American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Winter 2018       ANNOUNCEMENTS

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General Announcements


2018 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program
Contact: Cayte Mendez, (410) 659-9314, extension 2415
Application Deadline: March 31, 2018
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 scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. To qualify, applicants must be legally blind in both eyes; must reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico; must be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, postsecondary course of study in a degree-granting program at a United States institution in the 2018 scholastic year; and must participate in the entire NFB national convention and all of its scholarship program activities. Each finalist will receive assistance to attend the convention, which will take place the first week of July in Orlando, Florida. The convention provides an excellent opportunity for networking with active blind persons in many occupations and professions. 


2018 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards
Contact: James Gashel, (970) 306-9779
Application Deadline: April 15, 2018
The Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards recognize individuals and organizations working in the field of blindness who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. Such accomplishments include, but are not limited to, developing products or techniques that increase the independence of the blind, creating and/or directing programs or agencies for the blind of an unusually high quality, and mentoring blind people to fulfill their maximum potential. The awards are named for a pioneering blind physician who practiced in the early twentieth century.

2018 New Venture Competition
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Application Deadline: March 15, 2018
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Hadley can help. Submit your business plan, and you may win up to $30,000 to bring your dream to life. The competition is open to legally blind US residents who have successfully completed at least one course from Hadley's Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship and who will have a significant operational role and majority ownership in the new business. The competition is intended for new ventures in the start-up or early stages of business development.

2018 Distinguished Educator of Blind Students Award
Contact: Carla McQuillan, (541) 653-9153
Application Deadline: May 1, 2018
The National Federation of the Blind will recognize an outstanding teacher of blind students at the 2018 annual convention, July 3 through July 8, in Orlando, Florida. Anyone who is currently a teacher, counselor, or the administrator of programs for blind students is eligible. Applicants can be nominated by colleagues, parents, supervisors, or friends who have firsthand knowledge of the individual's work with blind students. The winner of the award will receive an expense-paid trip to attend the convention, a check for $1,000, a commemorative plaque, and the opportunity to make a presentation at the annual meeting of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Please help us recognize dedicated and innovative teachers who provide quality education and meaningful opportunities for their blind students.

VSA International Art Contest for Children with Disabilities
Who may enter: Children with disabilities, grades pre-kindergarten through 12
Deadline for Entries: June 6, 2018
The Office of VSA and Accessibility, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, proudly presents an exciting opportunity for children with disabilities from around the world to display their artwork side by side in an online exhibition. A selection of artwork from the online entries will be chosen for a live exhibition in Washington, DC. Group projects are accepted as long as all artists are students with disabilities. Both two-dimensional (preferred) and three-dimensional artworks will be accepted. Work must not exceed 18 x 24 inches. This year's theme is "Yo Soy ... Je Suis ... I Am … Motivated to Create."


Automotive Innovation Award
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has received one of the inaugural Autos2050sm Awards, presented by the Auto Alliance and the Alliance for Transportation Innovation. President Riccobono is among twelve state and national political leaders and automotive innovators who were honored in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2018. On October 25, 2017, the National Federation of the Blind and the Auto Alliance hosted a first-of-its-kind gathering of consumers with disabilities, auto representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development. It was a key step in the conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

2017 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest
On World Braille Day, January 4, 2018, the National Federation of the Blind announced the winners of the 2017 Onkyo World Essay Contest. The NFB administered the contest on behalf of the North America/Caribbean region of the World Blind Union and encouraged all countries in the region to participate. The essays were required to be written in Braille and could cover 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 twenty-six or older. Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation. The essay contest is sponsored by Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, and the Braille Mainichi, part of the Mainichi Newspaper Company in Japan. It was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and low-vision persons.

The seven winners from the North America/Caribbean region were as follows:
Otsuki Prize
Jessie Mabry, Connecticut, US

Excellent Work Award, Senior
Tammy Frost, Minnesota, US

Fine Work Award, Senior
Jennifer Spears, Colorado, US
Jamie Lloyd, St. Catherine, Jamaica

Fine Work Award, Junior
Kristen Steele, Iowa, US
Fernando Reyes, New Mexico, US
Hannah Neils, Minnesota, US

Braille Poetry Contest
National Braille Press
National Braille Press is excited to announce the winners of its inaugural Braille Poetry Contest. The winners chosen for each grade level are as follows:

K-2, Clara Scelci, "Happy Birthday Bear"
3-5, Olivia Rios, "Great Snow Time"
6-8, Nicholas Tarper, "Your Five Senses"
9-12, Gretchen Brown, "Autumn Night"
Adult, Allison Hilliker, "Loving Allyssa: A Mother's Journey in Five Senses"


2018 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
Location: NFB headquarters, Baltimore, MD
Conference Dates: March 22-23, 2018
Registration is now open for the 2018 Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, "Fifty Years after tenBroek: The Right to Live in the World Today and Tomorrow." Join leading disability rights advocates from throughout the United States to examine Dr. tenBroek's impressive legacy through a present-day lens, focusing on many of the timeless themes addressed in his publications and speeches.

2018 VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference
A Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Special Education Program
Location: Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA
Conference Dates: August 7-8, 2018
Through innovative, thought-provoking, interactive sessions, the VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference provides professionals in the intersecting fields of art education and special education the opportunity to share current information and research, practice, programs, and policy. The conference brings together educators, administrators, researchers, teaching artists, and more to build new skills, transfer knowledge, network, and, ultimately, help to improve educational practice for students with disabilities learning through the arts.


BELL Academy, Braille Enrichment through Learning and Literacy
The National Federation of the Blind 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 partners at Wells Fargo, BELL will focus on the development of financial literacy skills as well. In addition to Braille instruction, the program provides instruction in other nonvisual skills through fun, hands-on learning in a day program or residential setting. In addition to Braille-related crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital skills of independent living, interact with blind adults who serve as mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities the children learn that "by banking on blindness skills" they can live the lives they want. To learn more about the 2018 NFB BELL Academies in cities across the country, visit the website listed above.

Location: NFB headquarters in Baltimore, MD
Application Deadline: May 1, 2018
The National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (EQ) program is a week-long summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teens from around the country, July 29-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 the EQ program.

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