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Talk to the President March 2013 Edition

Dear fellow AEBC members:
Well, we're almost there!  Our AGM is practically just around the corner and I am looking forward to meeting those of you who will be attending.  This is going to be a very exciting AGM and we are hoping that you will come out of this particular AGM all revived and ready for action.  Please take the time to read our call to the AGM, and don't forget to drop by and give us your platform for running for a spot on the board!  The more the merrier!
 
Please also if you can attend either in person or via the Internet, come by and listen to our keynote speaker Paul Edwards; probably the most prestigious keynote speaker that the AEBC has ever had at any of its AGMs.  He is not only a past president of the American Council of the Blind, he is internationally known for his tireless work on advocacy and other important issues and challenges pertaining to the blind.  I will paste further down some highlights on Paul Edwards.   
 
I am going to try and make this final update of mine a shorter one, I'll do my best.  I will not be offering any commitment of the month nor will I be asking any questions.  Instead, I will take the liberty of sharing some final thoughts with you. 
 
I again thank all those who have taken the time to stop by my inbox to offer your feedback, comments, and thoughts.
  
*****
In board news
An access to information request for information pertaining to the IELA initiative that ended abruptly has been sent by the AEBC.  The hope is that this would tell us a bit more about the 3 million dollars that was supposed to have been spent on the development of an initiative for equal library access and up until now, repeated requests to our questions have gone unheeded. 
 
The website committee received a very prompt response to the AEBC's question to the president of the Treasury Board Secretariat where they were asking the Government to outline their baselines for the implementation of the latest WCAG requirements.  Alas, these questions were not really answered as the Government chose to let us know that they are hoping to implement new accessible features by July 31 but alas!  What does all of this mean? 
 
The CRTC committee wishes you to know that with the upcoming AMI license renewal scheduled to take place in April, the AEBC is going to adopt a position of neutrality.
 
The strat planning committee wants you to know that they are looking forward to receiving input from you on the Saturday morning of our conference as there is going to be an important session at that time where members will be asked to provide input to this very important exercise. 
 
By now, you would have received a call for our AGM and this document contains everything that you need to know about our AGM; activities, keynote speaker, resolutions, and platforms.  Please take a mini moment to read this as it also contains information on registration and hotel info.  Also, please, do not forget to support our president's contest as this year we are hoping to raise enough funds for us to kick start a very unique initiative; probably one of the first of its kind within our community.
Please visit http://www.blindcanadians.ca/pc to learn more and become a part of this exciting initiative!   
I thank Anthony Tibbs our technical guru, and Denise Sanders and Rajesh Malik for having helped to develop this concept.
 
Anthony Tibbs our resident webmaster wishes to announce the following and this is important for those of you who wish to attend our AGM by listening in through the Internet.  
 
"We will be streaming the conference activities on Friday night, 
Saturday, and Sunday morning, for those who are unable to attend in 
person.  Until the conference begins, this stream will be repeatedly 
playing the audio call to the AGM.
 
To do so, you will need Winamp, Windows Media Player, VLC, or another 
audio player that is capable of playing Internet audio streams.
See http://www.blindcanadians.ca/programs/conf/2013/audio for more 
information and for links to the stream!"
 
I will also remind you to please send in your proxies no later than Apr 12 to our national secretary Dar Wournell at dar@blindcanadians.ca.  Every vote counts and especially so if you want your voice to count and as the old saying goes:  If you do not vote then you should not expect your voice to count. 
 
I will take the liberty of providing you with the hotel info one more time.  Please remember to 
give the AEBC's booking number to the reception desk when you call to make your booking.  This number is included in what I am pasting below. 
 
***
 The hotel accommodations for the AEBC 2013 AGM April 26 to 28
Cambridge Suites Hotels Toronto 
15 Richmond Street East, Toronto, ON. M5C 1N2
Reservations: 1.800.463.1990   
Hotel direct: 416.368.1990
http://www.cambridgesuitestoronto.com/
 
The reservation block is under the name: Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
Booking number: 14480
 
We have a block of 30 suites reserved for our AGM at a rate of $135. + 13% HST per night for a suite with a king bed, a pull out sofa with single, double or twin share occupancy.
 
We also have negotiated 10 suites with two European double beds at a rate of $135. + 13% HST per night for twin occupancy.
 
Once the 10 rooms with the two European double beds have been booked, any additional request will be subject to availability and rate change.
 
The rate for triple or quad occupancy is: $25. Per person per night per suite + HST.
 
The deadline to reserve at these guaranteed blocked rates is March 29, 2013.
 
Check in time is: 4PM
 
Check out time is: 1PM
 
Cancellation is to be done, no later than 4PM 7 days prior to the guest's arrival date or one nights charge will apply.
 
Please Note: The reservation block is for Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27, only. If a guest wishes to extend the stay the hotel will make every effort to match the price upon availability, wherever possible.
 
Please make your reservation as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
 
About Paul Edwards, please read!
The Man - The Teacher - The Advocate - The Friend 
This is who he is!  Paul Archibald Edwards; read his accomplishments and share his thoughts about himself.
http://www.fcb.org/wcb-march-april-2011.htm#wcb5
 
Paul is never afraid to identify his heroes but when it comes to his accomplishments, he prefers to keep them just out of the spotlight.
Paul was elected as ACB's President in 1995 and served for six years.  Thereafter, he continued to serve ACB through his position as Immediate Past President and remained on the Board of Directors for the next six years. In 2007, Mitch Pomerantz, current ACB President approached Paul with a request that he lead the Board of Publications (BOP).
 
In 2004, Paul was elected as President of the Florida Council of the blind (FCB). During that fateful term, Gayle Krause-Edwards, his wife and companion of 20 years passed away of leukemia and Paul made the decision to resign from his position.  Paul was again elected to lead FCB during the convention of 2010.
 
In 1986, He went to work for the Miami Dade College as the Director of Access Services for Disabled Students and retired in 2012.  Most of his students would remember him as someone with a fountain of knowledge, humorous and always able to bring a calming effect to students.
 
Paul shared the following with the AEBC.
"I was born in San Francisco California and was one of the early users of an incubator after being very premature. I was left with a little light perception which soon went away. At the age of seven I moved to Calgary and went to school in Vancouver. Part of the time I was at the Jericho Hill School and part of the time I was at the Athlone School for Boys. At thirteen, my mother decided we were moving to Jamaica and I stayed there till I was 21. I graduated from high school sort of and completed my Bachelor's SPECIAL Honors degree in History at the Mona Jamaica campus of the University of the West Indies. I was the first blind student to go there and ended up in Trinidad because I wanted to do a graduate degree in international relations which I successfully completed.
I met my first wife there and married during my degree and so was faced with the need to find a way to support her and my first daughter who was pretty quickly on the way. I taught at a small school in the rural area of Trinidad partly because there was no other job and partly because I was not sure if I could really teach. I really enjoyed that first year because all the girls I taught really wanted to learn. Yes, it was a girls' school. I was not making disparaging remarks about boys!
After one year I became the senior history master at Trinity College, the leading Anglican School for Boys in Trinidad and Tobago. Near the end of my teaching career, I got a graduate degree in Education from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad.
When I left Trinidad ten years later I had three children: two girls and a boy. I moved to Florida where I went to work for the Division of Blind Services as a rehabilitation teacher. In this job, I went to people's homes and taught them skills that would enable them to adjust to visual impairment. After three years of this, I became a Rehabilitation Counselor and worked mostly with high school and college students. In 1983, I moved to Jacksonville to take over as Executive Director of an agency serving blind people there. In 1986, I moved to Miami as Director of Services to students with disabilities on the North Campus of Miami Dade College, the largest two year college in the United States. On my campus we served over seven hundred disabled students a year. I retired from that job in May of 2012.
While I certainly regard my working life as rich and varied, I have derived much more pleasure from the work I have done as a volunteer and advocate. I have worked at the local level, at the state level and at the national level to try to make things better for people who are blind. I currently serve on the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, the National Accreditation Council Board and hold several positions within the American Council and its Florida Affiliate. I have worked particularly on library issues, promoting braille and changing laws.
I absolutely believe that I have been given as much by the consumer movement as I have given it. Until I became associated with ACB, I saw myself as an inferior creature desperately trying to compete in a world where I could never do quite enough to be accepted. What the blindness movement taught me is that the only person I have to satisfy is me. That may sound  arrogant and overbearing but that is not how it is intended. I set high standards for myself and if I can meet them I am likely to meet the standards of others. I no longer worry about being accepted by society. I have rights and I will fight to see they are protected. Society does not need to accept me but they do need to include me. I am proud to be a person who is blind. I am proud of what I accomplish every day in spite of the barriers that are there. More than that, I am proud of what every blind person everywhere accomplishes every day. It isn't easy to be blind and anybody who says it is or who suggests that it's a walk in the park does not live in the same world I do!
I enjoy modern folk music, fantassy and science fiction and hope that, in due course, I will find some time to write. The one thing you can be sure I will not write is an autobiography. My three children are now grown up and I have ten grand children which is quite enough to keep me occupied and young. I still have a lot to do and many places where I think I can help. I have had a good life and only wish I had not been quite so busy. When you don't make time to smell the roses, they have often faded before you can enjoy them! I look forward to meeting many of you in Toronto and to learning much more than I can teach! I am honored that I have been asked to come!
Paul"
 
We  invite you to visit the www.blindcanadians.ca/participate/committees page to have a look at our committees and to sign up if you feel that you can help us. 
 
*****
In other news
I am delighted to announce the winner of this year's CCD Award.  
Each year, this award is given to the one who in the minds of your national board has contributed outstandingly to the causes of the Disabilities Rights Movement in Canada.  As a member organization of the CCD, The AEBC has the privilege to nominate one of its own for this award. 
 
So who is the chosen one for this year?  Who is the one that has done their due diligence to receive this very prestigious award?  Who is the one that has managed to prevail and defy very daunting odds?  Our 2013 CCD Award winner is none other than our very own Paul Thiele and at our AGM I will have the honour of presenting this to him as he will be traveling all the way from the West Coast to receive his well earned reward.  Congratulations to you Paul!
 
I'd like to share some very exciting news with you coming from our scholarship committee and here is a short blurb from them and the entire announcement has been posted to our website.
 
"Each year, the AEBC offers scholarships to recognize outstanding blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted post-secondary school students. This year, we are pleased to offer  three awards in total.
 
Jennifer Laura Eve Wilson Memorial Scholarships 
Jennifer was challenged by the complications of Type 1 diabetes including visual impairment.  She rose above them with her courage, inner strength and determination. She helped make the world a better place for others by giving of herself.  These annual AEBC scholarships continue her generous tradition.  
We are pleased to offer two $1,000.00 scholarships for 2013 in her name.
 
The T-Base Communications Scholarship
The T-Base Communications scholarship program helps to fund the educational pursuits of an outstanding blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted student in Canada who is continuing his or her academic education at the post-secondary level.  The T-Base Communications Scholarship is designed to help students pursue their educational endeavours and is not limited to any one discipline.  
One T-Base Communications scholarship of $2000 will be awarded for the 2013/2014 academic year beginning in the fall semester of 2013." 
 
Yes, the Braille Camp initiative is still alive and well and thanks to folks such as Jeff Stark of Ottawa, and Chris Chamberlin and Liz Hurdman of Toronto, we are hoping that this will take place in the summer of 2014.  A lot of work needs to be carried out in order that we have a project that is meaningful and one that can be repeated on an annual basis.  The AEBC is firmly committed to this project and I have personally committed my time to help make it happen.  Stay tuned!  We will be seeking your help on this exciting brain child of Jeff Stark.
 
*****
In chapter news
A very spirited tele conference meeting was had on March 06.  The chapter presidents for Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Brantford, Nanaimo, and Kelowna were present and these chapter presidents exchanged ideas and suggestions on how to improve collaboration among chapter members and chapter presidents. They also discussed how to find ways to make social events more interesting and exciting.  The next chapter presidents tele conference is scheduled for early June.
 
Well, I am pleased to bring you news from our eastern most chapter; our hard working Halifax chapter and here is the latest from their president and our National Secretary Dar Wournell. 
 
In Dar's own words:
"Monthly report:
Over the past month, members who will be attending the 2013 AEBC National
Conference and Annual General Meeting have been out in the community fund
raising and bringing awareness to AEBC.
 
We have had several dates at Sobeys on Windsor Street and Sobeys on
Mumford Road.
 
I would absolutely love to thank members of the AEBC Halifax Chapter for
their continuous hard work on their fund raising efforts as well as
promoting AEBC in our community. It is a lot of long hours working hard to
not only raise funds to attend the AGM but to get AEBC more out into our
community.
 
We have raised over $1,000.00 at both locations and have had numerous
people return to give more donations when we returned the following day or
the following weekend. However, one person in particular needs more recognition. Mr. Dewis of Halifax visited our table in January when we were at Sobeys on Mumford Road. He donated $20.00 then. Mr. Dewis returned
this past Saturday and as soon as he said "Hi" to me, I knew it was Mr.
Dewis as he made quite an impression back in January when he came to our
table. Again, he donated another $20.00. The following day, Sunday, Mr.
Dewis came back and again, donated another $20.00 to help get our members
to Toronto.
 
It is people like Mr. Dewis who believes in our cause, who supports us in
our efforts and who gives generously to those in his community. I'd like
to say "Thank You, Mr. Dewis" from the Halifax Chapter members and a huge
"Thank You" to the staff at Sobeys on Windsor Street and Sobeys on Mumford
Road. Those two little words can mean a lot!"
 
Some other highlights from this feisty little chapter:
Will aim to have a youth chapter for the end of 2013. 
The creation of a "wanted sign" to recruit new members and volunteers.
Will have members put them up on bulletin boards, post at universities,
seniors' buildings, etc.
Bursary Program: Have raised $110.00 towards the bursary fund.
 
*****
Members of the month
For this month, and I am a wee bit late, we salute the victory of Marie Stark!  One of those dynamic members of the esteemed Stark team and here is why!
 
"The Agency orders Air Canada to provide electronic itineraries/tickets in a
format accessible to persons who are blind. Additionally, Air Canada is
required to file with the Agency the internal communication sent to its
staff to demonstrate that it has implemented the new procedures"
 
Marie launched a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency against Air Canada with respect to the format of the electronic itinerary/ticket that she was provided in respect
of her trip between Ottawa and London, Ontario in July 2012.  She was provided with an inaccessible PDF format. 
 
Her milestone victory will ensure that Air Canada and hopefully other airlines will follow suit in providing itineraries in accessible formats in the near future.  
Congrats to you Marie Stark!  One of the humblest persons that I have ever met!  Her words to me when I phoned to congratulate her were: "Ah well just doing what needs to be done."
 
Not to be outdone, son Lord Jeff as he is also known as, has scored his own victory and he is definitely a chip off the old block as they say!  Following in the footsteps of his parents Chris and Marie and here is why!  I am re-posting from our members list for March 23.
 
"[63] The Agency finds that the following constituted undue obstacles to Mr.
Stark's mobility:
 
.The manner in which Air Canada provided assistance to Mr. Stark in terms of
guiding him to a counter to print his boarding pass;
.The manner in which Air Canada provided assistance from the security check
point to the boarding gate, including assistance with Mr. Stark's cane and
belongings; and
.The level of communication by Air Canada flight attendants with Mr. Stark
on his flight from Vancouver to Ottawa.
ORDER
[64] In light of the above undue obstacle findings, the Agency requires Air
Canada to issue the following bulletins within 30 days from the date of this
Decision:
 
1.a bulletin to remind its staff of the proper ways of guiding a person who
is blind or partially sighted; and,
2.a bulletin to its in-flight personnel to remind them of its policies and
procedures with respect to communicating with persons who are blind or who
are partially sighted and inquiring periodically about their needs.
[65] However, in respect of the manner in which Air Canada provided
assistance at the security check point, the Agency notes that Air Canada has
proactively and appropriately taken steps to avoid such an incident from
recurring by sending a bulletin to its staff on October 2012. The Agency
therefore finds that no further corrective measures are required to address
this matter."
 
Too often, we inadvertently forget about those who are the silent contributors to our organization and for this month we salute the efforts of the following five people: 
 
Meet Susan Pinder!  She walks softly but carries a big stick!  The heart and Soul of the Toronto chapter!  The chief inspector!
 
In the words of one of her chapter colleagues:
"In any organization, those individuals who are in the forefront, who are
outspoken, or who take on significant leadership roles are the ones who most
often get noticed when it comes to recognizing accomplishments. However,
those individuals who prefer to remain more in the background, doing
important work whenever asked are of immense importance to the success of
any organization and also deserve to be recognized.
Susan Pinder is one such individual.
 
Susan has served twice on the Toronto Chapter Executive, but more importantly, has always been there whenever needed, calling members to remind them of upcoming activities,
rallying the blind community to attend court during Donna Jodhan's Charter
challenge, updating chapter contact information, and virtually any other
tasks that someone needs to do."
Thank you Susan for all of your hard work and dedication!
 
Meet Peg Mercer!  An unsung hero in the true sense of the spirit!  A lady with true grit!
In the words of one of her chapter colleagues:
"Peg has been involved with the Vancouver chapter since 1997.  During this time she has held various posts on the chapter executive including president.  Currently she is the chapter treasurer.  Without her skill at matters that are more administrative in nature, we would not have a smoothly running chapter.  Her attention to detail has ensured that all chapter records are usually clear and up to date.  Even though Peg has not been soly responsible for a local advocacy victory, her commitment to ensure things are done properly has helped us a great deal as we organize activities in the local area."
Hats off to you Peg for all of your efforts!
 
Meet Judy Prociuk!  Another backbone member of our esteemed organization and here is what one of her chapter colleagues wrote about this lovely lady not too long ago!
 
"Judy Prociuk has been a long time member of A.E.B.C.,She has served on at least too national committees, and has sat on the local executive a long time.  Judy has also provided inforrmed discussions on the members list."
Thank you Judy for all that you have done to help keep the fires burning!
 
Meet EZRA Chitiyat!  Always there for his chapter, never complaining, always doing! 
In the words of his Montreal chapter president Heather Rupert:
 
"Ezra has been the treasurer of AEBC Montreal Chapter for many many years now (I believe since 2001 -although it may have been even before that).
His Dedication to treasurer, his dedication of always being there when the group need a volunteer (we know we can always count on him) 
 
Despite, the chapter going through several presidents-he has still remained treasurer by acclamation each and every time- never backing down, never veering from his duties and position , and always wanting to help in any other way that he possibly can.
His impact on the team has been very valuable as a long term volunteer."
Thank you Ezra for your continuing commitment to excellence!
 
Meet Albert Ruell!  
Prince Albert was born in Prince Albert Saskatchewan and was hired as AEBC's first National Equality Director.  Here is a closer look at our Albert!
 
Albert has participated in many community activities, including the local
Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people
with many different disabilities.
In his own words:  "Teaching may be the best way to solidify one's
own learning."  Over the years, Albert has never held back when it comes to sharing his insights and here are some important words of wisdom from him.
 
"For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one's home and community, but that doesn't have to be the case. Independence comes
from personal desire and increased skill. Remember, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about/with it."
 
We salute Albert and his wealth of experience!
 
They are not on our national board, nor are they chapter presidents.  They are simply people who believe in our commitment.  They are our unsung heroes of the month and we thank them. 
 
*****
On the minds of our members
For my final month, I have decided to share the thoughts of one of our longest serving members; always a lady!  Always there to mentor, advise, and prod!  Lady Irene Lambert from Montreal and here are her words of wisdom.
 
"Hi Donna
Advocacy was the only reason I joined this organization with the hope that 
whatever abilities I had would find a way to fit in with other like-minded 
Canadians to make a difference.
Clearly advocacy wears many hats.  I always considered our Canadian Blind 
Monitor to be an exceptional means of doing some important public education 
as well as communication with our membership about each others activities, 
our interests and our achievements.  I always loved dropping off several 
copies of the Monitor at my public library or leaving a copy on the reading 
table at doctor's offices. For me, that magazine spoke volumes to the 
personnel or to the public who I would never otherwise communicate with and 
who would only ever see me as a blind person who had to be shepherded around 
from room to room.  I fully understand the financial problems we had  with 
the Monitor and the lack of control with its distribution but I dearly wish 
that this means of advocacy could be streamlined and promoted with greater 
efficacy. Defining the focus and intent of this organ of communication is 
clearly a worthwhile service to our members and to the public.
 
BARRIERS:
I feel that we all know what impedes our efficiency as individuals with 
varying kinds of visual impairments but that we need some definition and 
clarity about these barriers as to what the solutions to them could be. 
This could be a specialized committee at the national level for those with 
the interest and talent in the subject.  Some aspect of the topic of 
barriers should be a discussion item at every chapter meeting and the 
results should be forwarded to the national committee.  At conferences when 
the topic of burning issues or priorities or feasibility is a vital concern 
we would have the grass roots input from across the country at our 
fingertips.
 
Then, we can always look at what the organization can be doing to enhance 
our members abilities to advocate more fruitfully.  This could be done with 
courses, training, workshops and experiences by tele-conferencing, on-line 
learning, face to face discussions etc.  Subjects that come to mind are a 
thorough understanding of our human and legal rights etc., various kinds of 
advocacy, leadership training, public speaking so forth and so on.  It would 
be up to the national board to develop the ways and means.  It should be 
useful for chapter presidents to have constructive learning and self- 
development at every meeting.  This to me is a service where members get 
something personally and enhances the interest and ability of individuals to 
participate more fully in the mission of the organization.
If we examine our needs at the grass roots level, either rural or urban we 
may find other services that fill a niche that rehabilitation is not 
providing.  That could be a listserve for technical information with 
computers or mobile devices or parenting support or employment or resources 
etc.  National rehab organizations provide these kinds of services for their 
professionals who are serving us so why can't we have our own help lines to 
support ourselves?
 
Getting back to my personal interest in AEBC which is to work for a more 
inclusive society with a more equal playing field I keep wanting to look at 
our involvements as working for all Canadians in this vast country of ours. 
What are our common goals and needs?  What brings us together? Yet we must 
confront the Canadian reality with ten provinces and several territories 
(which is better than 51) but only one tenth of the population with a 
tremendously disparate distribution of those of us interested in blindness 
issues.  This makes it most important for AEBC to be a grass roots 
organization where each area can deal with its local problems.  The 
essential for us is to be aware that social equality does not happen 
overnight  and will never happen without constant vigilance and effort.  And 
that's putting it mildly!"
 
*****
Letters and press releases posted to our website
- The AEBC's scholarships announcement
- letters sent to CBC and Aeroplan over their inaccessible websites
- Response from the Treasury Board Secretariat to the AEBC's inquiry about baselines for WCAG compliance
- An access for information request on the IELA initiative
 
*****
My final thoughts as I prepare to pass the torch
I am not going to take too much of your time here but I just wanted to thank all of those who helped to make my presidency an enriching, meaningful, and enlightening one.  It was a privilege to have served as your president and I will honestly say that no textbook could ever have prepared me for the challenges that I have had to face over the last two years. 
 
I have met many wonderful, hardworking, and committed members and they have taught me so much.  I have learned, laughed, and at times shed some  huge round tears but it has been all for the good.  I have had many mentors who have shared so unselfishly with me over the last two years but at the end of the day, no one could ever have fully prepared me for my presidential journey.
 
Be good to yourselves and to each other.  Be kind to your next president!  Respect them, commit to them, and stand with them!  Provide them with professional and constructive criticisms whenever you feel the need to do so but always remember to also offer suggestions and well thought out solutions. 
 
If ever you feel the need to yell at your president or your board or at each other, then may I respectfully offer these thoughts.  It does not help to do so publicly on our list.  Probably better to do it through a private email or phone call.  Let us not forget that whenever we put our thoughts into writing and post them to the list, we are never able to take them back.
 
Remember too that once in a while, it does not hurt to say thank you to your national board and to congratulate others whenever they have scored successes on behalf of us all and it is with this in mind that I offer my gratitude to the Toronto chapter and to the AEBC for having helped to support our recent landmark victory in the case Jodhan versus the Attorney General of Canada.  I also thank the two boards of directors that I have had the pleasure and privilege of having worked with as well as  our chapter presidents.
 
I also thank those tireless advocates who continue to walk the walk on behalf of us all; Chris and Marie Stark and others and to our three Queen's Diamond Jubilee winners:  Marg Thomson, Beverley Milligan, and Tom Teranishi just to name a few!  And to our CCD Award winner for 2013 Paul Thiele!  There is a place in this organization for everyone who wants to make it a place to be!  It does not matter how old or young you are!  Age makes no difference and we have several statesmen and stateswomen among us ready and willing to share their hard earned experiences with us. 
 
Success in the world of advocacy never comes at the drop of a hat!  It takes time, a tremendous amount of patience, a thick skin, and most of all!  The ability to swim with the current and play in the same sandbox with others.
True advocates often have to pay a huge price  for their work; long hours of commitment and being able to weather the storm against all kinds of criticisms.
 
 Finally, don't give up!  Keep on fighting the good fight!  Use your energies to ride the waves rather than worrying about sinking in quick sand!  Remember now, the kids are depending on us to teach them how to fly!  Let us not disappoint them!
 
May the winds be at your backs and keep a song in your hearts!  I end now by acknowledging the following members for having stuck with me for the past two years and to Lois Benko our book keeper and Tyler Moore our admin assistant.
From West to East:
Denise Sanders - Kelowna
Richard Marion - Vancouver
Charles Bailey - Vancouver
Marc Workman - Edmonton
Robin East - Saskatoon
Susan Pinder - Toronto
Stephen Ricci - Toronto
Cindy Ferguson - London
Pat Seed - ThunderBay
Melanie Moore - Hamilton
Brian Moore - Hamilton
Chris Chamberlin - Toronto
Steve Pollard - Toronto
Bev Milligan - Toronto
Marcy Yale - Huntsville
Jeff Stark - Ottawa
Chris Stark - Ottawa
Tyler Moore - Ottawa
Sharlyn Ayotte - Ottawa
Anthony Tibbs - Montreal
Rajesh Malik - Montreal
Irene Lambert - Montreal
Heather Rupert - Montreal
Mike Ciarciello - Montreal 
Lui Greco - New Brunswick
Dar Wournell - Halifax.
 
For those of you who observe the Easter celebrations:  Happy Easter!  Feliz Pascua!  Buon Natale!  Felices Pascuas!  And a Happy Passover to our friends who celebrate this important feast! 
 
Donna J
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.

Comments

Thank you, Donna, for serving as president for these past 2 years and for your tireless advocacy efforts. They are greatly appreciated.