Here and There by Sharon Strzalkowski

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers.  "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned.  To submit items for this column, send a message to, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering's mailbox.  Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Call for Artwork
Very Special Arts (VSA) is proud to announce that the 2013 International Art Program for Children with Disabilities is open for entries! Student-artists with disabilities are encouraged to create a family portrait that illustrates themselves among the people that provide love, support, and encouragement in their lives - their families. Portraying themselves with some of the most important people in their lives gives testament to the idea that family – no matter how big or how small - help shape who we are and provide the foundation for who we will be.

A selection of artwork from the online entries will be chosen for a live exhibition at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C., to take place in November 2013.  The deadline to submit your artwork is May 1, 2013. Who may submit artwork? Children with a disability, ages 5 to 18. For more information, and to submit an entry, go to
Texting Guide
Everybody is texting. Texting is so popular because if the other person is available, you can communicate in real time, but if your friend isn't around, you can still convey important information quickly. And if you have an Apple device (an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 5 or later, or a Mac running Mountain Lion), you can text anyone else with one of these devices for free using a service called iMessage. "A Quick Guide to iMessaging" (available in braille, eBraille, and Word) tells you how to text and use iMessage on all your Apple devices. You'll learn how to send and receive messages and delete the ones you no longer want. If several people in your family share an Apple ID for buying apps and music, but each person has his own device, you'll also learn to configure iCloud so that you can iMessage each other. For more information, visit, or call 1-800-548-7323.
Scholarship Opportunity
American Councils for International Education is excited to be offering a scholarship opportunity for visually impaired high school students to study Arabic or Russian in overseas language immersion programs this summer.  This pilot program is part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  NSLI-Y provides merit-based scholarships to U.S. students, aged 15-18, to travel abroad for approximately six weeks to intensively study a critical language.  For more information, visit the web page,
While students selected for this new pilot targeted recruitment program will be part of the larger group of American scholarship winners traveling overseas, reasonable accommodations will be provided to meet their individual needs.  All program-related costs will be covered by the scholarship, aside from those associated with obtaining a valid U.S. passport, any required medical evaluations, and pocket money while on program.  Programs will take place in Morocco and Russia and students will formally study Arabic and Russian, respectively, experience the host culture, and serve as youth ambassadors. 
If you have a student who you think would be suitable for this opportunity, please contact Emily Matts ( and Loren Kupferschmid (, (202) 833-7522 at your earliest convenience.
Asking for Magazines
I live in Macedonia and was wondering if readers could help me get some particular magazines regularly. I find "Reader's Digest," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Newsweek" and "The New York Times" particularly interesting and informative. These magazines will help my students practice their braille skills and help them with their English. If you can send them to me regularly in any format except 4-track tape or large print, e-mail me at I appreciate your help.
Envision Has New CEO
Envision has named Michael Monteferrante as president and chief executive officer. He was selected by the Envision board of directors. He has more than 25 years experience in corporate leadership in a variety of industries including commercial real estate, e-commerce, transportation, construction and food. As CEO, Monteferrante will concentrate on executing the organization's mission, growing the Envision Rehabilitation Center, enhancing the Envision Foundation and diversifying Envision Industries.
Special Needs Research
Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) recently received a research grant to map current services available to children with special needs and physical disabilities at non-profit Jewish overnight camps across North America.  This is the first-ever research of its kind in the Jewish community and will drive the ultimate goal of making the unparalleled experience of Jewish camp available to all children. Thanks to a generous $60,000 grant from Dr. Allan and Nan Lipton of Hershey, Pa., FJC is working with Laszlo Strategies, a firm specializing in helping non-profit groups champion the causes of medical science and people with physical and developmental disabilities, to survey the field beginning in January 2013.  This research will provide a thorough understanding of the options Jewish camps offer to children with special needs and provide a baseline for expanding services.  It will be followed by a meeting of Jewish camp professionals and special-needs experts to allow FJC to locate the gaps, establish where and how the needs can be filled, and develop a set of guidelines for camps to use as a resource.
Warrior Games
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Deloitte recently announced that the Warrior Games will be held in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11-17, 2013. In addition to Deloitte, the week-long event is also supported by the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, BP, USO, Fisher House Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

More than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans are
expected to participate in 2013. They will comprise five U.S. teams representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force and Special Operations, as well as one international team from the U.K. Teams will compete in seven sports including archery, cycling, shooting, seated volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. The opening ceremony will be held May 11th at the Olympic Training Center.  The ceremony, and the competitions, are free and open to the public.  For more information, visit
Kurzweil 3000
Kurzweil Educational Systems, a business unit of Cambium Learning Group, Inc. and Pathway Innovations and Technologies, Inc. recently announced that HoverCam Solo 5, T5, and T5-V high-resolution cameras can now be used as a scanner with the Kurzweil 3000 (R).
HoverCam products are all-in-one high-resolution cameras that allow users to digitize and archive print material. The cameras are lightweight, portable, and sized to require minimal space. To learn more about the Kurzweil 3000, go to For more information about HoverCam, visit
Guild Awards Scholarships
Jewish Guild Healthcare recently announced the winners of its 2013-2014 scholarships. They are: Jane Margaret Brunson, Carmel, Calif.; Juna Gjata, Boston, Mass.; Ricardo Rhett Gutierrez, Westminster, Colo.; Ian Kloehn, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Mik So Kwak, Diamond Bar, Calif.; Alexander Lingfu, Darnestown, Md.; Lindsay Long, Deer Park, Tex.; Brooke Lovell, St. George, Utah; Reven McGee, Appleton, Wis.; Kelsey Morgan, Madison, Tenn.; Adam D. Mullen, Litchfield, N.H.; Alyssa Odell, Pikeville, N.C.; Brandon Skogen, Centennial, Colo.; John Strub, East Setauket, N.Y.; Alexander Taikwel, Palatine, Ill.; and Jennifer Tylock, Shrewsbury, Mass.
A teacher of one of the winners is also being acknowledged for her role in encouraging and bringing out the best in her students.  Each applicant was asked to write an essay about a teacher who is of great importance to them.  The teacher chosen from among the applicants' essays receives a prize of $5,000. And the winner is Jennifer DiFrancesca, an AP U.S. history teacher at Shrewsbury (Mass.) High School!  In her nominating essay, Jennifer Tylock wrote that Mrs. DiFrancesca's amazing creativity in the classroom, her ability to get students to work together and her training of her students in confident essay writing, all "inspired in me a newfound passion for history, and allowed me to learn not only about history, but also about myself."
The GuildScholar Program was created in part through a generous grant from the Jeannette A. Klarenmeyer Trust. For information on the GuildScholar Program's scholarships for the 2014 academic year, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-7801 or e-mail
Braille Book Club
"The Little Red Hen" is National Braille Press' January 2013 book club selection.  This book is available in print/braille and in contracted braille with skipped lines, and it's for ages 4 and up.  Who doesn't remember reading this tale about Little Red Hen asking for help planting some wheat, watering it, cutting it, grinding it down, or baking it into a cake?  Neither the cat, dog nor mouse will help – but they're all ready for a snack when the cake comes out of the oven. But since none of them helped the hen with her chores, Little Red Hen eats the cake by herself.
For more information, visit, or call 1-800-548-7323.
Coaching Available
Feel like your life has gotten foggy? No, not because of your eyes, but your life has lost its focus. Want to find that focus again? Then maybe a coach can help.  A coach will help you find your goals, set a plan and support you in your journey. If this sounds like something you would like to explore more, visit or send e-mail to