By Jennifer Bazer
The hot days of summer in South Carolina have arrived with what, also brings summer happenings in the Palmetto affiliate. The National Federation of the Blind of SC, NFB of SC, is partnering with the SC Commission for the Blind to hold summer teen 2021, launch your way to success. We are excited about the collaboration with SCCB to offer a program that blind teens 13 to 21 can learn skills in self-advocacy, work-readiness, career exploration, mentoring, college exploration, Braille, cane travel, assistive technology, and independent life skills. Summer Teen is a program of SCCB and the NFB of SC is thrilled to host 30 teens June 21-July 31 with their assistance.
Children’s camp at Rocky Bottom will begin June 26 and conclude July 2 for blind campers 12 and younger. We look forward to canoeing, swimming, visiting ice cream and doughnut shops, picking fresh vegies and preparing them for dinner, and our annual talent show.
We are also preparing for our 65th annual state convention which will be held hybrid August 20-22 at the North Charleston Marriott. We currently have seventy individuals attending in-person and twenty-one individuals participating virtually. We are excited that members from the Florida, Maryland, and Arizona affiliates will be joining us in-person in Charleston. We hope you also will consider attending our state convention the way that best fits your comfort level.
We are working hard to obtain sponsorships and as of the writing of this Palmetto Blind, we have secured just over $5,000 which will assist the affiliate with convention costs.
The last six months have been packed with committee meetings, Palmetto Connects, Statewide seminar, Leadership seminar and affiliate hosted events. On the first and third Thursday of each month, we hold Palmetto Connects at 6:00 PM Eastern on our Federation zoom room. Information is shared about happenings in our NFB of SC affiliate, how members can get involved, updates with committees, chapters and divisions and a time to socialize before the meeting. The first Friday of each month at 8:00 PM Eastern, the NFB of SC hosts audio describe movie night. The third Fridays of each month at the same time, we also host a fun team activity including name that tune, trivia and family feud. These NFB of SC hosted events are open to anyone around the country. We hope you will consider inviting others and joining us!
Our 2021 word that the affiliate voted on is unity. How have we illustrated this positive word for this year? We have come together to raise over $4,000 for a virtual talent show. We have met twice a month to insure our members, our leaders know what is happening in the Palmetto affiliate. We have offered fun Friday nights to connect. We are working together to raise money for our convention and are a third closer to our sponsorship goal. We have developed additional committees to meet the needs of our affiliate and its members. We have strategized to bring public awareness to our organization through our Meet the blind and Public Relations and social media committees. We have worked together to find creative ways to raise funds for our affiliate including vender profits which has brought in over $500 in just two months. We are increasing our outreach to members with sympathy, happy birthday and get well Braille and tactile cards. We continue to be united in love, hope and determination.
As I reflect on the last ten months since the affiliate elected me as president, I am humbled and honored to be our state leader. As the learning process continues, I want to thank you for your support, your grace, your patience, your love and your encouragement as we work together to build the NFB of SC; to move forward, to thrive, not just survive; to turn obstacles into opportunities; messes into messages. I have worked diligently to uphold my promise I made in my speech ten months ago, to be authentic, transparent and to increase communication throughout the state. We may stumble, but we will get back up. Let’s come together, in unity, to finish 2021 with a bang! Forward Federation.
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.