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Highlights of Recent Activities

  • We've moved! The new address for NFB:AE's National Office is: Suite 6-1638 Pandosy Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1P8 Fax: 250-862-3966 - Toll Free: 1-800-561-4774 Email:

  • Revised Mission Statement: at our 2003 conference in Montreal, the participants adopted a revised Mission Statement for our organization. It is:

"To increase awareness of rights and responsibilities, so blind, Deaf-blind and partially sighted individuals can have equal access to the benefits and opportunities of society."

  • Submitted three Briefs to the CRTC, supporting VoicePrint's licence renewal, calling upon specialty channels to initiate video and audio description, and developing programs to employ more persons who are blind in the broadcasting industry, and requesting the CRTC to initiate a process to regulate the development and deployment of mobile telephone equipment in Canada.

  • Submitted Brief in connection with the Review of Canada's Foreign Policy, which discussed peace as a disability rights issue and offered support for the proposed UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

  • Participated in teleconference discussion with various other disability organizations and federal officials concerning the proposed UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

  • Participated in the Council of Canadians with Disabilities' National Council Meeting and AGM which focused on human rights, CPP, federal tax policy, and the annual CCD Awards were announced. The Board of the NFB:AE had voted to bestow its on the late Alan Neville.

  • Submitted comments concerning the review of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT).

  • Wrote a letter to Via Rail after a number of conference participants discovered VIA does not offer braille copies of its safety brochure.

  • New Contractors:

As you will recall from the last issue, we had hired Karen Klemp as our new bookkeeper. Unfortunately, she has left us due to various personal reasons.

Bookkeeper: Lois Benko

Lois Benko has worked in the accounting field since 1981, and taught at OUC for ten years. Main courses were: Computer Accounting Certification program and MS Office certifications, as well as intro courses in MS Publisher, Windows, Bookkeeping and job re-entry programs.

Fund-Raiser/Fund Developer: Karen Leboe

Born in Thunder Bay, Karen Leboe has lived in Kelowna for over 30 years. She graduated with a BSW from the University of Victoria (decentralized program) and worked in the Social Services Sector for 17 years. She was a counsellor at the Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter for a couple of years, then became Executive Director for 11 years.

"I am very keen on sleuthing out new and lucrative [funding] sources for the NFB:AE."

Clerical: Monika Penner

As a community activist, Monika Penner has much experience with non-profit organizations, including present volunteer work on the board of directors for the Kelowna Women's Resource Centre, The Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS), and Kelowna Drop-In and Information Centre, which assists and advocates for homeless, poor and otherwise marginalized persons.

Her work experience includes coordinating the Sexual Assault Help Line and Response Team for the Elizabeth Fry Society's Women's Sexual Assault Services (1998-2003), respite care for mentally disabled children and youth (1990-present), and coordinating the Kelowna Planned Parenthood clinic (2000-2002). This fall, she will begin working as a Visual Language Interpreter for Disability Services at Okanagan University College.

Monika Penner received her undergraduate degree in Sociology in 2000 at Okanagan University College and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology through the University of Victoria. Her studies focus on social constructions of gender, 'race', and sexuality, and the ways in which various oppressions (i.e. classism, ageism, ableism) perpetuate and interact with one another.

Please join is in welcoming Lois, Karen and Monika to our team.

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