Local chapters of NFBMD hold monthly meetings to offer support and encouragement to blind persons. A local chapter meeting is also a good place to make friends and meet other blind persons, to catch up on national and state activities, and to develop fundraising and other local projects. Local chapters create and participate in community outreach events throughout the year. Chapters give special attention to public education during Meet the Blind Month, which is observed every October. The following list of activities is a good overview of the breadth and depth of chapter happenings:
The Sligo Creek Chapter commemorated Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4 by conducting a celebration at the Rockville Public Library. Children and adults talked about how they use Braille in their daily lives. The Montgomery County Executive issued a proclamation recognizing the importance of Braille literacy. Members demonstrated different equipment and techniques, such as Braillers, slates, Braille notetakers, Braille games, and reading materials.
Members of local chapters are always available to speak about blindness to schools and college classes, scout troops or community and civic organizations.
Learning about Community Resources
At a recent meeting of the Central Maryland chapter, members learned about the Columbia Community Exchange using Time Banking. Time Banking provides an opportunity for neighbors to help neighbors through the mutual exchange of everyday services such as transportation, computer support, minor home repairs, pet care, child care and more. Give an hour of service to get an hour of help.
Each year the National Harbor Chapter holds a resource fair to introduce members to a wide array of county services. Members are introduced not only to services relating to disability, but also to everything from recreation opportunities and housing resources.
Local chapters raise funds to help members attend state and national conventions, to assist with state programs for children such as NFB BELL and to help the chapter carry out its work.
A favorite Central Maryland Chapter activity is raising funds by dining at Tino’s Italian Bistro on a Foundation Monday when the restaurant donates 10% of the entire day’s sales to the Chapter.
The members of the Sligo Creek Chapter are experts at selling nuts and candy.
The Greater Baltimore Chapter takes part in the Baltimore Orioles High Five fundraising program. Chapter members and friends enjoy a game at the ballpark while earning $5 to $7 for the Chapter for each ticket sold.
The Delmarva Chapter is famous for its flower and plant sales, especially chrysanthemums.
The TLC Chapter charged individuals to write and deliver love notes to special friends at the State Convention. In addition to the note, the surprised recipient also received a candy treat.
The Greater Cumberland Chapter recently invited a new delegate from the Maryland General Assembly to their meeting so that he could learn about blindness. We also wanted to thank him for supporting NFBMD issues.
The Greater Baltimore Chapter worked with the Orioles to eliminate the radio delay in broadcasting. When blind persons go to sporting events such as baseball games, we frequently bring a radio so that we can learn what is happening on the field. Eliminating the radio delay was important because blind people were missing out on the action.
Blindness and Philosophy
All Chapters promote interaction and discussion to encourage blind people to live the life we want. The TLC Chapter has a specific discussion every quarter on an NFB article or speech or a colonel book story.