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


The year 2010 and the National Convention was awesome! The California Affiliate honored me with a scholarship to attend the National Convention in Dallas, Texas this year and as a Rookie I can honestly say it was overwhelming, but many of you already knew this would happen. I was assisted by Angela Fowler, who was patient with me and who continues to answer all the questions I have about everything. I am truly thankful for her presence and patience. I am also thankful for the California Affiliate’s gatherings and encouragements.

There were many things to listen to and many more hands on displays of new technology as well as old. Much of it was truly amazing to me. I enjoyed all of it. The one thing that struck me as the most astonishing thing though was the people. There were so many blind, partially blind, sighted, or friends and family of the blind in attendance and everyone was cheerful. There were over 2400 people there. I discovered, that for me, the most impressive thing about this convention was that here, in this place, I was no different from anyone else. In this environment, I was normal. I didn’t have anyone telling me how odd I was or how different I was or even how strange it was that I was who I was. I was myself. One of many in a sea swelling with pride for the present and hope in for what the future would bring.

I was encouraged, supported, and included in whatever I wanted. My life has always revolved around reading. My parents encouraged me to use my sight to read and so it’s what I know. One of the biggest fears I’ve had is the thought that I would soon be unable to read regular written print. At National Convention I discovered that I need no longer be fearful of the loss of this skill. I met the author of the McDuffy Reader, who was patient and explained why I should start with basics to me. I am also truly thankful to a first grade girl who was reading at one of the booths and upon her recommendation; I bought my first Braille book. Reading now has a different feel for me and I have begun that process with encouragement and enthusiasm. Having been able to touch and explore such items as the new technology of note-takers I now know there are ways for me to be an active reader and participant without feeling left out or stupid. I have also discovered a passion for the use of Braille and will continue to explore and advocate for its continued use in the future.


Launa George