Official Newsletter of the
Michigan Council of the Blind
and Visually Impaired
Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Rosemarie Facilla, President
For General Inquiries
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Chapters in Michigan:
· Grand Rapids
· Mitten Phone Chapter
· Port Huron
Highlights in this issue include:
· President’s Update
· Inclusive Voting
· MCBVI First Timer Scholarship
· My Journey toward Winning Friends and Influencing Others, by Kelsey Nicolay
· Committee and Chapter Updates
· MCBVI Candidate articles
Rosemarie Facilla, President
Hello MCBVI Members:
I want everyone to know we have been working hard over the past few months. Accessible prescription legislation continues to be a topic of interest and concern. We continue to meet to create strategies to move forward, contacting other disability groups, as well as a pharmacy chapter, and other ideas. Oregon is now the second state to pass legislation regarding accessible prescription labeling.
We met at a special meeting on June 1, 2019, and are moving forward after much discussion with inclusive voting in regard to being able to vote for our officers. With this process, members in good standing will have the opportunity to vote whether they attend the state convention or not.
We have updated our brochure and flyers to reflect our new web site name and contact phone number. We distributed these at both Visions 2019 in May, and Library Without Walls in June. There seemed to be interest in our organization, and hopefully we may gain new members as a result. Thanks go out to Rhonda Stogner, our Marketing Chair, and her committee members, as well as efforts by David Gordon and Scott Kooistra for their editing preparations and printing everything in time for Library Without Walls.
It is with regret, the resignation of our long time Constitution and Bylaws Chair, Wayne LePiors has, been accepted as he has had health issues. We wish Wayne well. He has agreed to serve as a consultant to the new committee Chair, David Gordon, and his new committee members.
In July, John Jarzyna and I will be attending the ACB National Convention in Rochester, New York. The two of us will be representing our affiliate by being delegates, and serving on the Nominating Committee.
We have two members of our organization who received the ACB JP Morgan Chase Leadership Fellows award. Only five people in the country received these awards. I was one of the recipients, and congratulations go out to our Mitten Phone Chapter member, who was the other recipient of this award, Don Kalman, who is a resident of Medina, Ohio. Great work, Don.
Jennifer Bolling was able to raise enough funds to send one person to our state convention this year, who has never attended a state convention before. She did this through our April Pure Haven fund raiser. Congratulations go out to Jennifer. She presently has her committee ready to work on selecting a candidate, so please do not be bashful about sending a letter to her committee, as you may be selected as the one to go to convention this year.
Speaking of our upcoming convention, the Blue Water League Chapter has been working hard on their plans, and they continue to work out details to make this a great event.
Hope everyone has a great summer!
Phyllis Magbanua, Chair
It is getting closer to convention time. Have you made your plans to attend the 46th Annual MCBVI State Convention being held in Port Huron?
The convention dates are from Thursday, October 24 to Sunday, October 27, 2019, at The Blue Water Convention Center and The Doubletree by Hilton. The address is 800 Harker St. Port Huron, MI 48060. The convention center and hotel are located in one building.
Make your reservations now by calling and using the code word (LOB). The hotel can be reached at 810-984-8000, or call the Reservation line at 1-855-610-8733. The room rate per night is $75.00 with 11%tax, which comes to $83.25 per night. If you want to save money, share a room with someone.
This year’s theme is “Disability in the 21st Century: Reflecting back and Looking Forward.” We have been working on the program and brake out sessions. We are giving you a choice, which brake out session you would prefer to attend. If you do not make it to one of them, you can go to the next one the following day. As soon as we get everything lined up, we will post it on the website, and it will be in your convention packet.
Also, if you are planning to attend the convention, we would very much appreciate if you could help out by bringing an auction item or door prize. Kyle Austin will be back this year as auctioneer, so if you can help out, it would be appreciated.
For those who are planning to take the bus, Miller's Transit may be an option from Detroit to Port Huron, or you can call them at 1-800-544-2383. I do know the bus arrives in Port Huron at 5 p.m. and leaves at 11:35 a.m.
Please check the website for more information as the time approaches, or you can contact me at 810-966-9185, or send me an email atmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
David Gordon, Second Vice President
One of the first things Rosemarie Facilla began working on last fall, after being voted in as President of MCBVI, was to bring about inclusive voting, because she believes each of us should be able to vote regardless of whether or not we are able to attend the state convention.
On June 1, a “special meeting,” as authorized in our bylaws, was held so we could decide how to achieve inclusive voting for the 2019 election. It was agreed to suspend the bylaws as they pertain to voting for 2019, which avoids us having to change them multiple times as we work out the final procedures.
It is our hope, after the election this year, to hold another special meeting to revisit these issues and finalize things. A spirited discussion was held on the following points:
1. Our votes will be confidential; in that the modified Nominations Committee will tally the votes. The key word is confidential.
2. Because the election is going to be held before the convention, there will be no nominations from the floor at the convention this year. However, you can, as always, write-in, or call-in in this case, anyone whom you wish, as long as they are a member in good standing with MCBVI.
3. People can vote while at the convention this year, with the time to be determined by the Convention Committee.
4. All nominations must be received by the Nominations Committee by September 20, 2019.
5. It was agreed the best forum, in addition to the radio station, is to host an event in the free conference room, so all candidates can talk briefly about why they are running.
Rosemarie has suggested the election period via phone should be two weeks prior to 11:59 p.m. October 20, 2019.
We will send out reminders about the procedure as time nears. There will be a committee which will address any concerns, questions, or problems.
If you wish to listen to the entire special meeting, you can call 515-606-5227. The access code is 383125#. The meeting number is 20. Warning: this is over two hours long.
MCBVI First Timer Scholarship
Jennifer Bolling, Chair
First, I would like to say thank you to everyone who placed an order during the MCBVI fund raiser through Pure Haven. This fund raiser was a great success, and we raised $451.00. The funds raised from this event will be used to send one person who has never attended the MCBVI State Convention. An email has been sent out to the MCBVI-L discussion list, and to each of the chapter Presidents with the rules and guidelines for submitting an application. Members of MCBVI who meet the requirements of the First Timer Scholarship, who do not have email, are encouraged to reach out to someone who is able to help with their submission.
The deadline to apply is August 13, 2019. If you did not receive the email with the rules and guidelines, please email, or contact Toni Nye, committee member. Toni can be reached at the following:
***Editor’s Note: the following article was published in the ACB Braille Forum.
As a college graduate with a degree in communication, I thought I was prepared for the workplace. Over a year out and still unemployed, I decided to listen to the encouragement of my cousin, who is a training consultant for Dale Carnegie, to go through their program. He told me that even though I had solid communication skills, I would still benefit from the course. It was a difficult decision, partly because I would have to depend on my family to transport me. After much thought, my dad and I decided that I should go through the program since I would acquire skills to prepare me to handle the stress and challenges of the workplace. In addition, the course served as an opportunity to network with the other participants in order to help me gain employment.
Prior to the talk with my cousin, I did not know much about the program. I knew that it had something to do with public speaking. At first, the staff felt they would be comfortable having me in class. “I can handle it,” said Elaine Dwyer, Dale Carnegie instructor, when informed by my cousin, a consultant for the program, that I would be enrolling in her course. Due to company policy, I was not given the name of my instructor, so I was not able to communicate with him or her ahead of time. The training consultant had to facilitate the entire enrollment process, including the initial discussion with the trainer. I felt more confident knowing my instructor would be able to accommodate my learning needs.
class was an orientation. The participants were introduced to the Dale Carnegie
program, the areas of instruction, etc. Students were also introduced to some
basic skills such as self-introduction techniques. Each student was then asked
to practice these skills in front of the class. My classmates were willing to
help me move around when needed.
During the first few classes, the students were introduced to fundamental communication skills such as name recognition, conversation starting, etc. The majority of this instruction was oral; therefore all the participants were expected to memorize the sequences or sayings without having them written down. However, at times a participant manual was used. I was able to obtain an electronic copy which I could pull up in class as needed. I was able to locate the other books on Bookshare, so I could read them independently between classes. At times when materials were not available electronically, I asked a family member to serve as a reader. As the course progressed, there were some aspects which presented some challenges. For example, during one class, the instructor made up actions to go with a story in the book with which the students were asked to become familiar. The purpose of adding the actions was to help students add enthusiasm to their communication. Neither I nor the instructor considered how I would participate. Therefore, she asked one of the graduate assistants to try to describe what she was doing, but the graduate assistant could not describe the actions fast enough. Once the class learned the story with the actions, the students were asked to perform it in small groups. I did not do the actions. Instead, I was able to participate by helping to recite the words. “I realized I should have followed up with you,” Ms. Dwyer said after class that night. From this experience, we learned that it is important to anticipate challenges and plan accordingly.
During a later class, the students were asked to learn several silly skits to demonstrate being flexible with change. This time, the instructor and I talked about the best way to handle the situation. We both agreed that having me work with another person would be the best way for me to participate fully. The person I worked with verbally described what the instructor was doing while she was demonstrating the skit to the class. When the class was learning the skit, my partner would physically guide me through the routine. Once again, the class performed the skit in small groups. My partner helped me perform my assigned skit with my group. I felt more comfortable with this method since I could feel what the motions felt like.
As part of the course, each participant was required to give a weekly talk. The talks focused on gaining cooperation with others, demonstrating leadership, and enhancing relationships. During my speeches, I focused on dealing with the vocational rehabilitation agency and how I applied the principles learned in class to help me get the service I need. My classmates were not familiar with the system, but after listening to my talks, they had a better understanding of some of the difficulties I face. Although I had some difficulties in some areas, I was much more comfortable in other areas, particularly learning things by rote. For example, during one class period, the instructor wrote a saying on the board. I asked my neighbor what she was writing and she quietly whispered it to me. The instructor went through the saying out loud, but having my neighbor whisper it to me ahead of time helped to solidify it in my memory. Therefore, it was easier to repeat the saying individually when the students were asked to do so later in the class period.
Before I knew it, it was graduation night, a night in which all our accomplishments would be recognized. Each student was required to give a final talk in order to receive his or her certificate. Prior to each participant’s speech, the instructor talked briefly about each participant, mentioning a highlight from his or her talk. I was a little nervous at first, but when it was my turn to speak, I stood up and confidently gave my speech. When I finished speaking, my family came up to present me my certificate as the other participants families had done. In the end, my family and I decided that the process was worth it, even though they had to drive me there and back every week. My advice to readers is that if a Dale Carnegie class is offered in your area, do not hesitate to participate. The skills you learn will help you in every aspect of life.
Accessible Prescription Labeling Update
Malaina VanderWal, Chair
In both May and June, MCBVI held two town hall meetings to continue discussing the prospect of our organization working towards Accessible Prescription legislation. We began exploring the possibility last year, but there were many hurtles to work through. First, our organization needed to be on the same page as to what MCBVI’s goals should be, and what factors to consider.
During the June 15 meeting, significant progress was made among the members in attendance. Basic principles were read, and it was agreed three out of the four aligned with our philosophy. The fourth one would be modified, and they would be reviewed at the next MCBVI Board meeting. The principles were provided by En-Vision America distributers of the ScripTalk devices. Although attendance was good, we acknowledge some were not able to participate due to other commitments at the same time. Thank you to those who were able to participate in the discussion.
Also, I told everyone of my experience beta testing the iOS application for the ScripTalk audio labels. Rite Aid and Walmart are participating in the beta testing. Unless utilizing the Walmart mail order service, check with your local pharmacy, or contact En-Vision America for availability, as it may not be in every location right now.
The ScripTalk iOS application will only work on iPhone seven and newer; older models are not compatible.
As of this writing, Rite Aid and Walmart are the only two pharmacies I am aware of participating in the testing within Michigan. For more information, or to ask if you can beta test the ScripTalk application for iOS, contact En-Vision America at the following:
There is an Android version available in the Google Play Store.
Constitution and Bylaws
Wayne LePiors, Former Chair
This message is to inform the members of MCBVI that I have resigned my position as Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Recent health issues caused me to make this decision, and it was also on the recommendation of my doctors.
David Gordon was appointed as the new Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
I was happy doing it while I did it, but now I have to give it up for my health. With just having four Stents put in my heart, my heart is a little weak to work hard as it should.
Thank You for allowing me to serve as Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee over the years!
I will still be around on the Executive Board, and Treasurer of the BWL.
Constitution and Bylaws Update
David Gordon, Chair
I was appointed as the new Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, after Wayne LePiors chose to resign due to health reasons. We want to thank Wayne for the years of service he offered. Wayne has agreed to assist us as needed, especially concerning his expertise with Robert’s rules. We will be calling on him.
The committee is taking a summer break, but will form and meet before the fall newsletter. Our main jobs will be:
1. Enact any bylaws changes necessary as we work toward inclusive voting.
2. Work on miner revisions and corrections.
If you would be interested in serving on the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, please contact me at the following:
I look forward to serving you in this capacity.
Future Goals Update
Lucy Edmonds, Chair
A new committee has been formed called the Future Goals Committee. The purpose of the committee is to encourage MCBVI to be more responsive to and inclusive of its members. It will make recommendations to the Executive Committee on how to broaden the scope of the organization.
In an effort to find out what people want and/or get from being a member of MCBVI, we have put together a short survey we hope you will complete:
1. What do you get out of being a member of MCBVI?
2. Is there something MCBVI could do to make you feel more included?
3. Is there a project MCBVI could undertake in which you would be willing to help?
4. What changes would you like to see this organization make in order to grow?
5. Do you feel MCBVI meets your support and/or social needs?
6. If you are a member at large, why did you choose not to be a member of a local chapter, including the phone chapter?
The names of individuals who respond to the survey will remain anonymous. Only the results of the survey will be tabulated and shared with the Executive Committee.
Please email or call Rebecca Kooistra, a committee member, with your answers to the survey.
All responses must be received by September 1, 2019. We look forward to you taking this opportunity to having your voice heard!
Rhonda Stogner, Chair
I can definitely say “welcome to summer” as it has been in the 80s and 90s in Indiana.
The Marketing Committee worked on the MCBVI brochure, and our thanks go to David Gordon for getting it changed, and to Scott Kooistra for printing them. We also worked on the prescription flyer.
I enjoyed working with my committee, and wish all of you a great summer. I specifically want to thank Jackie Boomstra for always being around to “help me do it again.” She always would. We became friends over this committee; otherwise, I would miss her terribly!
MCBVI Radio Update
Rebecca Kooistra, Chair
MCBVI Radio is breaking new ground, yet again! We will be playing a role in MCBVI’s 2019 election. How so, you ask?
For those candidates interested in doing so, MCBVI Radio will produce and run 30 second campaign spots on-air beginning sometime nears the end of summer.
It goes without saying, there will be no negative ads allowed. These spots are about you and why people should vote for you.
For further details on how you can participate in this unique opportunity, send an email tomailto:email@example.com.
Karla Fields, Chair
I am very excited to report we have several candidates running for most of the offices. As of today, the candidates running for election are as follows:
First Vice President, Rebecca Kooistra
Second Vice President, Joe Todd and Toni Nye
Treasurer, Charis Austin
Assistant Secretary, Gail Mancewicz, Kristen Kelling, and Lucy Edmonds
You may contact any of the Nominations Committee members if you wish to run for an office, or if you have suggestions for a nominee. The members of the Nominations Committee, along with their contact information, are as follows:
Karla Fields, Chair
Malaina VanderWal, Co-editor
The deadline for the next issue will change from October 15 to November 4, in order to accommodate for this year’s convention schedule. By moving the deadline, it will allow for the convention information to be in the fall edition.
Also, just as a reminder, the MCBVI-L discussion list is available for members to subscribe to, and we welcome more members to participate. Subscribe at main@firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Charis Austin, Joe Todd, or myself for assistance with subscribing if there are difficulties. It is a light traffic list, most of the time, but we share information and discuss issues important to our organization.
Contact information for the co-editors will be at the end of this newsletter, along with the next deadline mentioned above.
Malaina VanderWal, Chair
The Resolutions Committee began meeting to discuss possible topics for MCBVI to work on this year. Last year’s resolutions were well-written, and tackled important issues many of us face! My committee is ready to work on issues important to the membership, but we need your assistance!
In order to formulate strong and meaningful resolutions, we encourage members to reach out to the committee with ideas; and when possible, details of the suggested topic. The deadline for providing suggestions will be August 20, 2019. Note: suggestions will be explored, but at the discretion of the Resolutions Committee on whether or not to move forward with drafting a resolution. Sometimes, we do not obtain enough information to warrant moving forward with a resolution idea. While working on 2019 resolutions, we continue to work on following up with resolutions adopted at the 2018 MCBVI State Convention.
When sending a resolution idea, include as much information as possible. This will make our task simpler. Feel free to write a resolution draft outlining the issue, and steps for a resolution to the problem. Do not worry about format, as we can work with you, or make adjustments as we deem appropriate.
My contact information is as follows:
Jackie Boomstra, Chair
We will be streaming this year's convention on MCBVI Radio at www.mcbviradio.com. Those who are not able to attend the convention will be able to tune in on MCBVI Radio and hear the convention.
We are still in the process of gathering information on the advantages of using the Zoom Cloud Meetings application. Many organizations are using it, including blind organizations. We will present information about the cost and benefits of using this application at the July MCBVI Board meeting.
Chapters From Around Michigan
Blue Water League of the Blind (BWL) Update
Phyllis Magbanua, President
Hello MCBVI Members:
It is summertime, time to go out and enjoy the warm weather while it is here. It does not stay around long, so go out and have some fun. That is what the BWL members are going to do. We have three activities planned for July, and all of them are outside. There are even two activities planned for August.
BWL has been working hard on the convention details because we want to put on a good convention for our MCBVI members. I hope everybody can make it to convention.
Also, everybody have a nice and safe summer.
Mitten Phone Chapter Update
Frank Cunningham, President
The Mitten Phone Chapter meets the fourth Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. It is designed to connect members who are not able to attend meetings at a local chapter for various reasons. We currently have 35 members, and are growing as the word is getting out.
We want to congratulate two of our members, Rosemarie Facilla and Don Kalman, for being recognized for their Leadership. Way to go!
The group has explored the options of having different groups, or speakers, on our conference calls.
We also have a social night where games like “Family Feud,” or “Trivia,” can be played, or a movie shown. Another idea was a short bio to better know our members. The social meeting is the 3rd Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Non-chapter members, if interested, may call in by obtaining the conference call number from Rosemarie Facilla at 231-759-8734, or David Gordon at 928-852-4101.
Check out or website: www.michiganmittens.net
Have a safe and enjoyable summer!
The Northerners Update
Cathy Daily, President
We continue to hold our meetings and look for activities for our group to do.
In July, we will have our potluck, but it is the fall months when The Northerners are busy the most with projects. Although our group is small, we work to find ways to help others in need.
During the fall months, we do “Stuff the Bus” and “Adopt a Family.” We hope to be able to do “Stuff the Bus” again, but the bus used previously, is no longer an option. Our local Lions Club will be contacted to see if they may be of assistance with providing a vehicle to use. When packing food for Adopt A Family, we learned using totes instead of boxes work better because they hold up much better.
From all of us in The Northerners, we want everyone to have a fun summer!
Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP) Update
Casey Dutmer, President
The Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP) met three times, and at our January meeting, we organized for the year.
For our March meeting, we welcomed back previous guest speaker, Lisa Carlton, Program Manager for Mercy Health Grand River Gastroenterology. Lisa talked about how a person can take steps to prevent colon cancer, and other issues pertaining to other digestive problems. She talked about what foods to eat, and what we should try to avoid.
In May, we had a speaker from Grand Rapids Community College talk about audio describing plays at the college.
We will have our annual summer picnic on Saturday, August 24.
A number of members are also involved in a variety of organizations regarding the needs of the blind and visually impaired community, from transportation, housing, and how to make Kent County more accessible.
We continue to have good participation at are meetings.
MCBVI 2019 Candidate Announcements
Lucy Edmonds, Assistant Secretary Candidate:
I am running for the office of Assistant Secretary of the Michigan Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.
I was a member of the organization for many years; however, I did not renew my membership once I began working for the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. I felt I should remain neutral, and not be a member of any consumer group of the blind.
During my years of membership, I served on many committees, and helped plan a convention in Kalamazoo. I was also president for a short time. I also served on the Resolutions Committee of the American Council of the Blind for many years.
I am currently a member of the Braille Revival League, which is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. I am an advocate for the preservation of Braille and Braille literacy, as I feel this is a major issue facing people who are blind.
I am proud of MCBVI for its work on Accessible Prescription Labeling, as this is also a problem for those of us who are blind.
If I am elected to the position of assistant secretary, I will dedicate my services to the group, and assist the Executive Board to make this organization grow and flourish. Therefore, I am asking for your vote for the office of Assistant Secretary of MCBVI.
Gail Mancewicz, Assistant Secretary Candidate:
I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself, I am Gail Mancewicz, and I am running for Assistant Secretary of MCBVI. Over the past few years, I have not been as involved as I would have liked. Since 2016, I have been attending WMU-Cooley Law School. In December, I will have completed my coursework. This will allow me to dedicate more of my time to community advocacy work.
I would bring to the position experience in both community advocacy, and holding the position as secretary to non-profit community organizations. I served one term as city council member to the City of Rockford, MI, a non-partisan elected position. Prior to that position, I served as secretary to the Rockford Neighborhood Association.
My advocacy endeavors have involved a range of issues. I am part of the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Redevelopment and Wolverine Community Advisory Group, which works to advocate for cleanup of Wolverine World Wide’s dumping of contaminants, which have impacted Northern Kent County. I have been involved in advocating for veterans and their families as a Veteran Resource Navigator.
More specific to the blind and visually impaired, I was involved in advocating for improved transportation within Kent County, so there are more transportation options throughout the county, and not just within the city. This can have a profound impact on employment, educational, and social opportunities for those with disabilities.
I look forward to having the opportunity to serve as assistant secretary and put my skills to work servicing MCBVI and the blind and visually impaired community as a whole. It would be my privileged to serve.
Next MCBVI News Deadline
November 4, 2019
Submissions received after this date will be saved for the next newsletter
To Contact the Editors:
Mary Beth Ridder
Our Mission: To act as a catalyst in changing the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired and their families through education, advocacy, and camaraderie.
© Copyright 2019 Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired