[NFBOH-Cleveland] Transforming Dreams Into Reality Through Contributions

Suzanne Turner smturner.234 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 13 01:03:03 UTC 2020



Today Deanna sent out information on one of our Fundraisers. So, if you
wonder why we fund raise, read below.


Please pass this fundraiser far and wide to help support our programs and
services. I have also included her info for you.


We all should do whatever we can to promote the efforts of the National
Federation of the Blind of Ohio. It is with hope, love and determination
that dreams are transformed into reality.






And now the news everybody has been waiting for!


Malley's Chocolates Easter Fundraiser is back!


I know your mouth has been watering just thinking about the delicious
Malley's Chocolates and Candy! Malley's chocolates and candy will make an
excellent gift for your loved ones (or yourself). Remember that Easter is
April 12th this year.


Please place your online order to help the NFB of Ohio raise money. Visit
this link to check out all of the wonderful goodies that Malley's offers:



Feel free to share this info with your friends, family, co-workers, church
members, neighbors, etc.  And remember that the deadline for online orders
in Monday, April 6th. Orders of $75 or more will receive FREE SHIPPING! You
may want to coordinate a group order.


You can place your online order now; Malley's will start shipping items on
March 9.


Thanks so much for participating in this wonderful fundraiser! Again, feel
free to share the link with others!


Check out what your contribution does for the blind! Read below!


Deanna Lewis

NFB of Ohio Fundraising Committee



Bells Ring Again in 2019
by Debbie Baker, Marianne Denning, and Eric Duffy <>

Editor's note: Debbie Baker and Marianne Denning are both seasoned teachers
of blind children. They are all blind themselves, so their teaching and
leadership are shaped and sharpened by personal experience. Ohio is
incredibly lucky to have Debbie and Marianne as the instructors in our
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning Academy for the sixth year. We
are also very fortunate to have Eric Duffy back in Ohio and back in the
saddle as BELL coordinator. Half the students were returning campers, and
half were new to Ohio BELL, though three of them had attended BELL in
another state. Here is the report on BELL 2019 from the teachers' and
coordinator's point of view:


The Bell program began in Maryland more than ten years ago with one clear
idea in mind: "If the schools won't teach blind children Braille, then we
will." For far too long blind and low vision students around the country
were not given the opportunity to learn Braille even when deteriorating eye
conditions or other circumstances meant that Braille was the only form of
real literacy for these students. Other NFB affiliates soon began
replicating the efforts of the Maryland affiliate. Bells now ring in
thirty-five states.

The first Bell program took place in Ohio in 2013. We weren't sure about a
lot of things including how we were going to fund it and how we were going
to find students and volunteers, but it all came together.

We got funding because chapters, divisions, and individuals saw the value of
the program and raised money and made personal contributions. Opportunities
for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and DD Council provided support as well.
DD Council has continued to support the program since then.

At that point we operated a two-week program, and the students went home
each day. Although teaching and learning Braille was our primary focus, we
soon learned that there were many other things we needed to concentrate on.
We had students who didn't know how to put their shoes on the correct feet
or how to tie their shoes. We had students who didn't know how to dress
themselves. We knew we had to change the expectations parents had for their
blind children and the expectations that the blind children had for
themselves. Of course we began working on expectations immediately.

In 2016 Ohio conducted our first residential Bell program. We thought this
would be the best way to address some of the issues mentioned above. We had
to teach students how to prepare for the next morning, how to find clothes
for the next day, how to find shoes in the morning and pajamas at night, and
where they had left their canes. We could address many issues in a
residential setting that are normally addressed at home.

A great deal of planning and preparation go into a program of this
magnitude. Fund raising is an ongoing process. Planning usually begins in
November, and our work ends with a conference call to talk about the program
that just ended and what we might do differently next year.

For some time we have wanted a nurse to be on site at all times. We also
knew that we needed a dedicated cook. This year we were fortunate to have
Ruth Boggs as a volunteer. She met both of these needs. Her service went
above and beyond the call of duty. Even in times of real stress and seeming
chaos, Ruth was competent, courteous, and professional. Her enthusiasm was
contagious, and her work was very much appreciated. Ruth is already looking
forward to volunteering for Bell in 2020, and we are certainly looking
forward to having her with us again.

Some of our students have been returning since that first program in 2013.
At least two of these students, MaKenzie Love and Phillip Sotak, have
participated in a national Braille reading and writing competition. We knew
that we had to offer these returning students more than the existing Bell
curriculum has to offer. So we set out to find volunteers to help teach STEM
subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. Caroline Carbowski and
Emily Kiehl were the answers to our prayers. Caroline is now a sophomore at
the Ohio State University. She is sighted, but as Dr. Jernigan used to say,
"In her heart she is as blind as we are." She began learning Braille in
junior high school, and she is now learning to use a cane under learning
shades. Emily has low vision and is a student at the University of
Cincinnati. You will read about some of the amazing things they did later in
this article.

We had several first-time volunteers this year, and we had many returning
veterans. This program truly is a labor of love. The children we serve are
not our biological children, but they are our spiritual children. They are
the next generation of the blind, and we must do what we can to build a
better future for them than the one we inherited. We do that through BELL
and many of the other programs of the National Federation of the Blind.

Parents, you must help us build this future. Reinforce positive attitudes
about blindness even if they challenge your own beliefs. Find a way to stay
in contact with the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio throughout the
year. Don't wait until the next BELL program before we hear from you again.
Start spreading the word about the next program now. Plant the seed with
other families. Although we don't yet have a date for the next BELL program,
we will have one next year. Help us raise funds. Chapters and divisions
please do the same.

That is what the 2019 BELL Coordinator has to say. Here is what our two lead
teachers say:

Twelve students and their families arrived at the Ohio State School for the
Blind on Sunday, July 21, between noon and 2:00 p.m. While parents,
grandparents, and guardians met for discussion with NFB National BELL
trainer Cayte Mendez and Ohio BELL staff, students met upstairs in the
science room to explore fossil bones and to create crafts. This year's
Academy experience offered two learning tracks. Students above 11 years old
learned STEM activities related to science, and younger students
concentrated on activities related to reading and writing Braille. All
students participated in activities related to cooking and baking, played
Red Light Green Light using their canes, and practiced cardinal directions
in the gymnasium.

Parents were encouraged to promote and maintain the level of independence
that their children would learn during the residential BELL week. They were
urged to incorporate the NFB philosophy and advocacy in students' IEPs. They
also received NFB literature, and President Payne invited them to attend our
state convention in November.

During the second introductory hour, students returned to sit with their
families and to hear an overview of the upcoming week. They were introduced
to the concept of "bell ringers"-first-time attempts or accomplishments of
new skill or knowledge.

Visiting families, BELL students, and staff were invited to eat pizza and
enjoy fellowship. After dinner students prepared molasses cookie dough for
baking. They rolled the dough into balls, rolled them in white sugar, and
placed them on cookie sheets for baking. When the cookies were cool,
students were invited to eat at least one cookie each. The rest of the dough
was frozen for baking later in the week for dessert. BELL participant
MaKenzie Love agreed to put the cookie sheets into the hot oven and to
remove them when the baking time was up. In prior years, when MaKenzie was a
young BELL student, she had been frightened of hot stovetops and ovens and
was not permitted to be near them in her home kitchen. This was the first of
many breakthrough moments that BELL students and staff shared during the

Students and staff met each morning to walk together to the main school
building. As we walked, Miss Paula, retired music therapist from Cincinnati,
led us in a new song, "It's all about that Braille, 'bout that Braille, no
print." Students' academic day always ended with their writing a journal
entry about the activities of the day. Students also wrote and decorated
thank-you cards to the ice cream truck driver who came to the school on
Thursday evening, to airport staff from John Glenn International Airport,
and Gateway Theater staff, who provided the audio-described version of The
Lion King.

Students of the STEM track learned about genetic DNA, the behavior of water
molecules, basic computer coding, and 3-D printing. Younger students learned
to locate and name parts of the Perkins Brailler, recited basic sight word
vocabulary, read and wrote UEB contracted Braille, and practiced pouring
liquids. All students used Braille recipes and directions to prepare Pigs in
a Blanket for one lunch and 'Tater Tot Casserole for dinner and prepare and
bake two sheet cakes and a set of cupcakes for the traditional Louis Braille
birthday party. They frosted and decorated the cakes and cupcakes, using M
'n M's to spell the Braille letters for "Happy birthday Louis Braille."
Students enjoyed breaking a pinata in the shape of an airplane during the
Louis Braille party.

We visited John Glenn International Airport on Tuesday. The kids learned
about the check-in talking kiosk, experienced screening through security,
and explored the carousel at baggage claim.

On Thursday the older students donned disposable gloves and dissected
dogfish sharks. Later that day the younger students handled the sharks to
learn what their classmates had discovered. The children touched the thick
shark skin, explored and named the various fins along the body, and found
the heart, brain, stomach, liver, and intestines. They discovered that some
of the sharks were female, containing fully formed baby sharks. The dogfish
is one shark that gives birth to live young. Stomach contents contained some
fishbones and whole fish. All of the science activities were led by Caroline
Carbowski and Emily Kiehl.

Older students also visited that afternoon with a representative from
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) to discuss their
transition from middle school into high school and then future employment.
Everyone enjoyed the chance to discuss these issues with Sarah Kelly, and we
hope Sarah enjoyed the chance to get to know the students a little and to
learn more about our Bell program.

Evening activities included the audio-described performance of The Lion
King, a shopping trip to Target for which each student was given $15 to
spend, a goalball game for the boys, and polishing nails for the girls. And,
of course, don't forget the visit from Mr. Ray in his ice-cream truck.

Coordinator Eric Duffy and the teachers, Marianne and Debbie, extend special
thanks to all our volunteers for another fun and successful Academy,
especially those who joined us for the first time. Among those who came for
the first time were Ruth Boggs, who served as our nurse and cook, and four
interns from the OSU higher ed program, who joined us as teachers of blind
students and orientation and mobility specialists. Mrs. Paula Jordan, who
had joined us two years for one day as music therapist, spent the entire
week this year. Her daily music time was a highlight of each day. This was a
very musical group of youngsters, and the songs Miss Paula chose were
clearly meaningful.

We saw marked changes and growth in the students this year. Quiet kids were
speaking up, and noisy ones were learning to listen to others. They were
deeply respectful of each other and concerned when someone was having
trouble. We hope and trust that the lessons we taught will stay with our
students when they return to school this fall. We know that the things they
taught us will stay with us forever.


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