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PRESIDENTIAL REPORT

By: Patti Gregory-Chang

NFBI is involved in so many programs and projects right now that it's hard to know where to start.  I'm thrilled with our progress, and with the level of involvement of our members.  Over the past few months several NFBI members have attended seminars at our national center in Baltimore.  These include a state presidents[’] and treasurers[’] meeting, youth seminars, and leadership programs.  Many new ideas have come from these weekends, and we are implementing new programs as a result.  Eleven NFBI members participated in this year's Washington Seminar.  They met with almost all of our representatives and senators.  We are following up on these contacts by making in-district visits.  Two of those are done, two more are scheduled, but we still have quite a way to go.  Please contact Syed Yousufuddin if you have not yet visited your rep in congress.  Denise Avant, Carmen Dennis, and I visited Ralm Emanuel's office on March 28th.  Talking to representatives is easier than you think.  Call Syed at 773-814-8556 to set up a meeting and find out what you should discuss.  Work on Newsline® abounds.  In late December Scott White and David Meyer traveled throughout the state to teach blind people and blindness professionals about the program.  Our Newsline® Committee continues giving presentations to blindness organizations.  Recently, the Illinois Vendors began promoting Newsline® as well.  Their support should increase Newsline® usage and help to insure its continuation.  

As you will recall, we served on several ISVI task forces and working groups in 2007 and [into this year] 2008.  One committee involved the selection of a new superintendent for the school.   ISVI's new superintendent, Reggie Clinton, is working with us on mentoring issues.  In fact, ISVI sent a van with several students and two staff members to our Spring Student Seminar.  We received twenty-five NFBI scholarship applications this year, and more than twenty Illinoisans applied for national scholarships.  Our committees will work hard to make their selections.  We will also select people for this summer's NFBI internship program.   As always, we encourage first-time attendance at National Convention.  At least seven first-time families or individuals have [evinced] {indicated}(I think this is a good word, but do you think people will know what it means?) an interest in going to Dallas.  Along those lines, I urge our veterans to make their reservations and to register.  Convention information is in the April edition of the Braille Monitor.   NFBI members served on the task force to implement S511, the Technology Access Bill, which we drafted and piloted through the legislature.  The specifications have now been finalized.  They should make state-owned computer services and programs more accessible for years to come.  We are partnering with the Illinois Council of the Blind to work on issues affecting blind vendors.  We sent a representative to the Annual

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