Braille Monitor                          November 2018

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News from the Federation Family

NFB Jernigan Institute Helps Santa Answer His Mail:
Santa Claus has made the staff at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute honorary elves. He has asked us to help him send letters in Braille to very young blind boys and girls (those under the age of ten) in the United States.

Between November 12 and December 14, parents can go online at and fill out a Santa Braille Letter request form. The form can also be printed and faxed to 410-685-2340. Beginning December 3, the Braille letters from Santa will start going out to boys and girls around the country. The Braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy (for mom and dad to read) as well as some other fun Christmastime activities.

The deadline for letter requests is December 14 to ensure that a return letter in Braille is received before Christmas. For more information, please visit our website at

Nationwide BRAL Contest:
The Second Annual Nationwide BRAL Contest is here!

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI), in partnership with the NFB Jernigan Institute and the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, announces the second annual Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders (BRAL) Contest for kids. Students must be K-12 and must reside in a state registered for the contest. Entrants compete to read the most Braille pages, going against other students in similar grades across all participating states.

The contest runs for seven weeks, encouraging students to be proud of their Braille-reading ability and to work to improve their Braille skills—while possibly winning prizes in the process.

All blind or visually impaired children in a participating state are eligible to enter the contest. However, an NFB affiliate in a state needs to submit an entrance fee to the NFBI to become a participating state. Those desiring to register their child for the Nationwide BRAL Contest need to be sure their state is a participating state. Contact your state affiliate president or the contest administrator as described below if you have questions.

Please put Nationwide BRAL plus the contestant’s name in the subject line. Alternatively, you can mail to: Deborah Stein, 5817 N. Nina Ave., Chicago, IL 60631.

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.

If you have questions, email the contest administrator, Deborah Stein, at [email protected] (please put “Nationwide BRAL Question” in the subject line) or by phone at 773-203-1394.


The NFB of North Dakota held its 2018 convention in Fargo, North Dakota, at the Holiday Inn Fargo during the weekend of September 7 to 8 with National Representative Joe Ruffalo. The following members were elected to serve the affiliate: president, Milton Ota; vice president/treasurer, Jesse Shirek; secretary, Sherry Shirek. Two board positions were filled: for a two-year term, Josh Biddle was elected; and for a one-year term the convention elected Richard Early. Congratulations to all who have assumed these positions, and thank you for carrying forward the positive work of the National Federation of the Blind.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

eCarroll Technology Instruction:

The Carroll Center for the Blind is now providing computer instruction to individuals who cannot physically travel to a training center. eCarroll Technology Instruction brings technology training directly to blind and visually impaired individuals in the comfort of their own homes. Using Zoom meetings, an easy-to-use and accessible video and web-conferencing software, expert instructors offer individualized instruction in a wide range of areas: from the nuances of different web browsers to using pivot tables in Microsoft Excel. For a limited time, sign up now for a free thirty-minute lesson. To learn more about eCarroll Technology Instruction, view course details here:

Jim Debus of the Paralympic Sports Club of Columbus sent us this news:

Blind Soccer is coming to the United States, and we are particularly in search of totally blind athletes interested in starting up teams in their local communities. Although all visual classifications are encouraged to participate, Five Aside Football/Blind Soccer is played only at its highest level, the Paralympic Games, by athletes meeting the B1 visual requirement. We recently conducted a demonstration for over one hundred students at ten state schools as part of an athletic conference meet with the goal of planting a seed of interest in the young men and women in attendance. At present the only school for the blind offering the sport is Maryland School for the Blind with the only adult team practicing out of Columbus, Ohio. We would like to find participants willing to travel to Columbus in November for a development camp where they will train for a competition in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on December 2nd through 10th. This will be the first representation of a United States team taking part in international competition. We are currently in need of between four and six totally blind B1 classification players and one sighted or partially sighted goalkeeper.

Anyone interested in attending the November camp should contact Jim Debus at 586-876-7359. or via email at [email protected]. We would encourage the members of the National Federation of the Blind to show their pride by Like/Following and Sharing our social media pages on Facebook, Ohio Blind Soccer—Five Aside Football; Twitter at Ohio Blind Soccer, #ohioBlind; and our website Let’s make a difference and put blind soccer on the map here in the United States!

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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