Braille Monitor                                    March 2018

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News from the Federation Family

Anil Lewis Recognized:
I am truly humbled and honored that the Baltimore Teachers Union, Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Committee has chosen me to be the recipient of the Barbara Van Blake Civil and Human Rights Award. My work with the National Federation of the Blind has afforded me the opportunity to actively engage in the educational, civic, social, and human rights arenas, working to create opportunities for blind people to live, work, and play as fully participating members of our communities.

The Baltimore Teachers Union, Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Committee will pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. King at its fourteenth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast. The breakfast will be held Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Forum Caterers, 4210 Primrose Avenue at 8:30 AM. The theme for this year's breakfast is “The Dream is Still Possible."

I share this recognition with the 50,000 members of the National Federation of the Blind.

Gain work experience, challenge yourself, and build relationships that will last a lifetime:
The Colorado Center for the Blind is now accepting applications from positive blind role models to be residential counselors and classroom instructors in our 2018 summer programs. We offer three programs for students: Summer for Success College Prep Program, Earn and Learn High School Program, and the Initiation to Independence Middle School Program.

Staff must be available May 29 through August 10, 2018. Applicants must be good role models, competent in the skills of blindness, well-rounded, flexible, must possess excellent communication skills, and be willing to lead by example. Must be excited to work with blind students ages eleven through twenty. 

Challenge recreation is an exciting component of the job. Staff will go rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, attend martial arts classes, and much more. All staff and students will attend the week-long national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida.

To learn more about our summer programs, please click the following link &feature=player_embedded#t=0

If interested, please contact Martin Becerra-Miranda at (303) 778-1130 extension 223 or via email at

David Andrews Receives Minnesota's 2018 MLK Commitment to Service Award:
David Andrews, chief technology officer at State Services for the Blind, is a recipient of Minnesota’s 2018 MLK Commitment to Service award. Andrews was recognized for his contribution to diversity and inclusion through his advocacy for assistive technology, accessible web design, and access to information.

Among his many other accomplishments, Andrews was a part of a working group whose efforts contributed to the adoption of accessibility standards as passed by the Minnesota legislature in 2009. Dave has been on staff at SSB for twenty-three years, and has worked in the field of accessibility for nearly four decades.

"This award not only honors Dave’s dedication and tireless advocacy," said SSB Director, Carol Pankow, "but it also reflects the importance of accessibility and access to information in building a strong and diverse Minnesota. Along with the rest of the staff here at SSB, I congratulate Dave on this important award." James Burroughs, chief inclusion officer for the Governor’s Office, presented Andrews with the award at the Ordway Center in St. Paul at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Monday, January 15, 2018.

NFB BELL Academy Adds New Skills to Curriculum:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy helps blind and low-vision children ages four through twelve develop the literacy skills that will empower them to be successful in their academic and life goals. This year, with the assistance of our Wells Fargo partners, we will be focusing on the development of financial literacy skills as well. In addition to Braille instruction, the program provides instruction in other nonvisual blindness skills through fun, hands-on learning in a day program or residential setting. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adults who serve as mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that by “Banking on Blindness Skills,” they can live the lives they want. To learn more about NFB BELL Academy and to apply please visit

National Association of Blind Merchants Day on The Hill:
The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) and the National Federation of the Blind Entrepreneurs Initiative (NFBEI) will be holding a Day on The Hill on May 20-21, 2018. Please make arrangements to join us in Washington, DC, so we can let our voices be heard and collectively protect the priority.

A bill has been introduced that will allow commercialization of interstate rest areas and the President is promoting an infrastructure plan that has been leaked, and we know for certain it includes the option for states to commercialize their rest areas through public-private partnerships. If this becomes the law of the land, almost 400 blind entrepreneurs who operate vending at these rest areas could be displaced almost instantly. Add to that the fact that several programs that rely on funding from third party vendors would face financial ruin. We have to continue our fight to prevent DOD from promulgating the proposed troop dining rules and educate the Armed Services Committee in an effort to thwart any attempt by AbilityOne to get language added to the National Defense Authorization Act this year that would further weaken our priority for troop dining. We must continue to put political pressure on the VA to comply with the law. Now, burdensome OMB regulations are being imposed on states that require federal approval of all purchases of over $5,000. This will slow down purchasing to a crawl and dramatically impact vendors’ ability to make a living. We continue to get threats from the American Heart Association that wants to mandate only healthier options to be sold in our vending machines.

This year, we will kick things off with some extensive training on Monday afternoon, May 20th. John Paré and Gabe Cazares from the National Federation of the Blind’s Baltimore office will lead the training, and it will focus on how to be an effective advocate on The Hill and in your everyday lives. That training will begin at 3:00 and conclude by 6:00.

To register to attend the Fly-In, go to Complete the registration form and submit. We will make appointments for you with your members of Congress on Tuesday, May 21st.

The host hotel will be the Marriott Key Bridge Hotel, 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington, Virginia, 22209. You can see the agenda and book your room at You may also call 703-524-6400 and ask for the NABM Fly-In rate which is $199.00. We have a block of rooms for the nights of May 19, 20, and 21.

The Randolph-Sheppard Program is under attack. Help us defend it. Register now!

2018 Summer Training and Employment Project (STEP) Program Striving for Success:
Since 1985 the Louisiana Center for the Blind has been changing what it means to be blind for adults from across America. In 1990, a program was created to address the needs of blind high school students. The Summer Training and Employment Project (STEP) Program is designed to introduce blind teenagers to positive blind role models and to provide participants with summer work experience.

The eight-week summer program will consist of two components. During the first part of the program, competent blind counselors will instruct the students in the alternative techniques of blindness. Classes in Braille, cane travel, computer literacy, and daily living skills will be taught by qualified blind instructors. In addition, seminars will be conducted in the areas of job readiness, job interviewing skills, resumé writing, and job responsibilities. The second part of the program will continue all aspects of training and expand to include an employment dimension. Students will have the opportunity to participate in 40 hours of internship experience—for which they will receive the Federal minimum wage. Students will be introduced to a broad spectrum of career possibilities as they explore postsecondary options.

The combination of work experience and blindness-related skills—along with fun-filled activities such as cookouts, swimming, mall excursions, and various other outings—will foster self-confidence and independence in blind teens. From July 3 through 8, students will attend the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida. This exciting conference will allow them to meet thousands of competent blind people from across the country. The students will also have the chance to participate in a wide variety of informative seminars and youth-oriented social and other activities. At the close of the program, parents will be required to attend a Parents’ Weekend which will enable them to discover how much their children have learned throughout the summer. The STEP program is designed to provide invaluable work experience, friendships, opportunities for personal growth, and cherished memories.

Training will begin June 10 and conclude August 4. We recognize that there may be some overlap between the start and/or conclusion of our program and school district dates. If accepted, we are happy to coordinate with a student’s school district in this regard. Please visit to learn about more program specifics and to complete an application.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment, and applicants must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other funding entity to cover program costs.

Questions? Please call our director of youth services, Eric Guillory at (800) 234-4166 or email him at "Together, we are changing what it means to be blind." Check out STEP and find out how.
BUDDY PROGRAM 2018: Putting the Pieces Together
Come and join us for a summer of fun and learning! Since 1989, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has offered an innovative summer program for blind children in grades four through eight. This summer, the Buddy Program promises to be full of learning opportunities, new friendships, and fun-filled activities.

Many blind children have misconceptions about their blindness due to the lack of positive role models and to the negative stereotypes about blindness in society. Unlike other summer programs for blind children, the Buddy Program is directed and staffed by competent blind adults. Classes in cane travel are taught to instill independence and self-confidence. The knowledge of Braille enables the blind child to compete on terms of equality with sighted peers in the classroom and provides a solid background in spelling and other grammatical skills. Classes in access technology expose students to available mainstream and adaptive solutions. Daily living skills instruction promotes equal participation in household duties such as cooking, shopping, and cleaning. In addition to learning valuable alternative techniques of blindness, children will enjoy participating in a wide variety of exciting activities such as swimming, camping, bowling, rollerskating, and field trips.

The combination of hard work and fun activities will provide a rewarding experience that children will cherish. Involvement in the Buddy Program helps them realize that it is not blindness that holds them back. Rather, it is the negative attitudes and misconceptions about blindness that may prevent them from reaching their potential. At the close of the program, parents are REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend. This weekend will allow them to interact with other parents of blind children and to learn what their children have discovered about their blindness and themselves. Friendship, training, fun, growth, and interaction between blind children and positive blind role models is how the Louisiana Center for the Blind is “changing what it means to be blind.”

The Louisiana Center for the Blind will sponsor one session of the Buddy Program in 2018. Program dates are July 15 through August 4. We recognize that there may be some overlap between the conclusion of our program and school district dates. If accepted, we are happy to coordinate with a student’s school district in this regard.

Perhaps we will have the opportunity to work with your child this summer. We know it will be a memorable experience for both you and them. All interested families should visit for more details and to apply. Please also feel free to contact our director of youth services, Eric Guillory before April 20. Please email Eric at or call (800) 234-4166.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment. Please note that the fee for students not from Louisiana is $1,000—which is all-inclusive save for transportation to and from the program. The fee for Louisiana students is $500.

The National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (EQ) program is a weeklong summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teens from around the country that will run July 29 through August 4. Throughout the week participants will forge new friendships while increasing their engineering knowledge, problem-solving abilities, self-confidence, and independence. Blind and low-vision teens who are ready to learn new things, meet new people, and have an adventure this summer are encouraged to apply to attend the NFB EQ program. To learn more visit:

Session Dates for 2018 Summer Programs at BLIND, Inc:
Dates for summer programs at BLIND, Inc are as follows:

Please contact Michell Gip, youth services coordinator at (612) 872-0100 ext. 231 or if you have any questions or would like an application. 

Summer Programs at the Colorado Center for the Blind:
CCB offers three summer residential programs for students in middle school, high school, and college prep. The students live with counselors in two-bedroom, 1½ bath apartments located near the Center and will work on all aspects of managing an apartment. Students will also use public transportation to travel to and from the Center each day.

We place a big emphasis on challenge recreation activities such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, canoeing, martial arts, science, and a variety of other events. All programs share the core classes of Braille, cane travel, daily living skills, technology, and philosophy of blindness.

Summer for Success College Prep Program
The College Prep class seeks to instill a sense in each student that they can and should take charge of their education in college and beyond. The program introduces students to the student-initiated world of the college Disability Services office and “reasonable accommodations,” as well as the increasingly digital learning environment. We impart concepts and develop skills to assist the student in finding success in their studies. They will learn about their civil rights in college, as well as multi-tool strategies for obtaining their own accessible formats of textbooks and other instructional materials. Here, the emphasis will be on assistive technologies and textbook resources. We’ll also cover access to science and math, research databases, and use travel skills to visit several campuses in the Denver Metro area.

Earn and Learn High School Program
This eight-week residential program serves students age fourteen and older. Not only do these students take the core classes, but they have the opportunity to participate in exciting, paid work experiences. We work to match students with jobs they find both interesting and challenging, and they travel to and from their jobs with an assigned summer counselor. It is exhilarating for the students to get their first paycheck.

Initiation to Independence Middle School Program
This is a three-week residential program for students age eleven to fourteen. In addition to participating in the core curriculum, students will meet successful working adults in order to learn about various professions. These students are excited to have so many new experiences in just three short weeks!
For more information and applications please contact Brent Batron, director of youth programs at

Post-secondary Readiness Empowerment Program (PREP) 2018 applications are due:
Apply today to PREP 2018, a summer program for all blind/low vision high school students! This program is designed to prepare students to reach their personal, academic, and professional goals as they transition to adulthood. The PREP curriculum empowers blind youth as they learn the alternative techniques of blindness and develop the self-confidence needed to become successful adults!

The core classes include Braille reading and writing, independent cane travel, adaptive technology, career exploration, and home management. This program includes a three-week paid internship experience. Students will utilize the skills they have developed while earning minimum wage, working approximately twenty hours per week in local businesses and agencies.

The program will run June 16 through August 11. Contact Michell Gip, youth services coordinator, at (612) 872-0100, ext. 231, or for more information or an application.

Krafters Division Craft Extravaganza:
The Krafters Division is sponsoring a Craft Extravaganza on Sunday, March 18, 2018, between 2 and 5 PM central time. We will host a variety of crafts. Each class will last no more than forty-five minutes. Classes offered are: origami box, dipped cherries, duct tape project, bath bombs, and flowers. Come and join us! Log on to for more information.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Summer Employment at BISM:
Have you thought about how you will spend your summer? Are you looking for a fulfilling job working with students to improve their skills and confidence? If so, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) wants to hear from you! BISM is currently looking for independent, confident role models ready to teach and mentor high school and middle school students from across the nation.

Staff training: Thursday, June 7 to Friday, June 15, 2018
Work to Independence Program: Saturday, June 16 to Saturday, August 4
Independence 101 Program: Friday, July 20 to Saturday, August 4
Staff Departure Date: Sunday, August 5

Apartments on a college campus in Baltimore County, and classrooms at the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland Baltimore headquarters

Who should apply?
Anyone with:

What will you get for your work?

All the information you need can be found on our website:

Please read through our 2018 Youth Services brochure and download a staff application. Application submissions must also include a current resumé.

For questions, or to apply, please contact Melissa Lomax at, or (410) 737-2642.

The DAISY Consortium Continues to Innovate for the Blind:
The DAISY Consortium is delighted to announce the launch of Ace by DAISY, the groundbreaking free and open source accessibility checking tool for ebooks created in the widely adopted EPUB format. Ace by DAISY equips the publishing industry with a tool which can test their ebooks against internationally recognized standards for accessibility. Designed to assist content providers at any stage in their workflow, Ace by DAISY will make it easier to produce higher quality, more accessible EPUB content files.

The full press release can be accessed at 2018/01/prweb15141305.htm. For further information on Ace and how to get started, see

Please help us to promote this major step forward in accessible publishing!

Leader Dog’s Summer Experience Camp—Making Teens Unstoppable!
Summer Experience Camp is a week of outdoor fun, friendship, and skill building. The program combines activities like rock wall climbing and tandem biking with leadership building exercises and things exclusively Leader Dog—GPS training and spending time with Leader Dogs in training. The combination helps increase independent travel skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills. The free program is for boys and girls ages sixteen and seventeen who are legally blind. Leader Dog covers all costs including airfare to Michigan—and everyone receives a free HumanWare Trekker Breeze+ GPS device. The 2018 camp dates are June 23 through June 30. Applications are due by March 31, 2018.

For more information and to download an application, go to
or call the Leader Dogs for the Blind client services department at (888) 777-5332.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

I am interested in purchasing a Voice Mate. Call Ray at (863) 993-2997. I will pay a good price.

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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