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NFBI President’s Update for August 2015

Posted in NFBI President's Update

NFB Idaho President Dana AardAugust has been a busy month filled with progress, opportunities and challenges. Thanks to the efforts of Kevin Pirnie, with guidance from the website committee, the new website is taking shape. If you haven’t already taken a look, please check out There are more good things to come on the website. Please contact Kevin at 208 206-1181 with your

Another area of progress is our fundraising newsletter. This accomplishment is due, in large part,  to the hard work and determination of Ramona Walhof and Mary Evelyn Smith. I know others have helped supply pictures, convert the document to a pdf format, and assist in other ways that I don’t even know about. This is the first time we have had an actual document with pictures to use in fundraising. We hope to have the fundraising newsletter come out twice a year. I appreciate everyone’s hard work and determination to get this done. Now, we need to begin to use it to raise much needed funds for our state treasury so we can continue to do the valuable work of the

In order to become more knowledgeable about how to get our stories out on television, I attended a seminar provided by the Idaho Nonprofit Council, which is part of the Boise Chamber of Commerce. Dee Sarton, who is a well known television reporter and active in this community, gave the presentation. She stressed the importance of having a story to tell, and also advised us to follow television reporters on social media and make comments about their stories. This can help reporters get to know us.

I met with Brad Griff, who is the regional director for Representative Raul Labrador to discuss the TIME act. I was told that Representative Labrador would not sponsor the bill until it came to the house floor. I have just received an updated fact sheet on the time act which I will send to both representatives.

On August 10, I met with the Central Idaho chapter  at a special dinner held at Idaho Joe’s restaurant in Twin Falls. President Chris Jones and Judy Jones were wonderful hosts for this event. Fifteen people, including the ICBVI VR counselor Linda Upton and her husband were present. I provided information on my background in the ederation, as well as state and national goals, and some suggestions for growing the membership and enhancing chapter meetings. Chris is now working to do a meeting and activity with IESDB students, ICBVI and NFB. He and I have also been discussing fundraising ideas.

I participated  by phone in the meeting of the Canyon County chapter. They are planning a presentation at Van Buran elementary school in Caldwell for  Meet the Blind onth. A blind third grade student, who was in the Boise Bell program this Summer, attends this school. Several members have been involved in helping a blind couple in Mountain Home who have a new baby. Health and Welfare had gotten involved because of concerns for the baby’s safety. The blind couple is young and inexperienced
as parents. Health and Welfare felt that unless there was help in the home, 24/7, the baby would need to be in foster care. Sandy Streeter stayed with the family for several days teaching skills and providing support to help build the parents’ confidence. Ramona Walhof met with the family, the social worker and nurse from Health and Welfare last Friday afternoon. Because of the efforts of Federation members, and the willingness of the parents to learn, this baby will not be placed in foster care. I have called Disability Rights Idaho to learn more about Idaho laws that can protect parents with disabilities. We will continue to mentor this family to ensure they get the help and support they need to be successful parents.

Five  blind children, each  accompanied by at least one parent, along with sighted siblings,  attended the weekend BELL camp outside of Moscow. Tina Johnson, the IESDB teacher of the visually impaired for northern Idaho also participated. Alison Steven and Ramona Walhof lead activities including beepball, hiking, cooking, games, and music. Hopefully this activity will open doors for future BELL activities in this part of the state.

Our state board meeting will be held September 26 at the ICBVI conference room. We will meet at 8:30 for some social time, and the meeting will begin at 9:00 A.M.

The 2016 state convention will be held at the Red Lion in Lewiston, April 22-24. Room rates are $89.00 for singles, doubles, triples, and quads. The address is 621 21st St. and the phone number is 208 799-1000 or 1-800 232-6730. When making reservations be sure to state that you will be attending the National Federation of the Blind of daho convention and request the group rate.

We are currently planning a legislative luncheon on January 18. We were not able to get an evening banquet on that date. This event would coincide with our Winter board meeting.

As we kick off the Fall season in our chapters, we need to continue to find ways to grow our membership. The August presidential release gave some good suggestions. We

Know how the Federation is helping blind people to live the lives we want, but we need to bring that hope to others.



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