by Melanie Brunson

The ending of a year gives us an opportunity for reflection -- the struggles, the disappointments, the triumphs, and the accomplishments. Especially the latter are the seeds we sow from which we can reap greater fruits in 2005. The lessons we have learned from the struggles and the disappointments will be the tools and implements we need to do this. Below are a few examples of what I mean.

While we continue the fight for audio description on television, we are making unprecedented progress, with our partners, in getting it on DVDs. As a direct result of our efforts, "Ray," the critically acclaimed film about the life of Ray Charles, is now available with DVS (R) in the general marketplace. A good foundation has been laid for future DVDs of theatrically described films to be a part of the mainstream. There is much more about this exciting development elsewhere in this issue.

It is with great appreciation that I report the receipt of substantial contributions to two of our scholarship endowments (the Floyd Qualls and John Hebner Memorials) from the estate of the late ACB leader George Fogarty. George was a long-time member who had a lasting commitment to tomorrow's leaders, our students. ACB thanks him and his family for this most generous demonstration of that commitment.

On January 10 we welcomed Day Al-Mohamed to the ACB national office staff as our new Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. Day is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri Law School at Columbia. She has considerable knowledge and expertise in advocacy and governmental affairs and promises to be a dynamic asset to the organization. Many of you will have an opportunity to meet her at the presidents' meeting and legislative seminar later this month.

Finally, later in this issue, you will see an announcement that ACB is accepting applications for a new "Braille Forum" editor. It is our hope to fill this position before the convention in Las Vegas. Please feel free to share this announcement with anyone whom you feel would be qualified for the position.

If there's one thread that runs through all of the above items, it is that people are the difference! Diversity of talents and capabilities make for dynamic advocacy efforts that improve the quality of life for us all. These are the resources with which we can water the seeds and realize the fruit of our efforts.

New Year's Resolution: Turn our struggles and disappointments to triumphs and accomplishments!

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