[blindkid] RFB&D fundraising

Peter Donahue pdonahue1 at sbcglobal.net
Sun Feb 15 22:50:15 UTC 2009

Hello Michelle and listers,

    Our issues are not with Cooper himself. Rather the concern is with 
agencies like RFB&D that put out dribble and negative publicity that tends 
to portray teenagers like Cooper the very opposite of what you described. 
I'm glad to hear that he's a fluant Braille user. Why aren't his parents and 
the school system insisting that his textbooks continue to be available to 
him in Braille instead of  recorded format? It's that kind of ignorance that 
gives agencies for the blind the opportunities to do their dirty work. If 
you know him how about encouraging him to attend the NFB Youth SLAM this 
summer? Now to eat supper.

Peter Donahue
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michele Chauvin" <michelechauvin at yahoo.com>
To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 2:22 PM
Subject: [blindkid] RFB&D fundraising

Wow! I'm almost ashamed to share this. Not because of the content, but the 
irony. Cooper happens to live in my state. He is a very well-spoken teenager 
with wonderful Braille skills, who is a very competent, capable young man. 
He joined a group of 6 other adults, who traveled to Austin and spoke before 
our State Board for Educators Certification. In Texas, certified teachers 
can take an exam in almost any area of education and get an additional 
certification. The blindness community in our state has rallied to strongly 
encourage our legislators to change this regarding CTVIs. We do not believe 
it's OK for just any teacher to take a couple of courses and an exam, then 
teach our kids, without ever completing the rest of the coursework or 
internship, which provides a period of much needed mentoring from an 
experience CTVI. Cooper brought some type of Braille note taking device with 
him to the podium that day, and he read his
 entire written testimony. All the board members stopped in their tracks to 
listen to this eloquent and clearly well-educated young man read his moving 
speech. I had to follow him, which was not easy. So I opened with that, 
"Hard act to follow," as I choked back tears of pride. And, Cooper is not 
even my son. I could only imagine how proud his mom would have been. She was 
unable to attend with him, though his CTVI traveled with him and also spoke 
that morning.

Anyway, you might want to think before you respond, both in actions and in 
words, regarding others in the blindness community. If we only tear each 
other down, how will we help our children and families progress together 
towards a common good. In all honesty, I am disappointed with these clearly 
uninformed (and that is putting it nicely) responses, especially Carol. I 
thought you, along with several others I know, were voices of reason with an 
open-minded, open heart attitude. I hope I was not wrong.


From: "Carol Castellano" <blindchildren at verizon.net>
To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>; <nopbc-board at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:15 AM
Subject: [blindkid] RFB&D fundraising

Hi All,

I recently received the RFB&D "Family News" in the mail. In their appeal for 
"a generous gift," they give a few real life stories. Here's a quote from 
the story on the front page:

"Then came school. Cooper was aware of the sighted kids, running and playing 
and doing their schoolwork independently. He sometimes felt isolated. But he 
was always able to keep up--until the third grade. Cooper tried his hardest 
to read his books in Braille. But it was very difficult, and it took him a 
long time. But the end of the year, he had to miss a special class field 
trip because he had not met his reading requirements."

OY! Stuff like that makes me so aggravated!


----Inline Message Follows-----

Hello Carol and listers,

And the good RFB&D supplied him with his textbooks in an audio format.
Cooper lived happily ever after because he never truly learned to read;
something he would have done had he continued to receive his textbooks in
Braille. Dribble like this comes out of guide dog schools and certain other
agencies for the blind in their fundraising campaigns and other
publications. They fill their coffers while doing serious harm to the blind.

Peter Donahue

----Inline Message Follows-----

All the more importance for the National Federation of the Blind--you just 
never know where such attitudes continue to linger!

Mark F.

Mark Feliz




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