2024 March - April White Cane Bulletin

* The below online The White Cane Bulletin includes a Table of Contents with live links leading to the start of each article.  You may choose to use those links or read down the whole publication. You may also choose to download the following formats:

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The White Cane Bulletin March - April 2024

Articles for the White Cane Bulletin must be submitted to Sally Benjamin no later than the 15th of the month before it is published.  Sally’s email is: salbenjamin60@gmail.com.

If you do not have access to a computer and email, please find someone in your chapter to help you. We want to hear from anyone who wants to contribute to our newsletter, so if you cannot find a way to submit your article, call Sally and she will be glad to assist you.

Articles published in The White Cane Bulletin are in compliance with Public Law No. 104197, Copyright Law Amendment of 1996. This law allows authorized entities to distribute copies of previously published non-dramatic literary works in specialized formats, including Braille, audio or digital text that are exclusively for use by Blind people or those with disabilities. Any further distributing of such articles in another than a specialized format is an infringement of copyright.

Those much-needed contributions, which are Tax-deductible, can be sent to the Florida Council of the Blind Treasurer, Mark Lear, at:
P.O. BOX 214235, DAYTONA BEACH, FL 32121.

To remember the Florida Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact FCB at 800-267-4448.

The FCB is a 501(c)(3) organization.

For other ways to support the Florida Council of the Blind, visit our Fundraising page found at www.fcb.org.

ARE YOU MOVING? – Sally Benjamin

If you are moving, please notify me of your new address so you will continue to receive your White Cane Bulletin. Also, if you know of anyone interested in joining FCB and who would like to receive the White Cane Bulletin and the Braille Forum, please contact me at: (850) 980-0205 or E-mail: salbenjamin60@gmail.com


President’s Message
FCB 2024 Convention In Jacksonville
The Florida Council of the Blind 2024 State, Chapter, & Special Interest Affiliate Awards
Give Blood at the FCB Convention
FCB Officer Candidate for First Vice President by Cassandra Jessie
FCB Officer Candidate for First Vice President by Janeen Flanigan
FCB Officer Candidate for Second Vice President by Shelley Sawyer
FCB Officer Candidate for Treasurer by Mark Lear
FCB Officer Candidate for Membership Secretary by Sally Benjamin
Chapter Revenue Plan Tickets
Jottings From Jacksonville
Recipe Corner
Project Insight News
Chapter News
March-April 2024 GOCB Update
Christmas Cheer and Helping Hands, MCCB
Tech Tips by John Richards
Poetry Corner
Autumn to May
FCB Officers 2022 – 2024
2022-2024 FCB Chapter; Special Affiliate Officer Liaisons
Handy Telephone Number References

President's Message March-April 2024

by Sheila Young

Dear FCB Family and Friends,
Since I last wrote my message, many things have occurred that your Executive Committee has been working on.

We had to hire a new web administrator, due to the resignation of our previous one. We are optimistic that we have made a good choice, and our web site will be awesome when she is done! Thank you, Annette Carter for being willing to take our affiliate on!

We are getting ready to send a very capable group to the Leadership seminar in Washington, D. C., a few new members have volunteered to join us, and we are very excited about that! Thanks to Marsha Bukala and Alicia Eidson, as they have been chosen to join our group, and I am sure they will represent us well!

Our affiliate, along with the Florida Rehabilitation Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, Blind Services Foundation, Division of Blind Services, and the Blinded Veterans Association went to Tallahassee to distribute documentation to our legislators to inform them of resources to assist them with any constituents that may need some information on how to deal with their loss of sight.

I feel it was productive, and worth our time. Thank you, Mikey, Sally, Anthony, Debbie, Nancy, and Liz for taking the time to advocate on behalf of FCB.

Our 2024 state convention is right around the corner, so I hope many of you have reserved your room and will be there to celebrate FCB and elect your new officers!

Please remember that the American Council of the Blind National Conference & Convention will be held from July 5 to 12 in Jacksonville this year, so we are the host state! This means we have a lot of work ahead, and I hope you will all take part in helping us make Florida the best affiliate ever to host a national convention!

I hope you have the same goal as I do, and that is to encourage independence and enhance the quality of life for people in our state who are blind or visually impaired.  We need to lead the way by advocating with our local, state and federal governments, increasing awareness of and providing education around the needs of the blind and low vision community. It is also important that we be available to support each other, as we don’t know what others may be going through.  I believe in giving a hand up not a handout!  It is through those combined efforts that we will truly be able to make a difference in the lives of our future generations.


FCB 2024 Convention In Jacksonville

by Kati Lear

This year our FCB annual convention is in Jacksonville, Florida.  The dates are Thursday, May 16 through Sunday noon, May 19, 2024.  Our convention hotel is the Southbank Riverwalk located at 1515 Prudential Drive; Jacksonville, FL 32207.  Room rates are $109 per night plus tax.  The room block is open for your reservations.  Call 904-396-5100.  To book your reservation online, go to https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=17054...

When you check in, you will be given breakfast coupons which are available for breakfast only in the hotel’s restaurant.  You will pay fifteen dollars at the restaurant if your breakfast costs fifteen dollars or more.

This year there will be a self-parking fee which is eight dollars per day.

We are looking forward to a fun-filled and educational convention this year.  We are writing the program and it should be available during the middle of March.  Convention calls will be mailed to those who request them.  Registration will be online and I will let you know when it is open.  

Thursday night we will have a pizza party with a cash bar in the hospitality room which will flow onto the pool deck.  Friday evening will be our Awards and Scholarships dinner and on Saturday night will be our FCB banquet.  This year our speaker is ACB’s Kolby Garrison who will tell us her life story and her experiences in NASCAR racing.  Sunday morning will be our business meeting with election of all state officers.  

You all have sent in wonderful program write ups which will be fabulous workshops.  We are looking forward to seeing you in Jacksonville.  If you have any questions, please call me at 800-267-4448 or 386-763-3836.  Or, email me at floridacouncil@comcast.net.

The Florida Council of the Blind 2024 State, Chapter, & Special Interest Affiliate Awards

by Julien Clement

The FCB Awards Committee is excited to honor all members who truly are deserving of recognition for their unwavering devotion to improving the lives of the blind and visually impaired community.  As always, the Florida Council of the Blind is honored to receive nominations for our State, Chapter, and Special Interest Affiliate Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to recognize those individuals who make an impact in our community!

The deadline to submit nominations for all FCB awards is Friday, March 15th, 2024.

The state awards are as follows: R. Henry P. Johnson, Dolly Gamble, W. A. Ouzts, William (Bill) Ferrell (Just Bill), Legislative, President’s Award, Outstanding High School Senior, and Mobility Award.

Chapters and Special Interest Affiliates wishing to recognize a member, must send that person’s name to the Awards Committee with a nomination letter by March 15th, 2024.


The person that this award was named after trained as a lawyer. He had very little formal training when it was necessary for him to adjust to substantial visual impairment. Nevertheless, he remained active in his community and constantly sought to extend the boundaries of activities that he and other blind persons could become involved in.


The R. Henry P. Johnson Award will be presented to a legally blind person who has, through his or her work and through service to his or her community, demonstrated the kind of pioneering spirit and exemplary adjustment that Mr. Johnson demonstrated. Individuals who are likely to be considered for this award must succeed far beyond the average visually-impaired person.


This award was named for a lady who, by her actions and example, was able to establish a climate in which the Miami Lighthouse could be started. Throughout her adult life, Ms. Gamble worked tirelessly to promote the betterment of blind people in her community, state, and the nation.


The recipient of the Dolly Gamble award must have demonstrated a commitment to and success with the extension of services for the blind and visually-impaired people of this state. The recipient may be blind or sighted, but should, in general, represent a high level of expertise and commitment to serving blind individuals.


William Alfred Ouzts, known as W. A., was a member of FCB from 1971 until the time of his death in 1992. He held state office for 20 of those years, including 12 as treasurer and 4 years as president. For many years, he had the White Cane Bulletin printed, prepared and mailed. whatever his official status, W. A. was always quietly working and networking with other members behind the scenes. Officer, consultant, advisor, supporter, worker, whatever his role, W. A. never sought recognition for what he did.


While no one could replace W. A., a recipient of this award would display many of the superb qualities exhibited by W. A., including dedication to FCB, responsibility and effectiveness. The individual must have taken a leadership role in numerous FCB projects and actively participated in the organization for a minimum of 10 years. This award would only be given to an outstanding FCB member, an individual we would all wish to emulate.


Bill Ferrell worked at the Tennessee Agency for the Blind for many years. He was first employed there as a counselor, and proceeded up the ladder to hold the position of Director.

Retiring did not mean stopping for Bill. He helped to organize the Brevard chapter in 1981. Although he was a simple man in his estimation, he had a huge impact on the forming and continuation of FCB.

Bill was involved in visual impairment issues for much of his life. He was a Project Insight peer advisor since that program's inception. He worked endlessly both locally, in Brevard County and at the state level, serving as a member of several vital FCB committees and representing his chapter on the FCB Board of Directors for many years.

Bill was a calm, introspective man, yet nothing got by him without thorough examination. If the need arose, he would give his view of an issue with an informed politeness and in a politically correct manner.

When addressed as Mr. Ferrell, he would invariably respond, "I'm just Bill." So, Bill, our tribute to you is to try to be more like you. "We will communicate, educate, facilitate and update to ensure equality, independence and dignity for all! Bill, we will always love and respect you!"


The recipient of this award may be blind or sighted but must have gone to great lengths to better the quality of life of people, be they sighted or not.

The recipient should have demonstrated a sincere concern for his/her fellow humans, just as Bill always did. A good candidate for this award would be one who has worked in the field of rehabilitation i.e. mobility instructors, teachers, or rehab councilors, for example. Membership in Florida Council of the Blind is not a prerequisite for this award. Anyone who, over the years, has contributed their time and caring for others, especially people who are blind or visually impaired, may be a candidate for this award.

Recipients of this award will be selected based upon their demonstration of humanitarian qualities, which emphasize efforts to improve the quality of life for others, having communicated, educated, facilitated and updated to ensure equality, independence and dignity for others.


The purpose of this award is to honor a Florida elected official who through his/her statewide and/or federal legislative efforts must have made a significant and positive impact on the welfare of blind and visually-impaired people in Florida.


Each chapter may nominate a chapter president from the previous year to receive this award.

The following accomplishments will be considered when selecting a recipient for this award: regularity of meetings, effective programs, increases in membership, cooperation in local and state projects, participation in community organizations.

Overall leadership skills, including innovation and cooperation with neighboring chapters, as well as the state organization will be considered when assessing the performance of a nominee.


This award is intended to honor a legally blind high school senior in Florida, who in academics, school and community has performed better than all his/her peers. The award may consist of a plaque. At the time of graduation, the student will be presented the plaque. Should the student choose to attend FCB's Annual Convention FCB will offer to pay the student's transportation expenses.


The name and address of the school, as well as the names of the principal and teachers must accompany the narrative nomination. Evidence of superior scores on the SAT, ACT, College Boards or an equivalent instrument shall be presented with the nomination. The narrative should include details of the student's involvement in extra-curricular activities, student government and community service. Supporting letters from teachers, employers, etc. would be helpful.


This award is intended to honor a high school senior at the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind who has demonstrated the most improvement in orientation and mobility while at the school. Two nominations will be solicited from the head of the mobility department.

The FCB Awards Committee will make the final selection. The award consists of a plaque to be presented to the student at graduation. FCB shall pay the student's transportation expenses if the student chooses to attend FCB's Annual Convention.


This award is intended to honor the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind senior who has made the most improvement and succeeded in overcoming greater than usual barriers to effective mobility. The mobility department should consider such factors as multiple impairments, perseverance and attitude as well as excellence of orientation and mobility skills.


Each chapter or special interest affiliate may submit the name(s) of local recipient(s) they wish to honor. The criteria for the selection is up to the chapter/special interest affiliate. All that is required by FCB's Awards Committee is the name of the recipient, as the chapter/special interest affiliate wishes it to be printed, and the name of the chapter/special interest affiliate submitting the name. Each chapter/special interest affiliate shall pay for each plaque they desire to present.

Information regarding the current price of plaques, as well as the deadline for ordering plaques, will be sent to each chapter/special interest affiliate.

All awards will be presented during FCB’s Convention in Jacksonville, Florida during the Awards Banquet to take place on Friday, May 17, 2024.

For additional questions or for assistance in submitting any nomination(s), please contact Julien Clement, Awards Committee Chair at:  Jclement335@gmail.com or by Phone:  


Give Blood at the FCB Convention

by Greg Lindberg

FCB now has an Activities Committee, a group designed to coordinate and sponsor both virtual and in-person activities for FCB members around the state.

The FCB Activities Committee is sponsoring a blood drive at this year's FCB convention in Jacksonville, FL. The drive will take place at the convention hotel, the Southbank Riverwalk in Jacksonville located at 1515 Prudential Drive. The committee is still ironing out the details on the date and time for this drive, so be on the lookout for this information.

If you plan to attend the convention in person, we encourage you to give blood. For any questions, please call Activities Committee chair Janeen Lea at 765-621-0064.   


FCB Officer Candidate for First Vice President by Cassandra Jessie

My name is Cassandra Jessie, and I currently serve as FCB’s Second Vice President.  I am running for FCB’s First Vice President and I would like to tell you about my qualifications and experiences.

I am currently the President of the Halifax Council of the Blind in Daytona Beach. I am active in the community and have held several offices in the Halifax Council of the Blind, including 1st and 2nd Vice President; and I have served on the following committees: Bylaws, Fundraising, as well as the White Cane Committee.

I currently Serve as an alternate on our Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board, as well as the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. I hold an office on the Quality Assurance Committee and the Grievance Committee for riders needing mediation with paratransit. I am also the chair of the board of directors for Disability Solutions which is a Local Provider in Daytona Beach, FL.

Prior to moving to Daytona Beach, I held the office of 1st and 2nd Vice President of the Tallahassee Council of the Blind. I served three years as president of ACCESS; an organization for disabled students at Florida State University. The role of ACCESS is to ensure accessibility for disabled students on the FSU campus.

For the past six years I have served as your Second Vice President of the Florida Council of the Blind. For the last few years in this position I have worked with the First Vice president, who is the hotel Coordinator, as well as collaborated with the President and fellow Board members to ensure that everyone is taking care of. I have also worked hard at insuring that everyone who attends the Convention or Board meeting never has to wait for long for any type of assistance.

I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Minor in “Independent Living” from Florida State University in 2009. Additionally, I received an Associate of Arts Degree from St. John’s River Community College in St. Augustine, Florida in 2004. I am currently employed with the State of Florida’s Division of Blind Services where I hold the title of Senior Rehabilitation Specialist. In this position, I am the case Manager for all the students that are attending the Career, Technology, and Training Center. In this role, I partner with all the district counselors around the state to ensure that their consumers are receiving the necessary training to maintain a job or to prepare for college.

Additionally, I oversee the Consumers that express to become Independent or have lost their Sight later in life. I have collaborated with persons with disabilities for almost 30 years in various capacities, including Camp Counselor for the Florida Lions Camp and Senior Residential Instructor at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. I have also worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Division of Blind Services, Teacher Aid for Leon County Schools, and as a Training Instructor for Leon County ARC program where I collaborated with people with various degrees of Disabilities to ensure that they were ready for work every day and could maintain their apartments.    

I participate in my local church. My interests include recreational reading, horseback riding, listening to music, spending time with family, and advocating for people with disabilities.

In closing, I would appreciate your consideration for nomination for Florida Council of the Blind’s First Vice President.  I will provide you with service and dedication to this office. It would be a pleasure to serve the visually impaired people of this state to collaborate about political, educational, social, and economic changes and raise awareness of accessibility issues.


FCB Officer Candidate for First Vice President by Janeen Flanigan

Hey y'all!!
I'm Janeen Lea, and I would love your vote to be your first vice president of the Florida Council of the Blind, hereafter referred to as FCB. I have leadership experiences that y'all might not know about, and I like to lead with laughter and love. I have helped plan board game conventions throughout the United States, the most recent one being Escape Winter 2024 during Valentine's week. Also, in ACB Next Generation, I implemented a welcome wagon for new members and was the lead on Next Gen's first ever auction. I also was a member of the Orlando Fringe IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility) Committee, and helped to bring audio description to live theater. I helped build CALM (Chapter of At-Large Members) and currently serve as secretary. I created an email list for members only of CALM to engage. I want to take my experiences to help FCB to become a place of support and learning for our members. I feel that I can bring a much needed energy to the board. I also have the ability to put myself in the shoes of others, so I can help the board make the FCB experience the best for our membership. I also want to work with our Activities Committee to find ways to engage members that will foster friendship and growth.

I know in the past there has been some resistance to change and a tendency to move at a snail's pace. I'd like to encourage our affiliate to be more progressive and proactive with being the example of good leadership as well as continuing to be the first to try new things.

Thank you for your consideration; now go vote Janeen Lea for VP.

Smiles are free; give one away today.
XOXO Janeen


FCB Officer Candidate for Second Vice President by Shelley Sawyer

Dear FCB Members and Friends:
My name is Shelley Sawyer. Many of you know me, but for those who do not, I currently live in Tallahassee. I am employed parttime as a medical transcriptionist.  I am hereby announcing my intention to run for the office of 2nd vice president of FCB at this year’s State Convention in May.

I am a member of the Tallahassee Council of the Blind, (TCB). I have also previously been a member of Greater Orlando Council of the Blind, (GOCB). I have been a member of FCB since approximately 2000. During that time, I have held officer positions in my affiliate chapters with the exception of treasurer. I am currently 1st vice president of TCB.

I am currently the recording secretary for the Florida School for the Blind Alumni and have held this position for many years.  My interests and hobbies include: attending church services, reading, listening to music, streaming TV shows and taking walks in my neighborhood.   

I am well aware that our organization faces many challenges, as do most organizations these days. However, I am also aware that we have much room for growth, as well as members with tuns of talent. It is my true belief that if we all work together to grow the organization, and if we all work together and assist one another, we can and will grow and we can and will reach the goals we set for ourselves and our organization. I would welcome the opportunity to be a part of our Board of Directors and to work with them and our membership to face our challenges, reach our goals and realize the hopes and dreams we have for our organization. It is our; and as with everything we have that we treasure, it requires work and maintenance.

I would greatly appreciate your support and your vote at the FCB State Convention this year. Thank you for your time and patience in reading this, and thank you in advance for your support.

Shelley Sawyer


FCB Officer Candidate for Treasurer by Mark Lear

My name is Mark Lear.  I am interested in serving as the Treasurer of the Florida Council of the Blind for another term.  I have been FCB’s treasurer for the past six years and would like to continue serving you

I have served as the treasurer for other local organizations.  Currently I am the treasurer of the Daytona Beach Blind Bowlers and I have held this office since 1990.  In December I stepped down from the office of Treasurer of the Halifax Council of the Blind where I served as Treasurer since 2008.

I have been married to my wife and FCB executive assistant, Kati, for 42 years. We enjoy taking vacations together, and we are making plans to attend both FCB and ACB conventions in Jacksonville. My recreational interests include spending time on my computer looking up information, walking, bowling, swimming, listening to music, reading books and watching TV.  

I would like to be your treasurer for another term. If elected, I will continue to perform the duties of this office to the best of my ability.  If you have any questions, please contact me by phone at (386) 788-0463 or by email at learm52@icloud.com.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


FCB Officer Candidate for Membership Secretary by Sally Benjamin

by Sally Benjamin

I wanted to let you know that I am running for Membership Secretary once again. I know it is a job but I do enjoy it, especially when all chapters get it all in on time and correct. I have learned a lot about people during this time and it has made me a better person.

My Contact Information is: salbenjamin60@gmail.com or 850-980-0205

I would appreciate your vote in May for Membership secretary!


Chapter Revenue Plan Tickets

Hello FCB Family,

Wow, it is time to get your Chapter Revenue Plan Tickets! This is a fantastic way for your chapter to fundraise and all of the proceeds go to your chapter. If, you would like tickets, please reach out to Leslie Spoone at lesliespoone@cfl.rr.com with your chapter name and the amount and address where you want them shipped to. Good luck and look forward to seeing everyone in Jacksonville in May.

Best Regards,
Leslie Spoone
FCB Fundraising Committee


Jottings From Jacksonville

by Paul Edwards

The Quest for Learning

It would be nice if history was an equal opportunity discipline but it's not! Every group and, to a degree, every individual from the past comes from a different set of circumstances making generalizations equivocal at best. And yet we only have time for broad brush strokes and that means leaving so much out and also being open to accusations of not telling the truth for particular groups. So, given those limitations, here are some realities! Braille was not widely accepted as the best form of communication for people who are blind till long after the beginning of the twentieth century. Grade two braille didn't happen till the 1930s. The very first school for the blind in the world was opened in Paris in the 1780s and the first school in the United States happened in Boston in the 1830s. This is not to suggest that no blind person was educated before these things happened. However it does suggest that schools for the blind began to institutionalize what people who were blind were supposed to be taught. For the first hundred years of education that meant teaching practical skills like chair caning, mattress making and gardening. There was an expectation that the very best among the students would be able to set up in business at home and use the skills they were taught to be less of a burden on their families and communities. Students very seldom went beyond "blind school" and many of those who did ended up serving people who are blind as social workers or "home teachers".

It's important to recognize that part of the problem with educating people who were blind was the huge fights that were going on about what form literacy should take! Many educators believed that something based on print ought to be used. So New York Point and Moon Type were for quite a while towards the end of the nineteenth century top of the pops on the literacy hit parade. The Missouri School for the Blind was among the early adopters of braille and by the 1870s the American Printing House received Federal dollars to provide materials for kids who were blind in blind schools as they opened up throughout the country. Braille got something of a leg up when rotary presses enabled braille to be mass produced but early attempts to develop "braille typewriters" were less than wonderful. The Perkins brailler which has made such a difference to literacy throughout the world did not become available till after I was born in 1947!

Once braille became literacy king, things began to change pretty quickly. Virtually all children who were blind went to blind school! Things were less certain for a long time with kids who were partially sighted. They were often not sent to blind schools and received inferior education at local schools. In big cities in Florida there were "sight saving" classes but the School for the Blind in St. Augustine very much was the center of blind education in this state. The school for the Blind was begun in 1883. It was started in St. Augustine because that city offered five acres of land and a thousand dollars. The first students came in 1885. When it was founded the school of known as "The Florida Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb". From these humble beginnings FSDB has grown to more than fifty buildings on 70 acres.

Talking books arrived in 1933 and they had an immediate impact on education. Florida was slow to adopt library services. What is now the Miami Lighthouse had the largest braille library in the southeast according to the American Foundation for the Blind. For a very long time most of the talking book services in Florida were provided through the talking book library in Atlanta Georgia. It really wasn't until the 1960s that Florida finally took control of its library future. It's amazing how much has been accomplished in the seventy years since then!

It is probably also worth saying that radio also played a larger-than-life part in expanding the educational expectations of people who were blind though it hasn't received the importance it is due. Blind people couldn't read newspapers and braille books were rare and expensive! Talking books were only just becoming available and for a very long time people were limited in the number of books they could receive. They were not being widely circulated in Florida till well beyond the end of the depression so blind people suddenly had access to the world through radios. Before radio I think attitudes among people who were blind were even more parochial than those of other members of their local communities. Radio awakened imaginations, broadened knowledge bases, encouraged discussion and elevated expectations among blind people through the roof.

It is accurate to suggest that the Florida School received decent support from the state. This was not so true for the segregated school that educated non-white students. It came later and was chronically under-funded but did make a huge difference to a population that was hardly being identified till the school came along.

In the late sixties integration happened at FSDB and it was not nearly so difficult in Florida as it was in some other southern states. It would probably be accurate to say that by 1970 education at the School for the Blind was at its best. There were fairly high expectations for students. A larger proportion of students were going on to college. The school had developed extracurricular activities that made staying at school a term at a time bearable if not pleasant. Though there is some argument among people who are blind, many believe that graduates of the school from that period were better adjusted to their visual impairments than folks before them and after them.

Three developments over the past half century have fundamentally altered education for children who are blind.

First and perhaps most important is mainstreaming. It's important to recognize that, while it had a huge effect on education, many children who were blind were already being educated locally at the insistence of their parents. Put simply, mainstreaming argues that it's better for kids with disabilities to go to school with their peers who aren't disabled and live at home with parents and siblings than it is to go away to a school for the blind.

I don't have information for Florida but seventy percent of blind children were already being mainstreamed before the law passed according to several sources. This was happening because of another revolution that happened after the second world war.

Before that time blindness was a disorder that affected all classes equally. At the end of the war, medical science could, for the first time, save babies who were substantially premature by placing them in incubators for a few weeks after they were born. They got enriched oxygen that enabled these tiny babies to live but many of them ended up going blind. For the first time, then, blindness became a matter where many of the "preemies" were being born into upper or middle class homes because those were the moms who were having their kids in hospitals where incubators were.

Those parents became seriously involved in how their children were going to be treated and insisted that school districts create opportunities for their children to be accommodated locally. This meant two things. Some of the brightest students did not go to blind school and there was suddenly competition for funding in the education field.

Medical science continued to improve and as the eighties and nineties happened more and more children who were premature were surviving but there was an even greater price. Many of these students had other disabilities along with blindness and many of these students went to the school for the blind. Whatever the reason is a larger and larger proportion of children who are blind have been mainstreamed. There is a shortage of qualified vision teachers which has often meant that kids do not receive as much individual attention as they need to learn all the skills they need to function efficiently after school. Often students who are mainstreamed do not receive vocational education or have access to work experience. Usually blind students in mainstream schools do not get sufficient physical education. Nevertheless, blind students throughout the state are performing very nearly at the level of their sighted peers academically.

At the very time that mainstreaming was happening and at the same time as more and more young blind people were being born with other disabilities, the last revolution was happening. As we moved beyond an industrial society to a post-industrial world, technology became more and more crucial to survival and access technology became more and more essential if blind people were to be able to compete or survive in the world!

I believe that technological competence, social readiness for post-school life and the absence of the core blindness skill training pupils need after graduation are all playing a part in limiting the success of our younger folks. It is to the credit of FSDB that they set up a technological training program as early as 1984.

We've covered a lot of ground in this article and I think it's important to end on the positive note that education demands. There is absolutely no doubt that children who are blind have access to fuller educational opportunities than they have ever had before. Many of the problems at school can be remediated afterward. Truly the sky is the limit in terms of opportunities that are open to people who are blind. Students have access to more information than they have ever had before and mature access technology creates amazing possibilities for kids who are blind!

We just need them to know that!


Recipe Corner

Grape Salad
Submitted by: Sheila Young
2 lbs. small grapes (white or red or mixed)
Blend together,
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
Mix with grapes in an 8x11 deep dish.

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup of chopped pecans.

Mix together and sprinkle on top of grape mixture.
Refrigerate overnight.


Project Insight News

by Paul Edwards

The Project Insight committee is excited to share some wonderful news!  As was mentioned at the Fall board meeting, the Project Insight committee has been planning to launch our Peer Support group.  We are happy to announce the beginning of this group!  

Beginning March 28, 2024 the Project Insight Peer Support Group will gather on Zoom.   We will be meeting each month from that point on the fourth Thursday of each month.  The meetings will take place at 7:00.  

We would like to welcome those who have recently lost their vision or those who are having difficulties dealing with vision loss.  Please come and join us if you feel you could benefit   from this peer support group.

The group will have two facilitators each month. The facilitators are not councilors.  They are simply group leaders who will lead the group in a variety of discussions.  

We are so excited to get this group underway and hope that all who feel this is something that would be beneficial in their lives will join us.


Chapter News

March-April 2024 GOCB Update

by Martha James

Because the annual Christmas party had to be cancelled, we held a holiday celebration on January 20, at the home of Alicia and Rick Eidson.
There were 32 members in attendance.  We thank them for opening their beautiful home to us.

Coming up March 11 GOCB will have another Dine and Donate at Tijuana Flats.  The time has been extended, and is now from 4:00 to 9:00 PM.

In April, we will have Trivia.   It will once again be at the VFW.  There will be a silent auction and one free drink.  Tickets are $150 for a table of six, or $25 for individuals.  

The same day will be The Lighthouse Central Florida Sight and Soul walk at Crane’s Roost from 10 AM to 1 PM.  

GOCB can be found on Facebook as well as Linked In!


Christmas Cheer and Helping Hands, MCCB

The holidays, as well as any time of the year, and Manatee County, Florida, as most any place, hold many people whose lives could be happy or troubled. Whatever the cause, troubles may include a death or illness in the family, physical or mental or emotional challenges, or a sore lack of resources including food or basic necessities of personal care, or a place to live.

People or families struck with trouble most often need other people who can alleviate the troubles, or even just give an encouraging word or perhaps a hug.

Manatee County has become blessed with a small, dedicated nonprofit group helping to address some of life’s most formidable challenges, working up close and personally with those facing the hardest of times. The group’s staff takes on the daunting tasks of furnishing food and personal care items and information/resource referrals that will help the needy right at their point of need and at the right time.

Started in memory of a domestic abuse victim dying in 2013, Kim’s Krew, Inc. states simply as its mission, “To help the needy of Manatee County make their present situation as livable as possible”. According to their very practical goal, “Kim’s Krew believes that all people deserve respect, food to survive, a way to keep themselves, their clothes, and living area clean, and a safe and basic home.”

This organization stands out, for example, to uniquely fill the need of those seeking groceries from food pantries but having substantial difficulty accessing them. Eighty-six per cent of clients have major medical situations, while seventy-one per cent of clients have no transportation to facilitate obtaining foodstuffs. Kim’s Krew receives many referrals from a variety of local agencies and organizations, which, as indicated on its web site, speaks to the important need in the County that the group tries to address.

The December 9 2023 Manatee County Council of the Blind (MCCB) chapter’s Christmas party and
lunch featured a presentation by a special guest, Vice President Jim Comkowycz, from Kim’s Krew, Inc. This visitor gave an overall description of the group’s mission, its work, and its history, as well as how efforts started.

Following a few questions and answers traded between the guest and attending chapter members, the members enthusiastically made an aggregate cash contribution to Kim’s Krew. Very happily, This donation was sufficient to purchase enough groceries for 250 people for an entire week. The chapter’s President plus one member posed for a picture for Facebook display, upon imparting of the funds To Mr. Comkowycz.

Though this group is located in and focuses on one jurisdiction or geographic area, anyone interested may visit the group’s web site, https://www.kimskrew.org, for contact and in-depth information or further interaction with the group, its people, and its endeavors.


Tech Tips by John Richards

 Food Delivery Services Scams, Ways to Protect Yourself As A Consumer

During the past several years, food delivery services have grown and increased in popularity. In 2020 alone, consumers spent $26 billion on food delivery. Due to the increasing accessibility of food delivery services apps, restaurant and grocery store apps, blind individuals have benefitted immensely by utilizing these delivery services; so have the scammers.

Unfortunately, the end result is always the same. Scammers are attempting to defraud you out of your hard-earned cash.

Sometimes the scammer is an individual poised to scam a business out of goods or services. Food delivery scams fall into this category. An individual places an order through a food services app or through a restaurant or grocery store. A customer will use their own credentials when placing a legitimate order. After the food is received, the customer will request a refund or file a chargeback. This is known as chargeback fraud or friendly fraud; the customer gets free food.

I recently engaged in a casual conversation with a district manager of a well-known fast-food chain. He spoke of a delivery scam involving food delivery service drivers dispatching empty food containers to unsuspecting customers; the delivery driver would then claim that the delivery was successful, it was delivered in to the hands of the customer. This particular scam brings to mind a similar scam called the Amazon empty box scam. He also noted that the restaurant chain for which he works places a heavy adhesive seal on the bags of food to be delivered. This helps in preventing food tampering or theft. I have noticed that many of the pizza restaurants who use their own delivery people or use a food delivery service also place a seal on their boxes. You may want to check for that the next time you order a pizza or bagged fast food.

When ordering through a food service app or a restaurant or grocery store web site or app, make sure you create strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.

Food delivery services scams can also be implemented as a result of phishing scams through e-mail and telephone scams. If you don't recognize the source and the offer seems too good to be true and the syntax and spelling appears suspicious in nature, promptly delete the e-mail. Also, hang up on any call you don't recognize. Especially when the caller is prompting you for personal information which will give them access to a funding source.

Report a scam, a company, or an unwanted call to:
ReportFraud.ftc.gov; Contact the Consumer Response Center by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (877-382 4357)

Contributions to this article were submitted by John Richards and from the following sources:

Scammers Impersonate Delivery Service Support to Rip Off Drivers and Restaurants by: Larissa Bungo, Senior Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
July 21, 2023


7 Types of Food Delivery Scams and How to Stop Them by: Sift Trust and Safety Team on January 31, 2024



Poetry Corner

Submitted by Shelley Sawyer

Greetings Dear Reader:
First, please allow me to apologize for the lack of a poem in the previous issue. I could say that I wasn’t inspired. I could say that I got caught by Holiday Stress. However, that is all just a long way around saying I guess I just got lazy. Anyway, here’s a little something that came through my speaker a couple of days ago. It gave me a smile, brought back some memories, and generally brightened my day. I hope this little tale of fantasy does the same for you.

Autumn to May

Written and performed by Paul stookey, Peter Yarrow and Mary Travers, (AKA Peter, Paul and Mary)

Oh once I had a little dog, his color it was brown.
I taught him for to whistle, to sing and dance and run.
His legs they were fourteen yards long,
his ears so very wide.
Around the world in half a day upon him I could ride.
Sing Tarry-O Day, Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a little frog, he wore a vest of red.
He'd lean upon his silver cane, a top hat on his head.
He'd speak of far off places,
of things to see and do.
Of all the Kings and Queens he'd met while sailing in a shoe.
Sing Tarry-O Day, Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a flock of sheep, they grazed upon a feather.
I'd keep them in a music box from wind or rainy weather.
And every day the sun would shine,
they'd fly all through the town,
to bring me back some golden rings, candy by the pound.
Sing Tarry-O Day, Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a downey swan, she was so very frail.
She sat upon an oyster shell and hatched me out a snail.
The snail had changed into a bird,
the bird to butterfly,
and he who tells a bigger tale would have to tell a lie.
Sing Tarry-O Day, Sing, Autumn to May.


FCB Officers 2022 – 2024

President, Sheila Young
2304 Amherst Ave., Orlando, FL 32804
sheilayoung125@att.net (407) 425-9200

1st Vice-President, Mikey Wiseman
591 E. 15th St., Hialeah, FL 33010
wisemanmikey@gmail.com (305) 331-4870

2nd Vice President, Cassandra Jessie
408 White St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114
cassandrajessie@gmail.com (850) 567-4288

Treasurer, Mark Lear
P.O. BOX 214235
DAYTONA BEACH, FL 32121-4215
learm52@icloud.com (386) 788-0463

Membership Secretary, Sally Benjamin
1009 Concord Road, Apt. 116, Tallahassee, FL  32308
Salbenjamin60@gmail.com (850) 980-0205

Recording Secretary, Mary Tyson
291 Eddie Ave., Holly Hill, FL 32117
mtyson541@bellsouth.net (386) 212-9496

Immediate Past President, James Kracht
9901 SW 138th Street, Miami, FL  33176
jameskkracht@gmail.com  (305) 251-6983 or
(407) 378-3477

Editor of White Cane Bulletin, Sally Benjamin
1009 Concord Road, Apt. 116, Tallahassee, FL  32308
Salbenjamin60@gmail.com (850) 980-0205

FCB Administrative Assistant, Kati Lear
(800) 267-4448
(386) 763-3836    


2022-2024 FCB Chapter & Special Affiliate Officer Liaisons

Please contact your officer liaison if we can be of assistance or if you need anything from the Executive Committee.

CALM (Chapter At Large Members) Sheila Young
(407) 425-9200

Greater Orlando Council of the Blind: Mark Lear
(386) 788-0463

Halifax Council of the Blind: Sheila Young
(407) 425-9200

Jacksonville Council of the Blind: Cassandra Jessie
(850) 567-4288

Manatee County Council of the Blind:
Sally Benjamin
(850) 980-0205

Miami Beach Council of the Blind: Mikey Wiseman
(305) 331-4870

Miami Metro Council of the Blind: Mikey Wiseman
(305) 331-4870

Northwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Council of the Blind: Mikey Wiseman
(305) 331-4870

Palm Beach Council of the Blind:  Sally Benjamin
(850) 980-0205

Pinellas Council of the Blind: Sheila Young
(407) 425-9200

Sarasota Council of the Blind: Mary Tyson
(386) 212-9496

Southwest Florida Council of the Blind:
Mikey Wiseman
(305) 331-4870

Tallahassee Council of the Blind: Sheila Young
(407) 425-9200

Tampa Council of the Blind: Cassandra Jessie
(850) 567-4288

Braille Revival League of Florida: Mary Tyson
(386) 212-9496

Coalition for the Concerns of the Totally Blind: Mark Lear
(386) 788-0463

Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision: Cassandra Jessie
(850) 567-4288

Guide Dog Users of Florida: Mary Tyson
(386) 212-9496


Handy Telephone Number References

Project Insight: (800) 267-4448

Bureau of Braille & Talking Book Library: (800) 226-6075

Division of Blind Services, State Office: (800) 342-1828

American Council of The Blind: (800) 424-8666
(Available 3:00 to 5:30 P.M. EST Monday-Friday only)

ACB Legislative Hotline: (800) 424-8666
(Available evenings 8:00 P.M. to 12:00 Midnight EST
and weekends 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. only)

AT&T Disability Services: (800) 872-3883
Press 00 and speak with your long-distance carrier,
or Florida only: (800) 982-2891

BellSouth Disability Services: (800) 982-2891
(From anywhere)

Social Security: (800) 772-1213
(24-hour voice and touch tone accessible