Around the State

By Pat Munson, Associate Editor

The Bay Area Chapter has been educating seniors about adjusting to blindness. Pat Munson was featured in a recent issue of a nationwide publication for retired teachers. The article mentioned her 35 years as a regular secondary schoolteacher who happens to be blind, but the focus was the importance of the NFB to all educators. She also has her story about civil rights pertaining to blindness on the AARP Internet site, The chapter fundraisers continue to be candy and NFB calendars. Also, we applaud the chapter president, Jana Littrell, as she celebrated her eighth year of employment at the Orientation Center for the Blind. Chapter members have been out and about distributing NFB literature for Meet the Blind Month.

Juliet Cody, Beach Cities Chapter president, says members have hosted a number of barbecues, sold cookies at the NFB convention, and sold very fancy balloons before Halloween. Members will have a bowl-a-thon at which sponsors will donate funds predicated on the number of pins members knock over. Special Whozit key chains are a great sale item, but look for Whozit surfing on the front of T-shirts at the 2005 NFB convention. An innovative idea of this chapter is the practice of gathering at a different restaurant each month for lunch. Members get to eat, and different restaurants around the community get to know the NFB.

The California Association of Blind Students hosted yet another successful seminar last spring. It was really exciting to see so many students at that meeting who were new to NFB. Recently, three of its members attended the Colorado Center for the Blind, while one is at BLIND, Inc. At the present time, the chapter has a number of fundraisers. Students also need funds in order to promote the work of the NFB.

It was just a year ago that the California Association of Guide Dog Users became an NFBC chapter. President Juliet Cody says that the treasury is growing by leaps and bounds. Soon members will be selling key chains.

Since the Chapter on Aging only meets at the NFBC convention, the 60-40 drawing is the major fundraiser. This chapter works very closely with the National Organization of the Senior Blind, the division at the national level. If you know a blind senior who would like the newsletter, call President Don Burns.

Paul Price, president of the Diabetes Action Network at both the state and national levels, reports that chapter members are out there spreading the word about diabetes and blindness. This national division has a newsletter. Anyone wishing cassette or print copies should contact President Price.

Maurine Barcelo, president of the Greater Pasadena Chapter, reports that members continue to sell candy and entertainment books. Chapter members also sell tickets for $5, which allow the ticket holder to enter a mall during the holiday season and be a part of special events. The members will also sell tickets at one of the mall doors the day of the event. The proceeds from these sales go to the chapter. This fundraiser has received favorable press. Finally, this very active chapter will participate in a seminar hosted by a local school district. Of course, members will be educating the public about blindness.

The Guiding Lights Chapter has again hosted the Heaven and Hell party. In Heaven, the dessert is angel food cake, whereas in Hell, the dessert is usually devilís food cake. This is a great fundraiser and lots of fun for this energetic chapter.

The High Desert Chapter members hosted a Braille is Beautiful workshop for paraprofessionals. Also, they taught some Braille to one of the members. Members took NFB Kernel books to a school library.

Betty Hendricks, president of the Monterey County Chapter, says that the membership is increasing. Members are out in the community promoting the NFB philosophy.

Mount Diablo Chapter members continue their fundraising and are always on the lookout for new members.

Recently elected Napa Valley Chapter president George Blackstock reports that candy sales are moving along well. Access to public transportation is an ongoing project.

The North San Diego Chapter started the year off with a seminar on aging and vision loss. Two major fundraisers are candy and hot dog sales. The chapter will host yet another seminar for older adults losing vision.

For Meet the Blind Month, Orange County Chapter members made and delivered Braille get well cards to hospital patients. Chapter members planned an ice cream social. Also, members will host a walk-a-thon around a nearby lake. The chapter is happy to report that it has members of all ages; together they work as a team promoting the excellent work of NFB.

The Orientation Center for the Blind Alumni, Inc. works closely with the Director, Mike Cole, and counselor Barbara Paul. President Jim Willows is hopeful that state funding will soon be available so the advisory and trust fund committees can once again meet. Of course, NFB members want this blindness-training center to be the best in the state.

Joyce Wales, president of the Parents of Blind Children Chapter, reports that the chapter has a new board. This chapter has played a very active role in the Braille is Beautiful Workshops. Chapter members reach out to parents and assist with all aspects of their blind children's education and blindness related skills. Newly elected secretary Mary Willows is a valued advisor to all parents.

The Pathfinder Chapter was happy to announce that two new members were in attendance at the state convention. Members have T-shirts which they proudly wear with the chapter name on them. In March chapter members went gambling. Perhaps their luck was not so good since additional fundraising is being planned. In July, chapter members wrote, acted in, and directed a play about blindness. The chapter sold candy wreaths for Christmas.

The River City Chapter received a proclamation for White Cane Safety Day. Members will be out at a local mall passing out NFB literature. Since the chapter is in Sacramento, members assist Don Burns with legislative work. Members took an active part in the selection of choosing a new director for the Society for the Blind. Recently, a number of participants at the NFB science camp told of their experiences at a monthly meeting. This camp was a major step forward in the education of blind youth in the field of science. Finally, the chapter chartered a bus that took a number of Federationists to the state convention.

Robert Stigile, San Fernando Valley Chapter president, reported that on Valentine's Day members went to the local Metro station and demonstrated the use of the new talking ticket machines. Members also assisted sighted patrons in purchasing a ticket. Recently, members journeyed to Ventura where a joint chapter meeting was held. Five chapters were involved. These types of meetings really strengthen our NFB work. For Meet the Blind Month, a number of members hiked to the top of a mountain in the Hollywood Hills where they then passed out NFB literature to other hikers. Members will also pass out NFB material at a harvest fest. These very busy chapter members also sell candy and entertainment books in their spare time.

The members of the San Francisco Chapter invited all to join them for their holiday party the first Saturday in December. For Meet the Blind Month, members went to the local public library and read stories to sighted children. This vibrant chapter sells candy and does all it can to further the work of NFB.

Ken Volonte, San Joaquin County Chapter president, said that their spaghetti dinners continue to be a great fundraiser. At the same time, the community learns about blindness. Members will host a Mexican style dinner at the beginning of next year. This chapter is also selling candy and investing funds to help blind people needing equipment from alternative sources.

Santa Barbara Chapter members have done a lot of speaking about blindness at their public schools. This chapter received a White Cane Day proclamation from the mayor. All are invited to join the members for a barbecue at one of the spring meetings. Call for details.

Shasta Cascade Chapter members have been out as usual educating the community about blindness. The chapter continues its work with the American Cancer Society. The chapter hosted a wine tasting party for Bon Appetite Week. Members have worked with a Lionís Club which runs a summer camp for blind children. Members also donate blood to the Red Cross. Finally, members save tabs from cans and then take them to a Ronald McDonald House; the House receives 45 cents per tab to forward its beneficial work. The chapter is truly showing the community that the blind can be as helpful as any group! Three cheers to this innovative chapter!

The Tri-Valley Chapter is planning to move its meetings to a new community center. Members sold drawing tickets at the convention and are seeking new members. For Meet the Blind Month, members educated the community about blindness. The new chapter president is B.J. Sexton, one of our younger NFB members, who was born into the Federation. Good work, B.J.!

Therese McCabe, president of the West Los Angeles Chapter, said that the chapter had just been formed so has not had time to fundraise or educate. All the best to this new chapter!