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March Bulletin

by NFBCal

March 8, 2012

To Be Read At Chapter Meetings:

What Makes the NFB Different?
Recently, I attended a presentation of California agencies that serve the blind. I was struck not by what I heard, rather, by what I did not hear. It caused me to think about what makes the NFB different from agencies serving the blind.

All of the agencies report that students come out of the programs with a myriad of skills which will make them independent. Some staff said that self-determination is included in the curriculum. However, I did not hear anyone say that what the students will gain as a result of attending these programs is “attitude”. As we all have learned in the National Federation of the Blind, if you don’t have a good attitude about being blind the skills won’t last for long. If you do not have a strong support system when you leave an agency program, the misconceptions of uneducated people will creep in and destroy your confidence.

As an educator, I can tell you that it is the hope that all of our students will retain skills and develop attitudes that will see them through tough times. However, without the support, strength and wisdom of those who have walked the walk and talked the talk it is not likely to happen.

So whenever you find a blind person who is not a member of the National Federation of the Blind be sure to tell them about us. Invite them to a chapter meeting. If possible, pick them up prior to the next meeting. Introduce them to our leaders and let them know that we are here for each other.

At Large Chapter Meeting
The next meeting of the At Large Chapter will be on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7:00 P.M. The purpose of this statewide call-in chapter is to include those people who are not able to get to a regular monthly chapter meeting. Either because they are not close enough to attend or because there is a work conflict. Either way, I never want to see any blind person feel as though they are alone. Please spread the word about the
At Large Chapter. I always enjoy speaking to new people on the phone. Every month it seems I find a blind person who did not know that such an organization exists. We welcome everyone. The call in number is 712-432-0175 and the code is 184220.

Washington Seminar Report:
I wish to thank the members of our Washington Seminar delegation. Tiffany Manosh managed to coordinate fifty five California representatives with eighteen Federationists which is not an easy feat.

The purpose of our visit was to share with our nations representatives those issues which concern the blind in America. We told them about the people with disabilities who are still being paid sub-minimum wages in sheltered workshops. California alone has one hundred and sixty eight agencies which are still paying less than the federal minimum wage of eight dollars and twenty five cents an hour.

At the present time, forty seven members of Congress are co-sponsors for H.R. 3086 the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act.
Five of the co-sponsors are California representatives. We need to continue calling representatives’ offices in both the local districts and in Washington and ask for their support and co-sponsorship of H.R. 3086.

To read more about H.R. 3086 go to the website. There is a link on the homepage which will take you to a letter written by Dr. Maurer to all of the Congressional representatives. Don’t be shy about sharing it.

The National Federation of the Blind has created a text message system to keep you up to date on the progress of H.R. 3086. For alerts text the word “fairwages” to 27138. You will receive a confirmation text. Whenever news comes out you will be the first to be notified.

Do You Have A Citibank Business Account?
I would like to speak to any blind people who currently have a business account with Citibank. It seems we have an accessibility problem. Please call me at 510-248-0100.

The North San Diego County Chapter Is Reorganizing:
On Saturday, March 17, 2012, our North San Diego County Chapter will hold a reorganizing meeting at the Casa Escandido. That will make two active chapters in the San Diego area. For more information, call Mona Longoria at 760-672-8057.
National Scholarships:
The National Federation of the Blind will award thirty scholarships this summer in Dallas, Texas. The scholarships and prizes range in size from three thousand dollars to twelve thousand dollars. Applications will be accepted until March15th. Go to

Chemistry Camp 2012:
High school age blind and visually impaired students with an interest in Science are invited to apply for the 2012 Chemistry Camp. Co-ordinator, Henry Wedler will again teach alternative techniques for conducting experiments safely. This three day learning experience will be held at the Enchanted Hills Camp in beautiful Napa Valley, California. Applications are being accepted. Go to to fill in an application and read all about it.

Blind Parents Get Together:
On Saturday, March 10, 2012 parents who happen to be blind will meet to share support and tips on techniques for good parenting without sight. The meeting will be held in the Capitol building in Sacramento between 11:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. Topics will include such things as, discipline versis parenting skills and what to tell your childs’ pedeatritian or teacher about your blindness. Children are invited. Snacks will be provided. Lunch is five dollars or you can bring your own. For more information go to or call Angela Fowler at 530-902-0987.

Mary Willows, President
39481 Gallaudet Drive Apt. 127
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 248-0100
Email Mary Willows

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