently and live full and satisfying lives. To this end the Braille Monitor will begin including more articles aimed at this significant segment of our readership. The NFB is also preparing to publish a book-length compilation of articles and information designed to inform and assist those dealing with both diabetes and blindness or vision loss. Much of the material in this book will be drawn from recent issues of the Voice of the Diabetic because its inspiration is timeless. Here is a sample profile from the book. When Mike Freeman wrote this brief bio, he was already a leader of the Diabetic Action Network, the NFB’s division for diabetics. Now he is its president. This is what he says:

My name is Mike Freeman, and I am currently president of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and second vice president of the NFB’s Diabetes Action Network. I am five feet, nine inches, and I have been just about totally blind since birth; one eye has been removed, and I see only a bit of light with the other. I became diabetic in March 2005, so my blindness is not due to diabetes. I was born prematurely, and, because the eyes are among the last organs to develop and partly because of the medical measures taken to keep me alive, my retinas detached due to abnormal blood vessel growth and caused my blindness. I read Braille and use a long white cane to assist me in travel. I have been a member of the National Federation of the Blind since 1977.

I hold a BA in physics from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and an MS in physics from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am an information technology specialist, writing automated procedures to control exchange of data with the Internet while not compromising computer security for the Bonneville Power Administration under the U.S. Department of Energy. This agency markets electric power from the federal hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest and distributes power for other northwest utilities.

As late as the summer of 2004, I was not diabetic; my blood sugar level was normal. I became sick with the flu in December 2004 and didn’t fully recover until halfway through January 2005. It was then that I first noted symptoms of diabetes—increased frequency of urination, increased thirst, and dry skin with cracking that didn’t immediately heal. Moreover, I noticed that my penis was sore and that there was some discharge. Since I knew I did not have a sexually transmitted disease, this was a puzzle. By March I noticed some difficulty in orientation and concentrated thinking. Then, on a trip to Seattle, my legs cramped and caused me to fall several times. I am told that I also had the fruity breath of someone in ketoacidosis. I did not lapse into a coma but was fairly close to it. When I came out of the fog, the emergency room physician told me I had diabetes, that I was on an insulin drip, and that I would be on insulin for the rest of my life. (Indeed, I have been using it ever since.) Apparently he must have ordered a C-peptide test and/or an anti-GAD test. From that he learned that I had virtually no insulin left in my system. I have what is called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults—LADA—which is basically Type 1 diabetes, except that I got it as a middle-aged adult rather than as a child, teen, or young adult. My doctors and the hospital staff had an extremely healthy attitude about my blindness. There was no question that I would learn to handle my diabetes without assistance. The attitude amounted to: “Fella, you’re in the army. You’re going to learn to handle this by the time you leave here!” and I did.

At the moment I use an insulin pen to administer Novalin 70/30 insulin twice a day, and I test my blood glucose using a talking blood glucose meter three to four times a day. My A1c has ranged between 5.6 and 7, and so far I show no signs of diabetic complications.

Right from the start I found the support of the National Federation of the Blind and the Diabetes Action Network to be of immense help. Needless to say, all DAN literature is suffused with the can-do attitude of the National Federation of the Blind, embodying its philosophy that with training and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance. Having been a member of the NFB for many years, I was well acquainted with this philosophy. But it was most helpful to see this philosophy carried into the realm of diabetes. The DAN literature was clear and concise and told me virtually everything I needed to know to get started.

I supplemented this helpful information by reading lots of diabetes information on the Internet, in books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and some I purchased through Amazon.com. I learned and learned. The more you know about diabetes, the better you can deal with the disease. I believe that those who aim to “conquer” or “fight” diabetes are wrong; one does not fight or conquer diabetes; one lives with diabetes. Yes, it can be quite a nuisance at times. But, like blindness, that’s all it is for me—a nuisance. Through being involved in DAN, I try to help others gain this knowledge and confidence. Neither blindness nor diabetes has stopped me from enjoying life.


2009 Convention Attractions

From the Associate Editor: Every year’s national convention is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance. Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category are the meetings of the resolutions committee and the board of directors, the annual banquet, and the many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a partial list of activities being planned by a number of Federation groups during the 2009 convention, July 3 through 8. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The convention agenda will list the locations of all events taking place during the week.

Access Technology Seminars
by the IBTC Technology Team

On Friday, July 3, the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute’s Access Technology Team will conduct four seminars covering a number of access technology topics ranging from DAISY production to mobile productivity.

From 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. join us as we look at the latest technology in mobile productivity on cell phones, including magnification and GPS. From 10:30 a.m. to noon. find out more about how to create DAISY books from your desktop. We will demonstrate some of the many ways to make DAISY books and use them to the best advantage.

From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. learn about the differences between the Web as it was originally implemented and Web 2.0. Join us as we examine how best to use Web 2.0s features with screen-access software. From 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. learn more about some of the lesser-known names in screen-access software. We will demonstrate Thunder, NVDA, and Supernova.

Affiliate Action Action
by Joanne Wilson

Ready-set-go! Rev up your engines for the fast-paced 2009 convention activities hosted by the NFB Department of Affiliate Action. All sessions focus on providing strategies that members can use to reach out to new people, to change lives, and to build our movement. The following sessions are opened to all Federationists:

For further information about the program initiatives of the Department of Affiliate Action at the 2009 convention, contact Joanne Wilson, executive director of affiliate action, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2335, or by email at <[email protected]>.

Assistive Technology Trainers Division
by Michael Barber

Do you have students who are seemingly unteachable? How do you deal with them? How do you decide what note-taking device to recommend for a client? If you attend the Assistive Technology Trainers Division meeting at this summer's NFB convention, you will be able to listen, learn, and contribute to the lively discussion which is sure to take place. Come join us from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 5. We are looking forward to seeing you.

Attention All First-Time Convention Attendees

We invite you to attend a reception previewing our 2009 NFB convention agenda. Along with President Marc Maurer, former rookies will be on hand to welcome you to the convention and to answer questions about the week's activities. Our annual convention is a truly memorable and exciting event, and we look forward to sharing the week with each of you. Check the Affiliate Action Suite for other rookie events throughout the week.
Date: Friday, July 3, 2009
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Dress: Casual

For more information contact Pam Allen, (800) 234-4166; <[email protected]>.

BLIND, Inc., Karaoke Night
by Shawn Mayo

Whether you are a contender to become the next American Idol, you shatter the stereotype about blind people possessing great musical talent, or you fall somewhere in between, you'll have a great time at BLIND, Incorporated's annual Karaoke Night on Friday, July 3, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Find out what song the BLIND, Incorporated, staff and students will sing this year. Meet current students and alumni as they share their experiences from training. Bring all your friends or come make new ones and enjoy music, door prizes, and a cash bar. Admission is only $5, and song lists will be available in Braille that night. Don't miss your chance to be a rock star.

Braille Readers are Leaders: The Initiative for Change
by Fred Schroeder

On Monday, July 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., we will hold a meeting to share information about our Braille Readers are Leaders (BRL) initiative. Come learn about the exciting developments that have been made, discuss strategies for promoting coin sales, and find out how you can be a part of this momentous campaign. Each state affiliate should plan for at least one person to attend the meeting. With the release of the Louis Braille bicentennial coin on March 26, we have seen a tremendous step toward making certain that all blind children will be given the opportunity to read. Now, with your help, we can continue the work of ensuring Braille literacy for all. Come lend your support to our efforts and show the nation and the world that Braille readers truly are leaders.

NFB Re-Generation
Building Our Future: Youth Outreach in NFB Affiliates

From 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, July 5, the NFB Jernigan Institute will be hosting a networking and idea-sharing session for NFB affiliates undertaking youth outreach programs. Do you need to rejuvenate and kick-start your affiliate with fresh ideas? Re-generate! Strengthen your youth outreach efforts and get a new generation involved. Join the NFB Jernigan Institute education team to learn more about program possibilities. Those considering how to begin new youth outreach initiatives should come network and learn from those who are already building our future with the next generation.

CARS Division
by Joseph B. Naulty

The Classics, Antiques, and Rods or Special interest Vehicles (CARS) Division of the NFB will hold a seminar on Saturday, July 4, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Come and hear speakers from various automobile clubs talk about their activities. On Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. join car enthusiasts at an auto show featuring classics, antiques, and special interest vehicles. Finally, the CARS Division business meeting will cap this year's convention activities on Monday, July 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Here the division will hold a public board meeting and conduct elections of officers for the next term.

An Evening at the Colorado Center for the Blind
by Julie Deden

Take charge; challenge yourself. You are invited to an open house on Tuesday, July 7, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The staff and students of the Colorado Center for the Blind want you to discover what good training can do for you. Here you will meet staff and students from the center and have a wonderful evening full of fun and learning.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, July 7, at our open house.

Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology
by Gary Wunder

On Sunday, July 5, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., the Committee for the Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology will conduct a meeting in which exhibitors from the convention hall will each be given a five-minute segment to tell us what they are exhibiting, where they are in the hall, and other contact information they may wish to share. Following these presentations, we will hold a brief meeting to conduct committee business, to evaluate the effectiveness of what we now do, and to consider programs we might conduct in the coming year. For more information write to Gary Wunder by emailing <[email protected]> or by calling him at (573) 874-1774.

Committee on Research and Development
by Curtis Chong

The committee on research and development of the National Federation of the Blind is interested in technological developments and research projects that will truly benefit blind people. Think about the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader--a technology that was conceived, designed, and implemented with the full and active involvement of the National Federation of the Blind--and one can imagine what spectacular accomplishments are possible if blind people themselves are a meaningful part of any technological or research project. If you have an interest in new technologies that will benefit the blind, come to the 2009 meeting of the committee on research and development at the National Federation of the Blind convention.

The meeting of the committee on research and development will occur Tuesday evening, July 7, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Previous meetings of the committee have touched on a wide variety of interesting and thought-provoking subjects, and I feel confident that this meeting will be no different.

If you want more information about the committee or the meeting, contact Curtis Chong, chair of the committee, using the following contact information: 3663 Grand Avenue, Apartment 606, Des Moines, Iowa 50312; home phone (515) 277-1288; email <[email protected]>.

Deaf-Blind Division
by Burnell Brown

The Deaf-Blind Division will meet on Sunday evening, July 5. Registration begins at 6:00 p.m.; the meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. We will have time for committee reports and a discussion about the newest technology to assist deaf-blind people. We will conclude no later than 10:00 p.m. Don't forget our table in the exhibit hall. The traditional T-shirts will be available. Again this year we are promoting NFB flipflops. See you there.

Diabetes Action Network Seminar
by Mike Freeman

The Diabetes Action Network will hold its seminar and business meeting on Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. We will again hear from Ann S. Williams, PhD, RN, CDE, who is a diabetes educator with much experience with diabetic issues. She will discuss her project to demonstrate that the blind can use insulin pens without difficulty and with the same accuracy that sighted people achieve. We will also learn what is happening in the quest to get rid of warnings by some insulin pen manufacturers concerning use of their pens by the blind. A panel discussion on adaptive diabetes equipment will occur. We will have time for questions. The seminar is free and open to the public.

Employment Committee
by Buna Dahal

Innovation and authenticity produce abundant opportunities. The 2009 employment committee seminar will focus on key strategies for hunting for jobs in this tough economic climate. Join us for this dynamic, practical, and resourceful employment seminar on Friday, July 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Learn the secrets for obtaining and maintaining employment. Whether you are a job seeker, trainer, or provider, you will find something valuable at this event. For further information contact Buna Dahal, committee chairperson, (303) 758-1232; <[email protected]>.

Ham Radio Group Emergency Preparedness Seminar
by D. Curtis Willoughby

In accordance with long-standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2009 convention will be the Emergency Preparedness Seminar conducted by the NFB Ham Radio Group. The seminar will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, July 3. We will discuss frequencies to be used during the convention, and especially those to be used in the event of an emergency call-out during the convention. We will also discuss architectural features of the convention hotel and other information NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary. Any Detroit hams willing to do a little frequency scouting before the convention are asked to contact Curtis Willoughby, KA0VBA; (303) 424-7373; <[email protected]>.

The Ham Radio Group has a service project to serve the Federation by handling the distribution of special FM receivers. These receivers allow hearing-impaired conventioneers to hear a signal directly from the public address system. This signal is much easier to understand than the sound that regular hearing aids pick up in a large meeting room. The same receivers are used to allow Spanish speakers who do not speak English fluently or do not understand it well to hear a Spanish translation of the convention and the banquet.

We will take some time at the Emergency Preparedness Seminar to prepare for this project as well. We may also play a formal part in the Motor City March this year. If this develops, plans will need to be made. It is important that all group members willing to help come to the seminar.

Ham Radio Group Annual Business Meeting
by D. Curtis Willoughby

The annual business meeting of the NFB Ham Radio Group will be held at noon on Wednesday, July 8. In addition to our regular business, we will consider the amendment of the division constitution that we adopted last year, which needs a change before we submit it for acceptance.

The Human Services Division
by Melissa Riccobono

Are you a psychologist; counselor; social worker; music, art, or dance therapist; or someone working in a related field? Are you a student interested in a human service career? If so, plan to attend the annual meeting of the National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division. The meeting will take place on Sunday, July 5, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Dues are $5, and registration begins at 1:00 p.m. We are planning an exciting program this year which will include, among other things, an open question-and-answer period on the way human service professionals succeed in job interviews, fill out paperwork, read charts, and much more. Please come with your questions ready.

From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. we will have the opportunity to mingle and network with one another in a more informal setting. If you have any questions about the NFB Human Services Division, please contact Melissa Riccobono, president, at (410) 235-3073 or by email at <[email protected]>.

The knfbReader Mobile
by James Gashel

Multiple meetings will be held on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday of the NFB national convention to demonstrate the power of the knfbReader Mobile. Use your cell phone to read print--it's really that simple. Come and learn how this fabulous, life-changing technology can work for you. Go totally mobile and join the reading revolution today.

Krafters Division and Krafters Korner
by Joyce Kane

The NFB Krafters Division will sponsor several exciting activities for Federationists interested in crafts during the 2009 convention in Detroit. On Friday, July 3, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. visit our Krafters tables. You will have a chance to meet some talented Federation crafters and purchase their handmade items. Join us on Sunday, July 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. for the annual business meeting of the NFB Krafters Division. At this meeting we will review our accomplishments during the last year and unveil new craft initiatives, including plans for our new Website, details about a variety of division-sponsored crafts classes, and information on our Monday night nationwide chats.

NFB Krafters Division dues are $5 a year. For further information about paying dues, contact NFB Krafters Division Treasurer Diane Filipe at <[email protected]>. As of Saturday, February 21, 2009, those wanting to participate in any NFB-Krafters-Division-sponsored classes must be current with their annual dues. For further information about the Krafters Division, visit the Krafters Korner Blogsite (soon to be replaced with a fully operational Website) at <http://krafterskorner.blogspot.com/> or join the Krafters Korner discussion list at <http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-krafters-korner_nfbnet.org>. Finally, join NFB Krafters Division leaders for their Monday night nationwide telephone chats by calling (610) 404-9100. Enter access code 27238 to join the conference calls. We look forward to seeing you in Detroit or communicating with you before the national convention.

Lions Clubs
by Ramona Walhof

On Friday, July 3, at 8:00 p.m., NFB members who are also Lions are urged to meet to share ideas and experiences. The better we coordinate, the more our clubs and districts can help the blind. We will take time to hear from all clubs represented and to plan for the year ahead. Please wear Lions vests or shirts, and we will try to get a good picture. If any blind Lions are going to the Lions International convention in Minneapolis, please contact Ramona Walhof at <[email protected]> or Milton Ota at <[email protected]>.

Living History Group
by Michael Freholm

The Living History Group (LHG) is dedicated to recording, preserving, and appreciating our organizational history. Join the LHG at the NFB national convention on Sunday, July 5, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss our current projects and to make future plans.

The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players
by Jerry Whittle

The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players present Sometimes Truth Repels, a play about the teaching career of Louis Braille on Sunday, July 5. This play will be performed at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Louis Braille must fight for his blind students to find literacy through his new method of reading and writing. This play features an historic account of how Braille's method prevailed against all the odds. Price $5. All proceeds support the summer training program for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

Making the Most of Your Jernigan Institute
by Mark Riccobono

In this detailed workshop you will receive an overview of the programs and services of the only research and training institute developed and directed by the blind—the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute. Led by Mark Riccobono, the staff of our Jernigan Institute will provide resources from the work of the Institute and will demonstrate how those resources can be applied to build Federation programs in local communities. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet many of the Institute’s staff as well as learn about ways to stay more closely informed throughout the year about progress at the Institute. This session is meant to help members fully understand the work of the Jernigan Institute and its relationship to the grassroots activities of the Federation. This session is not meant to be a focus group for discussions about future directions for the Institute (although we hope that it sparks many formal and informal discussions on that very topic through the course of the convention). This workshop will strengthen the dynamic connections between the blind of America and their research and training institute and will spark new, imaginative ideas for future exploration at the Institute as well as connections that will build the Federation across the country. This workshop will run twice during the convention: Friday, July 3, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 4, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

The 2009 March for Independence
by Kevan Worley

Here we come, Michigan! Here we come, Detroit! On July 6, as the sun rises over the city of Detroit, we will walk to support our Imagination Fund Campaign in the third annual March for Independence–A Walk for Opportunity. This year’s Motor City March is once again the culmination of our year-long Imagination Fund Campaign. We are still working on our plan, but rest assured this year’s event will outshine those of previous years. The Marriott Renaissance Center is a striking building situated on the riverfront; it will be an extraordinary setting for another memorable rally. Imagine well over one thousand of this nation’s blind citizens walking around the Detroit riverfront with energy and enthusiasm backed by our great organization and the work that we accomplish. Imagine rallying for Braille literacy, independence, security, and opportunity. Again this year our March and ceremonies will exemplify the independent spirit and true capacity of the blind. As always in the National Federation of the Blind, we will do it with imagination, gusto, and flair.

Those who participated in our first and second March for Independence walks will remember the camaraderie, the solidarity of spirit, and the pride as we marched together as one movement through the cities of Atlanta and Dallas. Those who missed our first two events must be sure to be a part of the action in Detroit.

Leading the March will be NFB President Marc Maurer. Walking shoulder to shoulder with him will be this year’s March for Independence honorary chair. President Maurer will address the blind who lead the blind at the ceremonies, which this year will conclude the March. The rally is sure to be a spectacle to remember, with even more surprises than last year. After our rally we will enter the Marriott to begin the sixty-ninth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

So raise your money. Anyone who raises at least $250 will receive official NFB Motor City March memorabilia. From T-shirts to medallions, and lots of surprises in between, all of us will definitely want to raise as much as we possibly can to support our local and national outreach efforts. This year we will read the names of all of the $1,000 medallion winners; their names will echo across the river as we once again announce all top fundraisers. Each year we have had roughly one hundred medallion winners; this year let’s plan to double the number of names read and medallions awarded.

Raising money for our Imagination Fund is important work. Being a part of the March for Independence with all of our brothers and sisters is exhilarating. A T-shirt, a medallion, and other surprises are fine tokens of a job well done, but the work for which we raise the money is reward in itself. The pride we will feel when we march as one Federation through the streets of Detroit will be deeply fulfilling. So start now; ask your friends, family members, and those you meet every day to contribute toward your participation in this year’s Motor City March. Here we come, Detroit. Here we come, America. The blind are on the march—the March for Independence.

Meet the Blind Month Activities and Other Special Events Seminar:
Plans and Action Equal Success
by Jerry Lazarus

October is Meet the Blind Month. Find out about lively and entertaining events that enable sighted people to meet their blind neighbors. This session includes exchanging successful ideas and encouraging chapters to try new types of fundraising and meet-and-greet events. The seminar will be conducted by Jerry Lazarus, NFB Jernigan Institute director of special projects, Sunday, July 5, 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.

Membership Committee
by Ron Gardner

The membership committee of the National Federation of the Blind will convene for its annual meeting on Saturday, July 4, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For further information contact Ron Gardner (801) 299-0349; <[email protected]>.

Moving Legislation on the State and National Level
by Jesse Hartle

This seminar will focus on the best methods of increasing support for our legislative priorities on the state and national levels. Each affiliate should send one representative to this seminar on Monday, July 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. We will hear first-hand accounts from Federationists on how successful their affiliates have been at getting legislation enacted, and we will discuss how members can help shape national laws after they have returned from Washington Seminar. Plan to join us for this instructive session. Changing lives through laws is our business.

National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith
by Tom Anderson

The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, July 5. Registration will be at 12:30 p.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 1:00 and adjourn at 5:00 p.m. The theme of this year’s meeting will be Overcoming Obstacles through Courage and Determination. We will have a panel discussion regarding blind people educating sighted members in places of worship about our capacity and capabilities. We will also receive updates regarding the production of religious literature.

The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will again coordinate the devotional services that will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 7 and 8. The theme of the devotions will be saving grace, saving faith. Devotions will begin an hour before the morning sessions and will adjourn fifteen minutes before the opening gavel each morning.

Please contact me if you wish to preach or sing at these devotional services. My home address is 5628 South Fox Circle, Apartment A, Littleton, Colorado 80120. My home phone number is (303) 794-5006. My work phone number is (303) 778-1130, ext. 220. My email address is <[email protected]>.

National Association of Blind Lawyers
by Scott LaBarre

Each year the National Association of Blind Lawyers (NABL) conducts its annual meeting at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and this year is no different. We will meet on Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The purpose of our annual meeting and seminar is multifaceted.

We will examine emerging trends in the law that affect blind people and others with disabilities. For example, we will address the ongoing struggle to gain equal access to Websites (including legal sites), access to employment, meaningful access to legal texts, and access to a level playing field for legal examinations like the LSAT and bar exams. We will also review other discrimination and civil rights cases. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or visually impaired legal professional. Undoubtedly we will hear from the American Bar Association as well as local law schools and bar associations about their outreach efforts to blind and visually impaired students and legal professionals. Because our agenda covers substantive areas of the law and addresses the practice of law itself, many of our members have applied for and received continuing legal education credits for our seminar.

At the conclusion of the seminar we will hold a reception for NABL members and seminar participants to promote networking and fellowship within our membership. If you are a lawyer, legal professional, or law student or are otherwise interested in law, the NABL meeting in Detroit on July 5 is the place to be.

Mock Trial
by Scott LaBarre

The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its twelfth annual Mock Trial at the 2009 NFB convention. This trial will reenact an old Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other arguing the merits of the two positions.

We have not selected this year’s case, but it will undoubtedly highlight a case in which a blind person or people have faced different treatment based on their blindness in the area of education, employment, or other civil rights. Stay tuned to Presidential Releases and NFB listservs for details on this year’s case. See your favorite Federation lawyers strut their legal stuff.

You, the audience, will serve as the jury. This year's trial promises to be just as entertaining and thought-provoking as past trials. A nominal charge of $5 per person will benefit the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The trial will take place on Saturday afternoon, July 4, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

National Association of Blind Merchants
by Kevan Worley

Revolutionizing Randolph-Sheppard: Creating New, Robust, and Diverse Small Business Opportunities for the Blind of America will be the theme of this year’s annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants. This symposium will take place Sunday afternoon, July 5, from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. This year registration for our division meeting will begin approximately thirty minutes after adjournment of the board of directors meeting. Our agenda will focus on protection of the priority and the creation of new, robust business opportunities and outreach to young people to develop their interest in small business ventures. For more than a generation the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly to protect and defend the Randolph-Sheppard program. The need to expand business opportunities and to develop new business initiatives for the blind is pressing. On Tuesday, July 7, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m. we invite you to our ninth annual Randolph-Sheppard reception. Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph-Sheppard and other business opportunities we can create through our work in the National Federation of the Blind. On Monday morning, July 6, our Federation merchant team will be participating in the third annual National Federation of the Blind Motor City March for Independence. We will carry our Federation merchant team banner high, proclaiming the independence of the blind.

National Association of Blind Office Professionals
by Lisa Hall

The National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will conduct its annual business meeting at the NFB national convention in Detroit on Friday, July 3, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. This meeting is open to anybody with an interest in the full range of office positions, but particular emphasis will be placed this year on Braille transcription duties. The bulk of this year's meeting will be dedicated to a hands-on Braille proofreading workshop. In order to plan for this program item, please let us know by May 15 if you expect to attend. In addition, we will feature a guest speaker from Seedlings Braille Books for Children, who will talk about its Braille transcription services and how the company began. Finally, an open forum for general questions and an exchange of contact information will occur.

For further information or to join the division, contact Lisa Hall, president, (513) 931-7070 during evenings and weekends; <[email protected]>.

National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
by Nadine Jacobson

This year our National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) seminar will be held on Sunday, July 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. We will present information about the commemorative Louis Braille silver dollar, the NFB Share Braille Website project, and other Braille news. Come and help us celebrate Louis Braille's two hundredth birthday in some special ways. We hope to see you all in Detroit.

National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals
by Melody Lindsey

On Sunday, July 5, the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals (NABRP) will meet for our annual seminar and business meeting. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the seminar and business meeting will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The NABRP meeting is a great opportunity for all rehabilitation professionals in the blindness field to get together, network, share mutual interests, find placement strategies, examine concerns about the rehabilitation profession, and generally shape quality rehabilitation services for the blind in the nation.

If you are involved in rehabilitation for the blind, you don't want to miss this meeting. We promise to have nationally recognized leaders in the rehabilitation field to help us examine and discuss current issues in rehab. If you have any questions about this meeting, contact Melody Lindsey at (804) 371-3323.

National Association of Blind Students
by Terri Rupp

The National Association of Blind Students (NABS) will be celebrating its forty-second birthday at the NFB national convention in Detroit on Saturday, July 4. Arrive early for our meet and greet from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., where NABS board members and numerous past NABS presidents will be socializing with everybody. Help promote Braille literacy by bringing your information (name, phone number, email, and state of residents) in Braille on an index card for registration, which begins at 6:00 p.m. The business meeting will conclude with a farewell to the outgoing NABS board and elections to choose the division's new leadership.

As usual NABS will be hosting our annual Monte Carlo Night. Try your luck at any of the usual card games found on a casino floor. Whether you're a gambler or a dealer, we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday evening, July 7, from 8:00 to 11:30 p.m. A bag containing thirty chips can be purchased for $10. The three people holding the most chips at the end of the evening will win $100, $75, and $50 cash prizes. Plan to join NABS for lots of fun in Detroit. For questions or information, contact Terri Rupp, NABS president, (707) 567-3019; <[email protected]>.

National Association of Guide Dog Users
by Marion Gwizdala

Are you a guide dog user or interested in issues of guide dog handling? Do you know what to do if you and your guide dog face an in-flight emergency? Would you like to learn more about how to advocate for others who are discriminated against? Would you like the chance actually to work a guide dog? Then the seminars of the National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) are for you.

The recent crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River has caused us to wonder, “What if I had been on that plane with my guide dog? What could I have done?” These questions will be answered during our seminar. We are inviting officials from a major airline to join us at our seminar to discuss emergency procedures for us and our guide dogs, such as what to do if the plane loses cabin pressure, how to use the emergency slide, and how to employ flotation devices. We will also discuss the challenges we often face when traveling with our guide dogs in an effort to develop better communication with airline personnel.

As a strong and proud division of the National Federation of the Blind, NAGDU is committed to the goals of the NFB, including the right of individuals to choose the mobility tools that are best for them without facing discrimination. During the past year a number of guide dog users have been denied the right to access restaurants, health care facilities, taxis, and other places of public accommodation. The Federation, through the National Association of Guide Dog Users, has fought to protect the basic civil rights of these members. Though our adage is, “It is better to educate than to litigate,” we are willing to protect our civil rights by seeking the remedies available to us under state and federal laws. During our seminars members will hear about the cases we have advocated for and the creative ways we have resolved them. In addition we will offer the opportunity to become a volunteer advocate for others through a nationwide toll-free advocacy hotline.

The National Association of Guide Dog Users is establishing affiliate divisions throughout the country. As a grassroots organization we know that strong local groups are essential for us to educate businesses, our legislators, law enforcement officials, and the general public. NAGDU has several strong affiliates that are making incredible strides and achieving tremendous results. Their successes are energizing our organization, and we are realizing unprecedented growth. We invite you to be a part of the most dynamic group of guide dog users in the United States.

As we have done for the past several years, we will invite guide dog schools to bring dogs to give Federationists the chance to work a guide dog. Following the NAGDU meetings, guide dog trainers will offer anyone who would like to experience traveling with a guide dog the opportunity to take a harness in hand and go for a walk. Whether you are considering a guide dog or just want to learn what it is like to work a dog, this will be your chance. Come and experience the difference.

These are just a few examples of what NAGDU is offering during our national convention. Much more is in store for you at our seminars in Detroit. Our seminars will be held on Friday, July 3 and Sunday, July 5. Registration begins each day at 6:00 p.m, and the seminars will be from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

If you or someone you know wants more information about guide dog handling, advocacy assistance, or NAGDU, contact Marion Gwizdala, NAGDU president, at NAGDU, National Federation of the Blind, 1003 Papaya Drive, Tampa, Florida 33619; (813) 626-2789; (800) 558-8261; <[email protected]>.

Newsletter Publications Committee
by Norma Crosby

The newsletter publications committee will hold its annual meeting during the 2009 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The committee and others in attendance will be treated to presentations about what should be included in a state newsletter, how to format a good publication, how to start a newsletter, publishing in accessible formats, and much more. We will have lots of opportunity to ask questions, and all newsletter editors are encouraged to attend. If your affiliate does not currently produce a newsletter, please send a representative so we can talk about how you can get started.

Newsletters are a wonderful way to publicize what an affiliate is doing, and they can also be a great recruiting tool. Publishing a newsletter should be a goal of every affiliate. Our committee is willing to help, so come and join us. The 2009 meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 4, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. If you have questions about the meeting before convention, you can contact Norma Crosby at (318) 251-1375 or <[email protected]>.

NFB-NEWSLINE® Seminar and Convention Events
by Scott White

Would you like to know more about NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free service that offers access to newspapers, magazines, and TV listings to all members of the print-disabled community? Would you like to become familiar with our newest and most innovative initiative, NFB-NEWSLINE Online, which provides access to publications over a text-only Website or with a portable device such as the Victor Reader Stream? Would you be interested in learning how you can help to promote NFB-NEWSLINE in your own community? If you are unfamiliar with NFB-NEWSLINE, if you are a new user, or even if you are a longtime fan of the service, please keep some space on your calendar to attend one or more of our seminars and demonstrations at the upcoming national convention. We will be holding a variety of events to help our membership gain a better understanding of the NFB-NEWSLINE service, to provide hands-on demonstrations with NFB-NEWSLINE Online, and to learn how to spread the word about the service.

On Saturday, July 4, we will hold a seminar providing a basic understanding of NFB-NEWSLINE. We will also discuss updates to the service, including the new functionality offered through NFB-NEWSLINE Online’s innovative features: WebNews on Demand, NFB-NEWSLINE in Your Pocket, and two other initiatives as well. Additionally, throughout the convention we will be offering hands-on demonstrations of NFB-NEWSLINE Online’s components, so please plan to join us so you can learn how to make use of these new, exciting features. We will also hold gatherings to provide information on how you can help us to promote the NFB-NEWSLINE service within your own community.

For questions or information, please contact Scott White, director of sponsored technology with the National Federation of the Blind, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2231; <[email protected]>.
NFB in Computer Science
by Curtis Chong

The 2009 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will take place on Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration will commence at 12:30 p.m.

While the program has not yet been finalized, we are working to put together a number of items for blind people who are working in the field of information technology. It has been proposed, for example, that we hear from a panel of blind network administrators and blind people working to provide technical support for sighted computer users. The program is still fluid, and suggestions are always welcome.

Membership dues for the NFB in Computer Science are $5. You can pay your membership dues at the convention or send them directly to the NFB in Computer Science president, Curtis Chong, 3663 Grand Avenue, Apartment 606, Des Moines, Iowa 50312; home phone (515) 277-1288; email <[email protected]>.

National Organization of Blind Educators
by Sheila Koenig

On Sunday, July 5, the National Organization of Blind Educators (NOBE) will conduct its annual meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 1:00 p.m. NOBE is a network of blind teachers and those interested in careers in education. Our meeting will offer an opportunity to meet blind people teaching at various grade levels and in different content areas.

Many questions arise as people contemplate and realize their dreams of teaching: How will potential employers react to a blind applicant? How does a blind person manage students in a classroom? How does one accomplish the daily duties as well as the "other duties as assigned" for which teachers are contracted? During our seminar successful blind teachers will discuss such questions. Seminar participants will also meet in small groups specific to grade level and content areas of interest. In this way we can create a network of mentors extending beyond our meeting. If you teach or are considering a career in teaching at any level, plan to join us.

National Federation of the Blind Senior Division
Seniors Welcome You
by Judy Sanders

We are the National Federation of the Blind Senior Division, and we invite you to join us for our annual meeting. Pay close attention because we have changed our meeting time, and we do not want to surprise you. Reserve the afternoon of Sunday, July 5, for an inspiring time with your elders.

We will open the doors at 1:00 p.m. to begin registration and our ever-popular, somewhat-silent auction. To make the auction work, we are once again counting on generous contributions of Federationists both in items for the auction and in emptying wallets and checkbooks. Please make sure your items arrive in time for eager bidders. Our thanks to Ramona Walhof for coordinating this activity. To ask questions about the auction or to let her know what you will donate, contact Ramona Walhof at (208) 338-1595, or email her at <[email protected]>.

The theme for this year's meeting is Seniors in Charge. The focus of our meeting will be finding ways to spread our message of hope to seniors who have recently become blind. Are there new approaches that we can take to teach others to understand and embrace our philosophy? Are there unique activities that are sponsored in our states that attract the attention of our ever-growing population of blind seniors? The NFB is loaded with talented and enthusiastic people who are ready to share what they are doing so we can take their ideas home with us and implement them. Join us to hear about these innovative activities and thoughts, and bring your own visionary ideas to share.

The meeting will adjourn no later than 5:00 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for the agenda, call Judy Sanders at (612) 375-1625, or email <[email protected]>. Everyone is welcome.

Performing Arts Division
by Dennis Holston

This year's Performing Arts meeting will be on Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. We are excited about this meeting. The division will unveil its long-awaited Music of the Movement album. Find out which NFB songs were redone for this album. A media company that is paving the way for blind audio professionals across the nation will also be making a presentation. You will hear directly from the artist recruiter associated with this media company. Other surprises are being planned. Membership dues are $5. For further information visit our new Website at <http://www.padnfb.org>.

The Guitar Seminar
by Dennis Holston

The Performing Arts Division is sponsoring a Guitar Seminar during the 2009 NFB national convention. Those who are interested in learning about the guitar or getting advice from a professional musician should make their way to the Guitar Seminar on Monday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Strife will facilitate this seminar. Mr. Strife has been a musician for fifteen years. He has played in the U.S. and Britain. He has one solo album, and he has appeared on other projects such as the 2007 Sound and Sight album that the Performing Arts Division of the NFB released. For more information about this artist visit <www.cameronstrife.com>. This will be an educational experience for all. The Performing Arts Division requests that those who attend this seminar make a $5 donation at the door.

Public Relations Committee
Grabbing Headlines for Your Affiliate
by Chris Danielsen

The public relations committee of the National Federation of the Blind and the PR staff at the National Center for the Blind invite affiliate presidents or their designated representatives, as well as others who are interested in learning about effectively working with the media, to attend a special meeting of the public relations committee. This meeting, held on Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., will include a comprehensive seminar entitled “Grabbing Headlines for Your Affiliate,” and will be conducted by Chris Danielsen and Jessica Freeh of the Public Relations office at NFB headquarters in Baltimore. The seminar will cover topics that will help you grab headlines for your affiliate, such as how to locate press contacts in your state or community, how to draft a press release, how to pitch story ideas to the media, and how to develop relationships with reporters and editors. An effective public relations strategy can help state affiliates and local chapters to raise funds, recruit new members, and educate the general public about blindness. It doesn’t take a public relations professional to carry out such a strategy, just knowledge of the proper tools and techniques needed to implement it. Come to this special seminar and learn how your affiliate can get its message to the media. We urge affiliate presidents to make sure that your state has a representative at this important seminar.

If you have any questions about the seminar, contact Chris Danielsen at the National Center for the Blind at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2330, or <[email protected]>.

Rehabilitation Conference
The Future Is Ours and Theirs
Bridging the Gap Between Parents and Professionals
Eighth Annual Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Conference
by Edward Bell

Come join this first-ever joint conference that brings families with blind youth together with education and rehabilitation blindness professionals. On Friday, July 3, from 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB), the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals (NABRP), and the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB) at Louisiana Tech University will cosponsor a day-long conference for parents of blind children and blindness professionals as part of the NFB national convention in Detroit. The morning session will present program items of mutual interest to parents and professionals alike. Break-out sessions of unique interest to parents, orientation and mobility specialists, and rehabilitation professionals will consume the afternoon. During the lunch hour the NBPCB will hold its annual awards banquet from noon to 2:00 p.m. The conference will conclude with a networking mix and mingle reception for everybody from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Online registration for education and rehabilitation professionals planning to attend this conference will be available at <www.nbpcb.org> after April 15. For further information about this seminar, see the article on NOPBC activities at the NFB national convention, elsewhere in this issue.

Roman Catholic Mass
by Mary Ellen Jernigan

Father Gregory Paul, C.P., will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning, July 5, at 7:15 a.m. Everyone interested in this service is invited to attend.

Showcase of Talent
by Adrienne Snow

The Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind will hold its fourth annual Showcase of Talent on Tuesday, July 7, beginning at 7:00 p.m. This year’s show is bound to be the best yet; all proceeds from the show will benefit our newly established scholarship program, dedicated to and in memory of Mary Ann Parks. The scholarship program will begin in 2009. Admission for spectators and performers is $5 per person, collected at the door. Signing up can be done by contacting division Secretary Beth Allred in her room at the convention. Audience members who attend the show will have a chance to win door prizes. This show promises to be fun for all. We look forward to seeing you all in Detroit.

Social Security Seminar
by James McCarthy

An outreach seminar, “Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know,” will take place Tuesday, July 7, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The purpose of this seminar is to share information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind, including the income subsidy program for those receiving the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Jim McCarthy, governmental program specialist for the National Federation of the Blind, will lead this seminar. Social Security representatives may be available to hand out publications describing their programs and to share tips about communicating with the Social Security Administration. Those wanting a better understanding of the programs and benefits offered by the Social Security Administration are strongly encouraged to join Jim at this seminar.

Sports and Recreation Division
Bigger and Better This Year
by Lisamaria Martinez

And you thought that the Sports and Recreation Division was in fine form last summer--well, you ain't seen nothin’ yet. On Friday afternoon, July 3, Annie Sawicki, the brains behind the AdapTap team at Notre Dame University, will sponsor a swimming workshop. Gear up for another goalball clinic on Saturday afternoon, July 4. Row Your Way into Fitness and Fun is the theme for Monday evening, July 6. To top it all off, join us on Sunday afternoon, July 5, from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. for our first-ever interactive business session. Wear your sweats and come ready for hands-on presentations in judo, yoga, and much more. When packing for convention, don't forget your bathing suits, sneakers, sweats, and a comfy T-shirt. Come to convention ready to experience an extraordinary sports and recreation extravaganza. For specific times and further details, visit <www.nfbsportsandrec.org> before leaving for Detroit.

Attention Veterans
by Dwight Sayer

The National Association of Blind Veterans (NABV) will hold its third annual meeting on Sunday, July 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. as part of the NFB national convention in Detroit. This year's seminar will feature an interesting program of guest speakers and a review of some access technology. We will unveil the 2009 NABV pin, and we will kick off the 2009 dues deal. When you pay your $20, you will have covered your annual dues and purchased an attractive red NABV-3 polo shirt. We look forward to seeing you in the Motor City.

Webmasters Meeting in Detroit
by Gary Wunder

On Saturday, July 4, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. all Webmasters for NFB divisions and affiliates are encouraged to attend a meeting in which we will discuss the importance of an informative, accessible, visually attractive Website, how to develop the skills to be a Webmaster, how to share our strengths and expertise with one another, and how to spread the work of updating various information on a site by area of responsibility. Feel free to contact Gary Wunder by writing to <[email protected]> or by calling (573) 874-1774 for more information. Offers to present and recommendations for areas needing discussion are most welcome.

Writers Division
by Robert Leslie Newman

Come visit with a published author from our Michigan affiliate on Friday, July 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. during our Writers Division workshop. The cost for this event is $5. On Sunday, July 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. the annual Writers Division business meeting will occur. We will update members on division business, hold elections, and plan for the future.

Youth Track 2009
by Mary Jo Thorpe

It's back, and it's "all about me." Blind youth from across the country will meet during the 2009 NFB national convention this summer for the third annual NFB Youth Track. This year the theme "All About Me" will help youth ages fourteen to eighteen discover who they are as blind people while socializing with blind peers and learning from blind role models. The Youth Track parallels the main convention agenda and is sure to have something for everyone in its exciting seminars and social events. To learn more about this event, contact Mary Jo Thorpe, education program specialist, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407; <[email protected]>.


NFB Camp: It’s More Than Child’s Play

by Carla McQuillan

Programs and Activities: During convention week children six weeks through ten years of age are invited to join in the fun and festivities of NFB Camp. NFB Camp offers more than just childcare; it is an opportunity for our blind and sighted children to meet and develop lifelong friendships. Our activity schedule is filled with games, crafts, and special performances designed to entertain, educate, and delight. If you are interested in this year’s program, please complete and return the registration form provided at the end of this article. Preregistration with payment on or before June 15, 2009, is required for staffing purposes. Space is limited, so get your registration in early.

About the Staff: NFB Camp is organized and supervised by Carla McQuillan, the executive director of Main Street Montessori Association, operating three schools, parent education courses, and a teacher-training program. Carla is the mother of two children and a longtime leader in the National Federation of the Blind.

Alison McQuillan—camp worker and teacher since 1998—will be our activities director again this year. Over the years we have recruited professional childcare workers from the local community to staff NFB Camp. In recent years we have determined that recruiting from our Federation families results in workers with proper philosophy and attitudes about our blind children. Carla and Alison will be supervising camp workers and all related activities.

Activities and Special Events: The children are divided into groups according to age: infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Each room is equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games, and books. In addition, school-aged children will have the opportunity to sign up for half-day trips to local area attractions. Some of the planned events include excursions to the River Walk to play in the park and a large group trip to Bouncin’ Kids. Dates, times, additional fees, and sign-ups for field trips will be included in the registration packet. Space for special events is limited to enrolled NFB Campers only, on a first-come, first-served basis. On the final day of NFB Camp we will conduct a big toy sale—brand new toys at bargain prices.

Banquet Night: NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Plenty of teens are always available to babysit during evening and luncheon meetings. We will have a list of babysitters at the NFB Camp table at convention.

Please use the NFB Camp registration form to reserve your child’s space.

Division Day Field Trip, Bouncin’ Kids

On Sunday afternoon, July 5, children ages five to ten are invited to experience Bouncin’ Kids. This gymnasium-like facility features dozens of inflatable structures for sliding, bouncing, and general romping. The $25 fee includes transportation, a camp t-shirt, admission, and an ice cream treat. In addition to the extra staff available at the facility, we will be bringing some of our own staff to supervise the event. Because we are limited on space, our regular NFB Camp attendees will have priority for participation on this field trip. All registration will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your paperwork in early.

NFB Camp Registration Form
For children six weeks through ten years
Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15, 2009.

Parent’s Name ____________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________

City ____________________________ State____________________ Zip__________

Home Phone __________________________  Cell Phone __________________________

Child(ren)’s Name(s)
________________________________        Age______      Date of Birth___________

________________________________        Age______      Date of Birth___________

________________________________        Age______      Date of Birth___________

Include description of any disabilities or allergies we should know about: _________



Who, other than parents, is allowed to pick up your child(ren)? ______________


Per Week: $80 first child, $60 siblings   No. of children______ $_________
                        (Does not include banquet)

Per Day: $20 per child per day No. of days_____ x $20/child $_________
                         (Does not include banquet)

Banquet: $15 per child           No. of children ______            $_________

                                                        Total due                      $_________

We understand that NFB Camp is being provided as a service to make our convention more enjoyable for both parents and children. We will pick up children immediately following sessions. We understand that if our child does not follow the rules or if for any reason staff is unable to care for our child, further access to childcare will be denied.

Parent’s Signature ______________________________________ Date ______________

Make checks payable to NFB Camp. Return form to NFB Camp, 5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478; (541) 726-6924.

NFB Camp Schedule

NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Times listed are the opening and closing times of NFB Camp. Children are not accepted earlier than the times listed, and a late fee of $10 will be assessed for all late pick-ups. NFB Camp provides morning and afternoon snacks. You are responsible to provide lunch for your children every day.

Date                                         NFB Camp Hours

Friday, July 3                            8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 4                        Camp is closed

Sunday, July 5                          8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Monday, July 6                         9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 7                        8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 8                   8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Banquet                                    6:30 p.m.–30 minutes after closing

You are required to provide lunch for your child each day. These times may vary, depending on the timing of the actual convention sessions. NFB Camp will open thirty minutes before the beginning gavel and close thirty minutes after sessions recess.


The Future Is Ours and Theirs
NOPBC 2009 Annual Conference

by Carrie Gilmer

From the Editor: Carrie Gilmer is the new, extremely energetic and dedicated president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). She has prepared the following information to give families of blind kids a glimpse into what is in store for them at this summer’s NFB convention when the NOPBC gets together. This is what she says:

The future belongs to those who can anticipate it and take it in hand. This takes a certain level of power, foresight, commitment, confidence, and often just plain hard work. When my husband and I first learned our son Jordan was blind, we had the feeling his future had been snatched away. We had no experience with blindness. We had lost the feeling that his future was ours, and ultimately his, to mold. Something beyond us, blindness, now seemed to limit what he could do, no matter how good we were as parents, no matter how bright and cheery or good he was himself.

While we hoped a normal future was possible, at first we could not imagine how to lay a foundation for it. We lacked knowledge about blindness skills and therefore felt powerless to help him; his future seemed suspended until we could get some answers. We sought someone with accurate knowledge who would tell us what to do. We had the commitment, we had the love and were ready to work hard, but we did not know how to get that future back again.

Though they wanted very much to help, the doctors could not tell us what to do. Our families, friends, and neighbors did not know what to do, but they tried to offer something because they loved us. Much of the advice and questions from these well-meaning family and friends demonstrated as much ignorance as we felt. They asked, “Aren’t there eye transplants?” They advised, “Make him eat lots of carrots.” We concluded that we needed professional help, someone who was an expert on blindness. We looked to the schools. We just assumed that someone who was specially trained and who had been working with the blind for decades would be an expert with accurate knowledge. Soon, though, the suggestions and actions of our school experts seemed to make no more sense than those suggestions we had received from the totally inexperienced. Meanwhile Jordan struggled and was falling behind in school. We were getting more concerned about his future rather than less.

Then we discovered the National Federation of the Blind. We met a wide variety of blind people who had taken their futures into their own hands. What an array of normal futures! We also met professionals who recognized the blind as the true experts and worked with them as colleagues. These professionals also recognized parents as experts and colleagues. We met other parents who had become experts and were willing to share their knowledge and support so it would be less difficult for us than it had been for them. The blind, parents, and professionals were working side by side. We always knew it was our responsibility as parents to chart the course of Jordan’s early life, but our power to navigate had been temporarily lost. The blind people, parents, and professionals in the NFB gave us the right navigational tools. We became empowered to be the navigators while he was young and to teach him how to navigate for himself more and more as he grew.

It takes a village to raise a child, any child. And we all know that the future is dependent upon the power, capabilities, and imagination of the next generation. Young children do not already possess the power, experience, knowledge, or skill to navigate their own futures. The whole purpose of raising them is to teach them how to do it--to be ready as adults able to navigate in the real world. It is after all, in the end, their futures we are talking about. The independent futures of our children, futures that truly belong to them, cannot be shaped only by professionals, or only by the blind, or only by parents of the blind—we need each other, and our children need all of us to believe in them and to work on their behalf.

Nowhere other than at an NFB convention can parents, professionals, and blind people find each other in the same numbers and with the same resources acting out the definition of team, moving the futures of blind children toward real freedom and normal possibility. For nearly twenty-five years Barbara Cheadle, president emerita of the NOPBC, planned and oversaw NOPBC annual conferences that empowered thousands of families to shape the futures of their blind children. Traditions were created and have come to be loved. A standard of excellence was set, a tone established. This is my first conference as the new NOPBC president. It is harder to invent something than to maintain it; my already deep admiration for Barbara has expanded exponentially as the logistics have multiplied. I have given my best efforts to maintaining what Barbara began. The traditional “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has always been an idea I embrace. But “What else can we do?” is another concept I use. It is safe to promise that we will have some old things as well as new things, but all up to our standards and tone.

This year, in recognition of the crucial need for a collegial effort to empower blind children to take control of their own futures, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children will begin with a joint conference among parents, blind professionals, and rehabilitation professionals whose teaching is based on NFB philosophy. On the morning of July 3, for the first time ever, the NOPBC will kick off jointly with NFB rehabilitation professionals in a large group presentation. We will then break into sessions designed to meet specific topics of interest--some for parents, some for professionals, and some that hold common interest. We recognize that we have a need to teach each other and to get to know each other. We will also have opportunities to network and socialize between the two groups.

Every year the following information seems to confuse a few people, so please read carefully. The National Federation of the Blind’s (NFB) annual convention is the whole thing, the entire convention. It has its own registration, fees, and schedule. The NOPBC parent division conference is a distinct set of activities, including its own meetings, workshops, registration, and fees. It takes place during the NFB annual convention. NFB Camp is not run by the NOPBC; it is separate childcare provided by the NFB, run by Carla McQuillan, who is appointed by President Maurer, for all children, blind and sighted, ages six weeks to ten years, whose parents are attending convention. NFB Camp has its own registration and fees. The Teen Youth Track is hosted by the NFB’s Jernigan Institute. The Youth Track has no separate fees from those of the NOPBC registration fees.

Please take note of the following:

The NFB convention agenda and registration are separate, and the convention has its own fees and deadlines. They are the whole week and include many activities for everyone, main general sessions, exhibit halls, and the banquet; they qualify you for the low hotel rates. (Consult the first two pages of this issue for details.)
NFB Camp is also a separate activity with its own registration form and fees. (See the preceding article for a description and registration form.)

NOPBC Preregistration ends June 1 and will then be closed. Save $5 by preregistering. It will cost $5 more a person in Detroit. Some workshops may have reached seating capacity by late registration and may be closed to new registrants. Don’t risk it, preregister now.

The Future Is Ours and Theirs

Day 1: Friday, July 3

7:45 a.m.8:30 a.m. Late NOPBC Registration: Rehabilitation professionals do not need to register for both NOPBC and rehab events. Those who have preregistered should check in and pick up name tags and materials. Everyone must register to attend any part of the NOPBC conference. Save money and headaches, register early.
8:30 a.m.: NFB Camp opens (ages six weeks 10 years): must preregister, check the NFB Camp article for information about activities and fees and to preregister.

NOPBC Members, Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, Children 5–18, and Interested Others
8:45 a.m.
Welcome: The Future Is Ours and Theirs
Dr. Edward Bell, Louisiana Tech University, and Carrie Gilmer, NOPBC president
8:50 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Welcome and Kid Talk with Dr. Marc Maurer, NFB president
9:30 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
“What I Really Need from You Is…” Teen/Young Adult Panel

Children and Youth
10:15 a.m.–noon
Braille Carnival
Children and Teens (ages 5–18) will be dismissed with escorts to attend the Braille Carnival. Laura Weber, coordinator
10:15 a.m.–noon
Youth Track All about Me (option for ages 13 and over). See Youth Track information in “Convention Attractions” elsewhere in this issue.

Parents, Professionals, and the Organized Blind
10:20 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Bridging the Gap: Parents, Professionals, and the Organized Blind
Keynote: Dr. Fredric Schroeder
11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
IEPs and IPEs: What’s the Difference? Carrie Gilmer and Dr. Edward Bell
11:50 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
NOPBC lunch on your own; pick up your children.

July 3 Afternoon Break-outs:

NOPBC Parents, Interested Blindness Professionals, NFB Members, and Others (Must either be registered with NOPBC or be rehabilitation professionals). Look for simultaneous, informative rehabilitation breakouts for July 3 in the rehabilitation professionals listing in “Convention Attractions” elsewhere in this issue and in the rehabilitation conference agenda available at conference registration on July 3.
2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Five separate, three-hour, concurrent workshops. Choose one.
1. Show Me the Technology: Middle/High School
Matt Maurer, professor of instructional technology, Butler University, and Al Lovati, technology instructor, Indiana School for the Blind, join with some homework survivors to teach you what you need to know.
2. Braille Music for Dummies:
Enough Braille music to know better and help your student. Kyle Conley, Jennifer Dunnam, and Michigan’s own Braille Beats
3. One-Two, Buckle My Shoe; Three-Four, out the Door
Teachers of blind students and experienced parents cover proactive intervention towards typical preschool child development timelines: Preliteracy, play, technology, and IDEA rights for preschool.
Debbi Head, Heather Fields, and Annee Hartzell.
4. Five-Six, Pick up Sticks; Seven-Eight, Lay Them Straight
Teachers of blind students and experienced parents cover proactive intervention towards typical elementary school timelines: Literacy, technology, social skills, extracurricular, and IEPs. School and home.
Denise Mackenstadt, Emily Gibbs, Carol Castellano
5. Penrickton Center
Special off-site option for parents of children with moderate to severe multiple disabilities: This center uses Lillie Nielson’s philosophies and techniques.
Brunhilde Merk-Adams

2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Children and Youth K–12
1. Not So Mad Scientists: Chemistry Experiments, Hands-On
Dr. Andrew Greenberg, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Cary Supalo, Penn State; Marilyn Winograd, teacher of blind students; and Dr. Lillian Rankel, science department, Hopewell Valley High Central, returned by popular demand. Thought chemistry or science was boring or inaccessible to the blind? Think again.
2. Show Me the Pictures: Ann Cunningham, author, artist, and teacher at the Colorado Center for the Blind, will make pictures and drawing fun while sneaking in instruction on interpreting, making, and using tactile drawings and representations. Debbie Kent Stein, another author, assisting
Rotating by Kgrade 5 (1. and 2.) and grades 612 (2. and 1.), 90 minutes each session.
Youth Ages 13 and Over Option: (See Youth Track for details)
2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
"Back and Biceps, Chest and Triceps"; 3:30–5:00 p.m. "Me and YouTube"
5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Dinner on your own. Parents are encouraged to mingle and network with professionals in education and rehabilitation by joining their Mix and Mingle Reception during this time.
6:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m
NOPBC Hospitality: All are welcome.
Brief Program: 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Barbara Mathews, emcee
Growing Up Blind
Rookies: Tips and Tidbits for Convention Survival
Sharing Parent Power

Day 2: Saturday, July 4

NFB Registration (pick up your packets), exhibit hall opens, Independence Market opens. Wear your name tags all week. No NFB Camp today.

Families, Chaperones, Teachers, and Kids:
Cane Walk: Can Run, Rock, or Roll
9:00 a.m.10:30 a.m.
Session I: Talk and Travel
10:30 a.m.noon
Session II: Talk and Travel
All ages and family members welcome, children require a chaperone or parent. Done under sleepshades. Carol Castellano and NOPBC in partnership with Jeff Altman of Nebraska Commission for the Blind, Dr. Edward Bell of Louisiana Tech University, Louisiana Center for the Blind, BLIND, Inc., Colorado Center for the Blind, individual NOMC-certified instructors, and NFB members.

9:00 a.m.–noon
Cane Crawl/Toddle/Walk: Ages 03
Instructed playtime and independent movement; active class (no siblings).
Dr. Denise Robinson, Debbie Head, Merry-Noel Chamberlain, Stephanie Kieszak-Holloway, Heather Fields

Noon–1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own.

July 4: Afternoon
Childcare for ages six weeks 4 years not available for the afternoon sessions.
Limited assistance in finding individual babysitters will be offered; quiet or sleeping young children are welcome to attend with parents.

2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Choose one:
1. Spaghetti, Meatballs, and Birthday Parties: Manners, Cafeterias, Games, Playgrounds, and Friends (pre-K and elementary). Debbi Head, Emily Gibbs, Merry-Noel Chamberlain
2. Bring Me to the Mall; Text Me Later: Manners, Food Courts, Friends (middle and high school). Eric Guillory and Deja Powell
3. Back to School: Getting ready now for fall IEPs, new schools, the next grade, new teachers, other professionals in your child’s life, and friends. (any age). Carol Castellano
4. Speed Bumps: Improving Braille Reading Speed and Fluency (any age). Dr. Ruby Ryles and some speed readers
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Choose one:
5. Getting Ready to Bring Home and Manage the Bacon: Summer Jobs, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Volunteering (middle and high school).
Jan Bailey, vocational rehabilitation counselor for three decades
6. Book Making: No, not gambling; making Braille books at home (pre-K and elementary). Krystal Guillory and Carlton Anne Cook Walker
7. Cooking and No Looking/Chores without Bores: Two blind sisters, Melissa Riccobono and Jennifer Wenzel, who grew up with the expectation of cooking and doing chores and are now moms themselves, share nonvisual techniques and tips (any age).
8. Pro to Pro to Parent to Para: What if: the teacher of blind students says, “It’s not my job,” and the OT says, “Not my job,” and the ST says, “I don’t know how,” and the parent says, “I don’t know how,” and the O and M says, “It definitely is not my job,” and they all say, “Let the para do it, because we don’t have time.” Whose job is what? How can everyone be helped to know, empowered to do--decisively working as a team? (any age). Dr. Denise Robinson, Gail Wagner, Annee Hartzell

Children and Youth:
2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
1. Braille Beats--Kids get into Braille music in a fun way. Kyle Conley
2. You Want to Move it, Move it: Lisamaria Martinez, judo expert, and friends get the kids moving it. Stacy Cervenka assisting. Rotating: Kgrades 5 (1. then 2.) and grades 612 (2. then 1.), 90 minutes each session.
5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Dinner on your own.
(Recommend moms dine out. See next item.)
7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

Dads’ Night Out:
Sighted dads of blind kids, blind dads of sighted kids, blind dads of blind kids, or, if you are a man and were once a kid with a father and have some advice for dads―all are welcome.

Day 3: Sunday, July 5
NOPBC has nothing scheduled. (Get your NFB registration packets and Independence March items if you have not already done so.)
NFB Camp opens (must have preregistered for camp).

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Casual NOPBC board gathering for lunch.
12:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Middle School Big Adventure: Okay guys and gals, this is your day to hang out with blind mentors, explore the area, make friends, influence people, check out the exhibit hall without your parents. It is your free time to hang out together as a group and have fun (ages 9–14 only, same-age siblings welcome). Led by Michael Freholm and Garrick Scott.

NFB Camp, (ages 5–10) afternoon field trip to Bouncin’ Kids (Must be preregistered and paid with NFB Camp).

Parents and interested others:
1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Annual NOPBC Division Meeting: Making Their Future Dreams Come True
Can a Blind Kid Dream of Being a Fireman?: Parnell Diggs, president, NFB of South Carolina
Making My Own Dream Come True: Surprise Guest
Independence the Old Fashioned Way: Surprise Guest
What I Want to Be: Kid Panel
Here’s How to Do It: Most Excellent Teachers
Are Love and Marriage in the Dream? Sighted and Blind Spouses Panel
NOPBC Presidential Report
Brief Business Meeting and Elections
6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Braille Book Flea Market (all welcome):
Happy birthday, Louis Braille! Louis makes an appearance, cake served.
Program, recognitions, books, books, and more books

Day 4: Monday, July 6
March for Independence
NFB General Sessions begin. See convention agenda online after June 1.

Parents, Rehabilitation Professionals, and Interested Others
6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Choose one:
1. Braille for Dummies: (very basic) Why Braille, the myths and the facts, print or Braille or dual, where a parent can learn it, what the law says, getting books easily in hardcopy or by the Internet using the technology available. Dr. Denise Robinson
2. The Science of Getting in on Science: Adapting with high and low tech tools for equal participation and understanding in science. Cary Supalo, Marilyn Winograd, and Dr. Lillian Rankel
3. Mental Mapping: How do you become skilled at mental mapping and independent mobility? How do you use sounds and cues in the environment? How do you get back from whence you came? Daniel Kish
8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Choose one:
4. Show Them the Pictures: Tactile pictures and maps. How can you help your child get access to pictures, and why are they important? Ann Cunningham
5. It Adds up or Multiplies When You Can; Subtracts or Divides When You Can’t: Taking the headaches out of adapting—high- and low-tech in math. We want them to like math, know they can do it, and get the access to actually do it. Eric and Krystal Guillory
6. Research and Eval Testing: What Kind of Data Is That? Dr. Ruby Ryles and Dr. Eric Vasiliauskas
Children and Youth: Ages 5–14
6:30 p.m. –9:30 p.m. A universally fun time: Noreen Grice and volunteer coordinator Michael Freholm
Youth Track Option:
Monday, July 6: 7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
"Me and the Gossip Girls": Teen Talk Session, teenage girls (ages 14–18)
"Me and the Guys": Teen talk for teenage boys (ages 14–18)

Day 5: Tuesday, July 7

Parents and Interested Others:
6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Mock IEP. Come laugh and learn. Those who wish to attend the Mock IEP but are not NOPBC registered may join in the hilarity by donating $5 at the door. Watch out: between the laughs you might really learn some advocacy and what is proper in an IEP. First come, first seated. When the seats are filled, there are no more.

Children and Youth: Ages 514
6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
We will not let convention acquaintances be forgot. Led by Michael Freholm.

Youth Track Option
6:00 p.m.–10 p.m. (ages 13–18)
"It Wasn't Me": Murder Mystery at the Club

Day 6: Wednesday, July 8
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. NOPBC Annual Board Meeting
Last Day General Sessions. Great banquet in the evening.

Postmarked by June 1
Preregistrations postmarked after June 1 will be returned.
Mail to:
Carrie Gilmer, NOPBC President
1152 106th Lane NE
Minneapolis, MN 55434

Fees: (Fees for the 2009 NOPBC Conference cover workshop materials, informational packets, extra AV equipment, hospitality refreshments, children’s workshop materials, and other expenses not covered by the NFB or donated by presenters. Registration includes at-large NOPBC membership dues.) $25 for each adult for preregistration by June 1, $30 per adult for late, $5 per child ages 5–12 for preregistration by June 1, $10 for late, $15 per youth ages 13–18 preregistered by June 1, $20 for late registrations. Preregistration closes June 1. After that you must register in Detroit.
(NOTE: NFB Camp and NFB convention registration are separate.)

# of adults attending:______(x) $25=____Early, (x) $30 Late_______
# of children (age 5–12):____(x) $5=_____Early, (x) $10 Late_______
# of teens (age 13–18):______(x) $15=____Early, (x) $20 Late_______
Total: $__________________
            Enclose check payable to NOPBC. Registrations without payment will not be considered valid.

Preregistration is strongly urged. Seating capacity for all NOPBC workshops and activities is limited. First come, first registered.
Adult(s): Name:______________________________________________
[ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other___________________
[ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other____________________
List additional adults below.
Name ________________________________
Address:_____________________________ City:_____________________
State:____________ Zip:______________ Phone:_____________________
Email:____________________________ Alt. phone:__________________
Children’s names and ages:__________________________________________ _________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________

Want to receive Future Reflections? _______ Local NFB/POBC member?____
Is this your first convention?_________ If not, how many?______________

Postmarked by June 1

Adults: Friday, July 3, Afternoon workshops, 2 p.m.–5 p.m. Choose one:
1. Technology [ ] 2. Braille Music [ ] 3. Preschool [ ] 4. Elementary [ ]
5. Penrickton: Moderate/Severe Multiply Disabled Child [ ] (off-site)

Children and Youth: (ages 5–18)
Register for all NOPBC sessions unless choosing Youth Track option. (You may choose the Youth Track options for one or all sessions.)
Braille Carnival [ ] # children____ Ages_______ Names________________
Rotating by 90 minutes each session: children K-grade 5 go to science then art; grades 6-12 art then science.
Science [ ] # children___ Ages_______ Names_______________________
Tactile Art/Pictures [ ] # children___ Ages ______ Names______________
Youth Track: (option for kids 13 and over)
“All About Me” # teens _____ Names______________________________
Concurrent with Braille Carnival
Youth Track: (13–18) Fitness # teens___________ You Tube # teens_______

Saturday, July 4, 9:00 a.m.–noon
Cane Walk:
Session I: 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. [ ]        # adults________        # children________
Session II: 10:30 a.m.-noon [ ] # adults________        # children________
Cane Crawl/Toddle (ages 0–3) [ ]        # adults_______          # children________

Adult afternoon workshops, July 4:
2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Choose one for each adult:
1. Manners/Social (pre-K and elementary) [ ] 3. Back to School [ ]
2. Manners/Social (middle/high school) [ ] 4. Reading Speed [ ]
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Choose one for each adult:
5. Job Readiness [ ]      7. Cooking/Chores [ ]
6. Book Making [ ]       8. The Four Ps [ ]

Children and Youth (ages 5–18):
Music [ ] # children____ Ages_______ Names____________________
Move It [ ] # children____ Ages_______ Names___________________
Sunday, July 5: Middle School Big Adventure (ages 9–14) [ ] #_____
Middle School Student

Monday, July 6, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Children’s Activity # children___________
Adult (check one for each adult attending if different or more than one):
6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Braille [ ]  Science [ ]        Mental Map [ ]
8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Pictures [ ]            Math [ ]            Research and Testing [ ]
Tuesday, July 7, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.:
Children’s Activity # children__________

Adults: Mock IEP # attending_____ Come early, seats not guaranteed.


Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation Available at National Convention
Spanish Translators Needed

by D. Curtis Willoughby

From the Editor: Curtis Willoughby is a member of the NFB's research and development committee and head of our Ham Radio Interest Group. Here is his announcement about FM receivers at convention:

Again this year at national convention we will offer special arrangements for severely hearing-impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. This will consist of transmission of the public address system signal over a special short-range radio transmitter for the severely hearing-impaired. Also Spanish-language translation of convention proceedings in general sessions and the banquet will be provided using a similar arrangement. The special receivers required for these services will also be provided.

In cooperation with several state affiliates (notably Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide special receivers for these transmissions to those needing them. The receiver-lending will be managed by the Ham Radio Group and will be operated from a table just outside the meeting room. A deposit of $40, cash only, will be required of anyone wishing to check out one of the Federation's receivers. Note that the deposit is higher this year than previously. Also note that this year the checkout table will not be operating on opening day (Monday, July 6) before the call-to-order gavel falls in order to avoid conflicts with the March for Independence. Those wishing to check out receivers should consider checking them out before or during the board meeting on Sunday, July 5, or at a Deaf-Blind Division meeting before Monday.

The deposit will be returned if the receiver is checked in at the checkout table in good condition by the end of the banquet, or within thirty minutes of adjournment of the last convention session that the borrower plans to attend. Batteries for the receiver will be provided. Anyone checking out a Federation receiver will be given upon request a miniature earbud-type earphone to use with the receiver. Along with explaining what will be available, it is important that we explain what will not be.

The miniature earbud loudspeaker-type earphone will be the only kind of earphone offered. The receiver requires a 3.5 mm (formerly called 1/8-inch) earphone plug, in case you want to use your own earphone(s), silhouette, neck loop, adapter cable, etc. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of arriving at the convention. Other than the earphone jack on the receiver, no means of connection to a hearing aid will be available from the checkout table. The receiver does not have a built-in loudspeaker. While earphones, and even neck loops, are sometimes available in the exhibit hall, you cannot be certain of getting one there. Many severely hearing-impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking to a receiver in the hearing aid. Some of these hearing aid systems can be tuned to receive the Federation's special transmitters. In this case the hearing-impaired person may simply tune his or her own receiver to receive the Federation's transmitter and will not need to check out a Federation receiver. Some audiologists and rehabilitation agencies are now buying digital and other FM hearing aids that cannot be tuned to the Federation's frequency. If you have one of these or if you have any other type of hearing aid, you should obtain from your audiologist an adapter cable to connect from your hearing aid to a monaural 3.5 mm earphone jack. This will allow you to plug the cable from your hearing aid directly into a receiver you check out from our table, which will allow you to hear as well as anyone else using one of our receivers.

The transmitter for the hearing impaired will be connected to the public address system so that the signals from the head table and the aisle microphones will be transmitted on channel 36 (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). (People must not operate their personal transmitters on channel 36 or on channel 38 because that would interfere with others’ reception.) This means that folks wishing to use their own receivers (rather than checking out one of the Federation's receivers) need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel 36. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers. Caution your audiologist that there is more than one channel 36, so he or she must also verify that your frequency matches our frequency. This announcement is published now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention. It contains this amount of detail so that any audiologist who works with this type of equipment should know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person's hearing system must have in order to work with the Federation's system at convention. Even if your hearing aid is not of the FM type, you may be able to purchase a silhouette, a neck loop, or an adapter cable to couple the signal from a Federation receiver directly to your hearing aid. Your audiologist should also be able to help you with this.

The service for Spanish speakers will be similar, except that a live Spanish translator will speak over a separate transmitter on channel 38 (75.275 MHz narrow band FM). We do not expect that people will bring their own receivers for the Spanish-translation service unless they are also hearing impaired and use an FM hearing aid system. Spanish speakers may, however, wish to bring their own ear phones. See above for a description of the type of plug needed. Norm Gardner from Utah will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and he would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call him before convention at (801) 224-6969, or send him email at <[email protected]>.

Finally, if other state affiliates or chapters are interested in purchasing this type of equipment for use in state and local meetings, they are encouraged to purchase equipment that is compatible with that which we are using and to allow it to be used in the equipment pool that the Ham Radio Group administers at national convention. I (D. Curtis Willoughby) would like to help you choose equipment that is compatible with that which the NFB is using. I may also be able to help you get the good prices the NFB has been getting. You may contact me at (303) 424-7373 or at <[email protected]>. The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing-impaired and Spanish-speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.


Dialysis at the NFB National Convention in Detroit

Those needing dialysis during the NFB national convention in Detroit this summer will find many dialysis units within a few miles of the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan 48243. Those requiring this service should have their local dialysis units make arrangements with one of these Detroit facilities more than forty-five days before the convention. A complete list of dialysis centers near the convention hotel may be found by calling the DaVita dialysis centers placement specialists, toll-free at (800) 400-8331, or local number (866) 889-6019, or by visiting their Webpage <http://www.dialysisfinder.com> and filling out the search form. A placement specialist with the FMCMA (FMC) group of dialysis centers in Detroit can be reached by calling toll-free (888) 586-6488.  (Note: Both toll-free numbers may work internationally.)

Here is a small sample of facilities near the convention hotel that provide dialysis services. This list is not complete and should not be interpreted as endorsing any of these facilities or guaranteeing the quality of their services. Your local dialysis unit may be able to assist you in making such evaluations. Remember that individuals are responsible for and must pay out of pocket before each treatment the approximately $30 not covered by Medicare, any additional physician's fees, and any charges for other medications.


Jury Finds Iowa Department for the Blind’s Guide Dog Policy Does Not Discriminate

From the Editor: The Iowa Attorney General’s office circulated the following press release on February 19, 2009. Stephanie Dohmen has been attempting to sue the Iowa Department for the Blind for years because she was not permitted to use her guide dog while a student at the Department’s adult training and adjustment center. She had argued that the consumer choice provisions of the Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998 allowed her to use her dog instead of the long white cane that is part of the instructional program of the adult training center.

Even though a jury has now found in favor of the Department for the Blind, it is conceivable that Ms. Dohmen and her advocates could appeal this decision as they have done from court to court for the last six years. But this time their arguments would have to be based on errors in this trial, a much more technical argument than they have had to make until now. In any case, here is the press release announcing the jury verdict:

Des Moines--A Polk County jury has rejected a Des Moines woman’s claim that the State of Iowa Department for the Blind discriminated against her by refusing her request to use a guide dog while she attended the Department’s orientation and adjustment training program.

The Department for the Blind orientation and training program is a comprehensive program that uses a totally nonvisual approach to teaching blindness skills. Students with partial vision are required to wear sleepshades to prevent reliance upon any visual cues during training. Department policies prohibit the use of any visual aids within the orientation and training program, including guide dogs. The Department has no objection to guide dogs in other situations.

Stephanie Dohmen, who is legally blind, attended the program for several months beginning in September 2000 and sought to re-enter the program in June 2002 accompanied by her guide dog. Dohmen claimed in her lawsuit that the Department’s policy violated her rights under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and under federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. After a six-day trial, the eight-person jury rejected Dohmen’s claims in a verdict entered Wednesday.

The Department for the Blind, which was represented in the trial by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, argued that a totally nonvisual approach–and training without assistance of a guide dog or other visual aids–is the most effective approach for visually impaired persons who are learning skills and techniques for dealing with blindness.

The Department places no limitations upon the use of guide dogs in other settings, including in the Department for the Blind building in downtown Des Moines. For example, Karen Keninger, the director of the Department, uses a guide dog, and the dog accompanied Keninger during her testimony at the trial.

The orientation program typically includes about six months of full-time training in various problem-solving skills, such as cane travel on public streets, using Braille, using computers, and dealing with many other situations. The Department for the Blind’s orientation and adjustment program was established in 1959 and is considered by many to be one of the most effective in the country.

During the trial the State Department for the Blind presented testimony from Joanne Wilson and Fredric K. Schroeder, each a former commissioner of the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration, which oversees programs for the blind around the country.

“Iowa’s orientation program profoundly changes lives,” said Wilson, who is also executive director of Affiliate Action of the National Federation of the Blind. “It works. It’s a cutting-edge program and a model for other states.” Wilson is a Webster City native and ISU graduate, who went through the Iowa Department for the Blind’s orientation program herself.

Schroeder said: “To me the central point is that individuals have a choice in the type of training they take. While programs must and should make reasonable accommodations, they cannot be required to alter the fundamentals of the program.”


University of Vermont Raised-Line Drawing Project

by Mike Rosen

From the Editor: Mike Rosen is the coordinator of design education in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont. In the brief article below he describes a research project that we will see more of at the convention this summer. This is what he says:

With funding from the National Federation of the Blind, a team of three engineering students at the University of Vermont is developing an improved system for raised line drawing, one which provides means for erasing and digitizing. This new product is intended for use by blind engineers, architects, artists, students, teachers, and others who need to communicate graphically with their blind and sighted peers and pupils. The context for this work is the two-semester Senior Experience in Engineering Design (SEED), the capstone project course taught jointly to electrical and mechanical engineering students. Each of the fifteen student teams in the course takes on a real-world problem, typically in partnership with a company or a user community. At design night, at the end of the spring term, all teams present their working prototypes to an audience of faculty, outside partners, fellow students, invited guests, and the public.

The students comprising the Tactile Sketchpad team are Andrew Haas (ME), Jon Paquette (EE), and Jacob Flanigan (EE). Their advisors include Al Maneki, a blind mathematician retired from the NSA, and Jean Haverstick from the UVM ACCESS program, which assists students with special needs. The faculty mentors are Mike Coleman, senior lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Program, and Mike Rosen, coordinator of design education for the School of Engineering and SEED principal instructor/developer. Mark Riccobono, director of the Jernigan Institute, is the team’s contact collaborator at the NFB.

The final design configuration is a stylus-and-cellophane clipboard-based system, recognizably like current commercial products. The new features include a thermal eraser that allows the user to flatten previously scribed lines by local application of heat. In addition, given the availability of inexpensive tablet digitizers, the team expects to incorporate digitizing so that the device will be able to upload files of user drawings to a computer, from which they can be disseminated to remote colleagues by the Internet.

The team’s engineering efforts are currently focused in three areas:

Potential users have been recruited through the NFB, personal contacts, and Vermont organizations of blind people to undertake pilot evaluations of mockups and prototypes. Their reactions and objective drawing performance will provide the guidance the design team needs in order to converge on a product that is useful and appealing to its intended market.

The Tactile Sketchpad design team will take part in the upcoming NFB convention in Detroit. The team will describe, display, and demonstrate the new tool in a number of meetings and settings. They are particularly anxious to give potential users of the new product opportunities to try out and evaluate the alternative designs.



This month’s recipes are submitted by Julaine A. Arient-Rollman, vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota and president of the Ponderosa Chapter. She is also the wife of NFB of South Dakota President Ken Rollman.

Roast Pork

3– to 5–pound pork roast with bone
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, cut in half
1 garlic clove
1 cup water
Caraway seeds

Method: Cut small slits in roast and insert slivers of garlic here and there. Salt and pepper entire roast and place in roasting pan. Add a cup of water. Sprinkle top with caraway seeds. Cut the onion in half and place against meat in the bottom of the pan. Roast about thirty minutes a pound in preheated 275-degree oven. Baste meat often, and add more water if it evaporates. I like to cut up peeled potatoes and carrots and add them to the roast and top with a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. If you do this, do not use the water. You can add additional mushrooms. This makes a very nice gravy to serve over meat after it is cooked.

Cheesy Potatoes

1 stick butter, melted
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 16-ounce container sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 32-ounce bag of hash browns, thawed
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups corn flakes
1/4 cup butter, melted

Method: Mix together the melted butter, chicken soup, sour cream, salt, and onion flakes. Stir in hash browns and cheddar cheese. Place in a greased 9-by-12-inch baking pan. Combine the corn flakes and 1/4 cup melted butter and spread on top. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for fifty to sixty minutes.

Pumpkin Bread

I purchase a pumpkin each year and make my own pumpkin and freeze in containers for future use. You can also use canned pumpkin. For those who want to make their own, wash pumpkin well and cut in half. Collect the seeds and save to make roasted pumpkin seeds. Cut shell into quarters and then into eighths. Place on cookie sheet, skin side up, in a preheated 350-degree oven for one hour or until tender when pierced with a fork. Chop pumpkin and purée in blender until smooth. You can also cube, boil, and mash as you would potatoes. Place puréed pumpkin in containers and freeze for future use.

2 cups pumpkin, 1 1-pound can
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup water (if needed)

Method: Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix thoroughly. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for sixty to seventy minutes or twenty-five minutes for muffins. Makes twenty-four muffins.

Sour Cream Cake (my grandmother’s recipe)

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup walnuts, ground fine in food processer, mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method: Cream butter. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Butter and flour an angel food cake pan. Carefully spoon half of this thick batter into pan all the way around to cover the bottom. Sprinkle half of nut mixture over this layer. Then spoon in the rest of the batter on top (don’t pour). Top with remaining nut mixture. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for one hour. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Cool completely on rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. The cake is sweet enough without the extra sugar, but my grandmother did this. I bake these cakes for our bake sale auction at NFB state conventions.

Horns (Cookies)

1 pound butter, softened
1 pound flour (4 cups)
1/2 pound ground walnuts
1 egg
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method: Mix all ingredients; however, it is important to keep the dough chilled. Butter hands and work with small amounts of dough at a time. Pinch off a small amount of dough and form into small crescents. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for about ten minutes. Remove to a rack to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. They melt in your mouth.

Layered Salad

1 head lettuce, torn into pieces
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 pint mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 pound cheese, grated
Bacon bits

Method: Layer the above vegetables in a square container suitable for serving. Frost with mayonnaise (not salad dressing) mixed with two tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle with a half pound of grated cheese and top with bacon bits. Refrigerate for at least twelve hours before serving.


Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

The Shoreline Chapter of the NFB of Connecticut recently conducted elections with the following results: president, Al Daniels; vice president, Melanie Tolley; secretary, Nora Tomporowski; and treasurer, Stuart Ennever.

Officer elections in the Westchester Chapter of the NFB of New York took place in January 2009. Elected were president, Dennis Holston; vice president, Jim Bonerbo; secretary/treasurer, Ed White; and board member, Richard Sweenni. If anybody lives in the Westchester area and wants to join the chapter, contact the chapter president, Dennis Holston at (212) 933-0688 or <[email protected]>.

Attention Diabetics:
My name is Bernadette M. Jacobs. I have been a member of the National Federation of the Blind for many years. As we all know, blind people have a right to use accessible glucose-monitoring meters. If you or someone you know has been denied the right to an accessible meter, you should notify the NFB. I am a consultant with Diagnostic Devices, Inc., (DDI), makers of the New Prodigy Voice, the very newest of the talking glucose monitoring systems for blind and visually impaired diabetics. Independent monitoring of one's blood sugars is vital and of utmost importance in diabetes management. We of the NFB are well aware that many, many blind diabetic patients do not have meters they can use independently because insurance companies, brokers, and managed care facilities either do not have these meters on their formularies or simply do not consider us in network.

DDI and the NFB are currently working with insurance companies and other managed care facilities to make the New Prodigy Voice available to anyone who needs a talking meter that he or she can use completely independently. After all, independence is what we're all about.

I cordially invite anyone who needs a talking glucose monitoring system and more options to contact Charlie Brown at <[email protected]org> or (410) 659-9314, ext. 2206. You can reach me, Bernadette M. Jacobs, home phone (410) 455-5311; email <[email protected]>; 1501 Langford Road, Gwynn Oak, Maryland 21207-4958. For anyone who doesn't have computer access, I read contracted Braille. Also for those with limited long distance, you can call me, and I'll be happy to call you back.

The National Federation of the Blind of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, held elections on January 17, 2009. Elected were: president, Jerry Moreno; vice president, Laurancene Murphy; secretary, Laverne Gallant; treasurer, Jeremiah Z. Rogers; and board members, Muriel Brown and Mary O’Daniel.

Diabetic Volunteers Needed at Convention:
Dr. Anne Williams of Case Western Reserve University will be conducting a study at the convention this summer. The Jernigan Institute has approved the study, so we urge those who can help to volunteer to do so. Here is the information:

If you are attending the 2009 NFB convention and you have had diabetes for more than one year, you are invited to participate in a research study about the accuracy of dosing with an insulin pen, after receiving detailed instructions. For this study I need to recruit forty blind people with diabetes and forty sighted people with diabetes.

The study will involve the following steps:

1. Before the convention I will call you and ask you several questions to make sure you meet the requirements of the study.
2. At the convention you will need to sign an informed consent form.
3. You will be given an appointment time to come to the study room. All blind people in this study will listen to a recording of audio instructions in the use of an insulin pen, and sighted people in this study will look at visual instructions. All will have a chance to handle a pen and pen supplies and may take as much time with the instructions, pens, and supplies as they wish until they feel confident that they know how to use the pen.
4. Each person will be asked to deliver ten specific doses of insulin into an injection ball–a rubber ball commonly used to teach insulin injections.
5. A research assistant will weigh the injection ball immediately before and immediately after delivery of the insulin to find out exactly how much insulin was delivered. The assistant will keep a record of all doses delivered.

Please note: If you participate in this study, you will not inject insulin into yourself. You will only learn how to use a pen and inject doses into an injection ball. You will receive no direct benefits for participating in the study. As a way of thanking you for your time and participation in the feasibility study, you will receive a $10 gift certificate for Wal-Mart after you complete steps one to five outlined above. If you do not complete steps one to five, you will not receive the gift card. You may decide that you do not want to participate in this study for any reason at all, and you do not need to explain your reason. This would not affect you negatively in any way. In particular, your decision would not affect your relationship with the NFB, with Case Western Reserve University, or with the researcher, Ann Williams. Are you willing to participate in this study? Or do you have further questions about it? If so, please contact the researcher: Ann S. Williams, PhD, RN, CDE, email <[email protected]>; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106; phone (216) 368-1704.

Announcing Exclusive T-Mobile Discounts for NFB Members
The NFB has established a partnership with T-Mobile to provide discounted wireless mobile service and equipment to NFB members. NFB members are entitled to a 10 percent discount on any T-Mobile rate plan plus special discounts on wireless handsets. For a limited time a $100 T-Mobile service credit is also available when activating service with the knfbReader software and Nokia N82 handset. The credit will be applied within sixty days of the service start date. For information on the N82 promotion, contact Vince Tranavitch at (717) 858-0287 or <[email protected]>. The N82 service credit program is available only through the NFB national account manager, Vince Tranavitch.

For information about standard T-Mobile service and the NFB discount, access the T-Mobile NFB discount link on the NFB Website or call (866) 464-8662 and mention promo code 9737TMOFAV. Existing T-Mobile customers should call (877) 453-8824 and mention promo code 9737TMOFAV to have the NFB discount added to your account.

Beginnings and Blueprints Early Childhood Conference May 8-9, 2009:
The NFB Jernigan Institute will be holding a Beginnings and Blueprints Early Childhood conference this May for families of blind children ages birth to seven. This conference is intended to serve families from the Mid-Atlantic states, but other interested individuals are welcome to attend. This conference will be packed with informative breakout sessions, exciting presentations, and exhibits designed to equip parents with the tools they need to help build a successful future for their children full of high expectations. To learn more or to register online, visit <http://www.nfb.org/nfb/Early_Childhood_Education_Initiative.asp>. If you have questions, please contact Mary Jo Thorpe, education programs specialist at the NFB Jernigan Institute, (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or by email at <[email protected]>.

Vets’ Membership Drive
Join the National Association of Blind Veterans now, before our Detroit convention, and, if you are one of the first hundred,  receive the following for just $20 plus handling: 2009 dues paid in full, 2009 membership package, and a three-button official NABV polo shirt with  logo (sizes available: medium, large, x-large, and xx-large). Send your check or money order for $20.00 plus $6.50 shipping by U.S. Postal Service. Total $26.50 to Dwight Sayer, 259 Regal Downs Circle, Winter Garden, Florida 34787. Don’t forget to include the size shirt you want. Y’all come and join the most happening division in the NFB.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Invest in Your Future:
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, obtaining a high school diploma has never been more important. Their report, “Education at a Glance,” indicates that 44 percent of adults without high school degrees in the United States have low incomes, making half of the country’s median income or less. What does this mean for people who are visually impaired? Only 45 percent of blind or severely visually impaired Americans have completed high school, compared to 80 percent of sighted Americans. Many blind or visually impaired adults do not finish high school because of the lack of special resources, including special education teachers or Braille instruction. In a challenged economy the investment of learning for personal growth is not only an intelligent choice, it can also help boost earning potential.

Why not take advantage of The Hadley School for the Blind’s tuition-free distance education? Students can supplement existing high school credits and receive a diploma from their own high school or matriculate through Hadley, a certified state of Illinois high school program.

Students have a one-on-one relationship with their instructors and can study in the comfort of their homes at their own pace. One of the great advantages of Hadley is that it offers blindness-specific courses not always available locally. Course materials are available in the student’s preferred medium: Braille, large print, audio, or Internet. To enroll, students must be over the age of fourteen, have at least an eighth grade education, and submit an eye report to Hadley’s Student Services Department.

Hadley also offers courses to help students become better prepared for employment. Through its Adult Continuing Education program, Hadley offers instruction on a variety of employment topics, including job searches, the Microsoft Office suite, and business writing. All courses for students who are blind or visually impaired are free of charge.

If you are interested in our high school program or employment-related courses, call Hadley’s Student Services Department at (800) 526-9909, or visit us on the Web at <www.hadley.edu>.

Attention New York School for the Blind Alumni:
The Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind will hold its annual reunion at the Holiday Inn in Batavia from June 12 to June 14. Many people arrive on Thursday, June 11, and the special room rates will apply for that night. Rooms are $70 for a regular room, $90 for a suite. If dues are sent to the treasurer before May 1, New York state tax does not have to be paid. We have two scholarships of $200 each for anyone who has never attended Alumni  (or has not attended in a long time) and feels the need. These must be applied for with one of our officers before April 1. We are tentatively planning an extra excursion on the Erie Canal for Sunday afternoon, and the room rates will also then apply for Sunday night. For details about whom to contact, for what, and by when, please phone Tim Hendel (256) 650-5212.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

For Sale:
Used electronic music instrument. No visual displays or menus, just knobs, switches, and sliders. 1983 analog synthesizer by Yamaha, model CS01, battery or AC power, designed so you can wear it like a guitar, has built-in speaker and three octaves of mini keys with selection of total of eight-octave range of sound, plus breath control input, also pitch-bend and modulation wheels and glissando footage and waveform selectors, plus traditional VCO, VCA, VCF, ADSR architecture. Asking $350, including shipping. Contact Steve Waltke, (517) 347-7046. If you leave a message, speak your contact information slowly and clearly to accommodate my hearing deficit.

NFB Pledge
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.