December 2017 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:

A Big Thank You!

Many thanks to everyone who attended the 51st convention of the NFBMD. A special thanks to each of you who helped make this convention a great success. We are able to be successful because each of you made a contribution from volunteering to be a martial, running a workshop, or welcoming a new member into our federation family.

We have already started on the actions generated by the Convention. Many thanks to everyone who attended the Maryland State Board of Elections meeting on December 7th so that we could personally present our resolution to the Board. In resolution 2017-01, we condemn and deplore the Board’s plan to continue its subversion of the constitutional rights of the blind to vote by using a secret ballot. Consult our website, , for convention results.

Soon the resolutions will be under “Current Advocacy Issues;” there will be a link on the homepage to the Presidential Report; and our panel on “Living the Lives They Want: The Generations Tell their Stories” will be under “Success Stories.”

Participants Needed for the National Braille Readers are Leaders Contest

Get ready to enter your children in our new National Braille Readers are Leaders contest (NBRAL)! This is a good opportunity to encourage braille reading. This contest is different than the Braille Challenge, because you do all of it at home. However it is good preparation for the Braille challenge that will occur on February 3, 2018. In addition to the National prizes for the NBRAL Contest, we will have some prizes and recognition for all Maryland participants. See below information and sign up quickly!!

  • For each student who enters, a certifying official (parent, teacher, etc.) must fill out and submit a registration form. Registration forms can be submitted as late as February 1 2018.
  • Kids enter in one of five grade categories: K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, & 9-12.
  • Participants record Braille pages read in the weeks between December 15 2017 and February 1 2018 on a reading log.
  • The certifying official must submit the completed reading log by February 10 2018.
  • Prizes in each grade category are: first, $25; second, $15; third, $10.
  • Every contestant, whether a winner or not, will receive a “goodie bag” containing Braille-related items at the end of the contest.

In addition to awards in the five grade categories, the Kelly Doty Award is given to a student who has met unusual challenges in order to learn and read Braille. Such challenges include, but are not limited to, having other disabilities in addition to blindness or being an English language learner.

For further information, go to:

Holiday Reminders

We can't all have a private sleigh and a team of reindeer to get from place to place this holiday season, but we do have Uber and Lyft. If you use these services to get around with your guide dog, let us know how it goes! Please get your results in quickly; are number of tests are currently too low for this calendar year. We can change this especially with holiday travels. Fill out the brief questionnaire by going to:,

This year Newsline has the usual ads from Target and Walmart, plus we have added Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Kohl's, Lowes, Office Depot, Staples, ToysRUs, and Walgreens. To read these holiday ads using the telephone access method, press 5 off the main menu for Newspapers in a Different State, and then choose 5 for Holiday Shopping Advertisements. To read the holiday ads using NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile, choose Publications, Publication Options, Publication Groups and then Holiday Shopping Advertisements.

Sign up for Braille letters with Santa today! Go to:,

NASA-Hadley Webinars

NASA and The Hadley School for the Blind continue to offer webinars on interesting scientific topics.

Seasons Greetings

Best Wishes for a holiday season filled with relaxation and fun. May this season of hope renew your spirit so that your dreams may become a reality in 2018.

Important Dates for 2018

  • January 18th – Annual Day in Annapolis.
  • January 29th – Great Gathering meeting in Washington DC at the Holiday Inn at the Capitol.
  • January 30th – Visit to Maryland Congressional Delegation in Washington DC.
  • February 3rd – Regional Braille Challenge, held at the Maryland School for the Blind.
  • March 9th – Basket Bingo at The Lodge 2832 9 Mile Cir. Catonsville, MD.
  • March 31st – Deadline for National Scholarship Applications.
  • April 7th – Bid for Opportunity auction and dinner to benefit NFBMD scholarship programs
  • (Morningside, MD).
  • April 15th – Deadline for NFBMD Scholarship Applications.
  • July 3-8th – NFB National Convention Orlando, FL.
  • August 4th – Annual Crab Feast Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, MD.
  • November 9-11 – Annual State Convention, Carousel Hotel, Ocean City, MD.