[Colorado-talk] NFBCO Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 1

Lorinda Riddle lriddle at cocenter.org
Thu Jun 23 16:31:15 UTC 2011

[image: NFBCO] <http://www.nfbco.org/>

The Blind Coloradan

Newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado

Vol.1, No.1
                   July 2011

*Scott C. LaBarre*

*NFB of Colorado President*

2233 W. Shepperd Avenue

Littleton, CO 80120

Phone: (303) 778-1130

slabarre at nfbco.org

*Kevan Worley*


1837 S. Nevada Avenue

PMB 243

Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Phone: 1-866-543-6808

kevanworley at blindmerchants.org

*A Letter From the Editor*

Dear Reader,

>From time to time throughout the history of the National Federation of the
Blind of Colorado we have had a newsletter. Often, we have not. We have
always had exciting news to report and ideas to share. Unfortunately,
limited resources, shifting priorities, the inclination of members, or the
demands of the moment meant that there have been times without a newsletter.
We were busy changing the world. We did not always take the time to report
the monumental and far reaching work we were doing to improve the lives of
real people. This month, we are proud to re-launch *The Blind Coloradan*. It
will again be exciting to spread the good news, to educate the public, and
work to close any information gap so as to ensure that we link our members
in common cause.

I am sure that you have heard the old hackneyed philosophical conundrum, “If
a tree falls in the forest but there is no one there to hear it, does it
make any noise?” (Something for our blind scholars to ponder… if they wish).
Although we have not always had a newsletter, the evidence of the dramatic
impact of our united effort on behalf of the blind and their families is
clear and beyond dispute. We have made a great deal of noise. With this new
publication, we will have a megaphone over which to amplify, explain, and
proclaim our history, our philosophy, our ideas, events, and intentions.
Perhaps the sound has not traveled as far and wide as we would have wished.
But, the blind, the society, and the establishment have felt the impact.

Over our long history, we have chopped down many a proverbial tree and built
many a new possibility. To be sure, we have been making a joyful noise. We
need to broadcast it louder and farther. We have been singing with one voice
on the picket line, in the courtroom, and in the classroom. We have sung
many a song of freedom and independence with families gathered around
kitchen tables. We have been singing for ourselves and future generations
online, at City Hall, and at the state Capitol. We have discovered the truth
about blindness for ourselves and we have told these truths to power. The
NFB of Colorado has been singing out with determination to ensure blind
seniors get the services that they so richly deserve. This affiliate has
lifted our voices high on behalf of parents, job seekers, and those who are
deaf/blind. We sing for the teachers and rehabilitation counselors who try
their very best to influence a system which all too often dismisses their
knowledge and spirit. It has been a consistent chorus for advocacy and
activism; a progressive voice of optimism and opportunity.

At the June 3rd meeting, the Board of Directors of the National Federation
of the Blind of Colorado decided that we must have a newsletter. They asked
me to pull together a publication which would inform our members and reach
out to others. As they noted, “There is always so much going on.”

The blind are active in business, education, sports and recreation,
community, politics and worship. We have our digital natives and those who
wish we were. Early in the second decade of the twenty-first century we
continue to be in the forefront of rehabilitation, training, and education
through philosophy and practice. We have an opportunity driven attitude. We
are an inclusive organization. We are open to partnerships and
collaboration. Still, we know who we are. We need to be telling that story.

This new publication*, The Blind Coloradan*, will endeavor to tell of the
pitfalls that we face, the perils that we prevent, the actions we take, the
foes we vanquish, the friends that we enjoy, and the progress we make. We
want you to be in the know, informed and involved. Please take advantage of
this forum. It will be a catalyst for discussion and agenda setting. When
the blind of our state raise their collective voice for quality vocational
rehabilitation services, self-empowerment, or better education we want you
to know about it. As we work to reform or rescind the Colorado Commission
for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired, it will be discussed
here. When the Colorado Center for the Blind (a program of the National
Federation of the Blind) surpasses another milestone, we want you to
celebrate with us. When we think up successful strategies to help get blind
people into good jobs or find funding to bring services which help blind
seniors, we will catalog these accomplishments on these pages. When we hold
forums, retreats, conventions, Board meetings, fundraisers, organizing
efforts, and ‘Days at the Capitol’ you will know about them. When the
affiliate is buzzing, you will read about it. When we take action to change
what it means to be blind in Colorado and the nation, we will be writing
about it in *The Blind Coloradan*.

What kind of noise is your Chapter making?

What log jams have you removed from the path to quality life for yourself or

Who is making a difference?

What victories are there to celebrate?

What is the buzz?

Tell us.

Submit your articles. On these pages we will sing louder than ever in unity
about our philosophy and initiatives. We will detail our setbacks and each
forward step. We may stretch and mix our metaphors but we will try not to
exaggerate our successes or mix the message. It will be the positive message
of the National Federation of the Blind. So, please send us the news from
your corner of the Centennial State. If I don’t know it, I can’t print it. I
will do what I can to aggregate and get it out. Remember that I too am a
volunteer. In addition to the work that I love in the Federation I have a
job, a wife, a family, and community activities to enjoy. I will attempt to
bring some order to the announcements, editorials, and articles you submit.
Deadline for the August issue is July 25th. Email ideas, announcements or
articles to kevanworley at blindmerchants.org. Only electronic submissions
accepted. No need to cut down trees. Thank you and keep the faith.

At Your Service,

Kevan Worley

Aggregator & Contributor

*From the Desk of the President*

* *

In each *Blind Coloradan* I will offer my thoughts, encourage your feedback,
and announce new initiatives. As *The Blind Coloradan* is being re-born, I
am doing some work on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind in
Geneva, Switzerland. I will arrive home as spring turns to summer and we
anticipate another exciting annual convention of the National Federation of
the Blind. In this month’s issue I do want to take a moment to remind
everyone about our all new, very exciting content-rich website. I am pleased
to announce that the new NFB of Colorado website is up and running.  Please
visit it at www.nfbco.org and let us know what you think.  Special word to
chapter and division leaders: Please let us know your upcoming events,
chapter meeting, special meetings, fundraising events or whatever, and we
will put them up on the web.  We will be adding content constantly and we
look forward to your thoughts about what should go up.  I want to thank
Julie Hunter and her committee for sticking with the process and thank them
in advance for all the work they will continue to do. Soon we will be adding
audio from state conventions and we will put Ray McGeorge's oral history of
the NFB of Colorado on the site.  Additionally, we intend to host online
meetings and seminars on the site.  This is truly an exciting time of growth
and accomplishment. I look forward to seeing many of you at the National
Convention in Orlando.

Scott LaBarre


*Ringing the Bell for Braille*

*‘Braille Enrichment, Literacy, and Learning’* is an exciting program for
children. The program was developed by the National Federation of the Blind
Jernigan Institute. This summer the Program expands to Colorado. Diane
McGeorge will direct the program. Michelle Chacon is the lead Braille
teacher. It is a two week program beginning July 25th and ending August 5th.

BELL is all about making Braille fun and accessible for kids ages 4-12.

For information or to apply contact Diane McGeorge at (303) 321-4268 or by
email at rmcgeorge at comcast.net.

* *

*Hold the Presses!!! Breaking News!!!*

The NFB of Colorado is proud to announce that we have added a brand new
chapter to our family.  On June 21st, we formed the MileHigh chapter. The
MileHigh chapter elected the following officers and board members:

President-Gary VanDorn.

Vice president-Jim Gashel.

Secretary-Monique Melton.

Treasurer-Nehemiah Hall.

Board members-Wayne Marshall and Sharon Buchan.

We salute Nehemiah Hall and Brenda Mosby for their hard work in getting this
chapter going and thanks to Brenda for providing the ‘Residents Room’ at her
condo building, Brooks Towers. The regular meeting of the chapter will be
held the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Brooks Towers.
Welcome “MileHigh” and we look forward to building the Federation with you!

* *

*Federation People Make a Difference :* *Who is Kimberley Johnson?*

* *

Kimberley Johnson (a Colorado native) first learned about the Colorado
Center and the NFB at the NFB's National Convention that was held in Denver
in 1989.  After working as the ‘Childcare Supervisor’ at that convention
Diane McGeorge, Executive Director of CCB, told Kimberley she would make a
great Federationist and asked her to apply for a ‘Daily Living Skills’
position.  After eight years in that position, Kimberley moved to ‘Student
Coordinator’, and finally to the positions she holds today as ‘Director of
Career and Student Services’.

One of Kimberley's favorite things is the fact her three sons married
extraordinary ladies and they all have remarkable kids, all of whom live in
the Denver metro area.  Thanksgiving and summer barbecues are family
favorites!  In addition, gardening, reading, and listening to music are some
favorite activities she enjoys.  Kimberley also takes a lot of pride in
helping design and implementing the Center gardens.

Kimberley still loves her life at the Colorado Center. Even after twenty two
years she remains excited about the atmosphere of wonder and delight, as
each day brings a new element of joy, sorrow, hilarity, or discovery as
individuals come together to knit a beautiful tapestry that is the National
Federation of the Blind Colorado Center.

* *

*Federation Partners Make a Difference: **Diane McGeorge pays a brief
tribute Dr. Ken Schmidt, long time Federation friend and partner*

By: Diane McGeorge**

* *

Kevan asked me to write a piece about Dr. Ken Schmidt who recently retired
from the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation (DVR)

Ken and I first met in the mid 1970’s when he came to Colorado from Texas to
work for a gentleman that none of you will remember.  That's what happens
when you've been around as long as I have.  I would never want to sound
"old" or anything like that, let's just say that I have been around to see a
lot of DVR folks come and go.

Ken and I worked together on a number of projects, not the least of which
has been the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB). I told Ken early in our
acquaintance that I felt we needed a rehabilitation center that would
present challenges to students and build confidence in them as blind people.
Ken was one of the very few people in the traditional rehabilitation system
who understood what I was saying and who helped us get our start.  I tell
everybody that if it had not been for his faith in our dream we may never
have survived.  Ken believed in our model, and urged counselors to send us
students to give us a start.  We turned out the kind of graduates of which
all of us could be proud. Ken was proud of them too!

I was so proud when we had the opportunity to host Ken's retirement party in
March.  Ken wanted to have his party at our Center and we felt it was a
wonderful way to thank him for all of his help over the years; particularly
in the very beginning when few people believed in us.  Ken’s wife, Judy,
made this event easy for us by planning all the catering, and making all the
arrangements, but it was our "house" they all came too, and we greeted them
with gladness.

Ken is truly the type of person who understands what rehabilitation should
be.  He was not afraid to take a chance on us, and what a wonderful thing he
did for hundreds of blind people!!!

Ken is not gone---that's for sure.  He is going to enjoy retirement but I
know we will continue our close working relationship, but more importantly
our long friendship.

At a recent state Convention, the NFB of Colorado presented Ken with an
award for his excellent service to blind people.  Ken, we're proud to know
you and I am proud to call you my dear friend.

*National Federation of the Blind of Colorado Congratulates our 2011
Scholarship Class*

By: Buna Dahal (NFB of Colorado Scholarship Chair)

*Meet our scholarship finalists for 2011. The NFB of Colorado congratulates
five outstanding scholars from the state of Colorado. We look forward to
sharing knowledge, experience and fellowship with them.*

* *

*Cody Bair*, Greeley

In the fall of 2011 Cody will begin his college education as a freshman at
the University of Northern Colorado. Cody plans to major in Business
Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.

*Samantha Barrasso*, Aurora

Samantha is studying Music Education & Vocal Performance. She is in her
junior year at the University of Denver.

*Amelia Dickerson*, Boulder

Amelia is a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder
studying education. She is highly qualified to teach Math and Science.

*Marcus Hernandez*, Pueblo

Marcus is hard at work earning his Masters in History from the Colorado
State University in Pueblo.

*Antonio Rozier*, Littleton

Antonio will be a freshman at Arapahoe Community College. Antonio is looking
to specialize in Computer Information Systems.

We look forward to welcoming these scholars to our national and state
conventions. Let’s make them feel very welcome! Students, congratulations!

* *

*NFBCO Proudly Announces National Scholarship Winner*

By: Scott LaBarre

One of the great honors that Julie Deden, our State Treasurer, and I have is
to serve on our National Scholarship Committee.  Each year approximately 500
applicants apply for one of thirty national scholarship awards which range
in value from $3,000.00 to $12,000.00.

It is with great pride that we are able to announce that Christine Daniels
is one of the thirty national winners.  Chrissy, as she is known, is a
second year PhD student at the University of Denver studying Cellular and
Molecular Biophysics.  Ultimately, she plans to become a research scientist
in this area of academic pursuit and a professor as well.  In 2010, Chrissy
graduated from our Colorado Center for the Blind and credits our philosophy
and training with giving her the ability to pursue a field where very few
blind people have been allowed to enter.  Congratulations Chrissy and we
wish you the best of luck in Orlando as you compete for one of the big

* *

*Finding Cool Stuff at National Convention*

By: Gary Wunder

For those of you planning to bring your favorite portable reading device to
National Convention, pay close attention to the *Braille Monitor* in May and
June! In May we featured a very thorough description of the hotel that was
written by Mrs. Jernigan.  The June issue features a large list of
restaurants (most having a telephone number and a website address). Whether
your device of preference has a braille display or synthetic speech, the
fact that the *Monitor* is available in text or audio should make taking
these lists with you a snap.

*Imagine This…*

* *

*Can You Imagine Colorado Affiliate Finishing Near the Top of the
Imagination Fund Rankings? Here is what Boulder Chapter President Maryann
Migliorelli has to say about it:*

We have been given a wonderful opportunity for a matching challenge donation
of up to $5,000.00 for funds that we raise in the *Race for Independence*,
either as individuals or by our team effort.

In order to meet our challenge goal, we have created the ‘Mile High
Imaginators’ team which we would love for you to join; or you may raise your
contributions individually.

The funds you help raise for this worthy effort will be used to further the
programs of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute: the
Blind Driver Challenge, Youth Slam, Braille Education through Literacy and
Learning, and many others, as well as assisting divisions and affiliates
like ours with projects of interest and impact throughout the country.

Please join me as one of the ‘Mile High Imaginators’ by registering at:

www.raceforindependence.org. Remember, every dollar you raise by the end of
June will be matched, so you are raising twice as much by acting quickly. If
you wish to support our team directly, please go to

Please contact me if I may be of assistance at: 303-499-9125 or by e-mail at
mrsmigs at migliorelli.org

Thank you for your participation in our Race for Independence challenge.

* *

*The Wenzel Brood says “Hello!”  *

* *

*From time to time in these pages, we will bring you updates about some of
our favorite people. Whether they live in Colorado or whether they left us a
decade ago. This month, we check up on Federation leaders who will always be
a part of our Colorado affiliate. They provided extraordinary leadership for
the NFB and our Colorado Center and we hope that we can lure them back

The Wenzel Brood is:

Dan Wenzel, aka: Dad, Mr. Wenzel, Dan, Center Director, and blues fan.

Jennifer Wenzel, aka: Mom, friend, volunteer, advocate, and adventurer.

Roland Wenzel, 12 years old, aka: Middle school student, musician, traveler,
Bronco Fan, aspiring pilot, and lawn boy.

Stephen Wenzel, 9 years old, aka: Fourth grader, homebody, reader, challenge
program student, opinionated, and conscientious worker.


Tanner, 7 yrs old, aka: Second grader, social butterfly, artist, determined,
sensitive, and actor.

They also own two cats and two frogs

* *

In February of 2001 the Wenzel’s moved from Colorado to Wisconsin so Dan
could accept a position at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually
Impaired (WCBVI).  After working for WCBVI in a couple of different
capacities, Dan was named the Director in July of 2006.  Dan currently
serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of Schools for the Blind
(COSB).  He was also honored to serve as president of the National
Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Wisconsin for three years and served on the
National Board of Directors for two years.  His wife, Jennifer, is a stay at
home mom who cares for their three children.  She has worked from home as a
Braille proof reader.  Now that the kids are older, Jennifer is
contemplating what her next career move will be.  She is the secretary of
the NFB of Wisconsin and the NFB of Wisconsin, Rock County Chapter.
Jennifer was named Madison Elementary School PTA Volunteer of the Year for

* *

*Three for Three- Tidbits to get to know the Wenzel Kids:*

* *

*Roland:* Participated in District music competition, where he performed

He has his first job, mowing a neighbor’s lawn.  Upon seeing a former
student of Dan’s walking at the bus transfer station without a cane, an
upset Roland exclaimed, “She doesn’t have a Cane!  Nothing!  None!

*Stephen:* He was accepted to the School District of Janesville Challenge
Program, which is a program for gifted students.  In addition to reading,
Stephen likes almost any science experiment, especially the ones he can set
up independently.  When the family hosted a blind exchange student a couple
of years ago Stephen professed to be unhappy about her staying with them.
Yet, if she fell behind them on outings Stephen would stay with her so she
did not get separated. (No sighted guide from this kid).

*Tanner:*  His art project (a mask) was displayed at the Hilldale Mall in
Madison.  The family went on a cruise in December and Tanner initiated a
friendship with a Grandma at the next table.  Now she is pen pals with all
three children.  A couple years ago a lady snidely commented to Jennifer
that she was lucky to have her kids to take care of her because she was
blind. Tanner jumped in and exclaimed, “I don’t take care of my Mommy; she
takes care of me!  I love you mommy!”  The logic of a five year old trumped
the low expectations and misconceptions of the abilities of the blind by
some of the public.  We would expect nothing less from a child raised by our
dear friends and colleagues, Dan and Jennifer Wenzel.

* *

*Hats off to Broadway…Hats off to the Colorado Center for the Blind*

* *

Each year CCB hosts a special night of theatre, dining, and fun. If you have
attended them in the past, you know how fun they are. These evenings are
important fundraisers. This musical tribute will be performed on Saturday,
August 27th by Littleton Town Hall actors and singers. Food, drinks, music,
and a live auction will be the highlights of this great event. Tickets are
$40. All proceeds go to the Colorado Center for the Blind’s children’s and
youth programs. Your donation helps a blind child get a cane, learn to read
Braille and learn that blindness is just a characteristic of who they are.
This musical may have a smaller budget than Spider-Man.20 currently trying
to run on Broadway, but, we are pretty sure that no characters will fall on

For information, to contribute auction items, or to provide corporate
sponsorship please contact Jennifer Stevens, Director of Community
Development at 303-778-1130.

*It is Summer at the Center*

* *

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy, catfish are jumpin’…” Or so the song
goes. Clearly, George and Ira Gershwin have never been to the CCB during
summer. If they had, the song might go like this, “Summer time and the
hubbub’ is humming.” The only kids catching fish may have been the kids who
attended the “Confidence Camp.” This unique camp for blind children ages
5-12 concluded on Friday, June 17th. The kids worked on Braille, cooked
quesadillas and the ever popular macaroni & cheese, and wrote a play all by
themselves! They also went fishing. They went to Lollipop Park and visited
“Beyond Sight.” “Beyond Sight” is a store in Littleton, CO which sells
access technology products to the blind. Trina Boyd-Pratt directed the
program again this year. Michelle Chacon was the lead teacher with Esha
Mehta and Taryn Galow rounding out the staff. I am sure that we will read
more about the kids’ “Confidence Camp”* *experiences* *in issues to come.

* *

*Wait! There’s more!..“The Hubbub’ is humming” as the Colorado Center for
the Blind summer programs are in full swing.*

*"Initiation to Independence”* middle school program begins on July 18th and
runs through August 5th, 2011. This is a three-week residential program for
students aged 12-14. In addition to the core classes, this is an opportunity
for this age group to live in apartments with other students and a
counselor, getting real world experiences in their home away from home.
Students will meet successful, working adults in order to learn about
various professions. These students are excited to have so many new

*"Earn and Learn"* high school program began on June 10th, 2011 and runs
through August 5th. This eight-week residential program serves students ages
14-18. Not only do these students take the core classes, but they have the
opportunity to participate in exciting, paid work experiences. The CCB works
to match students with jobs they find both interesting and challenging. It
is exhilarating for the students to get their first paycheck.

*“College Summer for Success"* also began on June 10th, 2011 and runs
through August 5th. This comprehensive eight-week residential program will
fully prepare each student to handle all aspects of a university or
vocational program. Participants will have instruction on using readers and
Disabled Students Services, applying for scholarships, and meeting and
talking with blind adults who have gone through the college experience.
Several college instructors will work with students on developing
alternative techniques in order to take courses including math, statistics,
and sciences.

*Denver Chapter*

By: Brent Batron

The next Denver Chapter Meeting is the annual picnic.  The picnic will take
place on July 30th from 10 am – 2 pm.  There will be a short chapter meeting
lasting about an hour followed by good food, fellowship, and games for kids
of all ages.  This year’s picnic will be held in conjunction with Colorado
Parents of Blind Children and the Colorado Center for the Blind’s mentoring
program, Blind Link.  The picnic will be held at the Colorado Center for the
Blind. The Denver Chapter will be providing the meat, sides and drinks and
we are asking members to bring a dessert like cookies and other easy to
divide desserts to eliminate the necessity to cut and otherwise time
consuming items.  Come have fun and bring family and friends.

In August we will be marching in the Western Welcome Week Parade with the
Center and we will be hosting an education booth on Main Street.  There will
be no official chapter meeting.

*Blind Buzz***

* *

*Blind Buzz* is a monthly column which will have announcements, notes,
profiles, assertions, snap-shots, rumors, innuendo, and observations. Blind
Buzz is solely responsible for the content. *

* *

*What’s happening? Blind Buzz wants to know.*

Pueblo Chapter tells the *Buzz* that they will have the NFB of Pueblo
Chapter meeting on Saturday, July 9th from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the
Wesley United Methodist Church. On August 13th the Pueblo Chapter is hosting
their annual picnic from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Wesley United
Methodist Church. The address for the Wesley United Methodist Church is 85
Stanford Avenue, Pueblo, Colorado. We will have more *Buzz* about the Pueblo
Chapter in next month’s issue.

In 2009 and early 2010 our affiliate was lucky to have one of our long time
members, Chris Foster, doing some organizing and public relations. Chris
traveled the state. He spoke to numerous organizations about the NFB.
Although Chris held this position for a brief time before he returned to
school, he made an important difference. In the summer of 2011 we note that
he is still making a difference. We note that he has triumphed over medical
challenges and kept his 4.0 GPA alive. Chris is working at the Colorado
Center for the Blind summer program. *Blind Buzz* thinks Chris will be a
great role model for our young people. These blind kids won’t have a better
role model and friend than Chris Foster! He will head to the National
Convention with the Center crew. *Blind Buzz* says, “Kudos Chris!”

What a nice tribute Diane McGeorge paid to Dr. Ken Schmidt earlier in these
pages. During his long career in rehabilitation he found ways to confront
the bureaucracy. “Low key” did not mean without passion about the things
that mattered to Ken. He always acted when it counted. A man who cares; Ken
is an avid outdoorsman. He loves to deer hunt with buddies. Ken Schmidt,
what a guy!

The Colorado state convention will be held at the Double Tree in Denver from
November 3rd through November 6th. The room rate for this great convention
is $89.00.

Jeanette Fortin is the Colorado Spring Chapter President. She says that the
Chapter will be holding a picnic on August 13th. The picnic will be from
12-3 p.m. (Or conclude when everybody leaves). The location has yet to be
announced. Further details will follow in the August *Blind Coloradan *if
the editor gives me the space.

Sources tell *Blind Buzz* that Scott and Anahit LaBarre and Kevan and
Bridget Worley will have dinner at the home of Lieutenant Governor Joe
Garcia and his wife Claire on Sunday, June 26th. We are told that Mrs.
Garcia is an extraordinary cook. It will be an honor for our colleagues to
teach our Lieutenant Governor all about the National Federation of the
Blind. Perhaps the *Buzz* will get more details about the dinner. If we do,
we will share it in the next issue.

The Buzz hears the blind of Colorado, (in or out of the NFB) whispering
about the future of the Colorado Commission for Individuals who are Blind or
Visually Impaired. Apparently, votes were taken in direct violation of rules
prescribed by the legislation authorizing the Commission. Perhaps the NFB
was prescient when it passed resolutions at recent State Conventions
indicating serious misgivings about the structure and performance of the
Commission. There seems to be little doubt that the Commission will sunset
in 2012. Blind Buzz says, “Sweet Dreams!”

If you attend the upcoming annual convention of the NFB in Orlando, Florida
the* Buzz* wants to hear about your experiences. Send us the details. Your
friends and colleagues will want to read of your exploits. Not your
X-ploits.... We have heard stories about these conventions.

This summer, Nijat Worley is working as an intern in the Washington D.C.
office of

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She is a Republican representing the
fifth district of Washington. Nijat tells the *Buzz* that he is doing more
than making copies or running for coffee. In fact, one of his memos was the
background piece on which the Congresswoman relied when formulating her
position on an issue. Nijat is treasurer of the National Association of
Blind Merchants. This fall he will begin his senior year at the University
of Colorado in Boulder. He is majoring in Political Science and
International Affairs, with a minor in Russian.

In the next issue, we will highlight the work and the reflections of Eddie
Thieszen-Culp. You will enjoy reading about his life, career and his insight
about the meaning of the National Federation of the Blind.

Blind students of Colorado and students around the nation are speculating
about the upcoming student elections in Orlando. Stay tuned. It should be an
interesting election.

Hey, Hey! Why not sell on EBay!!! The NFB has partnered with EBay to offer
training for blind people interested in developing businesses on EBay or
making EBay a hobby. If you have questions, or if you wish to register,
please email Mary Ellen Gabias at mgabias at nfb.org.

Create the *Buzz* at blindbuzz at nfbco.org.

“The joy of your spirit is the indication of your strength.” -Ralph Waldo

That’s the *Buzz* this month.

*Building Business Opportunities with a BLAST*

* *

*BLAST, Business Leadership and Superior Training may be for you!*

Take advantage of early bird registration now and receive concentrated
business education. For more than a decade the National Association of Blind
Merchants, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, has provided
education and networking at a national conference for the blind who operate
small Randolph-Sheppard businesses. In Colorado there are about forty of
these businesses which are managed under the Colorado Business Enterprise
Program. These annual three day BLAST conferences are attended by around 500
blind entrepreneurs. The BLAST conference was held in Denver in 2005 and
again in 2007. Our current Governor, John Hickenlooper, was Denver’s mayor
in 2007.  He gave an address at the BLAST Leadership Breakfast. The Colorado
Center for the Blind and our affiliate played an important support role in
operations and hosting.

In 2011 BLAST expands to become BLAST+. Much of the program will be focused
on the creation and expansion of businesses in addition to or outside of the
Randolph Sheppard system. There will be training from the NFB Jernigan
Institute. Training will be provided by the University of New Orleans-Center
for Entrepreneurship. Speakers such as former New York Governor, David
Patterson, Colorado’s own mountain climber, Erik Alexander and Dave Ramsey
will be featured. You may know that Erik Alexander climbed Mount Everest
with fellow Coloradoan Eric Weihenmayer.  Mr. Weihenmayer was the first
blind person to summit Mount Everest. The expedition was underwritten by the

* *

*Save The Date*: Wednesday, September 21st to mid-day Saturday, September 24
th, 2011. Rooms can be booked now. Simply call the Nashville Airport
Marriott (615-889-9300), tell them that you are booking for the National
Association of Blind Merchants, BLAST+. Rooms are available at the low rate
of $114.00 per night plus applicable taxes. The entire conference will be an
event from which everyone involved in blind entrepreneurship will benefit.
BLAST+ registration inclusive of all activities and training materials will
cost $200.00 with a $50.00 discount for early registrations made prior to
August 15th, 2011. Registration fee may exclude some tours and events held
outside of the hotel conference center. To register for BLAST+ please call
1-866-543-6808 or online at www.blindmerchants.org. It is important that we
reach and teach blind people who have an interest in business.

* *

*From the Editor*

Thanks to Carol Elzi, Lisa Bonderson, Lorinda Riddle, Jennifer Stevens,
Kimberley Johnson and Rachel Gallow for their valuable contributions to this
month’s *Blind Coloradan*. Errors, assumptions, or omissions should be
brought to the attention of the editor who will likely blame *Blind
Buzz*for any mistakes. Thanks for reading
*The Blind Coloradan*, July 2011.
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