by Janet Dickelman
The 2019 American Council of the Blind conference and convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency and Riverside hotels in beautiful Rochester, N.Y. Convention dates are Friday, July 5th through Friday, July 12th.
The exhibit hall will be located in the convention center; it will be open Saturday, July 6th through Wednesday, July 10th. It will feature the latest and greatest in technology and items for home, work and play!
ACB special-interest affiliates and committee programs, seminars and mixers will be held Saturday, July 6th, and run through Wednesday, July 10th. Tech sessions offered by our business partners will begin on Saturday, July 6th. Our opening general session is Saturday evening, July 6th. Morning sessions run Sunday through Wednesday, and all day Thursday. The Thursday session will feature elections and ACB business. Don’t miss the annual banquet Thursday evening featuring the presentation of ACB awards, “The ACB Braille Forum” raffle drawing, and our keynote speaker, Ginny Owens. Ginny is a multiple award-winning singer-songwriter. She was named the Gospel Music Association’s “New Artist of the Year” in 2000. She has 10 full-length recordings, three EPs, a popular Christmas album, number-one radio singles, and numerous film and television placements.
Welcome to Rochester
Join the New York host committee Friday evening, July 5th for the Welcome to New York party. A cash bar will be available along with light refreshments and music.
Focus Groups and Training Sessions
Stay tuned for information on how to register for the following:
- JPMorgan Chase will hold sessions on Sunday and Monday.
- Express Scripts is conducting a usability study on Tuesday and Wednesday focused on improving the accessibility and inclusivity of their website and mobile app.
- Ph.D. student Mirko Kunstak will be conducting a study on “Factors Predicting the Life Satisfaction of Visually Impaired Adults.”
Start Your Day with Breakfast
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will host a breakfast Sunday morning, July 7th. National Industries for the Blind will hold a breakfast Tuesday morning. Both breakfasts will feature speakers who will share information about their work.
Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) offers breakfast on Monday for GDB graduates and others interested in learning about guide dogs.
If you plan to attend the convention and need a support service provider or interpreter, please contact Lori Scharff, who will assist in making arrangements. Email [email protected] with “interpreter for Rochester” in the subject line. Or, if you’d prefer, call her at (516) 695-6370.
If you need a wheelchair or scooter during the convention, please contact Janet Dickelman. Wheelchairs are $20 per week and scooters $110; there is a delivery fee, which will be divided by the number of rentals. This is not included in the rental price.
Sally Benjamin, ACB volunteer coordinator, and the New York host committee are working to obtain volunteers to assist convention attendees at the hotels and the airport. Here are a few reminders to make things run smoothly for convention attendees and volunteers.
- Volunteers are happy to help you locate meeting rooms, the exhibit hall, your table in the ballroom, restaurants in the hotels and the elevator bays.
- Volunteers cannot accompany you to the sleeping room floors or assist you in locating your room.
- If you need help getting to and from your hotel room, you will need to make arrangements with a friend or family member to assist you. Volunteers or hotel staff cannot administer medications or assist you with other health care needs. Volunteers and hotel staff can assist you in locating dog relief areas, but they are not expected to take your dog out for you. If you need assistance in these areas, please make arrangements prior to the convention for a friend or family member to help you.
- If you use a wheelchair, ACB convention volunteers may not be physically able to push your chair. Please don’t count on ACB volunteers or hotel staff to be wheelchair pushers.
- A limited number of volunteers will accompany each tour. Volunteers will help as much as possible; however, they are not personal guides or personal care attendants. If you need individual assistance, plan to attend the tour with a friend who can act as your guide, PCA or wheelchair pusher.
Assistance at the Airport
To assist airline personnel and Margarine Beaman and her cadre of airport volunteers, if you would like assistance when you arrive at the airport in Rochester, please send Margarine the following information:
The name of the airline you will be arriving on
Your departure city
Arrival flight number
Arrival date and time
Your cell phone number
You can send Margarine an e-mail with “airline information” in the subject line at [email protected], or call her at (512) 921-1625.
The hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.
Ordering Dog Food
Scoop Masters will provide and maintain our dog relief areas. If you would like to pre-order dog food to be delivered to your hotel room, call Tim Stone at 1-800-787-7667, or order online at https://scoopmasters.com/acb/. It’s a simple form that asks for name, phone number, brand and type of food. Tim will call to get the details within 24 hours, and will accept payments at the hotel.
Food must be ordered by June 15th to ensure delivery.
Staying in Touch
The conference and convention announce list will be filled with information! To subscribe to the list, send a blank e-mail to [email protected]. If you received updates for the 2018 convention, you do not need to re-subscribe.
Room rates at the Hyatt and the Riverside are $89 per night (single or double occupancy, with an additional $10 per person for up to four people per room). This room rate does not include tax, which is currently 14%. For telephone reservations, call the Riverside at (585) 546-6400 or the Hyatt at 1-800-233-1234. Make sure to mention you are with the American Council of the Blind 2019. Rooms must be booked by June 7, 2019 to guarantee the convention rate.
To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2019 convention link.
2019 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2019 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, [email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via email, [email protected].