American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Winter 2017       ANNOUNCEMENTS

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National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program
Application Deadline: March 31, 2017

To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind postsecondary students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In order to be eligible, applicants must be legally blind in both eyes; reside in the United States or Puerto Rico; be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time postsecondary course of study in a degree-granting program at a US institution in the fall semester of the 2017 scholastic year; and must participate in the entire NFB national convention and all of its scholarship activities. In addition to a scholarship, each winner will receive assistance to attend the 2017 NFB convention, which takes place July 10-15 in Orlando, Florida. The convention provides an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions.

Scholarships for People with Disabilities
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This website lists multiple scholarships, awards, and grants available to students with disabilities. Awards are listed according to specific disability, including chronic health conditions, hearing impairment, visual impairment and blindness, intellectual disability, learning disability, mental illness, and physical disability. There is also a general disability category.


The 2017 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program
Contact: Jim Gashel, (720) 878-4248
Application Deadline: April 15, 2017

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Bolotin Awards, which will be presented during the NFB national convention. Applicants must have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in improving the lives of blind people in the United States. An application for the award may be made either by the applicant directly or by third parties who nominate the applicant. Each application requires an essay describing the work or project to be recognized. In addition, applications must have at least one letter of recommendation. 


eBooks and EPUB Accessibility
Contact: Clara van Gerven, (410) 659-9314
Location: National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, MD
Date: March 23, 2017

With the rapid adoption of EPUB 3, a format is now available that provides some features that outstrip those of electronic setups originally designed to be a replica of print, such as PDF. With the accessible EPUB conformance requirements now out, a framework is developing to make this super-powered format work for all readers. This one-day training seminar will focus on how to create and implement accessible EPUB 3 in a variety of settings. Speakers will discuss how the accessibility specification can help you achieve greater ease of access. This event will be hosted under the auspices of the National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to Education, Public Information, and Commerce (CENA), with financial support through the Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative grant from the state of Maryland.

2017 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
Contact: Lou Ann Blake, (410) 659-9314, Extension 2221
Location: National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, MD
Dates: March 30-31, 2017

Registration is now open for the 2017 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, "Disability Justice and the Supreme Court: The Constitution and the Right to Live in the World." Join leading disability and civil rights advocates from throughout the United States to examine the application of the US Constitution by the Supreme Court to persons with disabilities and explore strategies to raise the level of judicial scrutiny so that all may achieve Dr. tenBroek's vision of equality of opportunity. The 2017 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will consist of plenary sessions and workshops facilitated by distinguished law professors, practitioners, and advocates who will discuss topics such as barriers to job application accessibility and potential legal remedies; effective strategies for achieving digital accessibility and communication access; criminalization of disability; and the development of a strategy to raise the level of judicial scrutiny set by Cleburne and Garrett. 

2017 Tactile Reading Conference
Contact: (46) 8-580-02-700 or (46) 10-473-50-00
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: April 5-7, 2017

This conference will bring together more than two hundred people from all over the world. Participants include academics, researchers, and developers in the fields of tactile reading and graphics, and professionals who work with children and youth with visual impairment and blindness.

Envision Conference
Location: Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel and Spa, Glendale, AZ
Dates: July 26-29, 2017

The Envision Conference is a multidisciplinary gathering that offers information and networking opportunities to medical professionals, researchers, and industry representatives dedicated to improving the lives of people with low vision. Attendees include optometrists, ophthalmologists, vision researchers, special education teachers, policymakers, and assistive technology developers. Continuing education credits may be available for participants.


2017 Youth Slam
Contact the Education Team: (410) 659-9314, Extension 2418 or at
Location: University of Maryland, Towson, MD
Dates: July 23-29, 2017
Application Deadline: May 7, 2017

NFB Youth Slam is a week-long learning opportunity that gets blind students excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and careers in the STEM fields by offering hands-on learning. The program is sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind's National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS). Students will stay in the dorms at Towson University and eat in the student dining halls, getting a taste of the college experience. Students need not have a strong interest in STEM in order to participate in and benefit from this academy. However students must be performing within at least two grade levels of their current grade in school. The courses are designed to be challenging for high school students. One hundred students will be selected to participate.


Annual Youth Writing Contest
NFB Writers' Division
Contact by mail: Shawn Jacobson
19541 Olney Mill Rd.
Olney, MD 20832
Contact by email: EvaMarie Sanchez,
Deadline for Submissions: April 1, 2017

The NFB Writers' Division will award cash prizes for winning submissions of fiction and poetry in the 2017 Youth Writing Contest. Contestants will compete in groups determined by grade level: elementary, middle school, and high school. Winning entries may be published in the Writers' Division magazine, Slate & Style. Entries must be submitted in hand-embossed, contracted Braille, produced with a slate and stylus or Braillewriter. For more extensive guidelines, visit the Writers' Division website.

2016 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest
The National Federation of the Blind is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. The NFB administered the contest on behalf of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union. The essay contest, sponsored by Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, and the Braille Mainichi, part of the Mainichi newspaper company in Japan, was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and visually impaired persons. The essays were required to be written in Braille and could be written on a variety of proposed topics related to the importance of Braille. There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons age twenty-six and older. Each winner received a cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation. The seven winners from the North America/Caribbean Region were as follows:

Otsuki Prize—Larry Johnson, TX, US
Excellent Work Award, Senior—Carol Begay Green, NM, US
Fine Work Award, Senior—Charmaine Co, British Columbia, Canada and Ann Parsons, NY, US
Excellent Work Award, Junior—Juan Avila, CA, US
Fine Work Award, Junior—Josh Andrews, IL, US and Samoya Jordan, Kingston, Jamaica


Compliance with Accessibility Agreement
Contact: Valerie Yingling,

If you or your child/student have experienced accessibility issues with student loan communications, the National Federation of the Blind needs to hear from you. In 2014 the NFB entered into an agreement with the US Department of Education (DOE) to make all federal student loan information accessible to blind individuals. Under the agreement, the DOE and its loan servicers should now offer (1) accessible websites; (2) digital forms that can be filled out, submitted, and saved on electronic devices; and (3) timely provision of alternative formats for all documents, including notices, statements, and publications. If you have had difficulty receiving accessible federal student loan information in the past year, or otherwise believe that the DOE or one of its loan servicers is not fulfilling its obligations under our agreement, please contact Valerie Yingling as soon as possible.

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