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.


Best Buy Gift Card Raffle

Would you like to win a $500 Gift Card to Best Buy? The National Federation of the Blind of California (NFBC) is selling raffle tickets. Tickets are $5.00. The drawing will take place at the NFBC State Convention Banquet on Saturday October 11th, 2014. You need not be present to win!

Here is your chance! Purchase the lucky winning ticket(s) at!


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

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 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
Chuy Vaca
Kia Vaca

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


New List Serv

The new announcement only list serv is now available. Learn what is happening in California by subscribing to the new Announcement Only list serv.


August 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.”

2014 is The Year of Change
The National Federation of the Blind has passed a new milestone. On July 6 at the close of the banquet, Mark Riccobono became president of the nation’s largest organization of blind people. We are sorry to see Marc Maurer pass the torch but excited to see what Mark Riccobono does with it. Listen to the highlights of the national convention on the August – September Braille Monitor.

Celebration of the life of Jim Willows
I want to thank all those who sent condolences and flowers to the memorial service held on June 28, 2014 to honor Jim Willows. After a long struggle with lung cancer, Jim succumbed to the disease on June 22 with family, friends, and the dog at his side at home in Pleasanton, California. The memorial service embodied the life of a man who was committed to public service. Friends from Jim’s childhood flew out to share memories of their friend. Representatives from the lab, education, rehabilitation, and community service at church all took turns celebrating the life of a man who made a difference. Federationists travelled from all over the state to honor his memory with a message of unity. The message was repeated over and over that Jim was a person who could cross the aisle and bring unity to whatever cause he led.

2014 State Convention
The 2014 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California will be held on October 9 through 12 at the Embassy Suites South located at 1440 East Imperial Avenue, El Segundo, CA 90245. Call (310) 640-3600 to make your reservations. Convention registration, banquet and a luncheon will cost $75. Please watch for announcements on the NFBC-Info List.

CABS Got Talent
Do you have an amazing talent that you are just itching to show off? Then enter the California Association of Blind Students first annual talent show. All musicians, poets, singers, and actors are welcome. Upload a 1-3 minute clip of yourself showing off your talent to sendspace or youtube, then send the link via email to Roselyn Perez at

The Orange County Chapter will Meet
Rob Kaiser has secured a new location for the Orange County Chapter. All are invited to attend on August 9, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. The location is Emerald Court 1731 W.W. Medical Center Drive, Anaheim, CA 92801. Call or email Rob ASAP. His phone number is (847) 989-0768 and his email is

River City Chapter Baseball Fundraiser
The River City chapter is teaming up with the Sacramento River Cats for two great games of Baseball! For every ticket sold the chapter will receive a portion of the sales. This is a great fundraiser for the chapter. Please distribute to all your friends, family and anyone who might be interested.

Saturday August 16th
Game Starts @ 7:05
Sacramento River Cats vs Oklahoma City Redhawks Post Game Fireworks

To purchase Tickets:
Go to
Select River City Chapter of NFBC
Promo Code RCCNFBC

If you have any question please contact Tiffany Manosh, President of the River City Chapter. We look forward to seeing you all at the ball park for two great games of baseball.

Discover You in San Francisco
Join the National Federation of the Blind of California San Francisco Chapter and the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind on August 23, 2014 for an action-packed day. Become empowered, define your future, discover you! Speakers will address topics such as: recreational opportunities for blind people in the San Francisco Bay Area; employment and technology. RSVP now to Lisamaria Martinez at or (510) 289-2577.

Currency Reader Program
Starting September 2, 2014, NLS patrons or folks who want to become an NLS patron can call 1-888-657-7323 to pre-register to get a currency reader when the National program rolls out in January 2015. For more information before September 2, 2014 call The Bureau of Engraving and Printing at 844-815-9388. The currency reader is a small pocket-size device which announces the denomination of paper money. The device is free to the blind. It is well worth taking the time to pre-register to participate in the program.

Mary Willows, President
National Federation of the Blind of California (NFBC)
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588