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Talk to the President April 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:

Well, we are almost here! Yes, just a few short weeks before our 20th AGM and I think that each and everyone of us should be very proud that we belong to an organization that has managed to stay on its feet for this long despite very rough and choppy seas! These seas are probably going to remain rough and choppy for a while longer but I know that we will weather it all.

As always, I'll have a question for you at the end of my update and I again appeal to you to please give it your consideration. This will be the third and final month that I will be asking this particular question and I am doing so because I feel that it is very important for us to gather and understand the pulse of our members. I thank those of you who took the time to answer it last month.

Important note: I have an important note for you at the very end of this update. Please read it if you can. Thank you.

My quote for this month is as follows:

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas A. Edison

In board news

The month of April was a bit less busy than usual and it may probably be due to our long holiday weekend as well as getting ready for our AGM.

Your second vice president Rajesh was up to his usual hard work; working to ensure that Blind Canadians continue to enjoy opportunities to various scholarships. He has just put the finishing touches to a new type of scholarship that will be open to all Blind Canadians but he would like to disclose the details at the AGM. I can tell you that this type of scholarship is an out of the box idea and hopefully we will have several applicants competing for it. Stay tuned!

On the topic of scholarships, another email announcing the T-Base $2000.00 scholarship was sent out to over 100 offices for special needs students across Canada in late March. The closing date for this is June 30 and an announcement to this effect is posted on our website.

Your secretary Cindy was extremely busy this past month preparing the call for the AGM and she was ably assisted by your national director Marc. We hope that you have had time to read the call and for those of you who are unable to attend, we hope that you will join us via the Internet.

Your director Marc along with Anthony Tibbs continued their tireless work with the Blind Canadians blog. Marc is always looking for new writers and he is quite pleased with the response that he has been having thus far. More persons are commenting and noticing our blogs. So if you have always wanted to write, or if your fingers are simply just itchng to put your thoughts into print, here is your chance of a lifetime. Send an email to Marc at and he'll make sure that you get a chance to express yourself through the Blind Canadians blog.

In other news

the Coalition of Organizations of Blind, Deaf-Blind, and Partially-Sighted Rights Holders of Canada (CBRC), held its 2012 meeting in Toronto on March 30/31. The following groups were present at this meeting:

  • AEBC,
  • CCB,
  • CBSA, and
  • GDUC.

The CNIB attended as observers. The AEBC's reps to this meeting were Cindy Ferguson your national secretary and Richard Marion your esteemed member from Vancouver.


Robin East chaired this meeting and here are some of the highlights.

  1. Organization Updates
  2. Coalition Committee Updates (website, library, and point of sale)
  3. Priorities (It was decided to continue with website and library and to monitor point of sale)
  4. Future Direction for Committees
  5. Working Together
  6. Election of Chair (Robin East was re-elected as chair for a third term)
  7. Fundraising
  8. An update to the CNIB sponsored meeting held in October 2011

At the end of March, the CNIB circulated two documents. These are their final documents on the CNIB's hub business plan and copies of these are posted on our website.

It is here and I urge you to visit our website to read more! What am I jumping up and down about today? It is our CBM, issue 32 and there is a lot for you to read in this issue.

An email has also been circulated to members with an outline of what to expect in this latest issue.

I thank Brenda Cooke and Sarah Bennett for their stellar efforts and special thanks also go out to Tyler Moore our program admin assistant and to Anthony Tibbs and Marc workman for their assistance with this.

Speaking of thank yous, I would also like to thank our tireless book keeper Lois Benko for all of her flawless work. Lois continues to keep our books in ship shape order.

In chapter news

Both the Toronto and Montreal chapters held very successful fund raising events; Toronto in March and Montreal in April. Both of their presidents Amal and Heather would like me to tell you that theirs were very successful fund raisers and these two daring ladies are gunning for bigger and brighter events in the very near future.

The Toronto chapter is about ready to launch their public service announcement; an initiative that has been in the works over the last few months and I am hoping to share more with you in my next update.

Commitment of the month

Time to increase our mentorship activities There are several ways to look at mentorship and in the case of the AEBC, these activities could include:

  • Mentoring parents of blind kids,
  • Mentoring those who have lost their sight after birth,
  • helping to mentor teachers and educators,
  • mentoring each other.

Mentoring is yet another way for us to show our strength and increase our influence.

Letters and press releases posted to our website

The CNIB's hub business plan documents have been posted to our website.

A copy of the minutes for the March 24 2012 AEBC's town hall meeting on employment has been posted at

A copy of the latest issue of the CBM has also been posted to our website; issue 32.

In AGM news

Well folks! This will be the final news bulletin from me re our AGM. In a matter of weeks we shall be gathering in beautiful Kelowna to celebrate our milestone 20th anniversary and thanks the the delightful Denise Sanders and her tireless committee we are looking forward to a celebration to remember. Denise assures us that all is ready and by now you would have read the call for the AGm along with the information needed to register for the hotel and the conference.

This will be the final time that I am going to publish the details for the president's contest and once again I thank Anthony Tibbs for all of his hard work on this. I wish each participant the very best in the draw for this handsome cash prize of $500. Good luck also to the one who will be lucky enough to win the IPad being donated by Sharlyn Ayotte. All those registering for the conference will be eligible for this prize. Now for the details of the president's contest.

Greetings members!

In May 2012, the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians will celebrate twenty years of supporting blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians!

Would you like a chance to win $500 cash? Help achieve our goal! We're building a virtual wall for 20th Anniversary Supporters, to represent the foundation on which the AEBC is based, and the supportive nature of our scholarship program. The funds raised will serve as the foundation for the scholarship program this year and into the future. When you join as a 20th Anniversary Supporter, and help lay that foundation by buying a virtual "brick" on our 20th Anniversary Supporters' Wall, you will also be entered into a draw for a $500 cash prize! In fact, for every dollar that you (or someone you refer to AEBC) donates before May 26, 2012, you will automatically receive one additional entry into the contest!

How will this work?

First... Buy your brick and make a donation to the AEBC! Each brick costs only $1.00. With your virtual brick you will receive an entry into a contest for a $500 cash prize, to be drawn during the 20th anniversary conference and general meeting in Kelowna, BC (May 25-27, 2012)*. You can only buy one brick, but for every dollar that you donate to the AEBC before May 26, 2012, you will automatically receive an additional entry into the contest! But wait...

When your brick purchase is processed by AEBC, you will be given your "brick number". This is a unique 5-digit number that identifies your brick on the wall. Pass that number along to your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else you can think of. When they buy a brick, and supply your brick number, you will also get credit (and additional contest entries) for every dollar that they donate and raise for AEBC. (You also will be given a special URL that you can post to Facebook, Twitter, and email messages to ensure you get credit for your referrals.)

Don't want to buy and pay online? Call us at 1-800-561-4774!

If you would like a tax receipt, be sure to provide a shipping address in PayPal so that we know where that should be sent. Note that your initial brick purchase ($1.00) is not eligible for a tax receipt. If you make a $10.00 donation and you do not yet own a brick, then a tax receipt of $9.00 will be issued.

Join and donate online at

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us at

Thank you!

Question of the month

My question of the month is the same as last month and here it is again.

What type of organization would you like to see the AEBC evolve into?

  1. An organization that would focus on becoming the strongest voice of blind, partially sighted, and deaf/blind consumers in Canada? This would mean that every member would have to make a commitment to commit.
  2. An organization that would focus on becoming one where socializing would be the main objective through annual AGMS, chapter meetings, and chatter on the members list that would include the discussion of issues of the day?
  3. To continue as is? That is, to do nothing and based on present financial projections, it would mean that the AEBC's lifeline will be brought to an end in four or five years time?

Your feedback is really important to us and I cannot stress how important it is for you to share your vision. You can share it on the members list, or write to me or drop an email to

Important note

With much regret and sadness, I have decided to step down as your national president and will be doing so just before the election of new board members in Kelowna. I have enjoyed being your president and I wish each of you the very best in your endeavours.

Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to seeing those of you who are able to make it to Kelowna next month.

Donna J

Your National President


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.
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