[Nfbmo] Imagineering Our Future

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Wed Apr 1 20:25:50 UTC 2009

Graphic Logo: NFB Jernigan Institute

Imagineering Our Future

      Issue 11

March 31, 2009

In this issue:

block quote

list of 12 items
• Message from the Executive Director

• What's New

• Education

• 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

• Citation

list end
block quote end

block quote

Message from the Executive Director
block quote end

block quote
Our moment in history has finally arrived!

When Louis Braille first observed the night 
writing code used by the French military, I 
wonder, did he recognize what the moment meant and how that moment
would be a turning point in history?  From our 
perspective in time, all we can do is speculate 
about the events of that moment and how they unfolded into
the code that gives knowledge to the blind even 
today.  However, we know much about our current 
moment in time and the turning point that is represented
by the launch of the Louis Braille Bicentennial 
Silver Dollar—hosted at the NFB Jernigan Institute on March 26, 2009.

On that day, we released
The Braille Literacy Crisis in America: Facing 
the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind.
  This comprehensive report discusses the current 
status of Braille literacy—the crisis facing the 
blind—and provides our unwavering commitment to eliminate
that crisis through our Braille Readers are 
Leaders Literacy Campaign.  Of course, the Louis 
Braille coin first went on sale that day, and over seventeen
thousand coins were sold—suggesting that this 
coin is going fast.  And the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration announced that two Louis Braille
coins will fly on the STS-125 mission scheduled 
for later this year to provide servicing to the 
Hubble Space Telescope (the subject of the book Touch the

What will mark this moment that we cannot yet 
recognize?  What will it feel like to look back 
when 20, 30, 50 percent of blind children are getting adequate
instruction in Braille?  What will the 
imaginative new opportunities be when we have 
spread an understanding of Braille farther and wider than ever before?
It is hard to fully answer any of these 
questions.  However, we know with absolute 
certainty that our complete dedication, our bold advancement, and our
hopeful spirit will forever be part of what makes this moment special.

Thank you for being part of this important moment 
in time with the National Federation of the Blind.
Graphic: Signature of Mark Riccobono
Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute

Featured NFB News

ANNOUNCING:  Baltimore's new main event—the Cane Event!

Join the NFB for a night of decadence with all 
proceeds benefiting our Braille literacy 
programs! Ladies & gentlemen, now presenting Baltimore’s newest
main event, The Cane Event. Open bar, live 
entertainment, seated dinner, and live & silent 
auctions. Cocktail hour begins at 7:00 p.m. Black tie optional.
$120 a ticket. For info visit TheCaneEvent.org. 
Braille is Beautiful. Logos: Deque Systems, Inc., 
BG&L, MDG, Smith Barney, IBM, M&T Bank

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will 
host the Cane Event on April 4, 2009, at the 
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in south
Federal Hill. The event will celebrate the NFB’s 
Braille Readers are Leaders literacy campaign. 
More than four hundred friends, colleagues, and blind people
from across the nation are expected to attend. 
The event promises an evening of food, fun, and 
entertainment—featuring a catered dinner, silent and live
auctions, and live music provided by Marquise.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “We are pleased 
and proud to welcome our friends from the Baltimore community,
as well as friends from all over the country, to 
our annual fundraiser the Cane Event. The evening 
will surely be a remarkable celebration and will serve
to highlight the importance of Braille literacy 
to the general public. There can be no doubt that 
the ability to read and write Braille competently and
efficiently is the key to education, employment, 
and success for the blind.  Despite the 
undisputed value of Braille, however, only about 10 percent of
blind children in the United States are learning 
it. Please join us at the Cane Event as we work 
together to reverse the downward trend in Braille literacy.”

Proceeds from this event will go to the National 
Federation of the Blind’s Braille Readers are 
Leaders campaign, a national initiative to promote the importance
of reading and writing Braille for blind children 
and adults. The Braille Readers are Leaders 
campaign kicked off in July of 2008 with the unveiling of
the design of a commemorative coin in recognition 
of the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of 
Louis Braille (1809-1852), the inventor of the reading
and writing code for the blind that bears his 
name. On March 26, the Louis Braille Bicentennial 
Silver Dollar was released by the U.S. Mint.

Cane Event tickets may be purchased
; by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2419; or by


Parent gives her young son a cane lesson

The NFB Jernigan Institute is holding an innovative
Beginnings and Blueprints Early Childhood Conference
  in collaboration with the National Organization 
of Parents of Blind Children and various 
professionals in the early childhood field from across the Mid-Atlantic
region. This two-day conference (May 8-9, 2009) 
will bring together families of blind children 
and early childhood service providers, teachers, and professionals
in order to disseminate the NFB's approach to 
best practices in early childhood education for blind children.

Families of blind and low vision children ages 
birth to seven who live in the Mid-Atlantic 
region are encouraged to attend.  Families who live outside
of the area are also welcome to attend if they 
desire, but should be aware that some of the 
exhibits and information will be region-specific. Families
can choose among a variety of breakout sessions 
on topics such as early movement, literacy, and 
active learning. Families will also be able to consult
with early childhood professionals. Children are 
encouraged to attend with their parents as there 
will be activities with young blind children in mind.

Please complete the
  registration form and submit by April 15, 2009.  For more information please
e-mail Mary Jo Thorpe,
Education Programs Specialist, NFB Jernigan 
Institute; call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407; or visit the
Beginnings and Blueprints page.

Plans are in full swing for the NFB Jernigan Institute’s
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL)
  program in the summer of 2009. The BELL program 
is designed to serve as a demonstration program 
that provides intensive Braille instruction to low vision
children during the summer months. Statistics 
show that only 10 percent of blind and low vision 
children receive Braille instruction. Therefore, the NFB
aims to promote intensive summer programs, led by 
its affiliate members, to help improve the amount 
of exposure to Braille by young blind and low vision
children, raise literacy levels of this 
population, and stir up greater interest in Braille education.

This pilot program will be modeled after the 
successful 2008 BELL Program led by the NFB of 
Maryland state affiliate. The NFB Jernigan Institute will expand
this program into Wisconsin and Georgia as well 
during the summer of 2009. The program dates are: 
Wisconsin, June 15-26; Georgia, July 13-24; and Maryland,
August 3-15. The states will host the Jernigan 
Institute’s BELL Core Team during the two weeks 
of their programs. BELL Core Team members will facilitate
a variety of fun, hands-on lessons ranging from 
group activities to one-on-one instruction 
designed to teach Braille to low vision children ages four to
twelve. Children will also be mentored by older 
blind role models with positive attitudes about 
blindness and visit various field trip sites. The NFB Jernigan
Institute plans to make the curriculum from this 
program available to other states for future use 
in developing their own BELL summer programs.

Braille Initiative

Photo: Coin launch ceremony

On March 26, 2009, the official launch ceremony 
of the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar 
took place at the NFB Jernigan Institute. More than three
hundred NFB members and friends, as well as 
variety of special guests and speakers including 
Dr. Abraham Nemeth, Dr. Marc Maurer, Dr. Frederic K. Schroeder,
and U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy, gathered in the 
Members Hall to celebrate this special day and to 
have the first opportunity to purchase their piece of
the Braille literacy movement.

During the launch program guests were treated to 
the reading of a very special resolution by 
MarChé Daughtry, Brandon Pickrel, and Jason Polansky. Additionally,
White House Representative Kareem Dale was presented with a copy of
The Braille Literacy Crisis in America: Facing 
the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind,
and Dr. Joyce Winterton of NASA announced that 
the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar will 
be the first commemorative coin to travel to space.  If
you missed the event or just want to relive it, you can
  to the coin launch program, including speeches 
from Dr. Maurer and U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy.

In addition to the formal launch ceremony in 
Baltimore, we had significant proclamations from 
over thirty governors or state legislatures, and thousands
of members of the National Federation of the 
Blind gathered in about fifty towns and cities 
across America to celebrate this monumental day in history.
Many met with public officials and participated 
in ceremonies to demonstrate our commitment to 
Braille literacy and full participation in society.

Fifty thousand Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver 
Dollars have been sold as of the publication of 
this newsletter.  To purchase yours, please visit the
U.S. Mint Web site. For more information about 
Braille, the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial 
Siver Dollar, and the NFB's other Braille literacy efforts,
please visit
join the
literacy campaign mailing list,
or follow on the social networking site

Straight Talk About Vision Loss

The 2008 scholarship class of the NFB.
Photo: 2008 scholarship class of the NFB
Straight Talk About Vision Loss
  team presents
Straight Talk About Vision Loss Episode 24.
  Anil Lewis discusses the NFB scholarship 
program with the Jernigan Institute executive 
director. TMarch 31 is the last day to apply for
thirty NFB scholarships,
ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, to be awarded at 
the NFB National Convention in July.  Anil Lewis 
is chairman of the NFB scholarship committee as well
as a national board member.

Product and Access Technology Talk

The NFB Jernigan Institute Access Technology team 
provides ongoing access technology awareness 
services for universities and colleges in the area. On March
3, Dr. Jonathan Lazar, associate professor in the 
Department of Computer and Information Sciences 
at Towson University, and a group of his students visited
the International Braille and Technology Center 
for the Blind (IBTC).  The team has reached out 
to groups of young engineers and computer scientists to
help further accessibility in the next generation.

As mentioned as an upcoming event in the previous 
newsletter, the Access Technology team attended 
and made three presentations at the California State
University at Northridge’s annual Technology and 
Persons with Disabilities Conference this month. 
In addition to the preparations for this conference,
they received a
tech tip from Adobe on accessible PDFs
  and contributed three new posts to the AT blog—a final report on the
Consumer Electronics Show
  in Las Vegas, a post on the
Plextalk Pocket digital talking book player,
and a write-up of the new
KNFB Reader Mobile software update.
The team also added a
list of manufacturers of CCTVs
—digital magnification devices using a camera and 
screen—to their technology list, broadening the 
resources available for low vision visitors to the site.

 From the tenBroek Library

Several major events have happened recently or 
are about to happen at the National Center.  The 
tenBroek Library wants to help you enjoy them, even if you
cannot be here.

On March 26, of course, the Jernigan Institute 
hosted the official unveiling of the
Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar.
The tenBroek Library contributed some interesting 
items to be viewed (visually and tactilely) at 
the celebration, including several historic books in tactile
codes other than Braille. We are especially 
pleased to have arranged to borrow, for this 
event, an extremely rare copy of the
embossed pamphlet of 1829
  in which Louis Braille first published the 
Braille code. For more information, take a look at the
annotated bibliography
  of books on Louis Braille and the development 
of the Braille Code housed in the tenBroek Library.

April 4 is the date of the
Cane Event,
a gala dinner party that will no doubt be the 
main event of the Mid-Atlantic social season. To 
honor the cane, the tenBroek Library presents this link
to the NFB’s publication, Tom Bickford’s
The Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane.

Finally, the Jernigan Institute is presenting the second
Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
  on April 17. The Obama administration will be 
represented by an official with great 
responsibility for programs related to blindness and other disabilities.
The symposium will be of concern to lawyers and 
all interested in disability rights.  More than fifty years ago, in his speech
Within the Grace of God,
Jacobus tenBroek laid out key arguments regarding 
blindness that have become fundamental to the disability rights movement.

Please join the tenBroek Library as we celebrate 
Louis Braille, the long white cane, and Jacobus tenBroek!

Independence Market

The upcoming Cane Event celebration highlights 
the long white cane as a key to independence and 
freedom for blind people.  With good mobility skills blind
people gain control over their own movements and 
can travel freely and independently in both 
familiar and unfamiliar environments.    Thomas Bickford's
Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane 
(mentioned above) is a self-help guide that 
encourages blind individuals to grow their cane travel independence. The
author shares his own experiences about learning 
how to use a long white cane and traveling 
independently in a variety of settings. The reader learns about
choosing a cane, negotiating steps, walking down 
a city sidewalk and using landmarks as travel 
cues, making use of various modes of public transportation,
and traveling in adverse weather conditions and 
in rough terrain. This practical how-to guide, 
encouraging blind individuals new to cane travel to venture
out with their long white cane, is available from the Independence Market in
print, Braille, and four-track cassette.
    The Independence Market also sells books 
geared toward teaching independent cane travel skills to children and youth:
Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children: A Promotion Model
  (by Joseph Cutter) is full of practical tips 
and strategies about how parents and teachers can 
help a blind child develop normal and independent movement.
It includes detailed instructions and information 
about canes—what kind, when a child should get 
one, etc.—and introduces the "Bottom-Up" approach to teaching
orientation and mobility to young children of 
developmental ages birth through kindergarten.
Modular Instruction for Independent Travel for 
Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
  (by Doris Willoughby and Sharon Monthei) is a 
practical guide for the mobility teacher, 
classroom teacher, or parent, that offers a thousand creative suggestions
for teaching cane travel to preschool through 
high school blind and low vision students in 
every possible setting.  And, of course, the Independence Market
also has
long white canes
  available in all sizes.

Parent Outreach

In honor of the two-hundredth birthday of Louis 
Braille, we are issuing a special edition of 
Future Reflections, our quarterly magazine for parents and
teachers of blind children. The "Special Issue: A 
Celebration of Braille" edition features a brief 
biography of Louis Braille by children's author Deborah
Kent-Stein; a fascinating historical timeline 
about the "War of the Dots"; a playful poem about 
Braille from deaf-blind author, John Lee Clark; descriptions
of innovative Braille programs; inspiring stories 
that celebrate the impact Braille has had in the 
lives of ordinary blind people; and much more. The edition
will be available online by mid-to-late-April and 
in print by the end of the month.
Future Reflections
  has a print format domestic circulation of over 
fourteen thousand, and thousands more read it 
internationally and in other formats. The magazine informs,
inspires, raises expectations, and provides a 
blueprint for change and action to improve the 
lives and education of blind and low vision children.

Spotlight on the Imagination Fund

Photo: NY Tweens and Teens program

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.  On May 17 and 
18 of last year the National Federation of the 
Blind of New York and its Parents of Blind Children Division (POBC)
held a two-day seminar for children, parents, 
educators, and other interested parties.  The 
emphasis was on “tweens and teens.”   The seminar addressed
all aspects of the lives of blind children and 
focused on the changes in their needs and their 
dreams and goals. All aspects of their development were
considered as presenters interacted with the 
participants.    Every group was challenged 
concerning the need for and the use of such things as Braille,
the long white cane, and adaptive 
technology.  Attendees discussed the wide-ranging 
possibilities of career choices for young blind people. There was much
hands-on exposure to Braille and alternative 
techniques.  A cane walk in Midtown Manhattan was also included.  The
Tweens and Teens Seminar
  was supported by the fundraising efforts of the 
NFB as part of the Imagination Fund grant program.

NFB Calendar

  2009  Year of Louis Braille's Bicentennial, 
launch of the U.S. Louis Braille Bicentennial 
Silver Dollar, and kickoff of the
NFB Braille Literacy Campaign.
    March 26, 2009
U.S. Mint
  began sales of the
Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar.
    March 31, 2009  Deadline to apply for
thirty NFB scholarships,
ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, to be awarded at National Convention in July.
Get more information
fill out an application online.

  Image: The Cane Event banner

April 4, 2009
The Cane Event: Celebrating Braille Readers are Leaders,
Members Hall, NFB headquarters, Baltimore.
Image: Whozit wearing a top hat
Break out your top hat and be a part of the Cane 
Event: Celebrating Braille Readers are Leaders, 
at the NFB Jernigan Institute.  Please join us the evening
of Saturday, April 4, for entertainment, food, 
and silent and live auctions. Support the 
Jernigan Institute and have fun. Visit
  for details and to
buy your tickets online.
   You can be a Braille Literacy Champion!  This 
ticket package option includes recognition for 
you or your company, two Cane Event tickets, and one Louis
Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, all for $500.

April 15, 2009
Jacob Bolotin Awards
application and nomination
  deadline.   April 15, 2009   Deadline to sign up for
Beginnings and Blueprints Early Childhood Conference.
  Sign up
  or download a
  registration form.     April 17, 2009
Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium.
Register online.
View the
     May 8-9, 2009
Beginnings and Blueprints Early Childhood Conference,
open to parents of blind children ages birth to 
seven. Part of NFB Jernigan Institute's
Early Childhood Education initiative.
    May 30, 2009
  cut-off for
NFB 2009 National Convention.
When purchased online before May 31st, the 
pre-registration fee for convention is $15 ($20 
on-site) and the cost of a banquet ticket is $35 ($40 on-site).
    June 8-13, 2009
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL)
  program Core Team Member training at NFB 
Jernigan Institute.   June 15-26, 2009
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL)
  program in Wisconsin.

  July 3-8, 2009
NFB 2009 National Convention,
Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Detroit, 
Michigan.  For reservations, write directly to 
the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, 100 Renaissance Center,
Detroit, Michigan 48243, or call 1-800-266-9432. 
Information for sponsors, exhibitors, and other attendees is
Now available—discounted
online pre-registration and banquet ticket sales.
    July 13-24, 2009
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL)
  program in Georgia.

  July 6, 2009
Motor City March for Independence,
A Walk for Opportunity, Detroit, Michigan.
Register to participate
  in the third annual March in Detroit.  Hear an
audio report on last year's Dallas March.

  July 26-August 1, 2009
NFB Youth Slam:
A STEM Leadership Academy, University of Maryland, College Park.  View a
  about this exciting event!    August 3-15, 2009
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL)
  program in Maryland.


block quote
A good education is the key to success, and every 
American deserves an equal opportunity to receive 
a good education. Inherent to being educated is being
literate. The ability to read and write means 
access to information that, in turn, leads to 
understanding and knowledge. And knowledge is power—the power
to achieve, function in the family, thrive in the 
community, succeed in a job, and contribute to 
society.   Nearly 90 percent of America’s blind children
are not learning to read and write because they 
are not being taught Braille or given access to 
it. There is a Braille literacy crisis in America.   The
National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the 
largest and most influential membership 
organization of blind people in the United States, is taking swift
action to reverse this trend. This year, 2009, 
marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis 
Braille, inventor of the system that allows blind people
to read and write independently. Coinciding with 
this anniversary, the NFB has announced specific 
action to address the education of America’s blind children
so that every blind child who has a need for 
Braille will have the opportunity to learn 
it.   In this report to the nation on the state of Braille literacy
in America, the NFB examines the history and 
decline of Braille education, addresses the 
crisis facing the blind today and key factors driving it, and
proposes a number of action steps to double the 
Braille literacy rate by 2015 and eventually reverse it altogether.    —
The Braille Literacy Crisis in America: Facing 
the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind,
A Report to the Nation by the National Federation 
of the Blind Jernigan Institute, March 26, 2009

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

block quote end

block quote end

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
Visit us at www.nfb.org

Better Business Bureau logo
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.
Forward this newsletter.
If this issue was forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please e-mail
JerniganInstitute at nfb.org.

More information about the NFBMO mailing list