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Talk to the President - September 2011

TALK TO THE PRESIDENT

September 29, 2011

Dear AEBC members:

Another month is now in the books and I hope that everyone had a great September. It has been a very busy month for your board as we continue to work to ensure that your priorities take top spot over everything else. I thank those of you who took the time to write to me and again, I would love to hear from you with your thoughtful and respectful comments for it is only through you that we can aspire to achieve better things.

I thank those of you who took the time to respond to my monthly question for August and I'll have another for you to respond to at the end of this email.

I would like to start with one of my favorite quotes:

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence.
Helen Keller

Your first vice president John and your director Marc have both been kept very busy attending various meetings pertaining to matters of the CRTC and descriptive video working groups. They attended teleconferences and were involved in meetings along with other stakeholders that included Bell Canada Enterprises and the Accessible Media Channel.

Two of your board members who do not always receive recognition for their behind-the-scenes work were also very busy for September. Your esteemed treasurer Charles and your esteemed secretary Cindy were kept busy ensuring that the AEBC's day-to-day affairs continue to run smoothly. Charles normally keeps a close eye on the activities of our fundraisers and Cindy ensures that matters pertaining to our membership are dealt with promptly. I thank them both for their hard work along with our two staffers, Lois (our book keeper) and Mary (our program administrator).

Your second VP Rajesh and your other director Amal also continued to toil away at their duties, Rajesh for scholarship matters and Amal for point of sale matters.

On Sep 14, I attended a teleconference meeting for the coalition. We have reconfirmed three priorities for us to focus on: library services, website accessibility, and point of sale. We also decided to shoot for a face-to-face meeting for January 2012. Richard Marion and I are your reps to the coalition.

The friends of the CNIB meeting will be taking place in Toronto on Oct 15/16 and your rep to this meeting will be Richard Marion. This is a CNIB sponsored meeting and in addition to the AEBC, reps from Canadian Blind Sports Association, Canadian Council for the Blind, Guide Dog Users of Canada, Canadian National Society for the Deaf/Blind, plus others will be in attendance.

The jointly sponsored town hall meeting scheduled for Oct 29 has attracted many from across the country. There has been an overwhelming response from members as well as from non-members. This meeting is being jointly sponsored by the AEBC and Citizens with Disabilities of Ontario (CWDO). I am pasting below some further details along with the invitation. I thank all those who have taken the time to post this info on their websites and for the many persons who have taken the time to respond to our call.

Please see below.

An important town hall meeting
Time: 1:00 pm.
Location: Offices of Center for Independent Living
Address: 365 Bloor Street East, suite 902, closest subway is at Bloor and Sherbourne.

There will be two one hour sessions. The first will commence at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time and will be for those attending in person and for those who choose to phone in.

The second will commence at 2:15 pm and will be for those who choose to attend via the CWDO's conferencing system.

Your moderators for this meeting will be Jane Blaine of the Canadian Blind Sports Association and Anthony Tibbs of the AEBC.

I would personally like to thank the following persons for their hard work and commitment to this project:

Melanie Moore (AEBC member and board member of CWDO)
Pat Seed (Chair of CWDO)
Jane Blaine (Executive Director of the Canadian Blind Sports Association)
Cindy Ferguson (National secretary AEBC)
Richard Marion (AEBC member)
Anthony Tibbs (AEBC member)
Terry Green (CWDO board member)
John Rae (National First VP AEBC)
Charles Bailey (National Treasurer AEBC).
Special mention of thanks to Brian Moore for kindly offering to produce Braille documents upon request.

A copy of the invitation will be posted to the following websites: AEBC, CWDO, Canadian Blind Sports, Guide Dog Users of Canada, and the CNIB. We will also be posting to the various members lists on a biweekly basis throughout September and encourage you to spread the word. If I have left out anyone then please let me know.

The invitation is as follows:

You are cordially invited to a Town Hall Meeting with John Rafferty, CEO of the CNIB
Topic: Library Services in Canada
Purpose: to ask questions of, and provide input to, the CNIB on how best to move forward on issues pertaining to the future of library services for blind, partially sighted, and deaf/blind Canadians.

When: October 29 2011
Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time or 10:00 am Pacific Time

Location:
365 Bloor Street East, Suite 902, Toronto
The closest subway is at Bloor and Sherbourne

How Can I Participate?
- By teleconference
- By phoning in
- In Person

Please RSVP to Melanie.moore@cilt.ca no later than October 01 Indicating your name, email address, and preferred format for background documents (MS word, text, or Braille).

Please also let us know how you would prefer to access the meeting so that we can send you the relevant Internet access instructions if you choose to attend via our conferencing system on the Internet, or the phone in number if you choose to attend via phone.

There will be two sessions held on this date.

Session one will be for those who wish to attend in person and for those who prefer to phone in.

This session will commence at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Session two will be for those who wish to access the meeting via the Internet and this session will commence at 2:15 pm Eastern Standard time.

We would need to be able to determine the number of participants and their preferences so that we can make adequate arrangements to accommodate everyone.

If you have any questions or concerns then please send your queries to Melanie Moore at Melanie.moore@cilt.ca or to me at djodhan@blindcanadians.ca

Thank you!

A fund raising committee was formed in late August to start looking into ways to improve our financial position. As one of my commitments at the Brantford AGM was to try and find ways to become more financially able, I formed this committee and it includes: Cindy Ferguson your national secretary, Rajesh Malik your second vice president, and Chris Chamberlin president of Frontier Computing. We hope to work to develop a plan that would lead to fruitful endeavors. All ideas and suggestions for fund raising activities are most welcomed.

There is news on the chapters’ front:

First, the good folks in Ottawa have started to make plans to resurrect their beloved chapter and it is hoped that I can tell you something more in my next update.
Second, we held a chapters presidents teleconference on Sep 28. I was delighted to meet all of the chapters’ presidents and look forward to working with them on a closer basis.

Here are some of the highlights:

We discussed how to raise awareness of the AEBC's presence. How to move priority items forward and we will be working to generate ideas for fund raising activities.
Suggestions were made to spread awareness through universities and colleges.
We have agreed to have a teleconference every three months; the second will be held on January 18, 2012.

The court dates for the case Jodhan versus the Attorney General of Canada are set for Nov 15/16 and will be held in Toronto at 180 Queen Street West. The AEBC has been granted intervener's status and will be given 45 minutes to present oral arguments. May the winds be at our backs!

Finally, I have some exciting news to share with you but will only give you the headlines for this month and ask that you stay tuned for more details next month.

First, the AEBC will soon be embarking on an exciting new venture to help improve communications among its members and with the rest of the world. We are extremely excited about this new venture and we feel strongly that you will to. Stay tuned for more!

Second, in keeping with the upcoming 20th anniversary AGM in Kelowna, something very special is planned to help you be a part of this milestone. We are sure that you will want to know more. Stay tuned!

That's it from me for this month but before I leave you, here is my question of the month.
How can we as a community help to attract more volunteers to be a part of our daily lives? To assist us in tasks that require sighted assistance?

Send me your thoughts and comments.

With very best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Donna Jodhan
Your National President

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.