[Nfbnet-members-list] NFB Imagineering Our Future: Thirty more days to make a difference for blind youth!

Mark Riccobono JerniganInstitute at nfb.org
Sat Sep 4 17:58:39 UTC 2010

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Imagineering Our Future

      Issue 26
September 2010

In this issue:

    * Message from the Executive Director
    * What’s New
    * Education
    * Braille Initiative
    * Advocacy
    * Straight Talk About Vision Loss
    * Product and Access Technology Talk
    * From the tenBroek Library
    * Independence Market
    * Parent Outreach
    * Spotlight on the Imagination Fund
    * NFB Calendar
    * Citation


    Message from the Executive Director

    Dear Friends,

    I first learned about the National Federation 
of the Blind in 1996 when I attended the National 
Convention in Anaheim, California. I brought home 
a bag full of material written by blind people 
about what it is like and is not like to be 
blind. One of the speeches from that bag that has 
had lasting impact on me is an address by Dr. 
Marc Maurer entitled 
the Flame.

    Dr. Maurer says in part:

    In a fireplace one log by itself, regardless 
of how big, will almost certainly fail to burn. 
There must be at least two. The flame from one is 
reflected by the other. The brightness and heat 
come from the space between the logs, the reflection of the flame.

    As it is with flame, so it is with ideas. A 
new idea has only a limited time to take fire, to 
catch the imagination of the public and burn. And 
if the flame is to be reflected­the kindling 
point sustained­more than a single person is 
required. There must be two, five, ten­at least a 
handful­to build the heat and speed the process.

    Over the last month, the friends of the 
National Federation of the Blind have been 
reflecting the flame by getting the word out 
about the work that we do with blind youth. 
Specifically, I have been touched by the 
tremendous support we have received for our 
NFB Youth Slam in the Pepsi Refresh Project. We 
finished August in 15th place for our category. 
While we did not win, we did very well and earned 
another attempt in September.  And, as is always 
the case with the NFB, we will eventually win.

    The NFB Youth Slam is a prime example of the 
reflection of the flame that happens in the NFB. 
Dozens of successful blind mentors volunteer a 
week of their time to come mentor a new 
generation.  Innovative ideas are generated and 
young people are empowered to charge into the 
future with renewed confidence. The flame is 
reflected, the hope is kindled, and new energy is created in the process.

    Please continue to help us reflect the flame 
of the National Federation of the Blind. Vote for 
our Pepsi project every day and tell your 
friends, family, and business associates about 
the flame of opportunity that is the NFB. 
Together we are truly building a future full of opportunities.

    Graphic: Signature of Mark Riccobono

    Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute


Featured NFB News

Thirty More Days to Make a Difference for Blind Youth!

In just seconds each day, you can help promote 
the need for blind students to receive the same 
education as their sighted classmates. Vote today 
and every day in September for the NFB Youth Slam 
in the Pepsi Refresh Project. The top two 
vote-getters each month receive $250,000 for 
their projects, however the top 100 roll over to 
the following month for another chance. NFB 
started September in great shape to push to the 
top! There are three ways to vote, and you are 
encouraged to use as many of these ways as you 
can to vote each day. That’s a total of 90 votes 
that you can use to support equality in the 
classroom. Here are the three ways to vote each day:
Graphic: Pepsi Do Some Good
    * Simply put the number 101913 into the body 
of a text message, and send that text to 73774. 
(Standard text-messaging rates apply.)
    * Go 
click the link to vote, and then choose the log 
in using Facebook option. Once you’re 
successfully logged in, click the vote button on 
our page again and the vote link will disappear 
and you'll have logged your vote!
    * Go to 
click the link to vote, and then choose the sign 
in directly with Pepsi option. Once you’re 
successfully logged in, click the vote button on 
our page again and the vote link will disappear 
and you'll have logged your vote!

You can also find out more information about the 
program by clicking 
including an excellent video summary of the Youth 
Slam with interviews with participants and staff. 
Please share this important opportunity with your 
networks on Facebook and Twitter, as well as with 
your e-mail contacts. Thank you for your support, 
and for voting every day in September or until the NFB receives the grant!

Tip: Sign up online for 
e-mail reminders to vote for the Youth Slam in 
the Pepsi Refresh Project. Or enter your mobile 
phone number and carrier to receive 
text message reminders to your phone.  Standard text messaging rates apply.

2010 NFB Junior Science Academy

JSA students with Rube Goldberg machine
Photo: JSA students with Rube Goldberg machine

The NFB Jernigan Institute has been buzzing with 
activity. Thirty elementary students and their 
parents traveled to Baltimore for the two 
sessions of the 
NFB Junior Science Academy­Gear Up for Greatness! 
The four-day program was jam-packed with engaging 
lessons about basic physics. Students turned 
recyclables into Rube Goldberg machines and 
learned about the physics behind the attractions 
at an amusement park. While the students were 
busy building confidence in their ability to do 
science as blind people, their parents learned 
from blind adults how to foster independence in their children’s lives.

Overflowing with excitement about their new-found 
knowledge of blindness and science, the students 
and parents shared their experiences with each 
other at the closing ceremonies. Two boys used 
their bodies to show off their knowledge of 
simple machines; a team did somersaults to 
demonstrate the wheel; and one student took the 
push-up position while the other rolled a cane 
down his back, demonstrating an inclined 
plane!  When it was the parents’ turn to share, 
one mom remarked, “I came to this program with a 
visually impaired daughter, I am leaving with a 
blind daughter!” We loved getting to know these 
families and we are geared up to see all the 
great things they will do in the coming years!



A past Meet the Blind Month event

Meet the Blind Month is our nationwide campaign 
to increase awareness of and support for the 
National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This 
year, we are launching a pilot program, Who’s 
Whozit, to bring our message to school-aged 
children. This initiative will serve to generate 
excitement around one of our organization’s most 
important efforts­public education. The primary 
focus in 2010 is to shatter common misconceptions 
about blindness, show how far the blind have come 
due to the efforts of the NFB, and focus 
attention on the work that needs to be done in 
order for the blind to obtain full integration 
into society on the basis of equality. For more 
information or to register your events, visit the 
the Blind Month Web page.


Braille Initiative

The Braille literacy crisis continues.

Despite the obvious advantages of Braille, the 
New Jersey Commission for the Blind refuses to 
believe that print is not a viable reading medium 
for Hank Miller. They will not provide Braille 
instruction, even though, with magnification, 
Hank can only read ten minutes at a time, and his 
vision will only deteriorate. Learn more about 
the Miller family’s struggle to secure literacy 
for their nine-year-old blind boy in this 
Evening News video.



The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, 
has ruled that the blind have a right to access e-books.

When the publisher does not offer an accessible 
version, blind people will not violate copyright 
laws by using access technology to read 
electronic books that have digital rights management (DRM) technology.

In the NFB’s 
release, President Marc Maurer explained:

The National Federation of the Blind commends the 
Librarian of Congress for recognizing the right 
of blind Americans to obtain equal access to the 
information contained in digital books.  It is 
the position of the National Federation of the 
Blind that blind people have the right to access 
content for which they have paid or which they 
have otherwise legally obtained, just like all 
other readers.  We are pleased that the Librarian 
of Congress sees matters in the same way.  The 
e-book industry, however, has largely failed to 
recognize our rights.  The Amazon Kindle, Barnes 
and Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and other e-book 
reading devices and applications still remain 
inaccessible to us, and we have yet to see 
accessible e-book readers and content from those 
who have promised them.  At this time, Apple 
products that can access the company’s iBooks are 
the only mainstream e-book devices accessible to 
blind readers.  The National Federation of the 
Blind will continue to use every means at our 
disposal to secure the right of blind Americans 
to access the same books at the same time and at 
the same price as all other consumers.  We will stand for nothing less.


Straight Talk About Vision Loss

Photo: Blind student driver

There has been a lot of excitement about the 
Blind Driver Challenge, the project NFB and 
Virginia Tech engineers are working on to develop 
a nonvisual user interface that allows a blind person to drive.

Now the NFB Blind Driver Challenge has received 
the top award at the National Instruments annual 
NIWeek conference in Austin, Texas. The 
award-winning project was also highlighted in a 
keynote presentation in front of the 3,000 
attendees. The prototype vehicle was demonstrated 
by Virginia Tech onstage and the NFB Jernigan 
Institute Executive Director, Mark Riccobono, 
spoke.  We invite regular viewers of the 
Talk About Vision Loss Web-based video series to 
enjoy this 
of the NFB’s presentation on the Blind Driver 
Challenge to the NIWeek conference.

The official NFB Blind Driver Challenge Web site 
has launched!  Go to 
for everything relating to the Blind Driver 
Challenge.  You can get updates on the Blind 
Driver Challenge by becoming a fan on 
following the NFB’s 
account, and visiting us on 


Product and Access Technology Talk

The Access Technology team is especially proud 
this month, as after much ado, the newly updated 
Resource List AND the new 
Electronics List are now available on the NFB Web 
site. These comprehensive listings of nonvisual 
access technology in the United States and usable 
consumer electronics, respectively, will help old 
and new hands alike in their quest for new tools and toys.

We also worked with the Education team on a 
professional development training session for the 
Baltimore City Public Schools on August 26, 
giving the attendees an insight into technology 
that will benefit blind students.  September 13 
sees us host a 
for voting machine manufacturers, which is an 
exciting opportunity to share with them our 
experiences about nonvisual access to and 
usability of election technology as understood by 
blind people and to exchange information.

The team has also added a new 
of the BTec 100 embosser on the 
Blog, and a number of tips on the BrailleNote Apex on the AT Tips.


 From the tenBroek Library

We recently got a phone call from a leading 
member of a nearby state affiliate. This person 
was apologetic about asking us for information 
needed for a task assigned by the National 
Center.  This led us to consider that it was time 
to remind Federationists (and all friends of the 
organized blind) that the tenBroek Library is 
YOUR library for research on blind people and 
blindness. The only reason we’re here is to 
advance the cause. Our job is to provide 
information relating to the blind­whether it’s on 
teaching methods, public policy issues, 
biographies of blind notables, or whatever. In 
other words, we’re here to serve YOU. Bring on the requests for information!

Screen shot of the BLIND CAT homepage
Screenshot of the BLIND CAT

By the way, most requests we get are what 
librarians call “ready reference” questions. We 
are pleased, in the course of our normal work, to 
take care of these quickies and other questions 
that can be handled in short order. Please call 
(410-659-9314, extension 2225) or write 
(<mailto:jtblibrary at nfb.org>jtblibrary at nfb.org) 
and we'll let you know whether your request fits 
in this category or if we will need to charge a modest fee.

 From time to time we also hear from people who 
want to know if we have a particular book or 
periodical in our collection. We now own about 
four thousand books, as well as issues of more 
than sixty magazines, scholarly journals, and 
newsletters. We are, however, still in the early 
stages of developing our collection, and it is 
possible that we may not have an item you’re 
looking for. Since we plan to have a 
comprehensive collection, we want to know of any 
book or periodical about blindness that we don't already own.

But you don't need to call or e-mail us. Our 
online catalog, 
BLIND CAT, is up and running and will soon have 
some snazzy enhancements. If you don't find what 
you’re looking for in THE BLIND CAT, you can let 
us know by clicking on 
about this catalog.”  We are moving toward the day when we can truly say:

“Need information about blindness? Ask 
BLIND CAT! A cool cat, indeed.”


Independence Market

Photo: Parenting Without Sight cover

At our national convention this summer the NFB 
released a new publication developed by our Blind 
Parents Interest Group entitled Parenting Without 
Sight: What Attorneys and Social Workers Should 
Know about Blindness. This publication provides 
introductory and commonsense advice and 
information to those potentially involved in 
assessing the competence of blind parents to care 
for their offspring or other children in their 
charge. The pamphlet promotes the simple view 
that blind parents are, with proper training and 
opportunity, equal to this responsibility. 
Detailed in this pamphlet are statements of 
blindness philosophy and practical examples of 
ways parenting as a blind person can be managed 
successfully. This release is very timely 
especially considering the recent case in which a 
newborn was taken away from her blind parents for 
two months in Missouri this spring.  We hope that 
this publication will play a role in preventing 
such situations in the future.  The text of the 
pamphlet can be viewed 
and print copies can be ordered free of charge 
from the NFB Independence Market.

Another publication released some time ago and 
available through the Independence Market in 
various formats can now be viewed online as well: 
Guide for Local and State Leaders by Ramona 
Walhof. Written from the point of view of a 
long-time leader and former NFB officer, this 
small book attempts to assist new leaders to take 
full advantage of resources in a complex national 
movement.  It addresses structure and activities 
of local chapters, state affiliates, and the 
national organization from fund raising to public 
education. Now that this resource is available 
it is more accessible to our members and elected 
leaders who are growing and nurturing the Federation.

For more information or to order NFB 
publications, please 
<mailto:independencemarket at nfb.org>e-mail us or 
call us at 410-659-9314, extension 2216.


Parent Outreach

The Summer 2010 issue of Future Reflections, a 
magazine for parents and teachers of blind 
children, is now available. 
29 Number 3 includes a range of articles to 
inform and inspire, such as 
Things Possible,” which begins:

When our mom, Cynthia, was told that her little 
girls would never make it, she said a prayer. “I 
will be the best mother I can,” she prayed. 
“Please let my little girls survive.” We did 
survive, but our story had only begun.

this issue from the NFB site, read it 
have it 
to you, or <mailto:ParentOutreach at nfb.org>get a 
subscription to the print or cassette version of 
Future Reflections.  You can't go wrong.

Also from the editor of Future Reflections, 
Debbie Kent Stein, is a recent message she 
forwarded to several NFB 
about a research study that will take place in Fall 2010:

I have been asked to post the following 
announcement by Ellen Herlache, a doctoral 
candidate in counseling psychology.  If you would 
like to help out, please complete the survey online or contact Ellen directly.
      ­Debbie Kent Stein

Attention:  Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

A doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Education 
in Counseling Psychology program at Argosy 
University Online Programs­Phoenix Campus is 
conducting a survey study to learn more about how 
a child’s visual impairment impacts family 
quality of life, and which types of support 
services may be the most helpful to families of 
children with visual impairments.

In order to participate in this study, you must 
be the parent of a child between the ages of 0 
and 21 years of age with a diagnosis of some form 
of visual impairment (legal blindness, low 
vision, or partially sighted), and reside in the 
United States.  All persons who complete and 
submit the survey can enter into a drawing for 
one of four $25 Visa Gift Cards.  In order to be 
involved in this study, please enter the address 
below into your 
The survey should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or concerns about 
completing the survey or about being in the 
study, please contact Ellen Herlache, MA, OTRL, 
at (989) 964-2187 or <mailto:echerlac at hotmail.com>echerlac at hotmail.com.


Spotlight on the Imagination Fund

Race for Independence Logo

Announcing the 2010-2011 Race for Independence

NFB’s annual campaign to raise funds for the NFB 
Imagination Fund has begun. The 2010-2011 Race 
for Independence will focus on education, 
technology, and research of help to blind 
Americans.  The Race for Independence will be 
spotlighted in public NFB events, particularly 
the public debut of a vehicle equipped with a 
nonvisual interface allowing a blind person to 
drive it independently.  A Ford Escape, equipped 
with nonvisual interface technology, will be 
driven by a blind individual who will navigate 
part of the famed Daytona International Speedway 
course on January 29, 2011, as part of the 
pre-race activities at the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Get involved!  Watch this space in October for an 
easy way that you can support the Imagination 
Fund Race for Independence campaign.

For more information, please read the official 
release or visit 

Proceeds from the 
Fund build programs of the National Federation of 
the Blind at the national, state, and local levels.


NFB Calendar

September 13, 2010  Nonvisual access to 
technology seminar for developers of election 
technology, Jernigan Institute, with funding from 
a Help America Vote Act Training/Technical 
Assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

One of the purposes of the seminar is to inform 
election technology developers about the 
experiences of blind and low-vision voters with 
accessible voting technology.  We need your help 
to provide election technology developers with as 
broad a range of voter experience as 
possible.  If you are blind or have low vision 
and have used an accessible voting system in a 
federal election, please send an e-mail 
describing your experience, the city or county 
and state where you voted, and the type of 
accessible voting system used (if known) to 
<mailto:lblake at nfb.org>Lou Ann Blake.

the Blind Month, a nationwide campaign conducted 
by chapters throughout the country every 
October.  Activities that spread the NFB’s 
message in local communities are listed by state 
in the 
the Blind Month events page.

The Fall  The yearly meetings of quite a few of 
the NFB’s state affiliates cluster in the fall 
and the spring. These states will meet in 
convention assembled in September: Arizona, North 
Carolina, West Virginia, Iowa, Montana, and 
Kentucky.  To look up when the NFB of (insert 
your favorite state) meets or for more 
information, see the 
Conventions page on the NFB’s Web site.

Coming Summer 2011­NFB National Convention in Orlando, Florida!



Help the National Federation of the Blind win 
$250,000 to improve educational opportunities for 
blind children by voting in the Pepsi Refresh 
Project. Vote from your cell phone. Text 101913 to Pepsi (73774).

       ­Taken from flyer with NFB 2010 Youth Slam 
voting information. Print and hand them out at 
events like local fairs or football games to help 
spread the word!  Available in 

Back to Top

Thank you for reading the NFB Jernigan Institute’s Imagineering Our Future.

Mentor Trevor Attenberg leads campers along the nature trail

Photo: Group on white water raft

Support the Jernigan Institute through the 

Photo: Young woman playing flute

Interesting links:

of Straight Talk about Vision Loss videos

Center for Blind Youth in Science

Technology Tips

Photo: Youth practicing martial art



of the Nation’s Blind

Photo: Senior couple

Publication archives:



Photo: Mom and son take a moment and a hug

Graphic Logo: National Federation of the Blind

Photo: Blind little girl with cane

Photo: Blind youth reading Braille book

Photo: Blind girl examining model of constellations

Photo: Blind boy with tactile globe

Blind Teens Carry the 2007 Youth March for Independence Banner

Visit us at 

Imagine a Future Full of Opportunity


Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314      Fax (410) 
659-5129      E-mail 
<mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org?subject=Reply%20to%20Imagineering%20Our%20Future>JerniganInstitute at nfb.org
Visit us at www.nfb.org

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American Institute of Philanthropy logo

The National Federation of the Blind meets the 
rigorous Standards for Charity Accountability set 
forth by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and is 
Top-Rated by the American Institute of Philanthropy.

this newsletter.
If this issue was forwarded to you and you’d like 
to subscribe, please e-mail 
<mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org?subject=Reply%20to%20Imagineering%20Our%20Future>JerniganInstitute at nfb.org.
ducating Blind Children: Changing the Paradigm
Fredric K. Schroeder, Ph.D.; Research Professor; San Diego State University
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