Future Reflections Convention 1990, Vol. 9 No. 4

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1990 Annual Meeting Parents of Blind Children Division National Federation of the Blind

by Stephanie Martin and Denise Mackenstadt

[PICTURE] 1990-91 POBC officers: FRONT ROW (left to right): RubyRyles, first vice president; Barbara Cheadle, president; Charlotte Verduin, second vice president. BACK ROW (left to right): Debra Smith, treasurer; Tom Balek, secretary; Martin Greiser, board member; Stephanie Martin, board member.

On July 1990, the Parents Division of the NFB met in Dallas, Texas for the annual meeting. Each affiliate of the Parents Division was represented. It is very gratifying to see parents effecting change through the National Federation of the Blind.

Seville Allen, an Equal Opportunity Specialist with the federal government, presented an outline of how section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 can be used by parents to improve educational programs for their children. This statute is underutilized and parents may find it beneficial to become familiar with it. If parents are in need of more information about Section 504 they can contact their local U.S. Education Department Office of Civil Rights.

Nadine Jacobson reported on our 1990 "Braille Readers are Leaders" contest. This program resulted in 225 entries this past year. Several past winners were present at the meeting with their parents. This contest has been a positive force in promoting Braille reading among school children.

The highlight of our meeting was a presentation on the education of blind children by Doris Willoughby. Mrs. Willoughby is an itinerant teacher of the blind in Iowa and co-authored, with Sharon Duffy, The Handbook for Itinerant and Resource Teachers of Blind and Visually Impaired Students. Mrs. Willoughby is this year's recipent of the NFB Distinguished Educator of Blind Children; a much deserved honor for many years of hard work and dedication to the cause of appropriate education for blind children. The recipient of this award is asked to make a presentation to the Annual Meeting of the Parents Division. Mrs. Willoughby spoke of her philosophy of education and how this philosophy applies to the education of blind children.

Marty Greiser led a discussion on how families with blind children can get financial assistance to attend the NFB's National Convention. Some resources mentioned were local civic clubs and community organizations. As a result of this discussion Marty Greiser, Debra Smith, and Ruby Ryles were appointed by President Cheadle to explore possible avenues of financial assistance for families.

Each POBC affiliate gave a brief overview of the last year. Seminars, social function, and children's camps were just a sampling of the many varied activities going on in local chapters. The continued goal of all affiliates is to provide assistance and support to families of blind children.

Elections were held and the following officers elected:

President: Barbara Cheadle-Maryland
1st Vice President: Ruby Ryles-Washington
2nd Vice President: Charlotte Verduin--Illinois
Secretary: Tom Balek-Kansas
Treasurer: Debra Smith-Iowa
Director: Marty Greiser-Montana
Director: Stephanie Martin-Washington

1990-1991 committees were appointed. A complete list of committees and chairs is available upon request. Members interested in a particular committee should contact President Barbara Cheadle at: 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (301) 659-9314.

The Parents of Blind Children played an important role in the 50th Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Each year our membership grows and shows ever more enthusiasm. As we left our business meeting each of us began to make plans to be in New Orleans in 1991.


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