[nabs-l] Florida Association of Blind Students (FABS)

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 03:04:29 UTC 2008


Hello, Floridians and others,

I'm thrilled to see how interested Jamie, Ashley, and Rachel are in
strengthening the Florida Association of Blind Students and making
things better for blind students in Florida. I myself was the
president of the state student division in Arizona for four years and
I can attest to the great need we have for blind students to band
together to change things in all our states, and becoming active in a
state division can be greatly enjoyable.

>From my experiences as a state division  president, I'll say that the
president is certainly accountable to respond to and communicate with
the division members. However, the presidency is a volunteer job and
it is often a struggle to balance student division responsibilities
with school, work, family and other obligations. That's why even the
best student division president sometimes needs to get a little kick
in the pants from the membership every once in a while to stay
on-task. If you wan to ensure the division stays active, feel free to
keep contacting your president and ask him/her what is happening with
the division.

As members or even future members of the division, however, you have
the power to do more than just bug the president. If you have ideas
for specific events the division could run or problems it should
tackle, bring those specific issues to the president's attention. It's
great that three of you are on the NABS list--I'd encourage you guys
to talk by email, phone, or even in person to brainstorm some
practical ideas for the division. Enlist help from your state
president (Kathy Davis) or local chapter presidents too. They may have
experience tackling some of these problems already--for example, they
may have already tried to work with the Hot Pocket training center and
can give you names of specific people there to talk to. If you come to
the president of your student division with some solid suggestions for
division activities, he/she is much more likely to take you seriously
and work with you. Even better, volunteer to chair an event or provide
a crucial element such as getting an item donated for a fund-raiser.
Over the years in Arizona my board and I received many ideas and
suggestions from members about things the student division should do.
Some of those ideas panned out and others didn't. Over time the ones
that other people offered to help with were more likely to work out.
The president and board bear the brunt of the responsibility for
making division activities happen, but sometimes they can't do it
without work from the members as well.

So certainly continue to attempt contact with your president, and if
you can't after several attempts, bring your ideas to the state
affiliate president. Student division presidents report directly to
the president of the state affiliate, and the affiliate will also
remain even after a new student president is elected. Above all, don't
give up. Many student divisions go through cycles of activity and
inactivity over time, for many reasons, but all strong divisions rely
on a core of dedicated and motivated students. By networking and
working with one another, the three of you can form a strong core for
the rest of the division to thrive on.

Feel free to talk with any of us on the NABS board if you have
questions or concerns about your student division. My email address is
Arielle71 at gmail.com
And I am willing to give my phone number to you off-list if you wish.

I hope this is helpful to those of you in other states as well as in  Florida.

Have a happy New Year and see many of you in Washington!

Arielle Silverman
First Vice-President
National Association of Blind Students


On 12/29/08, bookwormahb at earthlink.net <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Hi Jamie,
>
> Those are some sad situations.  The blind students I know seemed to do fine
> in college.  Of course they had some struggles but not blindness related.
> In VA I know students going to big state schools including Longwood and
> George Mason and Mary Washington.  I also know some at smaller schools like
> Christopher Newport University, William and Mary, and the community college.
>  We have the Department for the blind with six regional offices; these
> offices employ O and M instructors.  So if you need orientation to college
> you can get it.  You can also get general O and M training too; they come to
> your home and practice in the community.  I get the impression mobility
> instructors encourage everyone to use busses and mass transit.  They tell
> you about paratransit but show you the bus system and its benefits too.  But
> in smaller communities or rural areas of the state of VA there are not as
> many services and therefore blind students suffer by not being taught
> regularly.  I hope things improve in Florida.
>
> As to the student division here the Virginia student group has the same
> problem.  It is inactive.  The president was not responsive.  I became
> disappointed as you and Ashley did.  So you are not alone.  I recommend you
> contact your state president who hopefully will contact the existing Florida
> Association of Blind Students president.  If he/she does not respond, elect
> a new one next state convention.  Good luck.  The VABS board fell apart.  No
> one communicated.  We have a VABS list that is inactive.  So the only
> personal contact I have with college blind students is at state convention.
>
> Take care,
> Ashley
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
>>From: Jamie Principato <blackbyrdfly at gmail.com>
>>Sent: Dec 27, 2008 9:11 PM
>>To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Florida Association of Blind Students (FABS)
>>
>>This is bittersweet. I'm both glad and disappointed to find that I'm not
>> the
>>only one who has noticed this. Disappointed for obvious reasons. We can do
>>better than this. Glad because it means I'm not going crazy, lol, and may
>>actually have some backing to try to improve things. I know many blind
>>students across Florida. I have friends in college who are finding they
>> need
>>to drop their majors because the higher level maths aren't being made
>>accessible for them. I know others who are being forced to use unreliable
>>paratransit either because the local vocational rehabilitation centers wont
>>provide them with better mobility training or because they have been lead
>> to
>>believe it is the only way they can travel. I know students who are
>>setteling for community college because their local high school vision
>>department would not properly accomodate them, sheltering rather than
>>helping, and therefore they could not earn all the required credits for
>>university admission. I experienced first hand a rehabilitation day center
>>that is so corrupt, they spent a month and a half teaching their partially
>>sighted teenage group how to microwave hot pockets, insisting that we need
>>to learn to do these simple things because cooking full meals for ourselves
>>is just too difficult and dangerous for "the visually impaired". This
>> center
>>in particular spends more time focusing on "coping with vision loss and
>> what
>>you can't do" than it does showing you how much you can do regardless of
>>your vision impairment. I could go on forever about this one issue, but it
>>is these and other things that made me want to join FABS, and now make me
>>more eager to make FABS a strong, active force in the blindness community
>> of
>>Florida.
>>
>>On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Ashley Johnson
>> <docjohnson76 at gmail.com>wrote:
>>
>>> Jamie,
>>>     It's funny that you asked this question.  I actually joined FABS at
>>> the
>>> NFBF convention this past May.  I paid my dues and since then I have
>>> received only one phone call from the President.  That was to verify my
>>> phone number.  Since then, nothing has happened.  I actually one of the
>>> board members of FABS, and she has tried to contact the president of
>>> FABS,
>>> and she has not heard back from her.  I agree, this is a much needed
>>> group,
>>> but unfortunately it seems the people in charge are not very active.
>>>
>>> Ashley
>>>
>>> On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 3:52 AM, Jamie Principato <blackbyrdfly at gmail.com
>>> >wrote:
>>>
>>> > Hi there,
>>> >
>>> > I'm new to this list, but certainly not new to being a blind student.
>>> > My
>>> > name is Jamie and I live in Florida. I was just wondering if anyone who
>>> > reads this mailing list is a member of FABS. I've been trying to become
>>> > a
>>> > member for a long time now, especially as I noticed how.... well, how
>>> many
>>> > problems exist (in my opinion and in the opinion of a number of others
>>> I've
>>> > talked to) for blind students in local high schools and colleges, how
>>> poor
>>> > the state's rehabilitation centers for the blind are, and how little is
>>> > being done about this... But there's nothing on our state's NABS
>>> > website
>>> > that explains how to join, and when I e-mailed all the officers, I
>>> > never
>>> > got
>>> > any reply. I've actually heard from other blind students who have tried
>>> to
>>> > join that the group is rather inactive, and I think something can
>>> > definitely
>>> > be done about this. So are there any Floridians out there?
>>> >
>>> > -Jamie
>>> > _______________________________________________
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>>> >
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>
> Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
>
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