edited by Sue Lichtenfels

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 [email protected], 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.


The American Council of the Blind has been named the 2010-2011 beneficiary for the Hope is Always in Season (TM) sales-based donation program featuring The Braille Dreidel (R), also known as The Braidel (R). This donation program was created by Marsha Plafkin Hurwitz, the founder and owner of Art as Responsa (R). To see the Braille Dreidel, visit


NASA is seeking internship applications from students who are blind or disabled. Applicants must be 18 or older, be at least an incoming freshman at an accredited college or university, have a minimum GPA of 2.8, and be interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math. A listing of available internships and the application are posted at Applications are due by Feb. 1, 2011 for the 10-week internship that will run from May 31 through Aug. 5, 2011. Since internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide, students are encouraged to specify their preferred centers. If you have questions or need assistance with the application, contact Kenneth Silberman at (301) 286-9281 or [email protected].


RFB&D is now accepting applications for the 52nd annual national achievement awards. College seniors who are blind or visually impaired are encouraged to apply. Nine scholarships will be awarded at three financial levels: three each in the amounts of $6,000, $3,000, and $1,000. Applicants are judged on academic excellence, demonstrated leadership skills, and service to others. The application deadline is March 1, 2011. For additional details or to apply, visit


Sierra Regional Ski for Light will hold its 19th annual cross-country skiing and snow shoeing weekend March 12-14, 2011 at the Tahoe Cross Country ski area in Truckee, Calif. Lodging will be at the Truckee Best Western. Skiers from novices to advanced are welcomed. To learn more, contact Cindy Quintana, SRSFL Skier Coordinator at (530) 483-2948 or [email protected].


Through the Maxine and John M. Bendheim Center for Diabetes Care, the Jewish Guild for the Blind in New York City offers a continuum of preventive care, treatment and education to individuals with diabetes in order to improve their quality of life, prevent or minimize the complications of diabetes and preserve remaining vision. Some of the center's services include one-on-one consultation, support groups, and classes on diabetes self-management. For more information on dealing with diabetes and vision loss, visit


The 20-page booklet "Talking Rooms: Walking Through History at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Headquarters" has received an APEX 2010 Award of Excellence in the One-of-a-Kind Government Publication category. "Talking Rooms" portrays the history of library service to blind and physically handicapped individuals by taking readers on a tour of the NLS headquarters in Washington, D.C., and highlights the program's development from the use of phonographs to the recently released digital talking-book players.


Jeannine Palazza, program director for GuildCare Buffalo, was recently honored as Outstanding Member of the Year by the Adult Day Health Care Council, a New York state-wide organization. She became program director in 2006, and has served on numerous ADHCC committees.


The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) held its international conference in Little Rock, Ark. this past July. Dr. Sandra Lewis of Florida State University received the Mary K. Bauman Award. Natalie Hilzen of the American Foundation for the Blind got the C. Warren Bledsoe Award. Eileen Sifferman of Tucson won the Douglas C. MacFarland Award; Dr. Michael Bina of the Maryland School for the Blind received the Ambrose M. Shotwell Award. And Stephen Barrett received special recognition for his work. This year's outstanding chapters were Illinois, Ohio, and Penn/Del.


Congratulations to Tuck Tinsley III, president of the American Printing House for the Blind, for winning the 2010 Migel Professional Award. AFB has selected Tinsley for his 20-year leadership of APH. During his tenure, he has refocused the organization's mission to provide accessible textbooks for students who are blind and opened the door to many other adaptive products for independence.


The Maggie is a handheld portable electronic magnifier that can be used for reading newspapers, prescriptions, price tags, instructions, brochures, or any other printed information. Its features include: 3" wide-screen LCD, true color image, 3 pre-set lighting levels, 4 levels of magnification: 4x, 6x, 8x, 11x, image freeze, 3.5 hour lithium-ion battery, and credit card sized portability. For more information, contact Bierley at 1-800-985-0535 or visit


The iBill Talking Banknote Identifier is a pager-sized unit that identifies paper currency for people who are visually impaired or deaf-blind. Approximately one second after the bill is inserted into the key-fob device, the denomination is conveyed either by speech, a pattern of beeps, or a pattern of vibrations. It works on one AAA battery, which is included. The iBill is manufactured by Orbit Research and is available through many blindness product retailers.


The Olympus DM-4 digital audio recorder offers two key features that users who are visually impaired may find useful. It supports DAISY talking book files and includes voice recognition to navigate menus, set time and date, and create a schedule. Some of its other features include: 8 GB internal memory, built-in stereo microphones, and Olympus Sonority software to clean and edit audio files. The software also permits the uploading, organizing and e-mailing of audio files and direct downloading of podcasts. For more information, visit


Shelly McMullen, a dog guide user for 30 years, has written "Pathways to Freedom." This 121-page e-book is designed to answer many questions about the process of getting and working with a dog guide. To get your copy, visit


Southeastern Guide Dogs offers several services geared to meeting the needs of injured veterans. Its Paws for Patriots program trains dog guides for veterans who are visually impaired or multiply disabled. Companion dogs trained at Southeastern are placed with veterans who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Southeastern has also placed therapy dogs at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. In an effort to raise funds for this program, this fall Lt. Col. Kathy Champion, a graduate of the guide dog school, who is legally blind from a virus she contracted while serving in Iraq, will lead a team of puppy raisers and volunteers in the Women's Half Marathon of St. Petersburg (Florida) on Nov. 21, 2010. For more information, call (941) 729-5665 or visit


Yismehu is a non-profit organization that provides Jewish enrichment services for people who are blind or visually impaired. It offers distance education courses on Hebrew, Jewish identity and religious education; camps where attendees participate in liturgy, text study, music and art; and on-site educational workshops to facilitate inclusive practices in Jewish organizations. For more information, visit, call (503) 391-7754, or e-mail [email protected].

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