NFB of Maine News Matters for August, 2012

Vol.2 Issue 8

August 31, 2012

editor: Patricia E. C. Estes, Affiliate President







*First of all, I would like to thank the two families who stepped up and answered the NFB of Georgia's call for help with supplying white canes to blind children in less privileged countries. Thank you for helping President Scott to meet the goal of two canes donated from each state affiliate of the NFB.

*September 6, Thursday at 7:00-NFB of Maine Board of Directors Monthly Meeting by phone conference. be watching for the reminder and the number. Agenda is simple: reports from the secretary, treasurer, Newsline, the BETA Program and plans for upcoming calendared events and progress with the NFB of Maine State Convention.

*September 7 at 10:00, Friday at the Statehouse, Room 228 there will be a public meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations. They have been approached with a request from the Commissioners of Labor and Education for a delay in administering LD 765 to ensure they have "appropriate data." the Commissioner of Labor asked me to meet with Him and I do hope that Mr. Riccobono and I will be able to meet with his appointed replacement in October. There has been quite a bit going on in this legislative area and I am trying to stay current and to be sure that those who advocate for the blind also are included. This meeting is not a hearing and no comments will be taken, but it is a public meeting and we can get the information of the why's and wherefore's of this request for delays first hand. This is how the people's government works. We need to be involved and informed. "Nothing FOR us without us!" -Jesse Hartle, NFB Governmental Affairs

*BETA Program for Blind Students -first monthly meeting will be held on September 28 in the late afternoon. We are quite sure we can use the conference Room at the Career Center, but this has not been confirmed. so, more to follow! (this is open to all blind students and parents from eight to twenty eight in Maine).

*October 13-White Cane Awareness Day-watch for walks in your area to participate in. There is one in Portland sponsored by the Iris Network. Registration is at 8:30 in Monument Square. The PTGDU usually has one in Augusta and the ACB of Maine sponsors one in Bangor and perhaps another further north.


*October is Blindness Awareness Month in the Federation. A couple of decades ago, each of the fifty state governors proclaimed October 15 to be "White Cane Safety Day" and using Dr. tenBroek's Model White Cane Law, awareness of the White Cane has been raised. But there is much more to be done! Many people do not know what it is or the legal rights protecting those who use them. So, the National Federation of the Blind has declared October as Blindness Awareness Month. Anything we order for literature from Independence Market is free for us to promote awareness in our communities with different events, literature tables and a presence in the public. We are sorry that the Dempsey Challenge has been changed to fall on the same date as these walks. Usually, it has been held on the first Saturday of October and we had hoped to have participated in it. and thank you for any volunteers to man our table at the Iris Network Walk on the 13th.

October 20, Thursday at 7:00-Meeting of the Lighthouse At Large Chapter of the NFB of Maine by conference call at 7:00. This is for members and interested parties, alike. Bring your "wins"!

*Speaking of "wins"-our BETA Program for Blind Students Kick Off with Garrick Scott was a huge success. Thank you to George Haley for speaking to the group about his participation in an award winning marching band and for displaying his medals. Also, thank you to Jodd Bowles for spending the afternoon with us to teach us the background and basics of fencing. We appreciated all who came to check out the BETA Program, including our service providers. Word has spread of our curriculum for discussion and of our activities...fencing? goal ball? golfing? Thank you for all who came to support, learn and play. If you have questions about this program, please contact me. We have two BETA Mentors, Lee Ann Nelson and Leon Proctor, also assisting. the Parents' Group Leader, Cindy Ferrington, is also helping out. Parents are welcome at these monthly get-togethers and may meet separately from the students for part of the allotted time. Garrick Scott has given us the information, the attitude and the enthusiasm to continue this through the year!...and Beyond! (do you know the 5 Essential Elements that make a Successful Blind Person? Can you guess which agency director can do the "Hokey, Pokey" and demonstrate to the students that he, too, is willing to stretch his comfort zone?)

This is YOUR affiliate and YOUR at large chapter and I so appreciate the initiative many have shown in their various areas of interest: newsline, grant writing, youth, white cane awareness, door prizes and auction, music and sound...I'm just trying to keep up! this is awesome and I encourage you to send in a paragraph on what you are doing, your '"wins" and I will include it in our monthly newsletter. It was a dream come true for me to host Mr. Garrick Scott and the leadership of the NFB of Maine in our living room for a training meeting the evening prior to our BETA Program Kick Off! Thank you all!!


Another thing I really do appreciate is the open environment for discussion between all parties. Critical thinking questions are coming up, the philosophy of how to treat, be and deal with blindness is up for honest discussion and we are all learning, growing and challenging and changing what it means to be blind in Maine! Just by openly asking the question and frank conversations, this has improved and enriched our lives, already. We are learning, ourselves, as we teach and demonstrate to those around us just who we are and what it means to be blind.

Save the date of October 27 and join us in Auburn for our State Convention. We have lots to celebrate and more work and service to do!

"We know who we are and we're not going back!"-Dr. Kenneth Jernigan

With Gratitude,

Patricia C. Estes
NFB of Maine
207 344 8292

"The Voice of the Blind-changing what it means to be blind in Maine!"