The National Federation of the Blind of of California
Uniting Blind People
Love, Hope and Determination
to Live the Life We Want

We are now accepting pre-registration forms for our 2015 State Convention.

The National Federation of the Blind of California will assemble in convention on October 30, 31 and November 1, 2015.

Where: The Doubletree by Hilton Newark/Fremont
39900 Balentine Drive
Newark, CA 94560

For hotel reservations call: (510) 490-8390. Press 2 on the option menu to make your reservation with staff at the front desk.
Group code: NFC.
Note: You will need your hotel confirmation number to complete the pre-registration form.

Room rates: $109.00 + tax – without breakfast buffet
$129.00 +tax – with breakfast buffet for two guests

The fun will begin on Thursday evening, October 29. So be sure to arrive early. The Exhibit Hall and Board of Directors meeting will begin on Friday, October 30 at 9:00 A.M. The Orientation Center for the Blind Alumni Association Inc. will meet over lunch at 12:00 noon ($20.00). Don’t forget to bring your best Halloween costume for the Masquerade Ball and contest at 8:00 P.M. on Friday evening.

On Saturday, October 31 The general session will begin promptly at 9:00 A.M. The afternoon sessions will break out into “Round Table” discussion groups. The highlight of our convention will be the banquet on Saturday evening when we will get to hear the keynote address from our national representative, Pamela Allen, First Vice-president, National Federation of the Blind and the Director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

Sunday morning will wrap up the event with elections, resolutions and other Federation traditions.

Please note: If you would like to take advantage of bus transportation to the convention on Thursday, October 29 you will need to pre-register soon so we can reserve the buses. More information about locations and times will follow. There will be two buses coming up from southern California and one bus from northern California.

Register now for the NFB of California 2015 convention


“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:

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.


To be read at all chapter meetings:

I hope all of you have had a very happy new year and made lots of resolutions which you have no intention of keeping.  I am.

“Everything you’ve done in life- the good, the bad- have all brought you to this moment.  Someone out there obviously wants you to do something significant, right now.  That person is you.”  Chris Lee

San Francisco Chapter Receives Certificate of Honor –

We are so proud of the accomplishments of the San Francisco Chapter over the past month.  The following is the text from the document issued and signed by Mayor,

Ed. Lee.  The original framed certificate hangs in the home of the San Francisco Chapter President, Eric Holm.

“Whereas, on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, I am pleased to recognize  and honor the National Federation of the Blind, San Francisco Chapter.  The hard work and dedication of this organization continues to raise awareness towards combating common misunderstanding and the lack of information about our blind community.  As the largest collective action, national organization of consumer blind persons in the nation with well over 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind has diligently worked to provide programs for the increasing number of people who losetheir vision each year.  I commend Eric Holm, President of the San Francisco Chapter and all those whose tireless efforts will continue to benefit many for generations to come.  Best Wishes for your Holiday Party Fundraiser and all your future endeavors.

Therefore I have herewith set my hand and caused the Seal of the City and County of San Francisco to be affixed.  Edward M Lee, Mayor”

On a personal note, the Holiday Party was a blast.  The auction was a success.  I now own a beautiful large picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chemistry Camp is Coming-

Again this year, the National Federation of the Blind of California and the California Association of Blind Students will host a weekend of fun and learning at the Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, California.

Chemistry has been considered one of those subjects in school which blind students should not participate actively in with their peers.  Hoby Wedler, founder and coordinator of Chemistry Camp is determined to teach blind students that chemistry is not only accessible but, it is actually fun to do.

On May 4, 5 and 6, 2012, fifteen junior high school and high school students will learn adaptive techniques for titrating chemicals, mixing esters and other activities which will increase their self-confidence and self-advocacy when taking Science classes.

Applications will be made available on our website, by the end of the month.  Keep watching for announcements and spread the word to Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Rehabilitation Counselors to make recommendations for participants.  The application deadline is March 20, 2012.

Leadership in Advocacy Program in Washington D.C.-

Twenty four Blind students, ages twelve to sixteen or grades six to nine, will be accepted for the National Federation of the Blind LAW 2012 Program.  The students will have a unique opportunity to explore the inner workings of our country’s government, its history and its culture.  In addition they will learn about the history of the organized blindness civil rights movement, how resolutions are passed and how blindness legislation is created, participants will become familiar with advocacy work for blind individuals and available resources for blind students and adults.  All accepted students must be accompanied by a parent/guardian, teacher, or blind/low-vision mentor from their home state.  Interested students should apply by going to  The deadline is February 1, 2012.

NASA is looking for Students with Disabilities for Summer Internships-

Summer internships run for ten weeks from early June through early/mid August.  If you know any blind students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math careers, and will be at least a university freshman in the fall with a minimum GPA of 2.8, encourage them to go to the website, for more information or call Ken Silberman at (301) 286-9281.    

2012 NFB Writing Contest-

The Writers Division annual youth and adult writing contest is open for submissions from January 1 to April 1, 2012.  Students up to eighteen years old are judged on creativity, writing on topics such as poetry and fiction, and quality of Braille.  Adults (eighteen and older) can submit work that includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction and stories for youth.  Guidelines are available at

California Youth Coordinator Needed-

We are looking for a young, energetic leader who has an interest in working with NFB youth programs.  The Youth Coordinator will become knowledgeable about NFB youth oriented programs and be willing to help spread the word and make recommendations for participants.  Interested persons should contact President Mary Willows at (510) 818-1641.

At Large Chapter Meetings-

The California affiliate has found it beneficial to develop an At Large Chapter for people who are living in areas of California which are not easily accessible to regular monthly chapter meetings.  The At Large Chapter meets by conference call on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 P.M.  Every month we meet new blind people who need our help and support.  Join us at the next At Large Chapter meeting which will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2012. at (712) 432-0175 pass code 184220.

Mary Willows, President
39481 Gallaudet Drive Apt. 127
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 248-0100


To be read at chapter meetings:

Happy holidays, fellow Federationists. The month of December is always filled with excitement and anticipation for the season and new year. This year is certainly no different. On behalf of the Willows family, I wish all of you a safe and blessed holiday. Remember, no matter where you go or how you celebrate this year, you are never alone. We all carry each other as we go through this journey called life.

Vote for the Meet the Blind Month Favorite Event:
Tell your friends and family about the NFB Meet the Blind Month Challenge and let them vote for the event they feel best meets the spirit of the Meet the Blind Month campaign. Our very own Beach Cities Chapter is among the nominees. Juliette Cody and chapter members are shown surfing with children. Let us support them with a vote at the Meet the Blind Month Challenge website.

The Guiding Lights Chapter Celebrates Twenty Years of Service:
Please join President Geraldine Croom and the members of the Guiding Lights Chapter on Saturday, December 10, 2011, as they celebrate twenty years of service to the blind community in Los Angeles. All are invited to Truxton’s Restaurant, at 2:00 P.M. located at 8611 Truxton Avenue in Los Angeles. The cross street is Manchester.
To make reservations, please call chapter President Geraldine Croom at (323) 418-7211.

The National Federation of the Blind of California San Francisco Chapter Celebrates at Pier 39:
On Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 12:00 P.M. until 2:00 P.M. the San Francisco Chapter will hold a Holiday Party and Fundraising Event. President Eric Holm promises to host everyone who can get there to entertainment and food galore from seven of the renowned restaurants on Pier 39. The gala event will be held on the second floor of the “Aquarium of the Bay” in the Farallon Room located on the Embarcadero. Tickets may be purchased in advance on our website for $40.00. This will include live entertainment, wine from many of the Napa wineries and all kinds of good food. You may also purchase a ticket at the door for $50.00.

For more information and tickets go to or

Chemistry Camp is Coming:
We are beginning to collect names of interested high school age students who would like to learn how to break through their own barriers. Held at the end of April, this three day working weekend will show young blind students that they are equal to sighted peers. Henry Wedler, PhD candidate, will demonstrate how chemistry can be done by a blind person. I recommend that you start looking around for eligible teenagers and forward the names to me, President Mary Willows. More information will follow next month.

Mary Willows, President
39481 Gallaudet Drive Apt. 127
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 248-0100