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April 2022 State President’s Update

Posted in NFBI President's Update

One of our popular federation songs is titled “It’s Convention Time.” It talks about all the fun we have at convention seeing each other and celebrating our wonderful organization. In Idaho, it’s convention time! Our state convention will be held April 21-23 at the new Holiday Inn hotel in Idaho Falls.

The address is 3005 S. Fork Blvd. Idaho Falls 83402, phone 208 227-9800.

The room rate is $109.00 plus $14.00 tax per night. The cut-off date for getting a room is April 15.After that time, you could still get a room, but you wouldn’t have the convention rate. Rooms are now available, so you can call and book a room. Be sure to state that this is for the state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho, and that you want the room rate of $109.00. The registration form is available on our website, or from your chapter president.

Please contact me with any questions. We will have to have all food orders in to the hotel
two weeks before the convention, due to supply chain issues. This means that board dinner, boxed lunch, and banquet orders will have to be in by Friday,
April 8th.

Amy Ruell, national board member from Massachusetts is our national representative. She and I will be working on activities to build our federation spirit and strengthen our membership.

The agenda will be varied and there will be something for everyone. Sensory Safari will have a
display of exotic animals and birds that are mounted so we can touch, and we will have other vendors as well.

There will be a meeting on Saturday for parents of blind children and others who are interested. Emily Gibbs, president, Texas Parents of Blind Children, and Jordan Engebretsen, 2021 NFB Blind Teacher of the year will facilitate this group.

We will have baskets to raffle for our after banquet fundraiser. Tickets will be $5.00 each or 3 for $12.00. We want a nice variety of baskets, so I need all members and chapters to get their basketsready. Please have a list of items included with your basket. We would appreciate having both a print and braille list. If you can’t braille the list of items, we will find someone who can help. We need the baskets ready and labeled before the convention.

We need door prizes. The value should be at least $10.00.

Also, we are doing a community project and bringing donations for the Humanitarian Center in Idaho Falls. Sandy Streeter has sent out a list of items that is needed.Please find it in my February update.

Our National convention is July 5-10 in New Orleans. Registration is open. Register on-line at registration.

Room rates at the New Orleans Marriot are $109.00 per night for singles and doubles, and $119.00 for triples and quads. There will also be a 16.2% tax and tourism fee and a $3.00 occupancy fee added per night. The phone number for the Marriott is 1-800-654-3990. Please consult our publication “The Braille Monitor” or the website for additional details.

Applications for the Kenneth Jernigan scholarship close April 15. This scholarship is for first time attendees and provides funds to help cover convention costs. I know of several individuals in our affiliate who could apply. I will include the information at the end of this update.

As you can see, “It’s Convention Time.” Come join us and celebrate our first in-person convention since 2019.

If you know parents of blind children, please invite them. See you in Idaho Falls

If you have never attended an NFB convention in person, you need to apply for this scholarship. I can think of several people who would be eligible, and I hope I can write a letter of support for all of you. The deadline is April 15. Please send this information far and wide.

The 2022 NFB National Convention is an experience you do not want to miss. Many of those who have attended our national NFB conventions are amazed at how meeting and interacting with over 3000 other blind and low vision convention attendees has positively changed their lives. They not only learn how the problems of vision loss can be overcome, but also experience the confidence that comes with solutions.

If you have never attended an in-person convention, the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship program is designed to assist you in attending the convention and getting the most from the experience. From the January 2022 Braille Monitor:

Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship

By Tracy Soforenko

Have you always wanted to attend an NFB annual convention but have not done so because of the lack of funds? The Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship Fund invites you to make an application for a scholarship grant. Perhaps this July you too can be in the Marriott New Orleans enjoying the many pleasures and learning opportunities at the largest and most important yearly convention of blind people in the world.

The three biggest ticket items you need to cover when attending an NFB national convention are the roundtrip transportation, the hotel room for a week, and the food (which tends to be higher priced than at home). We attempt to award additional funds to families, but, whether a family or an individual is granted a scholarship, this fund can only help; it won’t pay all the costs. Most years, the grants have been in the range of $400 to $500 per individual.

We recommend that you find an NFB member as your personal convention mentor, someone who has been to many national conventions and is able to share money-saving tips with you and tips on navigating the extensive agenda in the big hotel. Your mentor will help you get the most out of the amazing experience that is convention week.

Who is eligible?

Active NFB members blind or sighted who have not yet attended an in-person NFB national convention because of lack of funding are eligible to apply. If you have attended the 2020 or 2021 virtual conventions but have never attended an in-person convention, you are still eligible to apply.

How do I apply for funding assistance?

This year we will be accepting applications online. Since applications must be completed in a single session online, we strongly recommend you prepare your responses in a document, and then cut and paste your responses into the application form. The application form does not support complex formatting, so we recommend avoiding formatting such as bullet points and fonts/styles.

Effective January 1, 2022, the application form can be found at the following link:

The application will ask for the following information:

* Contact information: Include your full name and both your primary phone where you can be contacted by your state president and your mobile phone you might use at convention, if available.
* Please include your mailing address and, if you have one, your email address. If you don’t have an email address, please consider if there is a friend or chapter member who might be able to assist with email correspondence.
* State Affiliate/chapter information: Include your state affiliate, your state president, chapter, and chapter president, if you attend a chapter.
* Mentor information: Include your personal convention mentor and
provide that person’s phone number.
* Funding request: Include your specific request and explain how much money you need from this fund to make this trip possible for you. We suggest you consult with other members to make a rough budget for yourself.
* Essay questions to explain why this is a good investment for the NFB:
* How do you currently participate in the Federation?
* Why do you want to attend a national convention?
* What would you receive?
* What can you share or give?
* Any special circumstances you hope the committee will take into consideration.

If you cannot apply online, you can still apply by writing a letter to your state affiliate president answering the above questions. This letter should be emailed to your state affiliate president. Once you have decided you will apply, please contact your state president in person or by phone to request his or her help in obtaining funding. Be sure to tell the state affiliate president when to expect that your application will be submitted and mention the deadline.

Once your application has been submitted, your application will be provided to your state president via email. It is still your responsibility to contact your affiliate president. He or she must email a president’s recommendation directly to the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship Fund Committee at Your president must email the recommendation no later than the deadline of April 15, 2022. If you have applied outside of the online form, the state affiliate president must email both the recommendation and the application letter.

Notification of Award

If you are chosen to receive this scholarship, you will receive a letter with convention details that should answer most of your questions. The committee makes every effort to notify winners by May 15, but you must do
several things before that to be prepared to attend if you are chosen:

* Make your own hotel reservation. If something prevents you from attending, you can cancel the reservation. (Yes, you may arrange for roommates of your own to reduce the cost.)
* Register online for the entire convention, including the banquet, by May 31.
* Find someone in your chapter or affiliate who has been to many conventions and can answer your questions as a friend and mentor.
* If you do not hear from the committee by May 15, then you did not win a scholarship this year.

Receiving the Award

At the convention, you will be given a debit card or credit card loaded with the amount of your award. The times and locations to pick up your card will be listed in the letter we send you. The committee is not able to provide funds before the convention, so work with your chapter and state affiliate to assist you by obtaining an agreement to advance funds if you win a scholarship, and to pay your treasury back after you receive your debit or credit card.

More Information

For additional information, please contact the chairman of the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship Fund Committee, Tracy Soforenko, at or 410-659-9314, extension 2020.




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