Category Archives: State Board Meeting

State Convention 2018

Please check back here as additional information is added to fully prepare you for the next NFB of Virginia State Convention. Alternatively, please consider signing up for the Virginia Announcement List to have updates delivered straight to your inbox.

The Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia will be held Thursday, November 8 through Sunday, November 11 , 2018 at the:

  • Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel & Conference Center
  • 2801 Plank Rd.
  • Fredericksburg, VA22401

To make hotel reservations, please call: 540-786-8321, or Book your room online!

Room rates are $79 per night plus applicable taxes for Single, Double, Triple, or Quad occupancy. Reservations must be made by 5 PM on Friday, October 26, 2018. For anyone seeking to spend extra time exploring Historical Fredericksburg, the rate is good three days before and three days after the event. Individual reservations will not be guaranteed without first night’s deposit or credit card.

Please Note: The group rate is the best rate. Government and military discounts do not apply. For the rate to be honored, please contact the property directly. Do not use a travel site for booking.

From the Hospitality House website:

Ideally located in the heart of everything, Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel and Convention Center welcomes you with 196 beautifully appointed guestrooms just off I-95, midway between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia. We’re also within minutes of Fredericksburg’s famous Civil War and colonial sites, shopping, dining, the University of Mary Washington, and more. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll enjoy luxurious, affordable lodging, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, a junior Olympic size pool, two signature restaurants, convenient and walk-able shopping and dining in Central Park without ever leaving our parking lot, plus live music on weekends.

More Details Coming Soon!

NFBV Board Minutes, 05/02/2015

Minutes from the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia Board Meeting

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Call to order: 11:00 by President Michael Kasey

Invocation was given by Melody Roane

Everyone present introduced themselves.

Minutes from the January 19, 2015 meeting were read and accepted.

The Treasurer’s report was read by Treasurer Mark Roane and was accepted as read.

Bell Program Coordinator Nancy Yeager announced we will have four Bell programs. She said we need at least five students for each program. Flyers and brochures have been sent out to local school districts, and Nancy will send out these flyers electronically. Jeremy Grandstaff suggested setting an application deadline for the program.

Leadership seminar: Vice President Tracy Soforenko and Strategic Planning and Collaboration Consultant Jeremy Grandstaff lead this seminar.
Volunteer leaders were Stewart Prost, Kim Valko, John Halverson, Nancy Yeager, and Sarah Patnaude. We discussed qualities of a good leader and ways to improve leadership opportunities. Participants were requested to provide feedback questionnaire answers to Jeremy Grandstaff by no later than Wednesday, May 6.

Communications update: John Bailey, Chairman of the Communications Committee, talked about internet outreach and our website, We also have an NFB of Virginia Facebook page. The committee plans to build a YouTube presence to answer common questions about blindness. The committee is looking for people good with technology, writing, and public speaking to assist in its efforts. Mary suggested making a video about how to treat a blind person. Chris O’Meally and Kris Foley offered to help with videos. The Bell program is also looking for people to assist with creating videos. Sarah Patnaude offered video assistance from the Student Division. Conference calls for the Communications Committee are the third Tuesday of every month.

Organization and Arrangements Committee: Brian McCann and Joe Hobson, co-chairs. Our 2015 state convention will be held at the Westin Tyson’s Corner in Falls Church, VA from October 30 to November 1, 2015. All other relevant information is on and NFB Newsline. Tracy Soforenko encouraged people to suggest seminar ideas for state convention. It was decided that we will have an auction at the 2015 state convention.

2016 state convention: The 2016 state convention will take place at the Wyndham Ocean Front Virginia Beach hotel from November 10-13, 2016. There will be a three week cutoff for hotel reservations. The president has signed the contract for 2016.

National Convention 2015: Tracy Soforenko asked for convention attendees to contact him by email if they were interested in assisting with shuttling people between the two hotels. President Michael Kasey announced that we had thirteen books of Jernigan tickets. We have some Independence Market volunteers, but any additional people who were interested in helping were asked to email Michael Kasey. Mary Durban announced we had reserved a Virginia table. We voted to sell our Virginia peanuts at the 2015 national convention. It was suggested that we sell flash drives or earbuds as well.

McDonald Fellowship: We had several people apply to the program. People interested in mentoring McDonald Fellowship winners should contact Tracy.

Door prizes: We agreed to match our donations from last year, which were four $50 cash prizes. We also contributed $150 for the $7500 door prize this year. In total, we will allocate $4000 for convention, and this amount will be allocated at the president and treasurer’s discretion.

Caucus: The Virginia caucus tentatively will occur on Monday, July 6, 2015, at 10 PM.

Report on Richmond Seminar: We were not as successful as we expected. Vice President Soforenko is looking for ideas on how we can be better prepared for next year’s seminar.

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Mary Durban will be contacting chapters and divisions to get information on delegates.

Scholarship Committee: Sarah Patnaude, chair. The application may be going out earlier in the future, Sarah said.

Fundraising Committee: Vice President Soforenko suggested our fundraiser prize should be a fixed amount of money. A fundraising Committee was created and Bernie Werwie was chosen as chair. Jeremy Grandstaff offered to help with the committee. Bernie suggested we work on relationship building with other organizations.

Bell Program: Rodney Neely will reach out to chapter presidents and encourage them to connect with Lions Clubs.

Newsline: John Halverson has initiated discussion with the commissioner in Roanoke to add the Roanoke newspaper to Newsline.

Advocacy: The NFB and DVBI can work together to create more opportunities for success.

Our next board meeting will take place on August 8, 2015 in Richmond.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:06 by President Michael Kasey.

Respectfully submitted
Jennifer Shields, Recording Secretary, National Federation of the Blind of Virginia

Developing Great Leaders Workshop During the Board Meeting

All are invited to attend the next NFBV Board meeting in Richmond, Saturday, may 2nd.

I’m excited to let you know we will devote a small part of our time to a collaborative workshop called “Developing the Next Generation of Leaders“.
This workshop is an opportunity for us to have a collaborative conversation that brings us together to:

  • Build deeper understanding around the qualities of a great leader;
  • Create a more cohesive vision of those qualities that will be needed by the next generation of leaders; and,
  • Define the key actions that we could take to help build the next generation of leaders.

Important #1: I’ve attached all the materials you will need for the workshop and would ask each of you to print, braille, or bring them with you electronically–so that you will have all of the information you need to most effectively participate.

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders-final design

Important #2: We are in need of 5-6 people who could play a recorder role during this workshop. This means that you would be responsible for capturing the outputs from small group discussion. It’s not hard, but it would require you to bring a note taking mechanism such as slate/stylus, laptop or other device that you would need to take notes. Please contact Jeremy Grandstaff using the below contact information, if you can help play this role.

On behalf of the board, we are excited each of you will be lending your voice to this important discussion for our future leaders and I welcome you to contact our workshop facilitator

  • Jeremy Grandstaff
  • Phone: 614-519-3026
  • E-mail:

with any questions prior to the workshop.

State Board Meeting in Richmond on May 2, 2015

National Federation of the Blind of Virginia

Meeting of the Board of Directors

Saturday, May 2, 2015

11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

  • Location: Assembly Room
  • Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
  • 401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227.
  • Agenda coming soon.
  • Lunch Arrangements

    Leon Anderson and Maria have agreed to sell box lunches again at the board meeting.
    They will be bringing 30 – 35 box lunches. They will include either turkey and cheese or ham and cheese sandwiches, chips and a snack for $ 10. He will also have canned sodas and bottled water for $1.
    As always, Leon and Maria will donate 10% of sales to the Richmond Chapter.

2015 Richmond Seminar & January NFBV Board Meeting Workshop

By: Michael Kasey and Tracy Soforenko

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 19-20, 2015 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.

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;
  • . Ensuring that Ride Sharing Services (such as Uber and Lift) use
    accessible technology and allow passengers to take guide dogs; 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 extended board meeting and workshop is scheduled for Monday, January 19which is Martin Luther King Day. The Board Meeting will be held from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the Assembly Room of the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for
the Blind and Vision Impaired, 401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227. .

  • A) Agenda for Board Meeting – We will cover the following topics:
    • . Facilitated Workshop on affiliate Goals and plans for the coming
    • . Affiliate Social Media Strategy
    • . State Convention Lessons Learned & Ideas for the 2015 State
    • . Richmond Seminar briefing for participants
    • A detailed agenda for the board meeting will be provided in January.
  • B) Boxed Lunches – A member of the Richmond chapter, Leon Anderson,
    will be providing boxed lunches on Monday afternoon at a cost of $10 per lunch. You will have a choice of either a Turkey & cheese sub or a ham & cheese sub. All boxed lunches come with chips, fruit and a snack. Beverages will be available for $1. 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Richmond chapter.
  • C) General Assembly Visits – Our General Assembly visits will be
    Tuesday, January 20. 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.
  • D) Affiliate Funding – Transportation and hotel paid by affiliate!<

    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. The NFB rate is $94plus tax per night.
The deadline for booking hotel rooms is January 8, 2015. Do not delay, book your room today.

NFBV Richmond Seminar Hotel Reservations

It should not be required but just in case; the 3-digit booking code is NFB.

Some notes from Brian McCann who organized the agreement with Crowne Plaza:

  1. The link above is set for one guest but you can revise the search by
    using the revise search link. Don’t go back to the reservations page and start the search over, this will take off the discount rate.
  2. Your credit card is NOT charged a deposit for a room hold.
  3. Total EST price for the room after taxes is $106 per night.
  4. Cancellation Policy: Canceling your reservation before 6:00 PM (local
    hotel time) on Monday, 19 January, 2015 will result in no charge. Canceling your reservation after 6:00 PM (local hotel time) on 19 January, 2015, or failing to show, will result in a charge of 1 night per room to your credit card. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation.”

Overnight self parking is regularly $12 but we have arranged the discounted rate of $7 for hotel guests. See front desk for details.

Chapter presidents must provide the names of the individuals planning to attend from their chapter to Michael and Tracy by Wednesday, January 14,
2015 so we can establish teams in advance. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Kasey at (540)760-3885 or or Tracy Soforenko at (703)635-2085 or