September Message

Fellow Federationists,


October is Meet the Blind Month and we are starting it off with a great event. Please attend our Bid for Opportunity Dinner and Auction on Saturday, October 1 at 6 pm.  The event takes place at the College Park Knights of Columbus, 9450 Cherry Hill Road, College Park, MD 20740.  Tickets are $40.  For more information contact Debbie Brown or Michelle Clark Help us raise much needed funds to continue our scholarship and youth stipend programs.

Be sure to go to to view local chapter events for Meet the Blind Month.  They will be listed under “upcoming events,” then go to the “around the state” link. 


In October the local channel of NFB Newsline will have a section on the ballot information for the upcoming presidential and state elections on November 8.  This is a good way to prepare for voting before you get to the polling place. There are frequently state and local questions and local candidates, such as people running for the Board of Education that never make radio or TV news.  This is the best way to keep track of everything that will be on the ballot. 

Remember, each polling place will have an accessible voting machine. The polling officials should inform you of this.  If they don’t, ask for it anyway because we have the right to vote independently and privately.

If you wish you may vote early.  Early voting takes place from Thursday, October 27 through Thursday, November 3.  Early voting locations are open from 8 am – 8 pm.   Contact your local board of elections to find out the early voting location nearest to you.

If you wish to vote by absentee ballot go to and request this ballot.  You may fill out the ballot on line but you must print the form, sign it, and send it to the appropriate local board of elections. Both the request form and the on line ballot are accessible.  Be sure to vote and make your voice heard. 


As you prepare to come to the Golden Anniversary Convention of the NFBMD, here is a checklist of things that you should do. 

·      Make your hotel reservation by October 1. Call 1-800-228-9290.  You must tell them you are registering for the NFBMD Convention.  Use the initials, not the full name.  Staying at the hotel will make it easier to participate in all of our nighttime activities.  On Friday evening we have pizza and a play from 6-8 pm. After the play, dance with the stars at our Jazz Party from 8:30-11:30 pm.  After the banquet on Saturday night we will have the Gold Cup Crab race.  You will hear more about this at the convention. 

There will be a special door prize drawing for 2 items – the only people eligible for these prizes will be people who are staying at the hotel.  One of the door prizes is a scrumptious free breakfast with our National Representative Gary Wunder.  The other prize is a weekend getaway in Baltimore.  The prize is valued at over $500.  It includes an overnight stay and breakfast for 2 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore hotel; 2 VIP passes to more than 2 dozen of Baltimore’s best-loved attractions, sites, museums and tours; and a  $50 restaurant certificate to the Food Market on the Avenue in Hampden. 

·      Preregister and buy your banquet and lunch tickets. Go to . As usual, there will be a lunch sponsored by the Senior Issues Division and a lunch sponsored by the Parents of Blind Children Division. Both lunches take place on Saturday October 29.  Pre-registration closes on October 8.


Tour 1 – Oriole Park

Come see Oriole Park at Camden Yards from a whole new perspective. Enjoy the charm of the ballpark from club level suites, the press level, the scoreboard/JumboTron control room, and even the Orioles dugout. 

Date: October 28.

Time: 12:45 pm.

Place: Meet in Room A at the hotel.

We will form groups and walk to the ballpark together.  The estimated time for returning to the hotel is 2:45 – 3:00 pm.\

Tour 2 - Westminster Hall & Burying Ground

The Westminster Burying Ground is one of Baltimore's oldest cemeteries, an amazing survivor of the old city in the midst of the new. Most famous as the burial place of Edgar Allan Poe, the cemetery also contains the tombs of many prominent political and military figures in Maryland's early history. The extraordinary construction of the church on arches above the tombs, creating the remarkable "catacombs" below the building, makes it a unique architectural landmark as well. Find out more about the history and stories connected with this notable Baltimore landmark.

Date: October 28.

Time:  3 pm.

Place:  Meet in Room A of the hotel.

We will walk the five blocks to Westminster Hall together.  The estimated time for returning to the hotel is 4:45 – 5:00 pm.

Each tour costs $10.  You must register and pay by October 15.

GO TO WWW.NFBMD.ORG TO REGISTER AND PAY FOR TOURS. You may also sign up at the chapter meetings, if they occur before October 15.

·   Gather your door prizes.

 Darlene Barrett, the door prize diva, will collect your items at the convention.  Remember bring something that you would like to win. Increase your opportunities to win by bringing more door prizes.

·   Funding the movement.

Please bring items for our food auction that takes place throughout the convention. Bring some money to bid, too. Be prepared to join or increase your contribution to PAC (Preauthorized Contribution Plan). We have much work to do and we appreciate your help.

·   Award nominations needed.

Please send recommendations for the Anna Cable Award to Debbie Brown at  This award is presented to a person who lost their vision later in life and who exemplifies Anna’s zest for life.

Carlton Walker will be accepting nominations for the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award.  This award is presented to a teacher of blind students who has high expectations for students and goes the extra mile in promoting the skills of blindness.  Send your letter of nomination to

Many doctors and professionals did not expect Jennifer Baker to accomplish much in life. However, Jennifer and her family had high expectations. Despite her multiple disabilities, Jennifer learned to read and write Braille, and books greatly enhanced the quality of her life. Although she only lived until her early twenties, she made the most of each day she had.  Through the Jennifer Baker award we will recognize a young adult who exemplifies Jennifer’s spirit and her passion for learning.  If you wish to nominate someone, contact Susan Baker at 301-946-7892 or

·         Think about Which Friday Activities You Wish to Attend

Don’t miss the Exhibit Hall from 11 am to 5 pm.  Get a head start on your wish-list for Christmas or purchase something for yourself. This is also a great opportunity to look at helpful products for the blind.

The Friday workshops truly have something for everyone.  Brush up on your dancing or learn some new steps at our Wallflower Destruction Workshop.   This workshop will be held at 1:00 pm and will be repeated at 5:00 pm. 

Learn about the One-Touch Self-Defense System.  This workshop will be from 2-3:00 pm.  It will be repeated at 3:30–4:30 pm. 

“An Introduction to New Technologies: the Orbit Reader, the KNFB Reader and the Braille Note Touch.” Don’t miss this informative workshop.

The second technology workshop will be “Integrating New Technologies to Your Existing Devices.”  In this workshop you will discover how the Orbit Reader, KNFB Reader and Braille Note Touch can enhance your use of I-devices and more.

·                  Special Interest Meetings

The Maryland Association of Blind Students, The Maryland Parents of Blind Children Division and the Senior Issues Division will be holding special seminars on Friday of the convention.  The Deaf Blind and Hearing Loss Committee will also meet on Friday afternoon.  In the coming year we will make a special effort to focus on protecting the rights of guide dog users.  Don’t miss our Friday afternoon seminar that will begin this process.

See you at the Golden Anniversary Convention October 28-30.  Don’t miss it!


Sharon Maneki, President

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland