by Melanie Brunson

ACB just concluded its 47th annual convention. These conventions provide a good opportunity to reflect on what has happened since the convention of the prior year, and to plan for the future of ACB. During our most recent convention, we spent quite a bit of time doing both of these. As you will see when you read other articles in this and future issues of "The Braille Forum," there were many successes to celebrate during the past year. In addition, a number of resolutions were passed by the convention calling on the leadership and staff of ACB to undertake new advocacy initiatives during the year ahead. At the same time, our work on issues such as accessible currency, pedestrian safety, video description and access to information from a wide variety of sources continues.

We are poised for some very significant developments in a number of these areas over the next year, but as with other efforts ACB has undertaken in the past, achieving success will require the resources of all of our members and friends. In other words, we will need your help! What I am asking you to do this month is actually very simple. It is easier than calling your congressman's office, easier than writing a letter to your senator, but it can be just as important to ACB's ability to achieve its legislative and advocacy goals. I am asking you to join our Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program and make a contribution to ACB on a monthly basis. Even if it is just a few dollars per month, your contribution can make a big difference.

Each person who participates in ACB's MMS program increases ACB's ability to sustain its advocacy efforts, educate the public about the capabilities of people who are blind, provide leadership training, and give individuals information about blindness, as well as programs and services available to people who are blind. Each person who contributes on a monthly basis through this program adds to a pool of resources that ACB and its affiliates would not otherwise have. Participants in this program can designate up to 50 percent of their contribution to either a state or special-interest affiliate of their choosing. Thus, MMS contributions can support an even wider range of activities that benefit people who have visual impairments throughout the country.

If you are not currently participating in this program, I hope you will consider enrolling today. Signing up is easy. Simply call the Minneapolis office at 1-800-866-3242 and your application can be taken over the phone. You can also apply online by visiting Funds will be automatically withdrawn each month from either your bank account, or a credit or debit card, as you prefer. All you have to do is provide the appropriate account information and the amount you want withdrawn each month when you sign up. The rest is automatic. Your contributions will be very much appreciated by both ACB and its affiliates.

Just as each little drop of water is important to the existence of an ocean, so each contribution is important to ACB's resource pool. Don't dismiss the part you could play as too small. Each of those small contributions, when combined with all of the others, can come together to form a mighty powerful force. Please add your contribution to that force. Join the MMS program and increase our momentum today. Call 1-800-866-3242, or visit on the web. You can make a difference.

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