Future Reflections         Convention Report 2008

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Convention 2008 Photo Report

Sunday, June 29

President Marc Maurer kicks off the NOPBC parent’s seminar with his annual Kids Talk.
Sitting on the floor, he tells the kids a few jokes, asks them questions, and then tells them what exciting things they can do at the convention and in life. Maurer’s message was simple: blindness doesn’t need to stop anyone from having fun and enjoying life to the fullest.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham


Sally Thomas
Texas parent, Sally Thomas, listens intently to the special anniversary PowerPoint presentation of photos and audio recordings from past NOPBC seminars. Carrie Gilmer and her husband Phillip Richardson did the research to put together this moving testimonial.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham









Anne Hartzell, Giana, and her grandmother, Barbara Boyd
Instructor Annee Hartzell (CA), shows Giana (TX) and her grandmother, Barbara Boyd, how to use the Cranmer abacus to do math problems in one of the thirty NOPBC-sponsored workshops for parents and/or their kids offered on Sunday and later in the convention.


Teens learn yoga
Teens learn some power yoga moves in one of the Youth Track activities. The 2008 Youth Track at convention was a great success with over sixty teens participating.  Activities included workshops on sports and recreation, a David Letterman mock program where teens shared the ten most important things the public should know about blindness, a program to introduce teens to the NFB divisions, and a teen dance to top off the week.
Ixcel Larrauri (VA) (standing) and other children
Ixcel Larrauri (VA) (standing) and over thirty other children grades K–8 have fun making crafts and Braille tactile books to donate to the Braille Book Flea Market later in the week.


Sarah Sims and her daughters Ella and Grace
Sarah Sims (ID) and daughters Ella and Grace enjoy the fine food and festive atmosphere at the NOPBC 25th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday night.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham

Monday, June 30

Doug Popper (CA) and his daughter, Rio, explore the hotel with their canes.
Doug Popper (CA) and his daughter, Rio, explore the hotel with their canes under the guidance of blind cane travel instructor, Vicki Buchignani (NM), during the ever-popular NOPBC-sponsored Cane Walk. The Cane Walk attracts families with children of all ages--from infants in strollers to families with teens.
Cary Supalo
Blind instructor and chemistry doctorial student, Cary Supalo, helps demystify chemistry for about 30 blind children and youth in this NOPBC afternoon workshop. 
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham


Antonio Martinez David Bouchard
Antonio Martinez (NM) (see photo above/left/right) and David Bouchard (MS) (see photo above/left/right) carefully follow instructions in the chemistry workshop


People browse through a range of products in the exhibit hall.
The exhibit hall and the NFB Store are open all day for those wishing to get a demo of the newest and latest technology and convention shoppers.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham

Tuesday, July 1

Carrie Gilmer and Barbara Cheadle
Nearly a hundred parents fill the room for the NOPBC Annual Meeting. In this historic meeting, Barbara Cheadle (right) steps down after 23 years as president, and Carrie Gilmer (left), is elected president by acclamation.
The Welsh Family
Gabrielle Walsh (WI) (front, left, pictured with her family) was one of twelve students to win a trip to the convention through the 2008 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest. The winners were recognized at the NFB Board meeting on Tuesday morning.











Megan Palmer and Kristy Colton
Megan Palmer (UT) and Kristy Colton (UT) browse through books at the 2008 Braille Book Flea Market. With the help of UPS volunteers, the NOPBC collects used Braille books to bring to the convention to display and give away to Braille book lovers of all ages.

Wednesday, July 2

Lindsay Adair marches with her cane.
Lindsay Adair (TX) (daughter of Laura Weber) steps out--cane in hand--with confidence and pride early Wednesday morning on the 5K second annual March for Independence.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham
The March for Independence
The March is a rousing success. Over a thousand marchers--including a hundred or more blind kids and their families—raised well over $500,000 for the NFB Imagination Fund.
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham










Hannah Weathered
Hannah Weatherd
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham







Jordan Richardson
Jordan Richardson
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham


Marché Daughtry
Marché Daughtry
Photo courtesy of Bobby Cunningham








At the halfway point, marchers stop for a special rally at the AT&T Victory Plaza.  During the program, former Braille Readers Are Leaders winners Hannah Weatherd (WY), Marché Daughtry (VA), Jordan Richardson (MN), and Vejas Vasiliauskas (CA), present a resolution on the importance of Braille.

Brothers Petras (left) and Vejas Vasiliauskas
The design of the 2009 commemorative Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar is unveiled at the March rally. Brothers Petras (left) and Vejas Vasiliauskas (CA), pose with the mock-up of one side of the coin.

Thursday, July 3

Noreen Grice
After a packed morning agenda, convention participants have a free afternoon. Options include area tours, a rowing competition, a Scout open house, workshops to promote youth outreach among local affiliates, and a Star Party with Noreen Grice and the Astronomical Society of Dallas.

Friday, July 4

Jim and Lauren Beyer
On Friday, it is reported that you could hear a pin drop during the program item moderated by Barbara Cheadle: “Twenty-Five Years of Program Initiatives for Parents and their Blind Children.” Lauren Beyer (with father, Jim, above) wraps up the panel presentation with a youth’s view of the importance of an NFB parents division. The panel speeches are reprinted elsewhere in this issue.


Bolotin Award Winners
This was the inaugural year for the Bolotin Awards. Ten individuals and organizations were recognized by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the NFB for making significant contributions in creating greater opportunities for blind people. The winners are, from left to right: Dr. Paul Down and his team members from the University of Notre Dame: Fernando Carvalho, Kyle Walters, and Annie Sawicki; Linda Miller (NM); Shawn Mayo (MN), Julie Deden (CO), and Pam Allen (LA), representing the NFB Training Centers for the Blind; George Kerscher; Robert Leslie Newman (NE); Jim Fruchterman of Bookshare;  Debbie Stein (IL); and Noreen Grice (MA).

Saturday, July 5

Alexander Gamino
Saturday concluded the convention. It was a week full of new and exciting experiences for Alexander Gamino (IL) and hundreds of other kids and adults who attended the convention for the first time, and a time of renewal of the spirit and hopes for all the attendees.

Editor’s Note:  Special thanks to Bobby Cunningham, a professional photographer, who allowed us to use many of his beautiful photographs in this issue. More information about his work is available on his Web site at <www.gulfimagesphotos.com>. Bobby attended the convention with his wife Kim Cunningham, one of our Texas POBC leaders, and their blind daughter, Kayleigh.

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