[Nfbwv-talk] President Riccobono's Notebook for December 12, 2016

Smyth, Charlene R Charlene.R.Smyth at wv.gov
Tue Dec 13 21:04:00 UTC 2016


December 12, 2016
President's Notebook
National Federation of the Blind
Mark A. Riccobono
officeofthepresident at nfb.org<mailto:officeofthepresident at nfb.org>
(410) 659-9314

Dear Fellow Federationists,

This week there are a number of timely announcements that require your attention. I hope that each of you received my email from Friday that outlines the plans for our Washington Seminar. We have some elements planned that you should take into consideration when planning your appointments, if possible. If you have questions about the Washington Seminar, please speak with Parnell Diggs at extension 2222.

There is a lot of speculation about what is going to happen with the incoming administration in Washington, DC. It is worth noting that the Federation continues to seek proactive policy changes in Washington rather than simply react to the political winds of the moment. Of course, changes in government always cause us to take a step back and retool our strategy to make sure we can get the maximum advantage for blind people. Furthermore, we are lining up some potential priorities that will take advantage of where we anticipate Congress and our new president focusing their energy. As we plan for our 2017 Washington Seminar, I encourage each of us to stay focused on building relationships with our elected leaders. Remember that no member of Congress knows more about blindness and the true barriers that stand in our way than the members of the National Federation of the Blind. This is our time to move our policy agenda.

Critical Actions This Week:

Communications Survey:
The deadline for the communications survey is midnight tonight (Monday, December 12). Please distribute the link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B9MR89H). As we close out 2016 and plan for 2017 and beyond, we are evaluating various aspects of how we accomplish our organizational goals. To help us plan, we would value your feedback on the NFB's organizational priorities, as well as which forms of communication are most useful and effective for you. This information will help us build a successful communications plan for the future. The survey is confidential.



News:
Welcome New Members into the Family:
This week we are rolling out a new program to welcome new members into the Federation, as well as to collect their contact information. Starting with those members that have joined since July, and then continuing monthly moving forward, affiliate and chapter presidents (or their designees) should enter new members' contact information into the form located at https://nfb.org/new-member-form. In addition to contact information, we will need to know if the new member has a cane or would like one, what his or her preferred method of receiving materials is, and what chapter the new member is joining.
Once the form has been submitted, the new member will begin receiving a series of welcome letters from leaders across the Federation, including two letters from me. Affiliate presidents will receive a new member list monthly to facilitate follow up with new members. Your help is very much appreciated as we endeavor to collect information and assist you in engaging the new members' involvement in our family.

Ready to Slam That!?:
The 2017 NFB Youth Slam, a weeklong program for blind students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math, will be held July 23-29, 2017, at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Applications for the program are now available online for students<https://nfb.org/youth-slam-student-application> and adult volunteers<https://nfb.org/youth-slam-volunteer-application>. For more details, visit http://blindscience.org/nfb-youth-slam.



Holiday Schedule:

The national office will be closed Monday, December 26, and Friday, December 30, for Christmas and New Year's respectively. The Independence Market will be closed the entire week of December 26-30, and will reopen on Monday, January 2.


Student Loan Notifications:
If you have experienced accessibility issues with student loan communications, we need to hear from you. In October 2014, we entered into an agreement with the US Department of Education to make all federal student loan information accessible to blind individuals. Under the agreement, the DOE and its loan servicers should now offer: (1) accessible websites; (2) digital forms that can be filled out, submitted, and saved on electronic devices; and (3) timely provision of alternative formats for all documents, including notices, statements, and publications. If you have had difficulty receiving accessible federal student loan information in the past year or otherwise believe that the DOE or one of its loan servicers is not fulfilling its obligations under our agreement, please contact Valerie Yingling at vyingling at nfb.org<mailto:vyingling at nfb.org> as soon as possible to discuss.



Reminders:
Washington Seminar:
The Holiday Inn Capitol is accepting reservations for the 2017 Washington Seminar, which will occur from January 30-February 2. Please call (877) 572-6951 or go to https://nfb.org/washington-seminar to make your reservations using booking code F7B.


The rates are $188 a night for a room accommodating up to four persons, and the applicable tax is 14.5 percent. These rates are good for check in as early as January 29 and check out by February 3. While the reservation deadline is December 28, I urge you to take care of this now before the holidays get too busy.





Dates to Keep in Mind:

*        December 16, 2016: Deadline for Braille Letters from Santa requests<https://nfb.org/santa-letters>

*        January 30, 2017: Great Gathering-In

*        January 30-February 2, 2017: Washington Seminar<https://nfb.org/washington-seminar>

*        March 30-31, 2017: Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium

*        March 31, 2017: Deadline for scholarship applications<http://www.nfb.org/scholarships>

*        April 15, 2017: Deadline for Jacob Bolotin Award applications<https://nfb.org/bolotin-award-main>

*        July 10-15, 2017: National Convention, Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando, Florida<https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm16/bm1611/bm161101.htm>

*        July 21-29, 2017: Youth Slam<http://blindscience.org/nfb-youth-slam>, Towson University

*        September 12-17, 2017: BLAST<http://blindmerchants.org/blast-2017/>, Nashville, Tennessee


The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Mark A. Riccobono
President
200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314 | officeofthepresident at nfb.org<mailto:officeofthepresident at nfb.org>






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