Fore~Sight: The newsletter of the Arizona Council of the Blind, Summer 2008

 

President's Message, By Barbara McDonald

You may have noticed that there is a different name under the title.  Daniel Martinez resigned his position as president of the Arizona Council of the Blind (AzCB) on February 15, 2008.  He said that he needed to focus on other things at this time of his life.  The AzCB Constitution says that in the event the president leaves his or her position, the 1st Vice-President takes over the president's position for the remainder of the term.

Am I worried or afraid?  Well, you know how much teachers like to talk.  So, I am not afraid of standing up in front of people and talking to them.  Learning something new everyday was what I enjoyed the best about being a teacher.  Therefore, I'm not worried about learning new things, such as, the role of an affiliate president,  or how we are a part of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the national consumer group.

        I am concerned about apathy.  "Apathetic" is an adjective that describes someone who does not care about anything or wants to do anything.  I am concerned that all the things  (Americans with Disabilities Act, cut-out curbs, push button doors, rehabilitation services, etc.) that people, who are now in their 80's, 70's, 60's worked to achieve, will be taken for granted.  I am worried that people will just sit back and let others make decisions or choices for them.

        I am asking all of you to step up and become active.  I know everyone is busy.  It is not that visually impaired or blind people can't do things, it just takes us a little bit longer.  Transportation problems are another reason people don't go out.

        I am asking you to help relieve my anxieties. Become an active member or leader by joining a local chapter.  Volunteer at the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library, Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Southern arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, Foundation for Blind Children, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, etc..  They always need the help.  When you are out helping someone else, you don't worry so much about yourself.  You become a role model and mentor.

        The ACB believes in equal access and opportunities for all blind and visually impaired people.  We believe you should be able to participate in your community.  We believe you should have access to safe transportation.  We believe we have a need to gain information and have access to television, the internet, and all print media as sighted people do.  If we do not do the above things, then society will thing we don't need them.  Remember, it is the squeaky wheel that gets oiled, but the same people cannot do it alone.

        No, I am not Dan Martinez.  I am grateful for all the things he did as the AzCB President.  I am Barbara McDonald.  An organization is driven by its membership.  I am asking you to be the drivers and help me be a successful president.  Only with your help, can the AzCB be a shining beacon for all people who are blind or visually impaired.

 

From the Chaplin’s Pen, by Dick Bailey

        Here are some thoughts from a book by E.G. White, circa 1910. I feel that these thoughts apply as much today as they did then.

        The relationship that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. The condition of the mind effects the health of the body to a greater degree than most people realizes. Many of the disorders that people suffer from are a result of depression. Grief, anxiety, discontentment, remorse, guilt and distrust all tend to break down the life forces. Courage, hope, faith, sympathy and love promote health and long life. A contented mind and a cheerful spirit are health to the body and strength to the soul.

        “Christ is the wellspring of life. That which many need is to have a clearer knowledge of Him; they need to be patiently and kindly, yet earnestly, taught how the whole being may be thrown open to the healing agencies of heaven. When the sunlight of God's love illuminates the darkened chambers of the soul, restless weariness and dissatisfaction will cease, and satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and energy to the body."

        May it be our happy lot to seek this wellspring of life and share it with others.

 

Mark Your Calendars!

        For VRATE, Vision Rehabilitation and Technology Expo. Technology that will change your life!

        Friday, November 14, 2008 9am to 4:00pm Glendale Civic Center 5750 W. Glenn Drive Glendale, Arizona 85301

 

Bobbing Along With Bob, Bob Williams

        “I would like to welcome you to the 37th annual membership meeting of the Arizona council Of The Blind.  My name is Barbara McDonald, with two a’s, and two b’s.”  With these words the annual state convention of the statewide affiliate of the American Council of the Blind was officially called to order by President Barbara McDonald on Friday morning, May 2nd for the second consecutive year at the airport Hilton Gardens hotel in Phoenix.

        By adjournment conventioneers including exhibitors vendors and guest had survived a well-planned meeting agenda of general sessions, breakout groups, special interest and agency group sessions and vendor exhibits. In addition there was a noon luncheon and evening banquet on Friday. The convention theme was “Extending The Reach” and Ron Brooks chaired the convention planning committee.

        Much information was received at the various general and breakout sessions, vendor exhibits and elsewhere. American Council Of The Blind board member and California Council Of The Blind President Jeff Tom shared updated information about ACB including our parent organization’s much improved financial position, planned future national conventions including Phoenix in 2010, and recent litigation courtroom victories including a case involving the Social Security Administration on the issue of making SSA materials available in formats accessible to blind and visually impaired persons.

        Arizona State Rehabilitation Services Administrator, Kathy Levandowsky, noted at the opening general session that she was happy to see so many of her staff present.  She stated her belief that it very important that her staff participate in consumer meeting in order to renew friendships, increase our communications and our understanding of issues that are important and relevant to the members of consumer groups.

        During the convention business session on Friday afternoon involving general updates to the organization’s constitution and by laws, the council’s governing board was reduced from seven officers and eight directors to five officers and four directors.  The officer positions of 3rd and 4th Vice President were eliminated and all committee chairmanships in the future will be appointed rather than linked to officer positions.

        The following persons were elected to full two-year terms on the Board of Directors: President, Barbara McDonald; 1st Vice President, Sharon Booker; 2nd Vice President, Ruth Druding;,  Secretary, Sharon Carpenter; Treasurer, Harold Newsom, Directors: Lillian Hosmer and Ron Brooks were elected to two-year terms and Jim Locke and Terri Hedgepeth to one-year terms. Hedgepeth is also President of the Arizona Guide Dog Users chapter. Leaving the board but not the council membership and involvement for various reasons including health, voluntary resignation and board downsizing are the following persons: Dr. Frank Kells, Janet Kells, Robert Shelly, Richard Bailey and Bob Williams.  During the convention Bailey commenced his 20th year as the organization’s Chaplain.

        During the awards luncheon on Friday former council President Dan Martinez was honored for his leadership with a certificate of appreciation and gift certificate. Dan served as President from 1997 to 2003 and again from 2005 to February 2008. Barbara McDonald is the 4th woman President in the rich tradition of former Presidents Hazrlene Stone, Ruth Druding and Maxine Schramm. College scholarships were awarded to two students at the luncheon totaling $2,000.  Arizona Braille and Talking Book library volunteers Toni Ackley and Doris Walker were also given certificates of appreciation for their reading production of audiocassette editions of the Council’s quarterly newsletter Foresight since the spring of 2007 edition. Toni and Doris have a combined total of ten years at the library.  Thanks again, ladies for your generous volunteer service. 

        Much heartfelt appreciation to my beloved wife Faye for designing and printing the beautiful certificates of appreciation on her computer. We were privileged to share our table at the awards luncheon with Toni and Doris and the following persons:  students Clients Johnny Frizze and Tyeasha Smothers of the Arizona Center For The Blind Pride Program, Council Secretary Sharon Carpenter and First Credit Union Vice President of Business Development Carolyn Cameron.  Sharing our table at the evening banquet were Gabe Vega and Gabe’s precocious 1st grader daughter Kayla.  Kayla attends Simis Elementary in the Madison school district.

        On of the council’s newest board members, Dr. Terry was program president for the banquet.   Blind Arizona State University Magana Cum Laude graduate and motivational speaker Larry Colbert was the banquet speaker accompanied by his guide dog Banner.  Colbert informed members and guest that unexpected changes or circumstances will come into your life.  If we use our creativity we will always be able to find a solution.  Keeping a positive attitude will carry us through the rest of our life.

        Look forward to additional bits and pieces from our 2008 state convention in future editions of Foresight.  Also, look forfeedback from council members attending the annual ACB Nation convention in Louisville this summer from July 5 to 12.

 

As I See It, by Dr. Frank Kells

        Our Southern Arizona Chapter (SAC) is off and running! When organizer Janet Kells dropped the gavel on January 19'" the first meeting of SAC was underway. A small but enthusiastic group launched the latest effort by AzCB to spread its wings statewide. Among other things they considered a rough draft of a constitution, made a start on getting to know each other, and decided to meet the third Saturday of each month at SAAVI (Southern Arizona Association For the Visually Impaired), which has graciously offered the use of their facilities. We also appreciate AzCB Board members Barbara McDonald, Ruth Druding, Sharon Carpenter, Lillian Hosman, and Jim Locke for coming down from Phoenix to lend their expertise and moral support.

        At the next meeting we tentatively approved a Constitution, discussed other plans, and elected as temporary officers Janet Kells (President), Sharon Booker (Vice President), and Tom Booker (Secretary-Treasurer).

        Others (including me) signed up as SAC members at the March meeting, which included our first outside program, Matt Hogel (Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind) ably substituted for Amy Murillo-Hicks, Assistant Director of SAAVI, (who was ill) to get a start on knowing the resources and terminology relating to blind persons.

        The members made all SAC decisions after discussion of alternatives. This is a procedure we want to be sure to continue.

        SAC is the third affiliated chapter of the AzCB, the others being the Maricopa County Club of the Blind and the Central Phoenix Chapter, with Sun City and Prescott Northern Arizona Chapters pending. Central Chapter is already addressing the problem of inter-city paratransit, and SAC is considering a jurisdictional dispute between VanTran and HandiCar in Tucson. They plan to have speakers from both groups at our April meeting.

        When our wings are fully spread, AzCB will be handling LOCAL needs through our LOCAL Chapters, thus leaving the STATE organization free to address statewide and national issues as well as to support and coordinate local efforts. So let's all help to speed the day when we can be a truly STATEWLDE influence!

        Another positive sign was the attendance of two representatives from related organizations, Ray Mungaray, Chairman of the Governor's Council on Blindness, and Mitzi Tharin, Manager of Sun Sounds' Tucson studio, with whom SAC will network. Ray Mungaray’s involvement is especially important because he happens to be a member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), which is the other consumer organization of the blind. Council. Recently I also had a pleasant chat with Bob Kresmer, State President of NFB and a wild thought occurred to me: “Would this be the magic moment to have AzCB and NFB of Arizona actually join forces on a project and perhaps provide a model for their national counterparts?” Or, am I being too naive? Think About it!

 

What is the American Foundation for the Blind?

        The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is an American nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources.

        AFB, with the support and leadership of M.C. Migel, a philanthropist who was moved to help the large number of veterans blinded in World War I, formed in 1921 to provide a national clearinghouse for information about vision loss and a forum for discussion for the dispersed, yet burgeoning, community of blindness service professionals. Made official at the convention of the American Association of Workers for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa, AFB’s founding was also intended to generate new directions for research and represent the needs of people with vision loss in the nation’s corridors of power.

        AFB is recognized as the leading organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life. Keller worked for AFB for over 40 years, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Talking Books Program, among many others. She remained with AFB lecturing, writing, fundraising, lobbying, and providing an example of committed action for the public good until her death in 1968. Under the terms of her will, Helen Keller selected AFB as the repository of her papers and memorabilia, which AFB has carefully preserved and arranged in the Helen Keller Archives located in New York City.

        For many years AFB designed, manufactured, and sold products that were made specifically for people with vision loss, such as braillewriters, magnifiers, and audio blood pressure monitors. Currently, however, AFB devotes its energies to working with technology manufacturers at the design stage to develop products that can be used by everyone — sighted or visually impaired. Especially since the advent of digital technology, AFB believes that working to establish universal design practices among technology producers is the most promising and cost effective option for making all products accessible in the long term.

        For more information see: www.afb.org