What Being a Scholarship Finalist Taught Me

I applied for the National Federation of the Blind scholarship program in 2018 just to say I did and get some of my friends off my back. I never thought I would be selected as a scholarship finalist, but I can say, without hesitation, that the experience changed my life.

Banquet Listening Parties Create Convention Feel at Home

The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is an experience like none other. From the informative seminars on all types of topics to the excitement of being surrounded by more than 2,000 other blind people. From hearing so many canes tapping and guide dogs working, to the energy of the room on the day of opening session.

All of these experiences cannot be captured easily in words, nor can they fully be appreciated unless you are there in person. However, for a variety of reasons, being there is not always possible.

Luckily we now have the option of listening to the convention online, which at least means you can hear various presentations and catch some of the excitement.

From Timid to Bold: Reflections on Newcomers to National Convention

"Attending the convention has changed me in many ways. For the first time in my life, I did not feel self-conscious or different. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am part of a big family that really cares." - Ayoub Zurikat, 2017

Ellana Crew Shares Why She’s a National Federation of the Blind Member

I came to the Federation with no cane, having never met another blind person, and having already had three different career idePortrait of Ellana Crewas shot down by my TBS’s (teachers of blind students) and special educators. I was 16, I was failing half of my classes with no motivation to fix it, and my parents had finally convinced me to go to this residential summer program for blind high schoolers to learn a bunch of independence skills that I was pretty sure I didn't need. I threw a fit the first time I had to wear sleep shades, and I begged to come home for the first three weeks. These people were way too ambitious for me and there was no need for me to do all this stuff.

Challenging the Fear of Blindness

In my banquet address at this year’s national convention, I talked about fear and how “if we resolve ourselves to face our fears, respect the power within those fears, and turn that power into action, we can take control of our own destiny, diminish the negative fears of others, and raise our expectations.” I also outlined the ways that the conditioned fear of blindness is used as a tool to generate funding, sell unnecessary products, and limit the rights of blind people. A new campaign has been launched that plays to the conditioned fear of blindness, and I am calling on blind people to push back on this harmful campaign by telling the world about blindness through social media.

 

Ten Tips for Parents at the National Federation of the Blind Convention

Many parents of blind children first come to know of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) through its Parents’ Division, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). The NOPBC holds its annual conference during the NFB national convention each summer, this year, from June 30 to July 5 in Orlando, Florida. Without a doubt, the NOPBC Conference is impressive, boasting a full day of sessions reaching out to parents of blind children of all ages and abilities. The NOPBC conference also hosts important, enriching activities, such as the Cane Walk (where parents and their children learn about the independence provided by cane travel), Braille Book Fair (where you may pick up as many gently-loved Braille books as you wish and have them shipped home at no cost), and many more activities for children and teens.

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