AFB Celebrates 90 Years of Advocacy and Impact
This year, the American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller dedicated her life—is celebrating 90 years of expanding possibilities for people with vision loss. Special events and activities are planned to commemorate the landmark victories that AFB has helped to win on behalf of Americans with disabilities since our founding on June 28, 1921.
A new homepage banner and a special anniversary section on AFB.org were launched in early January to commemorate the 90th anniversary. The banner, which highlights key facts in AFB's history, will be changed periodically throughout the year and will link to a new feature page that includes a timeline of milestones and easy access to other historical sections of the site, including the Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan Macy, and Talking Book Museums, and the complete text of The Unseen Minority.
Several events are planned to commemorate the anniversary, including a celebratory sing-along during the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Seattle and a "fun facts" campaign on the AFB Facebook page.
FamilyConnect® Launches Social Networking Tool for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
FamilyConnect has launched a new social networking feature called FamilyFriends. Users can create their own personal profile, upload a photo, share their news through status updates, and become friends with other parents who are registered on FamilyConnect.org. The hope is that FamilyFriends will help parents, who often feel a tremendous sense of isolation when their children are diagnosed with a visual impairment, to reach out to other parents for advice and support and to share their ideas, solutions, and parenting tips, as well as their joy and pride in their children.
NAPVI representatives from throughout the country will join FamilyFriends to assist parents and provide guidance. In addition, demonstrations of the new social networking feature will be provided at the 2011 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Seattle.
News and Announcements
AFB to Present Top Honors at This Year's Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute
The Migel, Gallagher, and Access awards are AFB's most prestigious honors. Award recipients will be recognized during the 2011 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI) will be held March 11-12 at the Renaissance Hotel Seattle.
The 2011 winners of the Migel Medals, the highest honor in the field of blindness, are William R. Wiener, Ph.D., and Lylas G. Mogk, M.D. Bill Wiener is a renowned leader in orientation and mobility (O&M) and has played an integral role in the development of the O&M profession. He is currently the dean in residence at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C. Lylas Mogk is a nationally recognized ophthalmologist and author. She is the founding director of the Henry Ford Health System Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research in Grosse Pointe and Livonia, MI. Dr. Mogk will receive her award at an American Academy of Ophthalmology event in April.
Also receiving honors at JLTLI are the recipients of the 2011 Access Award. The CBS Broadcasting Network, the Walt Disney Company, Accessible Twitter, and Lexmark will be recognized for their bold strides toward creating new standards of accessibility and a better quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible Twitter was selected for correcting the inaccessibility of the original Twitter.com design. CBS Television Network was chosen for voluntarily and continuously providing video description to its viewers since 2002. Lexmark was singled out for giving people with vision loss unprecedented user-friendly command of the company's many multifunction products. Last, but not least, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts was named for providing audio description for its many spectacular rides and attractions.
The Gallagher Award, which honors a blind or visually impaired individual who has demonstrated exemplary participation in the workplace and the community, and who has served as an outstanding role model to others who have vision loss, will also be presented during JLTLI. The 2011 Gallagher Award recipient is Master Sergeant Jeffrey Mittman. Mittman was wounded by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq. In that attack, he lost his left eye and sustained substantial damage to his right eye. Today, he is a public speaker, master's student, and a national account manager with National Industries for the Blind.
The Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute is held annually to convene leaders in the blindness field. The conference will cover a number of subjects, such as optic nerve hypoplasia, orientation and mobility, and recreation. The full agenda, along with registration and hotel reservation information, is available online.
JVIB Introduces Facebook Page
The 105-year-old Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness launched a 21st century Facebook presence early in 2011. JVIB's Facebook page will provide users with regular information about new research, calls for papers, and news from the field and will encourage discussion and feedback through questions, invitations to comment, and special contests.
AFB Press Publishes a New, Fully Accessible DVD
"Mastering the Environment Through Audition, Kinesthesia and Cognition: An O&M Approach to Guide Dog Travel," a new, fully accessible DVD, was published by AFB Press in January. Produced by the Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille, this essential teaching tool focuses on a visually impaired traveler's ability to process auditory input in independent travel, especially while preparing to work with a guide dog.