[NFBWATLK] notes from your President

Marci Carpenter mjc59 at comcast.net
Mon Jan 1 06:19:09 UTC 2018


As I count down to the new year I have been thinking about what we in the NFB of Washington have accomplished in 2017 and what lies ahead in 2018. I want to share some of those thoughts with all of you and also let you know what your President has been doing recently. This post will be longer because it is my first and I have much to share. I will post notes monthly to let you know what is happening in our affiliate.

Five Federationists attended the 2017 NFB Washington Seminar, including two who had not attended before. We had some productive meetings with our Congressional delegation but there is much work to be done in the next year. Several of us will be going to this event in 2018. There will be more about this later.

We had great attendance at the 2017 NFB national convention. Many rookies (first-timers) were very engaged in convention activities. For the first time we had a table in the Exhibit Hall. Buna Dahal and all or our members did a great job selling Dilettante chocolate products, coffee and Amazon drawing tickets. Accessibility coordinators for Microsoft, Expedia, Amazon and other local companies attended and some spoke during convention sessions. I hope many of you will consider attending our convention to be held in Orlando in 2018. I will post an announcement with the location for the 2019 national convention as soon as I know of it. President Riccobono already announced that it will be somewhere west of the Mississippi. 

We had a great state convention in Olympia this Fall, despite the brief snowstorm on Friday. Our agenda was packed and there was much spirited discussion in our break-out sessions. I have already signed the contract for our 2018 state convention. We will be returning to the Hotel RL in Olympia November 2-4. I would like to hear your ideas about agenda items you would like to have. Contact me off list.

I have certainly been busy recently. I represent the NFBW on the Board of Trustees of the Washington State School for the Blind. Although this is an Ex-Officio (non-voting) position I am increasingly involved with the school. I travel to Vancouver for the meetings, and i go early so I can spend time observing classes and interacting with students and staff. The night before our last meeting our Clarke County chapter hosted a pizza and bowling night for the students. I ate dinner in one of the cottages and really enjoyed encouraging all of the bowlers! I was also able to talk with them about our scholarships, STEM programs and other youth oriented programs. Corey Grandstaff, Doug Trimble and Matt Hines are WSSB employees and were there that night along with over 20 students. Don Mitchell also came to the event. 

I have been serving on the State Rehabilitation Council of the Washington State Services for the Blind for the last year. In December I was elected as Chair of the SRC and Doug Trimble was reelected as Vice Chair. Two other Federationists, Tim Paulding and Corey Grandstaff, also now serve on the Council. This gives us the opportunity to more closely monitor and, I hope, influence agency policy. There are more vacancies on the SRC. I will post more information about this soon and hope some of you will apply.

We have two NFB members on the Patron Advisory Committee of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library; Gary Mackenstadt and Betty Watson. There will be opportunities to apply for seats on the PAC later in 2018. It is a good thing to have our members participating in these boards and committees. The more of us there are the more we can encourage these entities to have high expectations of their customers and students. It increases our opportunity to have influence in programs that serve blind children and adults. It can also provide valuable experience to those who volunteer. These are not paid positions but board/committee members are reimbursed for travel, lodging and meals.

I answer many calls from blind people and agencies, and I meet with newly blind individuals and parents of blind children. I have visited blind parents whose child was in Children’s hospital in Seattle, helped a mother with advocacy for school placement for her blind daughter and attended DSB meetings with blind consumers and their counsellors.. I attend other meetings on behalf of the NFB, both locally and nationally. I have served on the NLS Collections Development Advisory Group (a 4-day meeting in D.C.). Many other NFBW members serve on committees and boards. Do you serve on a committee in your local area, church or other venue? If so, please contact me off list and let me know so we can share news of blind people living the lives we want.I will post announcements of these activities in the coming months.

We have welcomed many new members into our chapters in 2017. We need to step up this effort in 2018. In December we held the first meeting of our new At-Large chapter using our free conference call phone line. This is a chapter for people who do not live near a local chapter. Jenelle Landgraf, one of our 2017 state scholarship winners, will be very involved in leading this chapter. There will be posts about the chapter’s monthly calls. I need all of you to help bring more blind people into the NFB. Bring a friend to a meeting or join them on the At-Large call. Then follow up with them. Talk with new members at your local chapters. Make them feel welcome. This increases the likelihood that they will come back to future meetings and events. 

I have one final announcement. The NFB of Washington will be co-hosting with the NFB of Oregon the first BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning) program for blind children in Washington. It will take place from August 6-17 at WSSB in Vancouver. More information about this will be posted later. 

I will close for now. I would like to hear from you about your ideas of how to increase participation in our organization. Is there a project you are interested in? We welcome all interested people in the NFB. We have the love, hope and determination to help blind people live the lives we want. Join me and we will build the community that is the National Federation of the Blind of Washington.

Happy New Year!

Marci Carpenter, President
NFB of Washington
(206) 604-5507
mjc59 at comcast.net







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