All posts by Steve Cook

White Cane Safety Day!

Governor McMaster has proclaimed October 15, 2018, as White Cane Safety Day.  Below, is his proclamation:


“State of South Carolina – Governor’s Proclamation


WHEREAS, the white cane is a simple yet effective tool of independence that contributes to the self-sufficiency of the blind and visually impaired and symbolizes their ability to achieve a full and independent life and their capacity to work productively in competitive employment; and

WHEREAS, the white cane is a symbol of dignity and determination as well as a tangible reminder that individuals with impaired eyesight are able to go, to move, to be, to compete and to contribute with all others in society and to lead full, independent and productive lives; and

WHEREAS, established by the National Federation of the Blind, the annual observance of “White Cane Safety Day” emphasizes the need for all Americans to be aware of the presence of disabled persons in our communities and to work together to keep the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings and facilities, and places of public accommodation amusement and resort safe and functional for the disabled; and

WHEREAS, the 2018 observance of “White Cane Safety Day” provides an opportunity for people across the Palmetto State and the nation to renew their dedication to eliminating barriers for the blind and visually impaired and to recognize their value as individuals, employees and productive members of our communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Henry McMaster, Governor of the great state of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2018, as WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY throughout the state and encourage all South Carolinians to show respect for those who carry the white cane, to honor their many achievements, and to reaffirm our commitment to improve access to basic services and opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons.

Henry McMaster, Governor, State of South Carolina”


Senior Retreat 2018


Learn to Live the Life You Want



Learn from experienced blind instructors techniques and skills of blindness to enhance your quality of life. Become empowered­ remain independent and actively engage in hobbies, work and social activities with confidence.

The Senior Division of the National Federation of the Blind is sponsoring our first Senior Retreat for legally blind seniors with a strong desire to learn nonvisual techniques to enhance and enrich their quality of life.


Where: Rocky Bottom, South Carolina This is a beautiful rural setting with great hiking and fishing opportunities.


When: October 14-20, 2018


Cost: $300.00 per attendee. Please note this is the cost of the training. The nearest airport is Greenville, South Carolina. Transportation from the airport to Rocky Bottom and again, back to the airport will be provided. Participants must make all other transportation arrangements and pay these expenses.


Classes Offered:

Cane Travel,

Cooking and Daily Living Skills,

Basic Computer Literacy and Technology Training, Adjustment to Blindness Seminars, Braille and Tactile Labeling Techniques, Problem-Solving Strategies.


To Apply: Send an email to or call Ruth Sager at 410 602-9030 or write:

7634 Carla Road,

Pikesville, MD 21208 for a paper application.

Submit any questions or comments to the above addresses or phone number. All applications must be received by August 15, 2018. Money is due by September 1, 2018 to:


NFB Senior Division

CstO Duncan Larsen

Colorado Center for the Blind,

2233 Shepperd Ave.

Littleton, CO 80120

Please note that all applicants will be interviewed by Board members of the Senior Division upon receiving a completed application.

You will then be notified if you are a successful candidate.

Space is limited so do not delay in applying and filling out your application.





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Dear fellow Federationists:   The National Federation of the Blind has created a rideshare testing program to measure Lyft and Uber’s efforts to eliminate driver discrimination against riders with guide dogs or service animals. Recent agreements with these two major ridesharing companies require the National Federation of the Blind to provide feedback, over the next three to five years, on the efforts they have agreed to undertake to prevent discrimination against service animal users.   Here’s where you come in. If you use Uber or Lyft and have a service animal or travel with someone who has a service animal, we need your help. Fill out our online questionnaire after your next Uber or Lyft ride, and as often as you can after that. We would love feedback from regular Uber and Lyft users at least once a month, about both positive and negative experiences. You will find the questionnaire at   Extensive information about the program is available in the May issue of the Braille Monitor. You can also visit for more information, including an extensive FAQ, information on how to report discrimination to Uber and Lyft directly as well as through our questionnaire, and a list of the questions we’ll ask so you can be thinking about them when you take your next ride.   Please share this information with fellow Uber and Lyft users with guide dogs or other service animals, including non-members of the National Federation of the Blind.   If you have questions that are not answered by the resources above, contact Valerie Yingling, Legal Program Coordinator, at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, at (410) 659-9314 extension 2440, or   Thanks in advance for your assistance with this important effort.   Sincerely,   The National Federation of the Blind Communications Team     Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D. Director of Public Relations 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 (410) 659-9314, Ext. 2330 |

Computer Classes


The Computer Science Technology Division will be holding training workshops and help sessions on the following dates:

September 15

October 13

November 10

December 15


The first session on September 15 will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind

119 S Kilbourne Rd

Columbia, SC 29205

From 10am to Noon.


This session will cover the Seeing AI app for iPhones.

Talking Camera for the Blind

Microsoft Corporation




Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:
• Short Text – Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
• Documents – Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
• Products – Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
• People – Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
• Scenes (early preview) – Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
• Currency – Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
• Color – Identifies color.
• Handwriting – Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
• Light – Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
• Images in other apps – Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.
• Photo browsing experience – Describes photos on your phone

Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.

Check out tutorials with this YouTube playlist:

Visit for more details


There will also be a help session for those of you who need help getting started, or with a specific problem.


If you would like to attend, please email Thom Spittle at, or call the

CSTD HelpLine at 803-402-3526, and leave your name and that you would like to attend.


If you would like to help with the workshop, please contact Thom Spittle in one of the above ways.


Also, we would like to hold the October, November, or December Workshop in another part of the state. We can do this if we have transportation and a good expected turnout for that location.


As always, if you have any Workshop suggestions, or need help, call the HelpLine at 803-402-3526.


Thanks so much,


Thomas Spittle


Computer Science Technology Divvision

National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina

Code of Conduct

Frank Coppel, President





  1. Introduction

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is part of a nationwide community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. The Federation knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back. To help carry out the Federation’s vital mission, this Code of Conduct sets forth policies and standards that all members, especially Federation leaders, are expected to adopt and follow.


  1. Diversity Policy

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina embraces diversity and full participation as core values in its mission to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind. We are committed to building and maintaining a statewide organization with local chapters and divisions that is unified in its priorities and programs and is directed by the membership. We respect differences of opinion, beliefs, identities, and other characteristics that demonstrate that blind people are a diverse cross section of society. Furthermore, the organization is dedicated to continuing to establish new methods of membership and leadership development that reflect the diversity of the entire blind community. In promoting a diverse and growing organization, we expect integrity and honesty in our relationships with each other and openness to learning about and experiencing cultural diversity. We believe that these qualities are crucial to fostering social and intellectual maturity. Intellectual maturity also requires individual struggle with unfamiliar ideas. We recognize that our views and convictions will be challenged, and we expect this challenge to take place in a climate of tolerance and mutual respect in order to maintain a united organization. While we encourage the exchange of differing ideas and experiences, we do not condone the use of demeaning, derogatory, or discriminatory language, action, or any other form of expression intended to marginalize an individual or group. The National Federation of the Blind does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, or any other characteristic or intersectionality of characteristics.


III. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, or any other characteristic or intersectionality of characteristics. Harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics similarly will not be tolerated. Although this Code of Conduct establishes a minimum standard prohibiting discrimination and harassment, nothing in this Code should be interpreted to limit in any way a person’s right to report abuse or harassment to law enforcement when appropriate.

Sexual harassment is prohibited by state and federal law and also will not be tolerated by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. Complaints of harassment may be lodged by a female against a male, by a female against a female, by a male against a male, or by a male against a female. Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.” The following conduct is either considered conduct that by itself is sexual harassment, or that has the potential risk of causing sexual harassment to occur, and this conduct is therefore prohibited:

  • unwelcome inappropriate physical contact or touching;
  • repeating of sexually suggestive jokes/references/innuendoes and comments about an individual’s body/sexual prowess/physical attributes/dress;
  • the use of sexually derogatory language/pictures/videos toward/about another person;
  • the use of inappropriate sexual gestures;
  • sexually suggestive propositions; and
  • explicit or implicit threats that failure to submit will have negative consequences.


Under this policy, harassment can be verbal, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law; or that of his or her relatives, friends, or associates, and that a) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment; b) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or involvement in the organization; or c) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s opportunities for participation/advancement in the organization.

Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts including bullying; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group that is placed on walls or elsewhere on the organization’s premises or circulated by email, phone (including voice messages), text messages, social networking sites, or other means.




  1. Social Media and Web Policy

All members of the Federation, but especially officers and board members of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina as well as those in leadership positions such as chapter and division presidents, should follow these recommended guidelines when making comments online, posting to a blog, using Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube/Pinterest/Instagram/similar tools, and/or using other platforms that fall under the definition of social media:

  • Promote the mission and branding message of the organization in comments/posts.
  • Recognize that you are morally and legally responsible for comments/pictures posted online.
  • Be aware that the audience includes members and nonmembers of the NFB, both youth and adults, representing diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Refrain from using profanity/derogatory language.
  • Post/respond with integrity. Though you may disagree with a post, be respectful and factual. Do not fight or air personal grievances online.
  • Do not post materials that are inappropriate for children/minors to view/share/read.


  1. Conflict of Interest Policy

Each NFB of South Carolina officer, board member, or chapter or division president (hereafter Federation leader) is expected to take appropriate responsibility to protect the Federation from misappropriation or mismanagement of Federation funds (including funds of the affiliate, chapter, or division in which the Federation leader assumes a leadership role).

Each Federation leader is expected to disclose the existence of any potentially conflicting personal financial interest or relationship to the full National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina  Board of Directors and seek its review and approval, as specified below. For example:

  • A Federation leader must seek board review and approval of his or her receipt of salary or compensation of any kind from the Federation (including an affiliate, chapter, or division).
  • A Federation leader must seek board review and approval of receipt by his or her spouse, parent, child, sibling, or other close relative of salary or compensation of any kind from the Federation (including an affiliate, chapter, or division).
  • A Federation leader must seek board review and approval of any ownership interest exceeding 5 percent in or of any salary, compensation, commission, or significant tangible gift from any commercial venture doing business or seeking to do business with the Federation (including an affiliate, chapter, or division). This process will also apply to the review of such interests involving spouses, parents, children, siblings, or other close relatives.
  • In reviewing matters brought pursuant to this section, the officer or board member seeking state board review and approval will refrain from voting.
  • Each Federation leader shall take appropriate steps to avoid unauthorized or inaccurate appearances or official endorsement by the Federation (including an affiliate, chapter, or division) of any product, service, or activity that has not been so endorsed. For example, because the Federation never endorses political parties or candidates for elected office, any Federation leader participating in the political process must take care to avoid creating an appearance of official Federation endorsement.


  1. Policy While Interacting with Minors

For purposes of this Code of Conduct and consistent with most legal standards, a minor is any individual under the age of eighteen. While interacting with any minor, a state officer, board member, or chapter or division president (hereafter Federation leader) shall recognize that a minor cannot legally give consent for any purpose even if said minor is verbally or otherwise expressing consent. For example, a minor may say that he/ or she consents to physical interaction. However, such consent is not valid or legal and should not be accepted. A parent or guardian must be informed and consulted about any action requiring consent from the minor. A Federation leader shall report any inappropriate interactions between adults and minors to the minor’s parents and law enforcement when appropriate.


VII. Alcohol and Drug Policy

Although alcoholic beverages are served at some Federation social functions, members and Federation leaders may not participate in any such functions in a condition that prevents them from participating safely and from conducting Federation business effectively or that might cause embarrassment to or damage the reputation of the Federation. The Federation prohibits the possession, sale, purchase, delivery, dispensing, use, or transfer of illegal substances on Federation property or at Federation functions.


VIII. Other General Principles

In addition to the other policies and standards set-forth herein, state officers, state board members, and chapter and division presidents (hereafter Federation leaders) shall adhere to the following standards:


  • Federation leaders shall practice accountability and transparency in all activities and transactions.
  • Federation leaders shall foster a welcoming environment at NFB meetings, events, and conferences that is a cooperative and productive atmosphere for all members and nonmembers.
  • Federation leaders shall interact with NFB staff in a professional manner and follow proper channels of authority and communication.
  • Federation leaders shall positively promote the NFB through verbal and written communication.
  • Whenever possible, Federation leaders and members are strongly encouraged to handle conflicts or complaints involving other members privately, directly, and respectfully. Nothing in this standard is intended to limit a Federation leader’s or member’s right to pursue organizational change through appropriate methods or to limit anyone’s right to file a complaint for violation of this Code when necessary.


  1. Violations and Complaint Procedure

Violations of this Code of Conduct, after first being established through the process set-forth below, are subject to disciplinary action by the Federation. Such disciplinary actions may include but are not limited to counselling, verbal and/or written reprimand, probation, suspension or termination of officer/leadership duties, and/or suspension or expulsion from the Federation.

  • Any complaint for a violation of this Code of Conduct shall be filed with the state president. The state president shall appoint a committee of no more than four persons to investigate the complaint and provide a recommendation for action or lack thereof. The committee shall be comprised of persons not directly involved in the matters being raised and who can be completely unbiased about the individuals and issues addressed in the complaint. Every effort shall be made to appoint a committee reflecting the broad diversity of individuals in the Federation. The state president shall inform the national President in a timely fashion of any complaints filed and report on the resolution of such complaints.
  • Complaints shall be treated as confidential in order to protect the identity and reputation of the person about whom the complaint is filed and the person filing the complaint.
  • All complaints shall be filed as promptly as possible. Except under extreme circumstances, no complaint shall be accepted or investigated after a year from the time of the alleged violation of this Code.
  • Complaints that turn out to be false and used for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, or retaliating against someone will be subject to the same kind of disciplinary action enumerated above.
  • Any person dissatisfied with the resolution of a complaint may file an appeal with the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina Board of Directors, which may, in its discretion, take such action as it deems necessary. If a person is still dissatisfied, such person may raise the matter to the national board of directors, which may, in its discretion, take whatever action it deems necessary. No national or state board member shall participate in the consideration of an appeal under this Code if such board member is the subject of the complaint or if such board member cannot be completely unbiased, impartial, and fair while considering the matter.


  1. Minimum Standard

This Code of Conduct is intended to recite a minimum set of standards expected of Federation members. It sets forth the spirit that the Federation expects of all of its participants toward each other and toward those who work with the Federation at all of its levels. It is intended to be interpreted broadly to instill a respectful, cooperative, and welcoming spirit in members and in the activities of the Federation.


  1. Federation Pledge and Acknowledgement of Code of Conduct

I, (Federation leader), 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. I further acknowledge that I have read this Code of Conduct and that I will follow its policies, standards, and principles.



Note: The Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind unanimously adopted this Code of Conduct on January 26, 2018. In adopting this Code, the Board expressed its clear intent that this Code shall be reviewed annually or at any other time as necessary.

South Carolina ABLE Savings Program

Offering ABLE Accounts to South Carolinians with disabilities

Tax-free savings plan for disability-related expenses

Save and invest without losing federal needs-based benefits




Tax-Free Earnings The earnings you make on your STABLE Account are not subject to federal or South Carolina state income taxes, so long as you spend the earnings on Qualified Disability Expenses.


Keep Your Public Benefits. One of the primary reasons that the federal ABLE Act was passed was to protect individuals with disabilities from losing certain benefits such as SSI or Medicaid. With the exception of some special SSI rules (see below), your STABLE Account funds do not count against you for purposes of determining your eligibility for means-tested federal benefits programs. For example, if you have $5,000 in your STABLE Account, that $5,000 does not count as an asset when determining your eligibility for SSI or Medicaid. In addition, your STABLE Account will not affect your eligibility for state-based means-tested benefits programs offered by South Carolina.


No Impact on Medicaid Benefits


For more information, go to


Free White Cane Program

Free White Cane Program

A hand holding a caneWe believe the long white cane is a means to independence.  The white cane has proved a useful tool to millions of blind people in navigating their environments with confidence and safety.  It is a tool which allows blind people to travel where and when they want, and as such leads to self-sufficiency.

A man walks through a construction siteWe believe that independence and freedom to travel are so important to the quality of life of blind people that every blind person should have a cane, regardless of ability to pay.

We are giving, free of charge to the user, rigid fiberglass canes.  Please see the online application or download the paper application to view available cane sizes.

Request a free white cane!

Two senior blind women stand in a waterfall with their friend.Visit our online free white cane application form now or complete an accessible PDF application online. Completed applications should be mailed to:

Free White Cane Program
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
                                 Baltimore, MD 21230

Any blind individual in the fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico may request a cane for their personal use.  Requests may be made as often as every six months.

For adult first-time cane users, we recommend measuring from your shoulders to the floor. The cane needs to reach a good two steps in front of where you are stepping. The speed of your pace and length of your stride will make a difference. More seasoned cane travelers may wish to have a longer cane, measuring at least chin height.

For children, teens, and young adults who are first-time cane users, we recommend measuring from your chin to the floor. More seasoned cane travelers may wish to have a longer cane, measuring at least nose height.

State President Contact Information

Frank Coppel
847 Jefferson Street
W Columbia, SC 29169
Phone: (803) 796-8662

Dream Makers Circle

Help build a future full of opportunity for the blind by becoming a member of the Dream Makers Circle. Your legacy gift to the National Federation of the Blind can be made in the form of a will or living trust, an income-generating gift, or by naming the NFB as a beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy. You can also become a member of the Dream Makers Circle by making a legacy gift to your state affiliate. By committing to support an NFB affiliate, your gift will benefit both local and national programs as all bequests made to affiliates are split evenly with the NFB national treasury. In addition to having the satisfaction of contributing to the future success of the NFB’s mission, Dream Makers Circle members will also receive a specially designed thank you gift and other benefits. For additional information about the Dream Makers Circle, please contact Lou Ann Blake at the NFB Jernigan Institute by e-mail at, or by telephone at 410-659-9314, extension 2221.




National Federation of the Blind Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the effort 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