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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

February 2016 eNews

Spotlight on

Kirk Adams to Join AFB as New President and CEO

Kirk AdamsKirk Adams, currently the president and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., in Seattle, will join AFB as its next president and CEO in May 2016 when Carl Augusto retires after 25 years of distinguished service.

“I am honored to be selected as the American Foundation for the Blind’s next president and CEO, and I look forward to working with the staff and board to build on AFB’s magnificent history and to shepherd this great organization into its centennial and beyond,” said Adams.

Adams is a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Disability Employment and the Seattle Public Library’s Strategic Plan Advisory Committee. He serves on the boards of the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Association of Washington Business, and until his appointment as CEO of AFB, he served on the AFB Board of Trustees. He is also the former treasurer and member of the Board of the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind.

Adams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He earned his master’s degree in not-for-profit leadership at Seattle University in Washington and is working toward his doctorate in leadership and change at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Adams will be the sixth chief executive of the American Foundation for the Blind in its nearly 100-year history.

Hot Topics

AFBLC 2016 a Huge Success

The 2016 AFB Leadership Conference—AFB’s annual conference attracting hundreds of leaders and professionals from the field of vision loss—was a huge success! From the sold-out cortical-visual impairment (CVI) session on Thursday to the standing-room-only Google demos and the sessions that ranged in topics from accessible architecture to transition and parenting, our attendees told us they never lacked for choices, only for time. This year’s event was a special one as we celebrated AFB president and CEO Carl Augusto and his 25 years of exceptional leadership at AFB. Our thanks to all of our conference sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees for another informative and inspiring Leadership Conference. We hope you’ll plan to join us next year, once again in Crystal City, at the lovely Crystal Gateway Marriott, March 2-4.

Carl Augusto laughing during his retirement celebrationDelta Gamma Fellows and Foundation representatives at AFBLCPhoto of exhibitors at AFBLC 2016

Images (l. to r.): Carl Augusto at his retirement reception; Delta Gamma Fellows and Delta Gamma Foundation representatives; exhibitors at AFBLC.

FamilyConnect Wants to Hear from You!

To improve FamilyConnect services and outreach, we need your help. Take our survey so we can better understand the needs and perspectives of individuals like you who have accessed the site. The survey will be used to assess your satisfaction with site features, as well as capture any knowledge or tangible benefits you, your child, or family may have acquired as a result of your interactions on FamilyConnect.

The survey should take no longer than 15-20 minutes to complete. By completing this survey you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. In addition to the survey, you may be asked to participate in a follow-up phone interview with the evaluator. Interview participants will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

New Webinar

iOS in the Classroom: iPad Learning Success for Students with Vision Loss, presented by Larry Lewis, is a webinar for direct service providers who work with students who are visually impaired.

This webinar has been approved for continuing education credit by ACVREP, the blindness field’s certifying body, and can be purchased from the AFB Store at

New Tech Content

You asked for it and now you’ve got it—we’ve expanded our technology content and made it easy for everyone, from people who are new to vision loss and technology to the seasoned tech guru, to get the information they need. The “Using Technology” page features the following links to take visitors to new AFB content for further learning and exploration:

And don’t forget—AccessWorld provides the latest in accessible technology news every month! Check out February’s special focus issue produced in partnership with Mississippi State University to encourage seniors to use access technology.

Aging and Vision Loss Statistics

Are you interested in statistics related to aging and vision loss? Check out the latest issue of Research Navigator for a discussion on the essential indicators related to older Americans with vision loss, as well as:

  • How many seniors in the U.S. are blind or visually impaired?
  • How does vision loss change with age? (and what can we expect in the future?)
  • What are key policy and advocacy concerns of older Americans with vision loss?

Low Vision Devices

February is Low Vision Month, and VisionAware has a new webpage dedicated to low vision devices. The page provides an overview of the various types of low vision devices, tips on obtaining a low-vision device, and resources for finding a low vision specialist.

Center on Vision Loss Offers Seminars

The AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas is hosting two seminars. On March 17, the topic is Older Workers with Vision Loss and on March 19, the center will offer a four-hour training for beginner iPhone users as part of the Kimbler Family Lecture Series. In April, the center will welcome rehabilitation counselors from across North Texas for training in providing disability awareness presentations as a part of their role in the community.

Awards and Events

AFB Announces 2016 Access Award Winners

Avid Technology, Inc., Glinda Hill, iTNAmerica, Netflix, and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) were honored with 2016 Access Awards for their commitment to innovation and access for all.

Paul Schroeder, Ed Gray, Mark Riccobono, Carl Augusto, Glinda Hill, Katherine Freund, and Tracy Wright

Image: (back row, l. to r.) Paul Schroeder, Ed Gray, Mark Riccobono, Carl Augusto, (front row, l. to r.) Glinda Hill, Katherine Freund, and Tracy Wright.

Chosen annually, the Access Awards honor individuals, corporations and organizations that eliminate or substantially reduce inequities faced by people with vision loss. Previous award recipients include Apple, Inc., Google, Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T and Major League Baseball. The 2016 Access Awards will be presented to the recipients on March 4 at the AFB Leadership Conference.

Avid Technology worked with feedback from users to make Pro Tools, the leading audio production platform used by most recording studios and schools, accessible to people with vision loss. This means that anyone—sighted or not—can work in a studio to produce audio content independently and with confidence.

Glinda Hill, Education Program Specialist in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, is the very model of a committed, caring and dedicated public servant. Her work to spearhead funding and support for three successful leadership training collaborations for personnel serving blind, deaf or deaf-blind individuals has had a profound impact on equal access to education for the blind and low-vision communities.

iTNAmerica is a non-profit committed to providing safe, low-cost, community-based transportation options for seniors and those with vision loss. By expanding mobility options for these underserved populations, iTNAmerica has helped many throughout the United States to remain independent and empowered.

Netflix is well known among many for providing binge-worthy programming. But for those in the blind and low-vision community, much of this programming remained inaccessible until last year, when Netflix added video description to some of its most popular series, such as Marvel’s Daredevil and House of Cards. Video description brings the world of television and movies alive for viewers who are blind or have low vision by providing audio narration of key visual elements.

National Federation of the Blind is being recognized as the creators of the KNFB Reader app, a tool that gives people with vision loss the capacity to read various types of printed material independently and efficiently in many environments. The power of this technology in a handheld, mainstream device is immeasurable, and the ability to read anywhere extends the impact of the KNFB Reader to all aspects of school, work, and leisure activities.

AFB Names Susan Mazrui the 2016 Stephen Garff Marriott Award Recipient

Debbie Marriott Harrison, Susan Mazrui, and Carl Augusto

Image: Debbie Marriott Harrison, Susan Mazrui, and Carl Augusto.

AFB has named Susan Mazrui, a former AFB Trustee, the recipient of the 2016 Stephen Garff Marriott Award. The award honors a blind or visually impaired individual who has served as an extraordinary mentor or who has attained remarkable professional success. Debbie Marriott Harrison, director of Marriott International, and Stephen’s sister, will present the award.

Susan Mazrui is a director for Public Policy at AT&T. She began work at Pacific Bell in 1994, where she gained experience in marketing, as well as external and regulatory affairs. In 1998, she moved to the wireless field, where she developed corporate strategies for state and federal legal and regulatory compliance. Under her leadership, Cingular Wireless became the first national carrier to offer “talking” cellphones and accessible smartphones. At AT&T, Mazrui was instrumental in establishing the Corporate Accessibility Technology Office, which assesses AT&T products and services for accessibility and usability.

From the AFB Blogs

Stevie Wonder Calls for Accessibility at Last Night’s Grammys—Bravo, Stevie!
by Carl Augusto on 2/16/2016, posted on the AFB Blog

Giants in History: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Helen Keller
by Helen Selsdon on 2/12/2016, posted on the AFB Blog

Where Are They Now? Preview of Visually Impaired Doctor, Joe Fontenot
by Katy Lewis on 2/26/2016, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Effective Time Management Advice for Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired 
by Ashley Sodosky on 2/24/2016, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Preparing a Teen Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired with Multiple Disabilities for Work: Utilizing Peers to Provide Guidance in Social Skills
by Shannon Carollo on 2/22/2016, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Telephone Support Group for Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome
by Scott Truax on 2/25/2016, posted on the FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice Blog

The Love Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired Needs
by Shannon Carollo on 2/16/2016, posted on the FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice Blog

New Research: Statins Show Promise as a Treatment for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
by Maureen Duffy on 2/23/2016, posted on the VisionAware Blog

During Black History Month: Learn about Two Pioneering African-American Educators in the Blindness Hall of Fame
by Maureen Duffy on 2/8/2016, posted on the VisionAware Blog

Freedom Sticks
by Priscilla Rogers on 2/21/2016, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

Blindness Brings Kindness: The Win Win of a Visual Impairment
by Maribel Steel on 2/17/2016, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

Random Acts of Kindness Week: February 15-20
by Sheila Rousey on 2/16/2016, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

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