[New-hampshire-students] Jernigan Institute News

Arielle Silverman nabs.president at gmail.com
Sat Aug 15 21:02:35 UTC 2009

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Imagineering Our Future

Issue 15

August 14, 2009

In this issue:

Message from the Executive Director
What's New
Braille Initiative
Straight Talk About Vision Loss
Technology Talk
>From the Jacobus tenBroek Library
Independence Market
Parent Outreach
Spotlight on the Imagination Fund
NFB Calendar

Message from the Executive Director

Defining moments are often marked by unexpected events and the
reaction of those involved in the events.  On July 31 I stood at
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., as hundreds of blind
individuals gathered in front of the reflecting pool at the foot of
the memorial.  Hundreds of young blind people with high
aspirations for their future were surrounded by dozens of blind
mentors and other members of the National Federation of the Blind who
have worked vigorously to create opportunities for this emerging
generation.  Music greeted the crowd with messages of "I have a
dream," "Your story is yet unwritten," and "They say that the blind
cannot do science and we say, SLAM THAT!" As the group gathered the
wind picked up and the sky opened to a hefty downpour.  Yet the
assembled crowd, gathered to proclaim its dreams for the future and
the first class citizenship that the Federation has been fighting for
since 1940, did not let an unexpected rainstorm get them down.
Greeted by words from the White House delivered by Kareem Dale,
Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, lifted by
NFB leaders Marc Maurer and Fred Schroeder, and given wings by the
inspiring story of Ever Lee Hairston and the collective singing of "We
Shall Overcome," the crowd bound tight together through wind and rain
to demonstrate that the determination and commitment of the next
generation is as strong as those that laid the foundation of the

As the crowd turned east and marched down the National Mall, I could
not help think about how far we have come, how important our work is,
and how inspiring the future will be.  As we walked, cheers came
from all parts of the crowd, "Who are we . . . NFB," "We won't let
them get us down," "We are marching, a march for independence," and
dozens of other inspiring phrases.  About halfway to the United
States Capitol, some of the blind youth got the megaphone away from
the NFB leaders at the front of the procession and took lead on the

The end point for the march was the new Capitol Visitor Center.
Representative Steny Hoyer greeted the crown and drove home how
important it is for the blind to believe in themselves and each other
when getting the crowd to repeat, "If it is to be, it is up to me."
NASA administrators then presented Dr. Maurer with the Louis Braille
coins that flew on the STS-125 shuttle mission.  As Dr. Maurer
noted in the National Convention presentation Journey of Braille: From
the Hands of the Creator to Earth Orbit , these coins are symbolic of
our progress and the opportunities ahead.


This summer I marched with dozens of young blind people and I heard
from them how much trouble they have in the education system.
The sale of all 400,000 Louis Braille coins by December 31 is one step
in creating opportunities that will eliminate many of those
problems.  I now have a deeper appreciation for the words Martin
Luther King Jr. spoken at the memorial because I too have a
dream.  A dream that one day we will overcome the injustice in
the education system and the societal stereotypes that prevent the
blind from full participation in our communities.  I feel truly
blessed that, on July 31, I was able to be part of an historic step
toward the realization of that dream--blind youth and their blind
mentors facing adversity, taking responsibility for their future, and
marching forward with hope and faith.  That is both the dream and
the reality that serves as the foundation for the National Federation
of the Blind Jernigan Institute.

Graphic: Signature of Mark Riccobono

Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute

Featured NFB News

Blind Driver Challenge makes cover of the Washington Post

Blind Driver Challenge makes cover of the Washington Post
We've reported in the past about NFB's encouragement of
the development of a car that blind people can
drive. Engineers from Virginia Tech who took on the Blind Driver
Challenge brought their prototype vehicle to the Youth Slam, and on
the last day of the Slam, Blind Driver Track participants got
behind the wheel.  Resulting press was overwhelmingly positive
and encouraging.  More stories are still being posted, but a
most exciting piece was published in the Washington Post on August 1,
as Youth Slam participants were traveling home.  The
cover article, above the fold, proclaimed that  "Blind
Drivers Plot Their Own Course" and included a color photograph of one
exuberant sixteen-year-old blind first-time driver.


WashingtonPost.com's article was accompanied by a video and photo
gallery. Just some of the other notable coverage came
from the Discovery Channel, the



New York Times


, and ABC News. Dozens more blogs, videos, and print
media reports stimulated comments, tweets, and offers to
help.  It's a great first step toward changing public
perceptions that motoring independence is
impossible. Someday the blind will drive.



National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam

>From July 26 to August 1, two hundred blind youth from across the
nation gathered in College Park, Maryland, to learn about science,
technology, engineering, and math at the National Federation of the
Blind 2009 Youth Slam.  This program was designed to engage,
inspire, and encourage the next generation of blind youth to consider
careers that are falsely perceived as impossible for the
blind.  The students were mentored by blind role models for
academic and social activities.

Youth Slam bull rider

Youth Slammer rides mechanical bull

In the daytime program, students and mentors traveled across the large
University of Maryland campus to participate in hands-on classes in
their chosen "track" of study and other short sessions on
blindness.  During the evenings, they participated in social
activities such as a dance, a sports night, a talent show, and an
extreme recreational activities night that featured rock
climbing, bungee jumping, and mechanical bull riding. They
visited the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind in
Baltimore for a press conference on the Braille literacy
crisis.  While at the National Center for the Blind, they
had the opportunity to see the International Braille and Technology
Center and to visit an exhibit hall that displayed cutting edge
technology for the blind. The Youth Slam concluded with a rally
at the Lincoln Memorial (punctuated by an exhilarating
rainstorm!) and a Youth March for Independence on the National
Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Youth Slam's closing ceremony was held at the United
States Capitol Visitor Center, in the new Congressional
Auditorium.  National Federation of the Blind leaders, NASA
astronaut Gregory H. Johnson, and Congressman Steny Hoyer gave
inspirational speeches. Students were also involved in the
presentations--Caitlin Kasalo, who sang the National Anthem
to kick off the ceremony, and student reporters Derrick Tuff and
Kayla Weathers.  The Youth Slam could be followed on Twitter,
and ongoing blog and podcast coverage
was posted on
 by the Youth Slam News

Throughout the week of fun and challenging activities, students grew
in confidence and science literacy and began to set goals
for a new future. These students are now a part of the mission to
change what it means to be blind.

Summer BELL Ringers!!

The NFB Jernigan Institute is just concluding its 2009 Braille
Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) summer program.  The
objective of this two-state pilot program was to promote Braille
literacy through two weeks of exciting hands-on activities
and instruction to low-vision children, who otherwise do not
have access to Braille. The BELL program provided us some
bell-ringing moments in that we gained some valuable knowledge and
exposed more children to Braille and positive attitudes about

The BELL Core Team included three certified teachers of the blind:
Jacqueline Otwell (Maryland Public Schools), Natalie Shaheen (Indiana
School for the Blind), and Paul Howard (Indiana Public
Schools). The team spent a couple of weeks working at the
National Center on "packaging" the lesson plans and
activities with the intent that a ready-made program can be
offered to states in the future. Following this, the team
traveled to Georgia for two weeks instructing children in the
Atlanta area.  After a brief stint at the NFB Youth Slam, the
team began the second program in Maryland for students from the
Baltimore area.

In both pilot states, children attended field trips to local
libraries, participated in Braille learning centers with hands-on
activities to teach skills of tracking and contraction recognition,
participated in Braille-related scavenger hunts, and were read to each
day by positive Braille reading adults.

The BELL program is a great way to get Braille instruction to
students who otherwise are not receiving this instruction.  We
encourage states interested in organizing such a program next
summer to contact the Education team at the NFB Jernigan
Institute to learn more.
mthorpe at nfb.org

Braille Initiative

In a recent e-mail, Dr. Maurer poses the question, "How many
children in America are not taught to read?"  His message

The answer is 90 percent if the children are blind.  Most
Americans are shocked to hear this statistic.  And we should
be.  The blind read and write using Braille, so why is our
educational system failing to teach Braille to so many children?
Why are these children being denied the opportunities that come with a
proper education?  What if you could not read and write?
Where would you be today?

There are three primary reasons for this educational crisis: (1) there
are not enough Braille teachers, (2) some teachers of blind children
have not received enough training, and (3) many educators do not think
Braille instruction is even necessary.

To bring critically-needed attention to this educational crisis, the
United States Congress authorized the minting of the 2009 Louis
Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar with a portion of the sale of each
coin going toward a revolutionary and comprehensive Braille literacy

Learning to read and write is fundamental to education, which in turn
is paramount to full and equal participation in American
society.  This coin, the first U.S. coin to have proper tactile
Braille, symbolizes independence, opportunity, and the potential of
blind people to make significant contributions to society when they
are taught to read and write using Braille.  To learn more, read
our report The Braille Literacy Crisis in America


or watch our video Making Change with a Dollar



Please purchase this unique and beautiful coin now


and help solve this educational crisis for blind children in

The law authorizing this 2009 silver dollar requires that any coins
not sold by midnight on December 31, 2009, be melted down.  Time
is of the essence--a 90 percent illiteracy rate is not acceptable
and the opportunity to purchase this coin will soon be gone.

Be part of the solution. Give the gift of literacy. Create new
opportunities.  Buy the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar



Marc Maurer, President

Dr. Maurer knows that the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver
Dollar is a symbol of hope for the future. The National
Federation of the Blind will use the proceeds from sales
of these limited-edition coins to advance Braille literacy in the
United States. Every coin sold reminds us that through our
efforts another life will be changed, another Braille book will be
made available, another teacher will receive quality Braille

Please continue to support our efforts by sharing information about
the coin with everyone you meet. You never know who you might inspire
to join us in our effort to make change with a dollar and finally put
an end to the Braille literacy crisis.

For more information about Braille, the 2009 Louis Braille
Bicentennial Silver Dollar, and the NFB's other Braille literacy
efforts, please visit Braille.org, join the literacy campaign mailing
list, and follow Braille Literacy on Twitter.


Straight Talk About Vision Loss

Dr. Maurer delivers 2009 banquet address

Photo: Dr. Maurer delivers 2009 banquet address

The NFB Jernigan Institute, under the National Center for
Mentoring Excellence (NCME) project, has produced a 13-minute DVD

Walking the Walk: The NFB Mentorship Advantage. This video
highlights the mentoring programs in six states and illustrates how
blind mentors have impacted the lives of blind youth ages 16-26. The
NFB Jernigan Institute invites our Straight Talk About Vision Loss
fans to review the new video and learn more about the
NCME on the NFB's Mentoring home page.

You will also enjoy the video of Dr. Maurer's banquet speech at this
year's national convention, The Value of Decision.  Plus, you
can now hear audio of 2009 convention highlights on the NFB site,
including Mark Riccobono's "From the Center of History" report to the
convention on the Jernigan Institute's fifth anniversary.



Product and Access Technology Talk

It's been a busy time for the Access Technology team here at the
NFB Jernigan Institute. There was the Access Technology seminar at the
National Convention in Detroit, and then during Youth Slam the team
did its bit with tours and sessions--you can expect further
updates on that on the AT blog.


On another topic, the team has been working away at finalizing the
agenda for the Web Accessibility Training Day on September 22. The
National Federation of the Blind and the Maryland Technology
Assistance Program, with sponsorship from the Maryland Department of
Information Technology, will be hosting the event, the first of its
kind in Maryland, at the NFB Jernigan Institute. The sessions will
highlight strategies for achieving Web accessibility in a government
or nonprofit setting.

The registration fee for this daylong training focusing on all aspects
of Web accessibility and compliance with Maryland laws and regulations
is $80, including a box lunch. Our keynote speaker is Shawn Lawton
Henry from the World Wide Web Consortium, and the line-up includes
speakers from every part of the industry, including Oracle, Adobe, AOL
and Deque. For the agenda and for more information please visit the
Web Accessibility Training Day page.

One company which takes nonvisual Web accessibility to heart is
Newegg, which just recently became the first e-tailer to come
under NFB Nonvisual Accessibility Web Certification. Newegg, as
one of the largest online retailers, sets the industry standard and
shows that accessibility is a benefit. For more information please
visit the press release or the article on


Internet Retailer.

The fall only gets busier, with presentations on DAISY production and
cell phone accessibility at the Assistive Technology Industry
Association conference in Chicago in October 2009. In November, the
team will present to a variety of higher education accessibility
specialists at the Accessing Higher Ground conference in Denver,
Colorado, along with Blackboard and Deque Systems, on the work being
done to make Blackboard Learn? fully accessible.

In its copious free time, the team also shared some experiences with
the newly-accessible iPhone on the blog; after all, who can resist a
nifty new phone?


>From the tenBroek Library

Photo: Jacobus tenBroek Library entrance

The tenBroek Library documents the accomplishments of the blind
throughout history as well as obstacles to their progress.  We
are therefore actively collecting biographies of blind people,
histories of the blind, and older books on blindness and the
blind.  Once we announce the public launch of our online public
access catalog (which will happen before the next issue of
Imagineering), Federationists and others will have direct access to
the growing historical resources of our collection.  Meanwhile,
we are already hard at work on the two important historical projects
funded by a grant the NFB Jernigan Institute recently won
from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a
division of the United States National Archives.  The goal of
these projects is to make material in the Jacobus tenBroek Papers and
the NFB Archives easily searchable and accessible.

While we work at making of the tenBroek Library an increasingly
valuable resource for historians of blindness, we also want readers of
Imagineering to keep in mind that the Federation has published a
number of historical articles, many of which are already available

And speaking of history, have you yet obtained your free copy of the
CD of Louis Braille's 1829 book?  With this CD, the
tenBroek Library is making Louis Braille's revolutionary
explanation of the Braille code generally available for the first time
in history.  The CD contains page images of the book, a
transcription of the French text, and a translation into
English.  You can request a copy with an e-mail to
jtblibrary at nfb.org
. Make sure to include a mailing address.

Independence Market

Little girl doing homework on a Brailler

Little girl doing homework on Brailler

It is time for the NFB Independence Market "back to school"
sale.  Students of all ages may find some of the following items
of use in their academic studies and extracurricular activities:

Personal Management

1. A white cane gives a blind person independence to move
around the home and school environment.

2. A Braille or talking compass aids navigation.

3. An accessible watch or clock helps you to get to class on

4. Accessible locks keep your items secure when using a locker at
school or the gym.


5. Most students have several devices which use batteries. Distinguish
between discharged and new ones with a battery tester.

6. Handheld magnifiers ranging from 5X to 14X are available in the
Independence Market.

Study Aids

1. Do basic math functions with a calculator or abacus.

2. Listen to books and record classes.

3. Take notes in class using 20/20 pens, dark lined writing
paper, writing guides, slates and styluses, and Braille paper.

4. Make Braille labels to get organized.


For more ideas, check out the Independence Market online or contact us
for a catalog.
independencemarket at nfb.org

Parent Outreach

Photo: Braille Book Flea Market

Carol Castellano, president of the National Organization of
Parents of Blind Children, spoke to the National
Convention's general session on Wednesday afternoon on the topic
"Why Are You Trying to Make that Child Blind?"  This and the
following other convention audio items will be of particular interest
to parents of blind children:


Spotlight on the Imagination Fund

As we culminate our yearlong Imagination Fund efforts, we want to say
thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for all of the talent,
treasure, and especially time that you have put into our 2008-2009
National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Imagination Fund campaign. To
date, the NFB Imagination Fund has distributed over $635,720 to NFB
affiliates, with an equal distribution going to support the work of
our NFB Jernigan Institute, and this year's NFB Imagination Funds
will come out to state affiliates soon.

A special note to state affiliates and divisions--A quarter
of the funds raised during this year's campaign will be
used to provide grants for local innovative projects that will
further our mission in ways such as building the NFB state affiliates
and divisions, reaching out to blind people and their families,
educating the general public about the capabilities of the blind, and
developing members into significant leaders of our
movement. Special consideration will be given to proposals that
advance our Braille literacy initiative.  For more
information regarding the grant application process, please contact
the president of your affiliate or division soon, as the deadline to
submit applications is September 14, 2009.

The 2009-2010 campaign officially began on August 1, 2009.  Late
summer and early fall will be a time of great planning and
development.  As Federationists, we will have many goals; we will
raise the bar. Stay tuned for updates in the coming
months--whether we walk, run, or fly, we will be doing it to
raise awareness about our independent spirit and to raise monies to
support our initiatives.  As always, staff at the National Center
will be available for questions, ideas, and suggestions.
kbowman at nfb.org

The Imagination Fund provides support for the outreach efforts of
local Federation chapters and affiliates throughout the United States
as well as the research, technology, and education programs and
initiatives of the NFB Jernigan Institute. The


Imagination Fund was established January 2004 with the Grand Opening
of our NFB research and training institute.

NFB Calendar

Photo: Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar

2009  Year of Louis Braille's Bicentennial, launch of the
first United States coin containing readable Braille, and kickoff
of the NFB Braille Literacy Campaign. Contact the

U.S. Mint to purchase your own Louis Braille Bicentennial
Silver Dollar.



August 3-14, 2009  Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning
(BELL) program in Maryland.

August 14-16, 2009  Texas CHANGE (Connections Helping Another
Navigate and Gain Excellence) Mentoring Program mentoring wrap-up
event at Port Royal Resort, Corpus Christi, Texas.

August 22, 2009  GEMS (Georgians Empowered through Mentoring
Success) mentoring celebration outdoor event at a farm in North

August 28, 2009  Deadline to submit your Braille story
to Letters to President Obama.  Learn more by visiting
http://www.marchforindependence.org/site/R?i=AEQ4V46sgzr0EcY1oWs6dg.. .

September 4-6, 2009  Labor Day leadership seminar at the NFB.

September 14, 2009  Deadline to submit NFB Imagination Fund
grant proposals. For more information, contact
kbowman at nfb.org.

September 15-17, 2009  Research in the Rockies Symposium at the
NFB Jernigan Institute.

September 22, 2009  Web Accessibility Day at the NFB Jernigan

October 2009 Meet the Blind Month.


Many who have not received quality instruction in Braille can tell
compelling stories of missed opportunities and difficulties at school
or on the job arising from their lack of Braille. Others who have
experienced a full education in Braille can tell stirring success
stories of the way literacy has changed their lives and helped them to
participate fully in society. Our goal is to collect these
stories--the inspiring and the compelling, the positive and the
negative--and compile them into a book about Braille literacy.
>From the submissions we receive we will select one hundred of the most
powerful stories for our book, and the author of each chosen
testimonial will receive a free Louis Braille commemorative silver

If you have been educated in Braille either in school or through a
rehabilitation agency and you lead a productive life because of this
knowledge, or if you have been denied Braille instruction at any point
and you believe your life has been affected by the struggles you have
faced in becoming literate in Braille, the world needs to hear your
story. If you are a parent or teacher who has seen the positive effect
Braille can have on your children or students, your story needs to be

On October 1, the first day of Meet the Blind Month, we will present
our collected stories to President Barack Obama, demonstrating through
our own voices the power of Braille literacy for all blind Americans.
We will share our hopes and dreams with him; we will tell him about
the struggles we have faced in becoming literate and the success that
has come from our knowing Braille. Through our personal stories we
will show him that Braille provides independence to blind people and
makes us free....

By reaching out to the highest office in the United States, we can
teach President Obama about the critical link between Braille and
independence. If we can enlist his leadership, we can insure a
brighter future for Braille literacy.

We need your help in sending this message. To add your story to our
collection, please send it by August 28 in print or Braille to Letters
to President Obama, c/o National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson
Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Be sure to include your full name,
address, phone number, and email address if you have one. You can also
submit your story online by visiting
clicking the link entitled Letters to President Obama.

--Fredric K. Schroeder, "Dear Mr. President,"


Braille Monitor, July 2009

I've always wondered why they include braille numbers on
drive-up ATM machines. Now I know.


to New York Times article on the Blind Driver
Challenge, "Helping Blind Drivers Take the Wheel," August 5, 2009


Back to Top

Thank you for reading the NFB Jernigan Institute's Imagineering
Our Future.

Mentor Trevor Attenberg leads campers along the nature trail

Photo: Group on white water raft

Support the Jernigan Institute through the Imagination Fund

Photo: Young woman playing flute

Interesting links:

Archive of Straight Talk about Vision Loss videos

National Center for Blind Youth in Science

Access Technology Tips

Photo: Youth practicing martial art


Access Technology

Voice of the Nation's Blind

Photo: Senior couple

Publication archives:

Voice of the Diabetic

Future Reflections

Braille Monitor

Photo: Mom and son take a moment and a hug

Graphic Logo: National Federation of the Blind

Visit us at

Photo: Blind little girl with cane

Photo: Blind youth reading Braille book

Photo: Blind girl examining model of constellations

Photo: Blind boy with tactile globe

Blind Teens Carry the 2007 Youth March for Independence Banner

Imagine a Future Full of Opportunity

Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson
Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314      Fax (410)
659-5129      E-mail
JerniganInstitute at nfb.org

JerniganInstitute at nfb.org?subject=Reply%20to%20Imagineering%20Our%20Future

Visit us at

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American Institute of Philanthropy logo

The National Federation of the Blind meets the rigorous Standards for
Charity Accountability set forth by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and
is Top-Rated by the American Institute of Philanthropy.
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Phone:  602-502-2255
nabs.president at gmail.com

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