[blindkid] RFB&D fundraising

Carol Castellano blindchildren at verizon.net
Mon Feb 16 03:57:12 UTC 2009

Hi there, Michele,

It's very interesting to hear the real story of Cooper--an 
articulate, excellent braille reader!  I am delighted to hear it, but 
who would have guessed it from the RFB&D fund-raising story?  Someone 
along the line must have realized the value of braille and actual 
reading for literacy and education and must have pursued it with 
Cooper after third grade, luckily for him.

I hope you do not think that I was "tearing down" Cooper.  That would 
have seriously missed my point.  As others have already said, the 
problem was with the way RFB&D chose to fundraise--by tearing down 
braille!  Not good!!!!!  If you thought I was tearing down RFB&D's 
approach, that would be closer to the truth.  You can rest assured 
that I do indeed think before I respond--there are many examples over 
the years of problems with RFB&D's approach to the service they 
provide, and I have been mulling this over for quite awhile.  In 
fact, this is the first time I have said anything about it publicly.

Last but not least, sometimes others have to be called on what they 
are doing.  It's what we must do as an advocacy organization.  We 
work together with other organizations when we can, but I have found 
that we are not always on the same road leading to the same 
destination or  "common good."  So I feel we must speak out when it 
is necessary.


At 03:22 PM 2/15/2009, you wrote:
>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
>VOICE: 480-890-8943
>FAX: 480-835-3036
>blindkid mailing list
>blindkid at nfbnet.org
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