Future Reflections        Summer 2013

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News From Parents of Blind Children of New Jersey

by Carol Castellano

From the Editor: Carol Castellano is the author of four books on the education of blind children, including Making It Work and Getting Ready for College Begins in Third Grade. She is a past president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and served for many years on the NOPBC board of directors. She also served as president of the Parents of Blind Children of New Jersey (POBC-NJ) since its founding in 1991 until the spring of 2013.

POBC-NJ has been busy. In November 2012 we participated in the state convention of the NFB of New Jersey. We presented a workshop called "Family Hands-On Science and Engineering," featuring NJ's famous science team, Marilyn Winograd and Dr. Lillian Rankel [see the article "Hands-on Science" elsewhere in this issue]. Then, in conjunction with the New Jersey Student Division, we hosted "Getting Blind/Visually Impaired Kids Ready for a Job." The workshop featured NFB national representative Kevan Worley and Eric Guillory of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

In April we held our annual spring seminar. This year's conference was called "When I Grow Up." We were lucky to have Eric Guillory with us again, and he gave an inspiring talk on competence and confidence. We also heard about tactile graphics from Shirley Keller of Creative Adaptations for Learning (CAL). Attorney Jayne Wesler spoke about children's rights in education, and other speakers talked about library services, music therapy, hippotherapy, baby development, Braille, self-advocacy, independent living skills, technology, and the role of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. A special thank you goes to the children--Jillian Milton, Matthew Whitaker, and Andrew Chin--for presenting a wonderful panel called "Life in the Fast Lane." We also thank John Reiff, Liz Burns, Ed Goodman, Amanda Ranallo, Laurie Landy, Pat McKinley, Joe Ruffalo, Evelyn Valdez, and Sherlock Washington for giving of their time and talents.

At the end of the day, POBC of New Jersey had a historic moment. Many of you know that I was the cofounder of POBC-NJ. I have served as president since the organization began in 1991, and I planned to step down this year. With great delight I announce that Holly Miller is the new POBC-NJ president! I hope you will all join me in congratulating Holly! New members of the board are Kenneth Chin, Vera Hough, Alison Stephens, and Liz Valois. Rounding out the board are returning members Linda Halm, Kathy Gabry, Mary Colasurdo, Tom Ferry, Susan Flynn, Hannah Hashash, Carla Richardson, May Whitaker, and me. We thank Linda Thomas and Patty Tumminello for their past board service.

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