[Nfbnet-members-list] FW: NFB Imagineering Our Future: Meet Someone Unforgettable

Miller, Pat Woelfer PMiller at nfb.org
Wed Oct 5 08:35:26 UTC 2011

Dear Dave--Please distribute this to the members list.  Thanks, PWM

Graphic Logo: NFB Jernigan Institute
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last month’s newsletter.

Imagineering Our Future

      Issue 38
September-October 2011

In this issue:

    * Message from the Executive Director
    * What’s New
    * Education
    * Braille Initiative
    * Research
    * 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,

    It has been said that “You meet people who 
forget you. You forget people you meet. But 
sometimes you meet those people you can't forget. 
Those are your ‘friends.’” For the average 
person, it is not very often that the person you 
meet is blind. Yet, we know that the best way to 
help people discard the misconceptions they have 
about blindness is to meet a blind person who is 
living life every day with the alternative 
techniques necessary to be successful. Even when 
a person does meet a person who is blind it is 
even less likely that enough time is spent 
together to become friends­unless of course the 
blind person is a family member, a co-worker, or a neighbor.

    To help eliminate misconceptions about 
blindness and improve understanding of the truth 
about blindness, ten years ago the National 
Federation of the Blind established October as 
“Meet the Blind Month.” During October, NFB 
chapters are making an extra effort to get out 
into the community to teach people about 
blindness by meeting others at community outreach 
events. If you are receiving this message, it is 
likely that you are blind or that you already 
have friends or family who are blind. 
Consequently, I want to encourage you to 
participate in our 2011 Meet the Blind Month activities and be unforgettable.

    Oftentimes, the fact that we are the first 
blind person someone has met makes us 
unforgettable. However, we know that blindness is 
not the sole characteristic that defines who we 
are. We should make ourselves unforgettable by 
actively shattering the misconceptions that 
people have about blindness and helping them to 
understand the truth about blindness. By spending 
time meeting people and creating new 
understanding, we change what it means to be 
blind and establish a better environment of 
opportunities for all blind people. Some believe 
trying to be unforgettable is a negative, 
self-centered way to live; I believe that at 
least in this instance it is entirely the opposite.

    During Meet the Blind Month I will be working 
with my blind friends to figure out ways to have 
us be unforgettable, with the goal of teaching 
others the truth about blindness. In the process, 
I know we will have a lot of fun, we will get to 
know some people who are themselves 
unforgettable, and we will strengthen our friendships with each other.


    Graphic: Signature of Mark Riccobono

    Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute


Featured NFB News

Image: Whozit, the NFB's symbol

October is Meet the Blind Month

Meet the Blind Month is a nationwide campaign to 
increase awareness of and support for the 
National Federation of the Blind (NFB). During 
the entire month of October each year, affiliates 
and chapters throughout the country join forces 
to spread the message that the NFB is the voice 
of the nation’s blind and that blind people are 
the best resource for learning about vision loss, 
blindness, and rehabilitation.

This year, as part of Meet the Blind Month, 
participants are challenged to organize 
innovative and creative events in their local 
communities. We welcome all chapters and 
affiliates to join in the challenge. For general 
information on Meet the Blind Month or more 
information on the challenge, please visit the 
the Blind Month Web page, contact Melissa 
Kobelinski by <mailto:mkobelinski at nfb.org>e-mail, 
or phone Melissa at (410) 659-9314, extension 2423.

Make Your Bid for Excellence!

The National Federation of the Blind Bid for 
Excellence national auction opens for bidding on 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011! We already have many 
exciting items for the auction including luxury 
accommodations in Cancun, Mexico, an opportunity 
to watch “Hardball with Chris Matthews” with a 
behind-the-scenes tour, and plenty of gift items 
just in time for the holidays.
Excellence in Science
Photo: Excellence in Science

The Bid for Excellence is an exciting opportunity 
to raise funds to support the work of the NFB. 
The NFB provides programs, encouragement, and 
opportunities that help blind people all over the 
nation achieve excellence in their education, 
employment, and all aspects of their lives. You 
can help us make Bid for Excellence a success!

Tell your friends!  The most important way you 
can help is by telling your friends, family, and 
acquaintances. Please tell everyone in your phone 
book and e-mail address book and everyone you 
come into contact with about Bid for Excellence, 
and encourage them to participate. Another easy 
way to get the word out is through your social 
media, like Facebook and Twitter. The more people 
who know about the auction, the better!

Donate an Item!  Another way to help is by 
soliciting donated items or services for the 
auction or making a donation yourself. Popular 
auction items include travel packages; sporting, 
celebrity, and/or unique experience packages; and 
memorabilia and unique items. If you have 
collectables, art, gift baskets, vacation homes, 
or condos that you would like to donate, please let us know.

Become a Sponsor!  Contact us to find out how you 
can take advantage of promotional and marketing 
opportunities for your business, or to pledge your individual support.

For more information, help in how to promote the 
auction, to donate an item or service, or to 
become a Bid for Excellence sponsor, contact 
Ann-Marie Laney at (410) 659-9314, extension 
2371, or reach Ann-Marie by <mailto:alaney at nfb.org>e-mail.

Don't forget to mark your calendars­bidding begins on November 1, 2011!



Photo: Right to Live in the World bulletin board

“The Right to Live in the World” Bulletin Board

The current accessible bulletin board on display 
in the Jernigan Institute Betsy Zaborowski 
Conference Room pays tribute to the legal 
scholarship of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the founding 
president of the National Federation of the 
Blind. The white letters of the board’s title, 
“The Right to
 Live in the World,” pop off the 
black background. The title is divided into two 
segments: “The Right to
” left-justified across 
the top of the board, and “Live in the World” 
right-justified across the bottom. The board’s 
trim depicts a city skyline with craft foam 
cut-outs providing tactile representations of the 
buildings. Six white boxes are affixed to the 
board, three on the left side and three on the 
right. The boxes are classic cigar boxes with the 
flat lid swinging upward to reveal the contents. 
They are mounted with the closed lid of each box 
facing the observer. The words “The Right to
appear in raised print and Braille on the outside 
of each box. When you open each lid, you find 
additional text, including a quotation outlining 
one of the rights Dr. tenBroek claimed for us as 
people who live in the world. Inside the boxes 
are tangible objects that represent the right 
described on the lid. A few of the box contents 
are lighthearted, illustrating for onlookers a 
bit of Dr. tenBroek’s sense of humor.

The first box focuses on Dr. tenBroek’s fight for 
academic freedom. The second features an issue 
Dr. tenBroek began working on in the 1940s and 
one that the Federation is still working on 
today, the right to organize and earn a decent 
wage. The third discusses the right to due 
process in law, and it quotes Dr. tenBroek’s 
thoughts on the internment of Japanese Americans 
in relocation camps. The right to equal treatment 
regardless of race is the focus of the fourth 
box, including a quotation from Dr. tenBroek’s 
Law Review article, which was cited in the Brown 
v. Board of Education decision. The fifth box 
addresses the right to have a funny nickname. It 
provides the back-story on how Dr. tenBroek 
acquired the nickname “Chick.” The last box is 
the most lighthearted of them all. It features a 
quote from a letter Jacobus wrote to his parents 
while he was a student at the California School 
for the Blind. In the letter he talks about 
sitting around in his underwear on a Saturday 
morning. So the right to sit around in your 
underwear is the focus of box number six.

Centered near the top of the board is a picture 
of Dr. tenBroek superimposed on a tactile map of 
the world. To the left of the map is the 
following quotation from Dr. tenBroek’s Law 
Review article “The Right to Live in the World”:

“The right of access to public accommodations and 
common carriers is a civil right. It is a basic 
right indispensable to participation in the 
community, a substantive right to which all are fully and equally entitled.”

Below the map, a quotation explains to passersby 
that, in addition to rights, Dr. tenBroek 
believed all people had responsibilities. Cards 
in primary colors and shaped like four of the 
seven continents, print and Braille writing 
instruments, and push pins are available near the 
bottom of the board so that visitors can write 
out the responsibilities they think we have and 
then pin their cards somewhere on the board.
Hoby Wedler. Photo credit: RANDY PENCH / rpench at sacbee.com
Photo: Hoby Wedler

2011 NFB Youth Slam Participants in the News

As usual with NFB youth programs, the NFB Youth 
Slam of summer 2011 continues to gather attention 
in the media well after its finish.

Youth Slam mentor Hoby Wedler was featured in the 
Sacramento Bee article 
Has No Trouble Visualizing a Doctorate in 
Chemistry,” about his experience pursuing 
graduate work in organic chemistry as a blind 
person. Hoby was awarded a cash prize and trip to 
Washington, D.C., by Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind).

Similarly, sixteen-year-old Youth Slam student 
Tommy Brown’s aspirations to become an engineer 
were the topic of 
Regional Junior in 5-day Science Program for 
Visually Impaired Youth” in the Pittsburgh 
Tribune-Review. Tommy gives this advice to other 
blind students: “You can do anything. If there’s 
something you want to do, go for it.”

NFB of D.C. Convention

On October 7, the NFB of the District of Columbia 
will host a day-long student seminar in 
conjunction with their annual state convention, 
and NFB Jernigan Institute education team member 
Meleah Jensen will be there to lend support. Some 
noteworthy agenda items include team-building 
exercises and hands-on technology demonstrations. 
In addition, students will have the opportunity 
to take a “Risk” by diving into discussions about 
blindness through a variety of games.

Keeping Up with NFB Programs

Are you interested in keeping up to date with 
Youth Programs? Do you want to know what happened 
at the Youth Slam? Check out 
page on Facebook. There you can find updates on 
activities and a gallery of 
Slam pictures. And, there’s a new Twitter account 
where you can direct all questions you may have 
about blindness or the NFB: 


Braille Initiative

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

It’s time to register for the 2011-2012 
Readers Are Leaders contest. Registration for the 
K-12 and adult contests opens October 1, 2011. 
For the past 29 years this contest has encouraged 
children in grades K-12 to be proud of their 
ability to read Braille and to continually work 
to improve their skills. This will be the third 
year the adults have joined in the fun of the 
Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.

The reading period starts November 1, 2011. Start 
gathering your reading material now so you can 
hit the books hard on November 1 and start the 
contest strong. Registration will remain open 
through the end of the contest, January 4, 2012. 
to register today. If you have questions about 
the contest, please 
<mailto:BrailleReadersAreLeaders at nfb.org>e-mail 
Braille Readers Are Leaders or call (410) 659-9314, extension 2312.

NFB ShareBraille

Thinking about entering the 2011-2012 Braille 
Readers Are Leaders contest? You should! When you 
do, check out the 
ShareBraille Web site to find a plethora of books 
you could read throughout the contest. NFB 
ShareBraille is an online community for sharing 
Braille materials. Belonging to the community and 
sharing books is totally free! The community 
offers a wide variety of Braille books, a perfect 
source of materials while you prepare for contest 
domination, and for keeping you engaged in 
reading during the contest and afterward.


After participating in the 
Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) 
program the last two years, Texas has expanded on 
the program. The NFB of Texas hosted the first 
BELL Reunion the weekend of September 17. During 
the reunion, BELL kids were able to socialize and 
catch up, but more than that, they participated 
in a full day of activities. From 10:00 a.m. 
until 3:30 p.m. kids worked on Braille, cane 
travel, and blindness skills. Great job Texas! 
What a fun way to keep in touch with the BELL 
kids and keep them learning all year long.



Digital Technology and Accessibility in Schools Questionnaire

The NFB is seeking information about 
accessibility barriers in the digital technology 
used by all students, teachers, and 
administrators in K-12 schools, universities, and 
colleges in the United States.

We encourage students, teachers, administrators, 
and parents of blind students to complete 
questionnaire so that the NFB can learn more 
about educational technology that is either 
helping or hindering the learning process for 
blind students. If you are a parent of a blind 
student who is unable to complete the 
questionnaire on his/her own, please complete the 
questionnaire on behalf of your child and include 
your name and contact information. The NFB will 
not voluntarily release your identifying 
information or responses without your permission.

If you have questions about completing this form, 
please contact Clara Van Gerven by 
<mailto:cvangerven at nfb.org>e-mail or by phone at 
(410) 659-9314, extension 2410.



Jeff Bezos introduces Kindle Fire. Photo credit: AP
Photo: Jeff Bezos introduces Kindle Fire

A message from Dr. Maurer Condemning Lack of Access to the New Kindle Fire

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, made these comments on 
the release of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire, which 
cannot be used by people who are blind:

Blind Americans have repeatedly asked Amazon to 
include accessibility for the blind in its Kindle 
product line. The feasibility of including 
accessibility in similar products has been 
demonstrated. The Department of Education and the 
Department of Justice have made it clear that 
Kindle devices cannot be purchased by educational 
institutions, libraries, and other entities 
covered by this country’s disability laws unless 
the devices are fully accessible. Despite all 
this, Amazon has released a brand new Kindle 
device, the Kindle Fire, which cannot be used by people who are blind.

Enough! We condemn this latest action by Amazon 
and reiterate that we will not tolerate 
technological discrimination. The National 
Federation of the Blind seeks nothing less than 
equal access to all technology for blind people. 
It is one of the most critical civil rights 
issues facing blind Americans in the twenty-first 
century, and we will do everything in our power 
to see that this right is secured.

press release

A Chicago Sun-Times article reviewing the Kindle 
Fire release, 
Kindle Fire Explodes onto Tablet Scene,” bemoans 
that “Alas, Amazon has ‘nothing to announce’ 
about the Fire’s accessibility features, beyond 
the Kindle’s existing text-to-speech reading 
feature.”  Kindle has uploaded to 
video of the entire press conference introducing the Kindle Fire.

NFB Urges Maryland Libraries to Purchase Accessible E-readers

The National Federation of the Blind, the 
nation’s leading advocate for accessible 
technology, sent letters urging the Enoch Pratt 
Free Library and the Howard County Library System 
in Maryland to purchase e-book readers that can 
be used by the blind. The libraries are currently 
lending Barnes & Noble’s NOOK device to patrons, 
but this device­unlike some other e-book readers 
and platforms­cannot be used by the blind or 
others who cannot read print. E-readers can be 
made accessible through text-to-speech technology 
and/or the ability to output content to external 
Braille displays, but the NOOK does not have any of these features.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “E-books and the 
devices with which to read them present a 
historic opportunity for blind readers to have 
access to the same books at the same time as 
sighted readers, but only if publishers and 
manufacturers design their products in a way that 
allows access by blind and print-disabled 
readers. It is disturbing that institutions 
committed to free access to information for 
everyone would purchase e-readers that cannot be 
used by all of their patrons when technology that 
would serve everyone, including those who are 
blind or print-disabled, is readily available. We 
hope that our Maryland libraries will honor their 
legal and moral obligation to provide equal 
access to their blind patrons and send a clear 
message to publishers and technology vendors that 
access to information and literature is critical 
for all Americans, not just those who can read print.”


Straight Talk About Vision Loss

Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent, in BDC vehicle driver's seat
Photo: Tom Foreman, CNN, reporting on BDC

In the closing act of the 2011 NFB Youth Slam 
talent contest, Barby Elliott turned NFB 
philosophy into music. Our thanks go out to Mika 
Pyyhkala for this recording of Barby’s original 

In this video 
Car for Blind Drivers,” Tom Foreman reports on 
the Blind Driver Challenge® for “Anderson Cooper’s 360” news show on CNN.

Coming soon:  ABC's Juju Chang drives the Blind 
Driver Challenge® car at the NFB headquarters.


Product and Access Technology Talk

News from the Access Technology Team

This September was the second time the NFB hosted 
Accessibility Training Day with the Maryland 
Technology Assistance Program. The event was a 
great success­seats were fully booked. The day 
was jam-packed with sessions helpful to anyone 
with an interest in Web accessibility. Speakers 
covered both policy and technical angles in 
breakout sessions, so attendees with various 
responsibilities and interests could get their 
questions answered. The attendees came from a 
wide range of sectors, with government, 
education, and business being especially well 
represented. Participants also got an excellent 
opportunity to meet others in the field and to 
explore business solutions for accessibility 
issues during the exhibit hours.  For those who 
were not able to attend, you can 
the materials for each session.

In other news, the team has been busy writing up 
some exciting finds­improvements to 
and UpdateFlash.org and 
apps are all current topics on the blog, and more posts are in the works.

As fall sets in, we are also gearing up for the 
next conference. 
Higher Ground in Colorado targets accessibility 
in higher education, which makes for a very 
interesting (and interested) audience. The team 
will make presentations on November 17 and 18 on 
“Tactile Graphics” and “Promoting Nonvisual 
Accessibility through Task-based, First-hand 
Testing,” with 

Graphic: eBay logo

eBay is Recruiting

The Reuters news service published 
following entry on August 25, 2011, on its small business blog:

is recruiting an unlikely group of new 
entrepreneurs into its selling ranks–the visually impaired.

Blind citizens have staggeringly high rates of 
unemployment, with some 70 percent of 
working-age, legally blind adults out of work, 
according to the National Federation of the Blind.

So the online marketplace, in partnership with 
NFB, began recruiting test sellers in the blind 
community late last year. In February, it began a 
pilot program with 15 blind entrepreneurs. In 
total, they have sold more than 2,100 items, 
including everything from packing tape to clothing and makeup.

“We have a commitment to making our pages 
accessible,” said Jonas Klink, senior product 
manager of accessibility for San Jose, 
California-based eBay. The company was also the 
title sponsor at NFB’s national convention in July.

“These 15 pilot program participants have been 
selling above and beyond even the majority of our 
sighted community,” said Klink, adding that word 
has spread through the blind community. “A number 
have become top-rated sellers.”

The blind sellers use enhanced tools such as 
screen access software that verbalizes content on 
the Internet, which has primarily been designed for sighted participants.

“When you look at the Web as a whole, you’re 
looking at a very visual medium,” Klink said. 
“Designing for the visually impaired is in some 
cases harder because you don't have the luxury of well-known graphics.”

At the NFB convention, some 300 people signed up 
for the next phase of eBay’s commitment to work 
with visually impaired sellers, he said.

Technology and Print Disabilities

The American University radio station WAMU's 
broadcast of “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” on September 
7 was about reading using access technology. 
Guests were Jim Fruchterman and George Kerscher. 
Hear the 
and Print Accessibility” program or read a full 


 From the tenBroek Library

Photo: Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze image 1

Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze

The tenBroek Library does not usually acquire 
books simply because they are in an accessible 
format. Most of our books in fact are ink-print 
(and not necessarily large type). This is because 
most books on blindness­just like most books on 
any subject­are ink-print and have never been 
published in an accessible format.

We are gradually dealing with the inaccessibility 
of the ink-print-only books through our 
digitization program. And we'll also do on-demand 
digitization for a fee. For example, a researcher 
recently visited and spent some time with a 
librarian reviewing a number of ink-print items 
that were of potential interest. He left us with 
a request to digitize almost a hundred pages. We 
were happy to do that and send the digitized 
material to him as e-mail attachments (along with a bill).

But this is not what this month’s “From the tenBroek Library” is really about.

Our subject this month is an accessible book we 
recently acquired. It is not about blindness, but 
it merits a place in our library because of the 
care that was taken to make it accessible both 
visually and tactilely. It’s a beautiful book 
called Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze, 
published by the British Museum in collaboration 
with an Italian publisher of fine books. Here’s a 
paragraph from the introduction to the book:

“This book forms part of the Tiresias project, 
which includes a permanent exhibition in the 
British Museum’s Parthenon Galleries. Tiresias is 
the blind seer of Greek myth who was blinded by 
Hera but compensated by Zeus with the power of 
second sight. The purpose of both the book and 
the exhibition is to provide ‘second sight’ of 
the Parthenon frieze for sighted and visually impaired people alike.”

Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze image 2

The frieze, which the British took (some say 
“stole”) from Greece two hundred years ago­along 
with statues and other antiquities­shows people, 
animals, wheeled vehicles, and other objects in a 
procession honoring Athena, the patron goddess of 
ancient Athens. This book reproduces the frieze 
in an inventive way that allows both blind and 
sighted people to appreciate its beauty without 
being in London, where it can be directly viewed. Again, from the introduction:

“Most pages of this book are divided into three 
bands. The top band shows the frieze modified for 
the partially sighted. Over this is a transparent 
layer of tactile images, in which the frieze is 
further adapted for the blind user. This 
simplified version is calculated to convey the 
most important elements. The second band of the 
page features a selection of figures that have 
been isolated so as to make them more easily 
understood, while the third band shows a 
bird’s-eye view of the procession. This plan 
offers an opportunity for both visually impaired 
and sighted readers to understand the procession 
better than ever possible before.”

Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze image 3

The book provides tactile maps of ancient Athens 
showing the route of the procession, a plan view 
of the Parthenon, and elevation views of each 
side of the Parthenon. There is also a 
visual-tactile “lexicon” that defines each image in the procession.

All the text in the book is in Braille as well as 
ink-print. Accompanying the book is a five-hour 
spoken commentary on three cassettes. We plan to 
digitize the audio and make it available to library users on CDs.

Whether you’re blind or sighted, this book can 
only be experienced in person. It is another 
reason to visit Baltimore (unless a library near you also has a copy).


Independence Market

The ending of summer heralds the beginning of the 
school year. Blind students of all ages may find 
some of the following items available from the 
National Federation of the Blind Independence 
Market of use in their academic studies and 
extracurricular activities. We have grouped items 
into two broad categories: personal management 
and study aids; however there is some overlap, so 
you'll want to look through both sections.

Personal Management

    * Using a white cane gives a blind person 
independence in moving around his/her home and 
school environment. The Independence Market sells 
a variety of 
    * An accessible watch and/or clock are useful 
tools that assist students to get to class on 
time. The Independence Market sells a variety of 
Braille and talking 
and clocks. Braille watches allow the wearer to 
check the time unobtrusively, which is especially 
useful in class or in church. Talking watches 
have the advantage of having an alarm.
locks help to keep books and other materials 
secure when using a locker at school or at the gym.
    * Most students have several devices that use 
batteries. A 
tester is a must for anyone needing to 
distinguish discharged batteries from new ones.
    * We also carry a small selection of handheld 
ranging from 5X to 14X.

Study Aids

    * A 
or abacus is helpful when doing basic math functions.
    * Here are some tools for 
to books and recording classes. The new digital 
recorders like the 
DM-420 offer some definite advantages. The 
Reader Stream gives blind students access to textbooks like never before.
    * Every student needs to take notes in class. 
We have some 
you may find helpful, including 20/20 pens, dark 
lined writing paper, writing guides, slates and 
styluses, and Braille paper. It is always good to 
be armed with a 
as a backup, just in case some of the fancy technology fails.
    * We also carry 
for making Braille labels. Braille labels are great for getting organized.

For more information or to place an order for 
products, please contact the 
<mailto:IndependenceMarket at nfb.org>NFB 
Independence Market via e-mail or by phone at 
(410) 659-9314, extension 2216, Monday-Friday 
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time.


Parent Outreach

Photo: Kendra with plunger

The Summer 2011 issue of 
Volume 30 Number 3, is out. Future Reflections is 
the NFB's quarterly magazine for parents and 
teachers of blind children. Read it for the 
newest content on Learning, Making Friends, 
Advocacy, Transitions, Technology, and more. To 
whet your interest, here's the beginning of the 
first article in the Learning section:

“Dad, Where’s the Plunger?”

by Richard Holloway

 From the Editor: It is often said that 80 
percent of all learning is visual. For a totally 
blind child, however, 100 percent of learning 
occurs nonvisually. Given plenty of opportunities 
for hands-on exploration, a blind child can 
acquire most of the information about the world 
that sighted children possess. In this article, 
Richard Holloway describes how he helped his 
blind daughter, Kendra, fill in some important information gaps.

“Dad, do we have a plunger?” my daughter asked 
one afternoon. “Where's the plunger?”

I was a little concerned. Why would my 
eight-year-old daughter possibly need a plunger, 
after all? This just couldn't be good!

“I want to know what a plunger feels like!” she explained.

Wow! I had done it again. I pride myself on 
describing the visual world to my blind daughter, 
but there it was­another little hole in her 
understanding. Did we have a plunger? Sure. Was I 
going to let her explore it with her hands? Well, 
no, that didn't seem the best plan. You might 
find ours to be as well-washed as any slightly 
used plunger anywhere, but I'm not going to put 
it into a child's hands for tactile exploration. 
“I'm sorry,” I said, “we don't have a plunger 
that you can touch. It isn't clean enough. But 
what if I take you to the store and let you explore a new, clean plunger?”

Kendra was delighted with the idea. That's how I 
came to take her on her first Home Depot expedition. . . .

This article is continued in 


Spotlight on the Imagination Fund

One of the purposes of the 
Fund is to support the innovative, informative, 
and inspiring programs of the affiliates and 
divisions of the National Federation of the Blind 
through Imagination Fund grants.
Sean Whalen and Kimberly Flores, former NABS 
board member and current president of the NFB of Texas
Photo: Sean Whalen and Kimberly Flores

The National Association of Blind Students (NABS) 
applied for and was awarded an Imagination Fund 
grant to send NABS board member representatives 
to NFB affiliate conventions and state student 
events. The funds helped NABS to assist in 
division building, increase cohesion between 
state and national student divisions, and develop 
the leadership skills of future leaders of the NFB.

Overall, NABS fulfilled eighteen requests for 
representatives. According to Sean Whalen, 
current president of NABS, representatives are 
extremely beneficial to affiliates and students 
alike, “from helping to launch a student division 
in West Virginia, to keeping already strong state 
divisions, like Georgia, abreast of, and involved 
in, the work we are doing on a national level, to 
speaking to conventions, students, and parents at 
large in nearly twenty states, NABS was able to make significant progress.”

The benefits of the program include strengthening 
relationships, mentoring, and leadership 
development. Sean Whalen describes a few of the 
outcomes of the program: “Each of us who has 
traveled as part of the program has been told by 
NFB leaders, students, or parents of blind 
students that our presentations, conversations, 
and encouragement throughout the course of an 
event have added valuable perspective, provided 
useful information, or, sometimes, even changed 
people’s outlooks on blindness.”

To learn more about how the National Association 
of Blind Students is changing what it means to be 
blind, visit the 
Web site.

To help support worthwhile programs of the 
National Federation of the Blind, become an 
Imaginator and join the 
for Independence today!


NFB Calendar

The Fall Convention Season   The yearly meetings 
of NFB’s state affiliates cluster in the fall and 
spring. The following states meet in September 
and October: Arizona, North Carolina, Montana, 
New York, Kentucky, Georgia, Alaska, D.C., 
Illinois, Minnesota, Rhode Island, California, 
Arkansas, Indiana, Hawaii, Nebraska, Kansas, 
Washington, Maine, Iowa, and Maryland! To look up 
when other state annual meetings occur, see the 
conventions page on the NFB’s Web site.

the Blind Month, a campaign conducted by NFB 
chapters throughout the country. We challenge you 
to participate in innovative and unique 
meet-and-greet events in your local community 
this year. For information, contact 
<mailto:mkobelinski at nfb.org>Melissa Kobelinski.

October 7-8, 
Science Academy, presented by the NFB and the 
Institute of Technology at the NFB Jernigan Institute.

November 1, 2011   National Federation of the 
Blind Bid for Excellence national auction begins. 
For more information, help in how to promote the 
auction, to donate an item or service, or to 
become a Bid for Excellence sponsor, contact 
Ann-Marie Laney at (410) 659-9314, extension 
2371, or by <mailto:alaney at nfb.org>e-mail.

February 6-9, 2012   NFB 
Seminar, Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.



Activities began on Sunday morning, July 3, when 
parents, rehabilitation professionals, technology 
enthusiasts, job seekers, and artists gathered to 
begin their work. President Maurer addressed the 
rehab professionals and emphasized how crucial 
their work is in making the dream of full 
participation real in the lives of blind people. 
He visited with the children and tried to 
convince a young girl named Jessica that her 
unsuccessful struggles to read print probably 
meant that she should be concentrating on 
Braille. “Sighted people should use the 
techniques of the sighted, and blind people 
should use the techniques of the blind,” he 
argued. The exchange was spirited, and it was 
evident just how much this little girl had been 
taught that the only path to praise would come 
through what she could see. A young man named 
Drake wanted to know how a blind man could invent 
a time machine. The president seemed a bit 
surprised by the question so early in the morning 
but opined that, if a time machine could be made, 
he was certain that a blind person would be as 
likely to come up with it as a sighted person. 
Lindsey asked what he had done in his time as 
president, and for a moment he was 
uncharacteristically silent as he considered how 
to address the many challenges that have 
characterized his presidency in a way this little 
girl and the rest of his young audience could understand.

2011 Convention Roundup,” Gary Wunder, Braille Monitor, August-September 2011

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: National Federation of the Blind logo

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

Better Business Bureau logo
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.

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