NFB logo and tagline - voice of the Nation's Blind. 'Whozit' is a stylized figure of a person using a long cane. The head of the figure is a yellow-orange crescent-shape, the right arm is red and holds a light gray cane, the left shoulder and right leg are violet, and the left leg is light blue.

Lighthouse At Large Chapter

May 19, 2012

GREETINGS ALL MAINIAC FELLOW FEDERATIONISTS!

On Saturday morning, May 19, The Lighthouse At Large Chapter of the NFB of Maine met via phone conference. We began by reading the pledge on the back of our membership cards. Our guest speaker, Garrick Scott, explained that in Georgia they charge a member five dollars if they don't have the pledge memorized! (I went to a chapter meeting with the Jernigan's in Baltimore many years ago and it cost twenty-five cents...guess that's inflation for you!). Garrick explained that it is critical for us to know what we are a part of and what we are signing up to do when we become a member of the National Federation of the Blind. We are part of a strong and crucial movement.

Next I taught a little bit from the DVD available from Independence Market about Dr. temBrooke,"The Right to Live in the World." Dr. temBrooke received his law degree in California and his doctoral degree in jurice prudence from Harvard. He wrote many influencial papers and decisions and began the National Federation of the Blind in 1940. His paper,"The Right to Live in the World" is an often cited reference for Civil Rights movements and case law. Just think how that phrase feels in your thoughts and body: The blind have the right to live in the world. Period. And it's a right we have as equals to access the same tools and trainings and opportunities. Do our young people know this here in Maine? Do you really know it deep inside? Let's all stretch the edges of our potential and reach out to one another and to the next generation and show and tell them that they, indeed, have "The Right to Live in the World."

At the beginning of our meetings, we like to go over any "wins" that people have had: taking cookies out of the oven, walking a route that has been problematic. And this month we had Bobbie Lachance with her second book coming out in a few weeks and Leon using blindness techniques to use a chain saw! We'll be putting more of each of those on our site. Garrick reminded us that Skip had a win: he broke a slab of wood with his hand, under sleep shade!

Garrick Scott, President in Georgia, was invited to explain the BETA Program for Students that Anil Lewis began in 2007 in Georgia. I heard Anil speak about it at our seminar at the National Center for the Blind at the beginning of the month. (you can go to www.nfbga.org and go to programs and learn more about it). It is a program for students and emphasizes teaching the truth about Blindness Education Training and Advocacy and in a fun and lively way. Through this continued program in Georgia, they have the largest student program in the Federation, have had several scholarship winners and many go onto our training centers after high school and before college. When I heard about this program and spoke with Anil and Garrick about it, I felt that it offered our Maine Affiliate a structure we could use to begin to work on our goals to involve students and parents in our movement to challenge what it means to be blind in our state. There is a curriculum and the ideal is to have competent blind adults teach and mentor these students. (anyone who is a student qualifies, from kindergarten to college!). Garrick will come up to Maine in August and we will have a BETA event for our students. He will also help us to adapt this to our situation here in Maine. First, we will have this event in one of our major population areas, but we will reach out to all areas in case they can join us. We will also have information for the parents who attend with their youth.

So, be thinking of the students that you know...no matter the age. If you are in your twenties and not in school, consider yourself included! Check out the information at the NFB of Georgia site. The book that is referred to is available from Independence Market and Suzanne Proctor downloaded one for us, already.

Our numbers were few, but the excitement and commitment are high and we will be sure to have lobster and Moxie for Garrick when he comes! (more info to follow)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
*NFB of Maine board meeting, June 7
*Next chapter meeting: (NOTE: I have polled the majority of the membership and the day and time of our meetings is changing back to the third Thursday of the month, with the new toll free call in number) Thursday evening at seven on June 21st will be our next Lighthouse At Large Chapter Meeting for all members and friends.
*NFB National Convention, Dallas, June 30-July 5.
*BETA Kick Off Event, August
*NFB of Maine State Convention, Saturday, October 27

If you are interested in being part of a tandem biking team, get in touch with me. Also, we are thinking of a dance/auction for a fundraiser...any thoughts? Call Bobbie LaChance.
Want to fill out an NFB Newsline application? Call Walter Woitesek.
Remember that our membership application is up on our site.

Shine on!
Patty Estes
Lighthouse Chapter
207.344.8292

Changing what it means to be blind in Maine"

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