October 2015 Bulletin

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Have you made your hotel reservations?
Doubletree by Hilton in Newark, California. (510) 490-8390, group code NFC

Did you submit your pre-registration form?
There is still time! Go to: to Pre Register Now!

Did you find a winning costume for the Masquerade Ball and Costume Contest?

It will take place Friday, October 30 at 8:00 P.M. You wont want to miss out on all the fun!

Transportation Information
If you are pre-registered and wish to ride the bus from either northern or southern California, the following is schedule for pick up:

Bus 1- Southern California- San Diego, 8:00 A.M., October 29. Denny’s at 4365 University Avenue. Next stop is:
Escondido- 9:00 A.M. Casa Escondida Senior Apartments at 715 N. Broadway. Next stop:
Riverside- 10:30 A.M., Janet Goeske Center at 5257 Sierra Street. Next stop:
Ontario- 11:15 A.M., 9147 Central Avenue, Montclair.

The bus will not make any stops before getting to Newark.

Bus 2- Los Angeles – 10:00 A.M. at Green line Park and Ride, 11901 S. Crenshaw Blvd, Hawthorn.

Bus 3- Northern California bus: I am still working on pickup locations and times.

The National Federation of the Blind of California
Uniting Blind People through Love, Hope & Determination
To Live the Life We Want

The National Federation of the Blind of California will hold the annual state convention from Friday, October 30 through Sunday, November 1 at the Doubletree by Hilton, in Newark, California.

This convention promises to be action-packed and full of fun. For the first time, Wells Fargo will educate, train and interview perspective qualified blind people to apply for jobs at Wells Fargo.

In addition, Jerry Gibbens, Acting Chief Manager, Disability Management Program Office of Civil Rights California Department of Human Resources/CalHR. Will introduce attendees to the LEAP Program (Limited and Examination Appointment Programs) guidelines and tell attendees how to apply for jobs with the State of California.

The Social Security Administration will have a speaker who will explain how SSI and SSDI is affected when you become employed.

The Department of Rehabilitation will introduce program services and employment opportunities through DOR. Rehabilitation Counselors will be available to take down contact information and follow up with referrals after the convention.

From a masquerade ball to a room full of exhibitors, meetings by students, blind parents, guide dog users, and so much more—everyone will find something exciting and new!

For hotel reservations at the Doubletree by Hilton in Newark/Fremont, call:
(510) 490-8390
Press 2 to make your reservation with the front desk.
Group code: NFC
Room rates are $109 per room without breakfast buffet or $129 with breakfast buffet for 2 guests.

Pre-register now $20 to get the best hotel rates!
You will need your hotel confirmation number to complete convention pre-registration. You can find the form at . Pre Register now!

This year, bus transportation to convention will be provided to anyone who pre-registers, so hurry and pre-register to save your seat on the bus.

For more information and to learn about convention activities, please visit www.sixdots.org or call President Mary Willows, President of the National Federation of the Blind of California, at 925-462-8575.

President Mary Willows
3934 Kern court
Pleasanton Ca. 94588
Home: (925) 462-8575
Cell: (925) 895-2778


August 2015 Bulletin

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.”


After 75 years of love, hope, and determination, the National Federation of the Blind continues to break records. On July 8, 2015, two thousand four hundred and eighty enthusiastic supporters filled the parking lot behind the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Florida to create the world’s largest umbrella mosaic. You can watch the Youtube video of this landmark event documented by the Guinness World Record by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeMp9TjbHXY

This year, President Mark Ricobonno delivered his first Banquet speech and Presidential Report. Californians cheered when he mentioned three of our members who are involved in disputes which have required legal assistance. Nearly three thousand Federationists’ roared and cheered when President Ricobonno sang with the band on stage Friday morning as the General Session opened.

The 75th Anniversary Ball was a smashing success. President Ricobonno and his wife Melissa dressed up for the occasion in 1940′s attire. The Resolutions Committee brought twenty nine resolutions to the floor for adoption. You can read all of them at the nfb.org website. Again, the bulk of the resolutions concerned information, accessibility, and technology.

National Federation of the Blind of California State Convention
California will continue the celebration at our 2015 State Convention, which will be held on October 30, 31, and November1 at the Doubletree By Hilton Hotel located at 39900 Balantine Drive in Newark, CA 94560. Room Rates are as follows: Singles-$119.00 per night, plus taxes, include 1 breakfast. Doubles-$129.00 per night, plus taxes, includes 2 breakfast. Please spread the word that we are celebrating 75 for $75. Registration, Diabetes Action NETWORK Luncheon and Banquet, will cost $75. The pre-registration forms will be available on our website at www.sixdots.org.

The 2015 NFB of California Scholarship Committee is accepting applications. This year, we will award $5,000 to three outstanding college students (two at $1,500 and one at $2,000). The applications and guidelines are available at http://www.sixdots.org/scholarshipsthe deadline for submissions is midnight, September 25, 2015.

During the month of August, Congressional representatives will be in their home districts meeting with constitutes. Please gather two or three chapter members together and make an appointment to meet with your representative to educate them about the need for “Integrated Competitive Employment”. This will phase out 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is time for blind and disabled Americans to earn a fair wage. Also, remind them thatwe are actively seeking to pass legislation that will address the accessibility of instructional materials in post-secondary education institutions.

The Life Story of Ever Lee Hairston:
NFB OF California, First Vice-President, Ever Lee Hairston has opened her life and shred her story in a book entitled “Blind Ambition”. Adventures and disappointments as she grew up and made her way across the country. We are lucky to have her as one of our leaders and a member of the National Board of Directors. Order your copy by going to amazon.com and search for “Blind Ambitions” or download it on ibooks.

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 895-2778


“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for the holidays to do that?”- Bob Hope

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.”

2015 Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31, 2015
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 scholarships for complete rules and requirements.

Dr. Newel Perry is inducted to the Hall of Fame
On October 17, 2014, the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky held the annual induction ceremony to the Hall of Fame for individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of work with the blind. We are pleased and proud to report that the National Federation of the Blind of California sponsored the plaque to honor Dr. Newel Perry in the “Hall of Fame”.
On December 10, 2014 the California School for the Blind will have a formal dedication of the APH Hall of Fame Award to honor Dr. Perry. President Mary Willows will be present to give remarks about Dr. Newel Perry and how his work and inspirations spawned progressive legislation and opportunities for the blind. To read more about Dr. Perry and the foundations of the National Federation of the Blind, I recommend that you go to the following link. Enjoy: https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm12/bm1210/bm121015.htm

Enjoy the chapter celebrations over the holidays. Enjoy the season. Stay safe. See you in the New Year!

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 895-2778


National Federation of the Blind of California
2014 Convention presents CHANGE
October 9 – October 12, 2014
Embassy Suites South, El Segundo, CA 90245

Hope through
Advocacy and
New ideas with
Gratitude and

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.

President, Mary Willows
3934 Kern Ct.
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Phone (925) 895-2778

2014 NFB of California Convention Agenda

Convention Information
Registration- $20.00
Banquet- $30.00
Diabetes Action Network Luncheon- $25.00
California Idol- $5.00 at the door
Monte Carlo Night- $10.00 at the door.
If you have not pre-registered, there will be a few meal tickets available at the registration table which will be sold on a first come, first served, basis.

Convention Exhibits
The Exhibit hall will be open on Friday, October 10, 2014, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Exhibits are located in the Granada and La Palma Rooms.

Hotel Layout
Upon entering the main entrance of the hotel, the Registration Desk is approximately 25     feet in front of you.  As you face the front desk, the lounges, elevators, dining rooms,     meeting rooms, and gift shop are to the left (east lobby area).   To the right of the front     desk (west end of hotel) is another set of elevators and the pool area.

Dog Guide Relief Area
The dog guide relief area is located on Imperial Avenue, straight across from the hotel front door. Follow the circular drive to the right, and cross Imperial Avenue.

Thank you to all of the chairpersons and members of the committees that have helped to make this convention a success. They are: Convention Coordinator – Ever Lee Hairston, Resolutions Committee- Chairperson Robert Stigile and Michael Hingson, Door Prize Committee- Chairperson- Rochelle Houston, Exhibit Hall Chairperson – Chuy Vaca, Scholarship Committee –Shannon Dillon, Hospitality-Cheryl Thurston, Auction-Karen Steele. Transportation Rick Watson, Carmen Weatherly, Lisa Irving. Ambassadors-Cathy Gaten.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who have given of their time.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm      Meet the Blind Month Walk at the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Members will meet at the Shade Hotel at 5 p.m. to stroll along the pier                 and to educate the public about events happening at the convention.

7:00 pm – 9:00 P.M.      Hospitality
Room 305A

Friday, October 10, 2014

8:15 am – noon        Registration, East lobby

9:00 am – 10:30 am    National Federation of the Blind of California, Board of Directors
Semi-annual meeting
President, Mary Willows
First Vice-President, Ever Lee Hairston
Second Vice-President, Robert Stigile
Secretary, Shannon Dillon
Treasurer, Melissa Sanders
Board Members:
1.    Karen Steele
2.    Michael Hingson
3.    Henry (Hoby) Wedler
4.    Rochelle Houston
5.    Tim Elder
6.    Rick Watson
7.    Kia Vaca

Valencia / Sevilla Rooms
Meetings of the Board of Directors are always open to the public.  Please join us as we greet our scholarship finalists, National Representative, and other distinguished  guests.  Note:  Board Members are the only ones who can vote.

10:30 am – noon        Resolutions Committee Meeting: Chairpersons, Robert Stigile,                         Michael Hingson.
Committee Members: Ever Lee Hairston, Bryan Bashin, Jim Barbour,
Debbie Worstman, Lisa Maria Martinez, Rochelle Houston.                          Secretary, Jana Littrell
Valencia / Sevilla Rooms
The Resolutions Committee comes together once a year to decide on the policies and direction of the affiliate for the upcoming year.  Resolutions are an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind and are determined by the philosophy and purpose of the National Federation of the Blind.

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm        Registration in the lobby
East Lobby

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm        California Association of Guide Dog Users (CAGDU)
President, Tina Thomas
Valencia / Sevilla Rooms

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm        NFB in Community Services
President, Darian Smith
Room 205A

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm        California Association of Blind Students Annual Business Meeting
President, Joe Retherford
Elections and guest speakers
Surprise performance by the winner of “CABS Got Talent”
Valencia / Sevilla Rooms

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm        California Idol Talent Show-Coordinators-Rochelle Houston &              Charlotte Carroll.
Valencia / Sevilla Rooms

9:00 pm – midnight    Monte Carlo Night.
Hosted by the California Association of Blind Students. (CABS)
Come and try your hand at the card tables. $10 for a bag of casino                     playing chips.  Join us for a night of prizes, fun, and friendship!
Madrid Room

Saturday, October 11, 2014

7:00 am – 8:30 am            Chapter on Aging Breakfast
President, Dennis Russak
Join us for an informal discussion of possibilities for seniors
facing blindness.  Election of officers will be held.
Waterfall Patio Area

9:00 am                 General Session Call to Order
President, Mary Willows
Granada / La Palma / Madrid

9:05 am                Pledge of Allegiance
Lisa Irving, President San Diego Chapter

9:05 am                NFB Pledge
Rochelle Houston, President Pathfinders Chapter

9:05 am                National Anthem
Sung by Rob Kaiser, President Orange County Chapter

9:15 am                Welcoming remarks

9:20 am                National Report
Anil Lewis, Executive Director, Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, MD

10:00 am – 10:15 am        75 in 75, Let’s Go Build the Federation
Kevan Worley, Worley Enterprises, Colorado Springs, CO

10:15 am – 10:40 am        “Federationism Everywhere”
Bryan Bashin, CEO, Lighthouse for the Blind, San Francisco, CA

10:40 am – 11:00 am        “Changing What it Means to be Blind in California.”                            Update on legal action.
Panel-Moderator, Timothy Elder, Attorney, TRE Legal Practice
Fremont, CA; Michael Nunez and Karen Janssen, Staff                             Attorneys, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) Legal Group,                         Berkeley, CA

11:00 am – 11:05 am        Questions from the audience.

11:05 am – 11:40 am        “California Report”
Joe Xavier, Director, California Department of Rehabilitation,
Sacramento, CA

11:40 am – 11:45 am        Questions from the audience

11:45 am – noon                 Sports and Recreation
Lisamaria Martinez, President, Sports and Recreation Division.

Noon                     Adjourn

12:15 pm – 1:45 pm        Diabetes Action Network (DAN) Lunch
Joy Stigile, President

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm            iPhone for Newbies. “Want to know how to navigate an  iPhone?  Want to learn all the gestures that work with Voice                         Over?  Then this session is for you!”
Tiffany Manosh, Assistive Technology Instructional Assistant,
American River College, Sacramento

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm            iPhone round table.  Bring your apps and questions as we share tips and tricks with each other.
Tiffany Manosh, Assistive Technology Instructional Assistant,
American River College, Sacramento

2:00pm-4:15pm                          Grant Writing, as a Fundraising Instrument Mike Kawalek, Associate Director of Development for Sempervirons Fund. Board Room 205A

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm        Reconvene general session.
Employment Panel.  Moderator, Paul Howard,
Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Riverside, CA.
Panelists:  Shannon Dillon, Staff Attorney, California                             Department of Public Health; Michael Richardson, Independent
Entrepreneur, Kyle Woodard, Department of Veteran Affairs.
Mona Longoria, Contract Specialist, The Seattle Lighthouse for                     the Blind, San Diego, CA.

5:00 pm                Adjourn

6:00 pm – 6:45 pm            Social Hour, Cash bar

7:00 pm – midnight        Banquet
Master of Ceremonies, Robert Stigile
Invocation-Mary Willows, President
Introduction of Head Table
Keynote Speaker, Anil Lewis, National Representative, Baltimore Maryland

Auction of Chapter Gift Baskets, Henry (Hoby) Wedler
Presentation of NFBC Scholarships, Shannon Dillon, Chair-
Presentation of Charters
BestBuy drawing-$500.00 gift card

Sunday, October 12, 2014

7:00am-8:45am                          Senior Breakfast, Waterfall Patio Area

9:00 am                 General Session Call to Order
President, Mary Willows
Granada / La Palma / Madrid

9:10 am – 9:40 am            Elections: Report from Nominating Committee

9:40 am – 10:00 am        Resolutions. Chairperson, Robert Stigile, Second Vice                             President & Mike Hingson.

10:00am-                                    Presidential Report, Mary Willows, President

10:15 am – 10:20 am        Financial Report

10:20-10:30am                          Philosophy Corner-skit by Ever Lee Hairston, Rochelle Houston & Jana Littrell.

10:30 am – 10:45 am        “Why I am a Federationist?” Kia Vaca-NFBC Board Member, Sun Valley, California

10:45 am – 11:00 am        Newsline for the Blind, Robert Stigile, Second Vice-President

11:00 am            Chapter Reports-Pledges and Donations,Chaper Presidents or Representatives should be prepared to submit checks or pledges at this time.  Please make checks payable to NFB of California.  Be prepared to give a 90 second chapter report on events and activities. Raffles, Drawings

Noon                    Adjourn

Together with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality.


Greetings Fellow Federationists,

Convention Registration
Register now for the 2014 annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California. The theme this year is CHANGE. Creating Hope through Advocacy and New ideas with Gratitude and Enthusiasm. The dates are October 9 through 12. The location is the Embassy Suites South, 1440 East Imperial Avenue, El Segundo, CA 90245. Make your reservations as soon as possible. The deadline for the convention hotel rate of $125 is September 19, 2014. Convention registration is $20. There will be one luncheon for the Diabetes Action Network on Saturday October 11 for $25. The highlight of the convention will be our banquet Saturday evening for $30. Registration and two meals can be purchased for $75. You will need your hotel reservation confirmation number in order to complete the pre-registration form. Click on the following link to register for the convention http://www.formstack.com/forms/?986187-OKrkn0JGXG.

Transportation Arrangements
We have tentatively reserved buses that will pick up passengers in the south and north. You must be pre-registered in order to get a seat on the bus. The northern California bus will originate in Sacramento at the Amtrak station on Thursday, October 9 departing at 9 a.m. with one stop at the Dublin / Pleasanton BART station at approximately 10:30 a.m.

The southern California bus will originate at the Goeske Center, 5257 Sierra Street, Riverside at 10:00 a.m. There will be one additional stop at the McDonald’s located at 9147 Central Avenue in Montclair. For questions contact the bus coordinators. The southern bus coordinator is Carmen Weatherly 909-486-2004. The northern bus coordinator is Rick Watson 707-673-7094.

Convention Events
On Thursday evening, October 9, we will hold a “Meet the Blind Month” event at the Manhattan Beach Pier. All who can get there should meet at the Stage Hotel at 6 p.m. The California Association of Guide Dog Users will lead the way on a walk along the pier at sunset. Participants will return to the hotel at 9 p.m. for a hospitality meet and greet with light snacks.

On Friday the Board of Directors will meet, along with the Resolutions Committee, students, and the exhibit hall, which is open to the public. From 7 to 9 Friday evening we will showcase our California Idol Talent Show. A donation of $5 will be accepted at the door. For more details on this terrific show, see the flyer at the end of this bulletin.

From 9 p.m. to midnight the California Association of Blind Students will host Monte Carlo night. Guests can purchase bags of poker chips for $10 at the door.

The annual convention is the only place where blind and sighted alike can meet and network with mentors and role models who share their experiences, courage, and inspiration. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you can live the life you want.

Scholarship Application Now Available
Every year the National Federation of the Blind of California presents scholarships to qualified college students. This year we are proud to announce that there will be three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline is Completed applications and all required documents must be postmarked by September 15, 2014.

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.



The National Federation of the Blind of California will showcase phenomenal voices from coast to coast on Friday, October 10, 2014

So, get the dust out of those pipes of yours and be a contestant at our state convention
Prizes for first, second and third will be awarded
There’s no fee to enter the competition, but you must first, be blind or visually impaired, second, send an email with your Name, contact number and email address to Rochelle Houston rhouston58@gmail.com or call 323 807-0300
Third, provide the committee with your song choice. All songs must be emailed or received by Rochelle Houston by the designated deadline
Spots for this competition are limited so hurry and submit your entry!
Deadline is Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Of course you want to be there to experience this exciting showcase of talent!
Donation: $5 at the door
If you have any questions, please contact one of the following committee members:
Rochelle Houston
Charlotte Carroll mizzcharlotte@sbcglobal.net
Chuy Vaca chuy2813@gmail.com
Kia Vaca chuyandkia@gmail.com

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
925) 462-8575