Category Archives: News and Announcements

Fairfax Chapter Hosts Indoor Rock Climbing in March

NFB_blind_people_indoor_rock_climb

On Saturday, March 12, 2016 at the Sport Rock indoor rock climbing center in Alexandria, 9 blind and vision impaired members of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia took on the challenge of scaling 60 foot vertical heights by using just their hands, legs, and the determination to succeed.

Those who climbed that day were from several chapters in our NFB family. The chapters represented were: the Winchester Chapter, Fairfax Chapter and DC Chapter. The climbers were: Carolena Garrison, Chris Vincent Walker, John Bailey, Paula Kelsey, James, Thomas Gryder, Johanna Johnson, Joy Relton, Toby Austin, and James Dietz.

The ages, skill levels, and familiarity with the NFB philosophy of empowerment through skills and a positive attitude varied greatly among the participants.

When everyone arrived, , our indoor rock climbing instructor Christie and her assistant welcomed us and showed us how to adjust the waist harnesses which would connect the climbers with the safety rope. The group went two climbers at a time up either the 40 or 60 foot simulated rock wall which had hand and foot holds randomly carved in them. The challenge was to locate the nearest hold, stabilize your balance, and then pull yourself up to the next hold.

Chris Walker made it to the top on his second try. He made it half way on his first attempt. However, on his second attempt, he continued pushing himself passed where he had stopped before and continued till his head hit the ceiling. He knew then he had succeeded.

Johanna is new to the Federation and is tackling all the challenges RP can bring to one’s personal and professional life. You wouldn’t think Johanna had any challenges if you saw how she climb to the top of the wall and down 4 times in less than 90 minutes.

Two hours after we started, the climbers and their supportive spectators said over and over again what a great time they had. In fact, ideas for future activities were being bounced around. Some of the ideas were: horseback riding, tubing on a river, group dance classes, and Joy made sure everyone knew that she was voting to go skiing. Everyone agreed to keep in touch and to get together soon.

Join Us at the 2016 Richmond Seminar – Jan 18 – 19

The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia is a powerful force advocating for blind Virginians. Please join us for the Richmond Seminar on January 18- 19, 2016 to ensure our voice is heard in the offices of the General Assembly.

If you have never attended a Richmond Seminar, we strongly encourage you to attend and participate in representative democracy in action. Everyone is assigned to a team with an experienced leader. The General Assembly members and their staff are very receptive and welcoming. They know we are organized, articulate, and well versed in the subject matter. We will put everyone on the team to work, sharing our issues and answering the questions of legislators and their staff.

The issues we will bring to Richmond will most likely include:

  • Requiring a research based reading media assessment as part of
    every blind and low vision student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) so Virginia’s students who need Braille will get Braille;
  • Defending Virginia’s Randolph Sheppard priority ; and
  • Support for Virginia Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired
    (DVBI) as a separate agency.

The final list of issues will be presented at the board meeting.

We have bills being drafted that will need co-sponsors. Chapter Presidents should make contact with their General Assembly members in their local offices before the end of the year. If you need assistance in identifying them, contact Michael or Tracy. A meeting with them will go a long way in establishing the recognition that is needed for our visit to Richmond. All Chapter members are encouraged to participate.

Our board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 18 which is Martin Luther King Day. The Board Meeting will be held from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at The DBVI Library and Resource Center, 395 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227.

Our General Assembly visits will be Tuesday, January 19.

The affiliate will reimburse transportation expenses and hotel expenses.

Chapter presidents should arrange cost effective transportation for their chapter members. Individuals are expected to share hotel rooms and must obtain hotel reservations themselves at the NFB of Virginia rate. If you need assistance identifying a room share, please contact Michael or Tracy.

Hotel rooms are available at the Crowned Plaza Hotel Downtown, 555 East Canal Street, Richmond, VA 22319. Hotel rooms can be reserved by telephone at 804-788-0900 or 1-855-472-7802 and asking for the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (NFBV) group block.

Click here for online reservations

The deadline to make reservations is January 6, 2016.

The group rate is $99 plus state and local sales tax (currently at 13.3%).

Guest will receive $10 off overnight parking.

check In is at 3 PM and Check Out is 12 PM.

Do not delay, book your room today.

Chapter presidents must provide the names of the individuals planning to attend from their chapter to Michael and Tracy by Wednesday, January 13,
2016 so we can establish teams in advance. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Kasey at (540)760-3885 or michaelgkasey@verizon.net or Tracy Soforenko at (703)635-2085 or tracy.soforenko@gmail.com

NFBV IEP Seminar

One of the most effective ways for us to work with parents of blind children
in Virginia is to help them get the best education they can get and the
services needed to accomplish that are set forth in the Individualized
Education Plan document. Join us Saturday, November 21, 2015 at The
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired (VRCBVI)
located at 401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to learn how to advocate for families in their IEP meetings. You will learn
IEP jargon, how to spot good and bad goals, what a reading assessment is,
the purpose of a functional visual assessment, components of an IEP for a
student who is a dual learner (learning large print and Braille), what
services the school district must provide and accommodations for students
with multiple disabilities. A variety of materials will be provided in
print, Braille or electronically (indicate your preference on the
registration form). There will be time for question.

Our NFBV treasurer, Mark Roane, is collecting the registration forms and
seminar registration fee; for seminar specific questions, contact Sandy
Halverson at 703-400-6890. We will not be providing child care for this
seminar. The registration fee of $30 per person or $50 per couple includes
a box lunch.

Link Here to get a copy of the registration form.

We hope to see many of you there.

2015 NFBV Scholarship Winners!

We thank the 2015 NFBV Scholarship Committee,

  • Sarah Patnaude , Co-Chair
  • Brian Miller, co-Chair
  • Deepa Goraya
  • C.J. Fish
  • Tasha Hubbard

For their countless hours to serve.

The committee is pleased to announce that there are two scholarship
finalists:

  • Robert Parsons (Richmond Chapter)
  • and

  • Chelsea Cook (At Large Chapter).

Please join me in offering congratulations to them both! We look forward to being with them at convention.

Thank you,

Michael Kasey

President

National Federation of the Blind of Virginia

October NFBV At Large Chapter Conference call

Please join moderator, Rick Holley, for our monthly NFB of Virginia At Large Chapter conference call meeting on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm. To participate, simply call

1 (877) 394-5901

and when prompted for a pass code, enter

6149670.

Guest Speaker

Topic: 2015 NFBV State Convention

We look forward to you joining us.

Rick Holley, Moderator

NEWSLINE update!

In the last few months enhancements to Newsline continue.

Newsline is the exciting newspaper for the blind and print handicapped provided by the National Federation of the Blind and state sponsors. It is available by telephone, IOS device, email, internet and on book readers such as the Victor Reader Stream and others. I suspect more options are coming and I am not surprised if I missed some.

Newsline has more than 300 newspapers, 40 plus magazines, TV and job listings, and Target adds. During the holiday season, additional store advertisements are included.

If you wish additional information on Newsline or wish to become a subscriber to this free service contact me. Also, if you already subscribe and have forgotten your access code I can retrieve it for you.

Here are some recently added features.

  • When you start a publication on the phone, you may press 99 for continues reading. In this mode, articles and sections follow each other with no action on your part. To move to the next article type three, any time, during the previous article. If you do not want to read a section type star and Newsline moves to the next section.
  • The new model of the Victor Reader Stream automatically downloads your favorite publications when it is turned on and accessible and receiving a
    WIFI signal. Other DAISY readers also will capture publications on
    Newsline.
  • On the main menu, pressing one will bring up a new feature called National Channels. Currently, The Braille Monitor, Future Reflections, and Living The lives you Want; 75 Years of the National Federation of the Blind are available. The Living the Lives you want is an exciting new publication offering the history of the National Federation of the Blind. It features chapters written by different Federationist explaining what led up to the founding of the NFB as well as examining the history and future options for our movement. This publication is also available on the NFB website

    www.nfb.org

    Clicking on links on the publication will open related speeches and additional information.
  • finally, for the last few years Newsline has provided local weather and severe weather warnings.

John Halverson, Virginia Newsline Coordinator

johnh50@verizon.net (E-mail)

(703) 379-1141 (Home)

(703) 867-6400 (Mobile)

Introducing the 2015 Leadership Fellows

We are excited to announce the selected team of NFB of Virginia Leadership Fellows. Please extend your congratulations to them all. The program will last 18 months and include intense participation . Their success will depend on all of our Affiliate members support.

The team is:

  • Brian McCann
  • Brittany Savage
  • Christopher Vincent
  • Deepa Goraya
  • Michael Valentino
  • Stephanie DeLuca
  • Uricka Harrison

Tracy and I believe that everyone’s active participation with these Fellows will benefit us all.

Thank you,

Michael Kasey

President

National Federation of the Blind of Virginia