Dear Fellow Federationists,

I start this March Bulletin with our new branding. The following is the essence of the 75 years of love, hope and determination. Commit it to memory. It will get you through all kinds of situations.
“The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

2015 Summer Internship Application Deadline
If you or someone you know has a desire to learn about current legislation, education, technology, civil rights, public relations, and much more, applications and accompanying documentation should be submitted to Anil Lewis at jerniganinstitute@nfb.org by March 13, 2015. The program runs from June 1 to August 7 and includes a trip to the 75th anniversary convention of the National Federation of the Blind. This opportunity is being made available through the Jernigan Institute located in Baltimore, Maryland. More information can be found at: https://nfb.org/blog/vonb-blog/national-federation-blind-2015-summer-internship-program
.

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Money Reader is Still Available
If you did not attend the National Convention in 2014 and receive a free money reader, you can still apply for one at the web site: www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html. You must be a qualified patron of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). On a personal note, I would like to tell everybody these very helpful, portable readers have been very handy for sorting and organizing paper currency when I did not have sighted assistance readily available. I recommend that everyone apply now.

Chapter Development in California
Two of our NFB of California Board Members, Rochelle Houston and Ever Lee Hairston travelled to our Riverside / San Bernardino Chapter to build membership in California. Rochelle told of her journey into blindness and shared tips on fundraising ideas for building the organization.
The Pathfinders Chapter held the annual membership recruitment reception. Ever Lee Hairston spoke to the group about her experiences learning to become an independent blind adult. The reception was a success resulting in four new members.

Viejas Casino Trip
If you want to try your luck at the role of the dice on your way to the pot of gold, join the Pathfinders and San Fernando Valley Chapters on Saturday April 4, 2015.
If you live in the Los Angeles Area, lucky participants will meet at the
Greenline Park & Ride at 8 a.m. which is located at 11901 South Crenshaw Blvd, Hawthorne, CA.
If you live in the San Fernando Valley Area, meet at 7 a.m. at the home of Robert Stigile located at 19831 Friar Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Donation $2. This fun filled event will help raise money to get people to the 75th Anniversary Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida this summer.
For reservations and more information, contact Rochelle Houston at
323-807-0300 or email rhouston58@gmail.com or Robert Stigile at 818-381-9568 or email rstigile@gmail.com
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First Annual Senior Division Seminar Saturday, April 11, 2015
The National Federation of the Blind of California Senior Division is inviting you to join us for a seminar in knowledge, information, & methods of living with blindness. We are planning on door prizes and lots of fun!

WHEN: Saturday, April 11, 2015
TIME: Noon – 3pm
WHERE: Hometown Buffet
12139 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90230

ALL LEGALLY BLIND SENIOR GUESTS will be treated to a FREE LUNCH.
RSVP by March 31st, CONTACT:
Charlotte Carroll – (310) 625-6558, email mizzcharlotte@sbcglobal.net
Cheryl Thurston – (909) 821-9589, email cthurston74@gmail.com
.

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
925) 895-2778
mwillows@sbcglobal.net

 

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”-Abraham Lincoln

Dear Fellow Federationists,

“The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

Accomplishments in Washington 2015
This year the National Federation of the Blind hosted a reception to celebrate 75 years of advocacy for blind people in America. On Tuesday, January 27, Federationists and several members of Congress came together to recognize the work of the NFB. Amongst the speakers was Congressman Pete Aguilar (31st District) from California who acknowledged the history and success of the Randolph Sheppard Act. He told his personal story about growing up the son of a blind man who benefited from the innovative Business Enterprise Program. I am certain there will be an article in the Braille Monitor about this in the near future.

Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act” (TIME Act) (H.R. 188) was well received this year. As of the writing of this bulletin nine Republicans have co-sponsored the bill. The state of Vermont successfully changed supported employment for the disabled to a business model which has resulted in job retention at minimum wage. This was definitely a selling point for Republicans. We will keep you informed as we hear of the progress of H.R.188.

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Help us to spread the word about the largest scholarship program in the county for visually impaired and blind students. Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers 30 scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive assistance to attend the July 2015 NFB annual convention in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2015 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a later date). Applications are accepted for five months, from November 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015. Go to www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and requirements.

Chemistry Camp 2015 Accepting Applications Now
If you know of a 14-18 year old blind or visually impaired student with an interest in learning about chemistry, now is the time to get the applications for the 2015 Chemistry Camp.

When: Friday, May 1 through Sunday May 3, 2015
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp near Napa, California
Who: Up to twelve blind students will be selected to participate

For more information or to apply, please visit:
http://www.accessiblescience.org/node/2

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact Angela Fowler:
530-902-0987 or fowlers@syix.com.

KNFB Reader Mobile App is Available for 50% off
The KNFB Reader App is an App that you can use to take a picture of a document and it will read the document to you. It is on sale for $49.99 right now. It usually costs $99. Go to:
http://www.knfbreader.com/.

Audible Prescription Labels
For your information, if you get your prescriptions filled at Walmart, Walgreen’s, or CVS, you may want to know that they offer their customers audible prescription labels. All you have to do is ask your pharmacist.

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
925) 895-2778
mwillows@sbcglobal.net

 

Dear Fellow Federationists,

“The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31, 2015
Help us to spread the word about the largest scholarship program in the county for visually impaired and blind students. Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers 30 scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive assistance to attend the July 2015 NFB annual convention in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2015 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a later date). Applications are accepted for five months, from November 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015. Go to www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and requirements.

Dr. Perry comes home to the California School for the Blind
On December 10, 2014, the superintendent of the California School for the Blind, Dr. Sharon Sacks, ceremoniously hung a bas-relief picture of Dr. Newell Perry in the library. A bas-relief is a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins. The sculpted picture shows the characteristic French goatee. President Mary Willows contributed to the occasion by telling stories about experiences students had with Dr. Perry. Former students were pestered about their plans for the future where they will go and how they will pay for their needs. Dr. Perry was committed to the education of blind children on social, economic, and educational levels with the ultimate goal of employment. All are invited to feel the bas-relief at CSB which hangs next to the only known portrait of Dr. Newell Perry.

2015 TIME Act
The “fair wages” bill has a new name. In 2015 our advocacy efforts will again demand the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This year it is called The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act. The TIME Act explains exactly what we are advocating for: Section 14(c)-certificate-holding entities need to transition their business models to ensure that people with disabilities are reaching their full potential in integrated and meaningful employment.

California Federationists will visit Washington DC to educate our representatives about our 2015 issues concerning blind Americans during January 27, 28, and 29. Your support, phone calls, and email messages will help to make sure our team is heard. Watch for more information.

Accessible Employment Survey
The Department of Labor would like to hear from users of Accessible Technology about experiences with online job applications. The program is called the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). We encourage you to participate in this survey found at http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/12/15/charting-a-pathway-to-a-technology-accessible-workplace/.

2015 Writer’s Contest
The 2015 Writer’s Division Contest has a theme this year. Since it is the 75th anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind, entries should have “75” as a theme. Let your imagination take over. For example, 75 balloons, 75 steps to your destination, 75 aliens. Adult contests, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and stories for youth are open to all entrants eighteen and over. The contest opens January 1 and closes April 1. For contest guidelines, http://writers.nfb.org
.

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
925) 895-2778
mwillows@sbcglobal.net

 

Greetings Fellow Federationists,

“If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy”. Thomas Jefferson

Washington Seminar 2014
Even Thomas Jefferson would have opposed sub-minimum wages for disabled persons. This past week hundreds of members of the National Federation of the Blind roamed the halls of congress to visit representatives to ask for their support for HR 831 Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013, HR 3505 The Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH Act) and seeking a sponsor the Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act.
The California delegation broke up into four teams and visited all fifty four representatives and senators from our state. This year, many of us had the opportunity to meet with our representatives who were in town for the State of the Union address by President Obama. The national office will be updating us with the responses that we received. To stay informed go to www.nfb.org and read about the highlights of the 2014 Washington Seminar.

Chemistry Camp 2014
Applications are being accepted for a three day accessible science experience. We are looking for blind high school students ages 14-18 who have a desire to learn about how a blind person can study science. During this exciting and busy three day experience, students will get to learn how blind and visually impaired people use chemistry in their careers. If you know of any blind and visually impaired high school students, please have them contact Angela Fowler at 530) 902-0987 or email her at fowlers@syix.com.

Accessible Tax Forms
The IRS has made tax forms and other products available to taxpayers with disabilities. Please help us to spread the word about these services which are available at http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS.gov-Accessibility.

Job Opportunities for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TVI’s)
There are several open positions for teachers of the blind and visually impaired in California. As you know, there is a shortage of teachers with the expertise of Braille instruction and/ or orientation and mobility. If you know of a qualified TVI, please contact Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Benito County Office of Education, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, and the Orange County Office of Education.

San Francisco State University and California State University Los Angeles TVI programs have received a federal grant to assist applicants with financial support for this fall. Please help locate applicants for the programs at San Francisco State University and California State University, Los Angeles. Check with recent college graduates, paraprofessionals who enjoy working with students with visual impairments, individuals who are seeking a fulfilling career change, and other general/special ed teachers who wish to add VI credential.

The Program in Visual Impairments at San Francisco State University is accepting applications for Fall 2014 semester.
If you know of anyone seeking a rewarding professional career and would like to become a TVI, please refer them to the following websites for more information. Program in Visual Impairments
http://www.sfsu.edu/~visimp/index.htm

Application requirements
http://www.sfsu.edu/~spedcd/applyedsp.html

How to Apply
http://www.sfsu.edu/~spedcd/apply.html

National Federation of the Blind Commends Microsoft and GW Micro for Groundbreaking Accessibility Partnership
During the Washington Seminar Californians discussed the issues blind people face in dealing with technology that is not accessible. Recently, GW Micro and the Microsoft Corporation announced a partnership to make Window-Eyes, a screen reading software program, available for free to users of Microsoft Office 2010 or higher. More details about this groundbreaking offer are available at www.WindowEyesForOffice.com.

Announcing the 2014 Microsoft Disability Scholarship Fund
We are excited to share details of the new Microsoft Disability Scholarship Fund targeting students with disabilities entering college in the fall. This is a new initiative from Microsoft and the Disability Employee Resource Group (ERG), built in partnership with Seattle Foundation. The scholarship website is open to applications until March 15th. Contact:
Disability Employee Resource Group
Microsoft Corporation
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/programs/microsoftdisabilityscholarship.aspx

NFB Scholarship Application Deadline March 31, 2014
The NFB Scholarship Program invites blind students who will attend college in Fall 2014 to apply for a scholarship. The National Federation of the Blind offers 30 awards, worth from $3,000 up to $12,000, plus assistance for the 30 winners to attend the July 2014 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. For full information and the online application form, go to http://www.nfb.org/scholarships

Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575
mwillows@sbcglobal.net

 

Greetings Fellow Federationists,

“May peace be your gift at holiday time and your blessing all year through”- anonymous

NFBC CANES AND TAILS FIRST ANNUAL CRAB FEED
Join us to celebrate the New Year and the promise of hopeful resolutions for positive growth in 2014. The newly organized Davis Canes and Tails Chapter warmly invites everyone to attend an event which will bring community members and federation leaders together to celebrate our accomplishments.

Featuring live music “The Rhythm Method Band”. Tickets are available for $40 each if purchased before December 15, 2013. All tickets purchased after December 15, 2013 will be $50 each. Tickets will not be available at the door. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone.
Terese Retherford (707) 290-1517
Lisa Hilas (415) 606-8775
Purchase tickets online at www.crabfeedcanesandtailseventbrite.com

Washington Seminar 2014
Once again, California federation members are preparing for a trek to Washington D.C. to introduce ourselves and our mission to members of the House of Representatives and Senate. We will be making appointments with members of the 113th congress first session on January 28, 29, and 30, 2014. We would like to ask anyone who has contacts with local representatives to call the home office and recommend that the representative schedule time to meet our advocates.

Amongst the topics we will discuss are the TEACH Act (H.R. 3505) introduced by Congressman Joe Petri and The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 (H.R.831) introduced by Gregg Harper.

The TEACH Act stands for Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act will direct the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to develop accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies in institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Blind college students must be equipped to compete on the basis of equality which means having access to text books and research materials.

H.R. 831 will repeal section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and phase out the discriminatory practice of paying disabled workers less than the federal minimum wage. There are many examples of individuals with significant disabilities who, when provided the proper training and support, have acquired a competitive job skill to earn at least minimum wage. Very few, if any, disabled or nondisabled individuals acquire a competitive job skill through performing menial tasks in sheltered, segregated, subminimum-wage work environments.

At-Large Chapter Meeting
The At-Large Chapter will meet on the second Thursday of each month. In December the meeting will be held on December 12 at 7 p.m. The purpose of the At-Large Chapter is to give those who cannot attend regular monthly meetings an opportunity to stay connected and up-to-date with the latest issues concerning blind people in California and across the nation. The call in number is 712) 432-0175. The passcode is 184220#.

Dr. Marc Maurer Announces His Retirement
The following is taken from a message sent by Dr. Fredric Schroeder, first vice-president, National Federation of the Blind: “As you know, Dr. Marc Maurer has been our national president since 1986. He has served as president longer than any of our previous presidents and has guided us through a period of unprecedented growth and change. It was under Dr. Maurer’s leadership that we established the Jernigan Institute and all of the programs that have been so successful in demonstrating the truth of our assertion that given proper opportunity and training, blind people can live and work as others. In particular we have developed many programs designed to provide blind children and youth with the skills and confidence they need to compete fully in their education and to develop their life ambitions. We have conducted the Youth Slam, Science Academy, and more recently the BELL programs.

In the area of technology under Dr. Maurer’s leadership we developed the KNFB Reader Mobile allowing blind people to have immediate access to print with nothing more than a cell phone and special software. And then there was the Blind Driver Challenge. There is no question that lack of access to reliable transportation remains a major barrier for blind people.
Yet, the Blind Driver Challenge showed that we could develop the technology to enable a blind person to drive a car, not simply sit passively in a car that drives itself.

These are the expressions of Dr.Maurer’s leadership. Yet at the heart of his leadership is his spirit and his belief in every blind person. He has inspired and encouraged us, faced the most difficult challenges with resolution and strength, and he has kept us together, and never let us waiver in our belief in our own right to live normal, productive lives.

On Saturday afternoon Dr. Maurer told the board that it is his intention to not seek reelection to the presidency next summer at our national convention. He feels the time is right to transition to the next president, the next individual who can lead us for a quarter century or more. Dr. Maurer is in good health and believes that it is important that he step down from the presidency while he is able to assist with the transition. Dr.
Maurer told the board that he, Dr. Maurer, plans to support Mr.
Mark Riccobono as the next president of the National Federation of the Blind.

Mr. Riccobono presently serves as the Executive Director of the Jernigan Institute. He is an accomplished individual with the strength and wisdom to assume the serious responsibility of leading our movement. He has brought to his work the imagination and competency we demand from our president.
We are truly fortunate that within the Federation we have individuals who are able and willing to give all they have to furthering our move toward true equality. The demands of the NFB presidency are unimaginable. We require our leader to give all of his time, all of his imagination, and all of his personal reserve of judgment to leading our organization. This is what Dr. Maurer has done for the past 27 and a half years, and it is what Mark Riccobono will do for the time of his presidency.

The transition brings to an end one chapter in our history and what a glorious chapter it has been. We cannot face the loss of Dr.Maurer’s leadership without a sense of sadness; but the transition to a new president is not just the absence of what we had before. The transition heralds a new chapter in our history and with it, new opportunities-the chance to take all that has come before and build something bigger and more powerful than we have ever known.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Maurer for his leadership, his friendship and his faithful devotion to our cause; and please join me in wishing Mark Riccobono the very best as he seeks to take the foundation that is all that has come before and build upon it the next great chapter in our history.”

Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575
mwillows@sbcglobal.net