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Take Charge and Stay Connected

Editor's Note: Devon Wilkins is President of the NFB:AE's new Collingwood, Ontario, Chapter. This article was written prior to the Chapter's formation.

No, I'm not writing this amid the hubbub of downtown Toronto or Vancouver. I'm not even in the city where our fledgling Ottawa chapter is located. I'm sitting in a living room two hours north of Toronto, where there is only one member of the NFB:AE--me. But there's no doubt that I'm connected . connected in ways that all members should be in order to make the most of their involvement in our forward-thinking organization.

Membership in the NFB:AE doesn't have to just mean getting the Canadian Blind Monitor three times a year, nor should it, because there's plenty of work for all of us to do.

Why not get involved in one or more of our committees? Thanks to Technology, which now allows us to participate in conference calls and/or email chats if you have the internet, you can play an integral role in the grassroots work of our organization. The Publications Committee, for example, decides what the theme of each issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor will be, and then either researches or writes the articles that will appear. The recently created membership committee will come up with new and innovative ways of recruiting new members, and perhaps even retaining current members. And where would any group be without people with creative fundraising ideas?

Another initiative that the NFB:AE has established is its Mentorship Program. In order to be successful, the program requires people who can either offer a listening ear or assist an individual to explore options. It also needs people who are looking for someone to share their ideas with as well. Perhaps you could see yourself as either a mentor or mentee.

If you happen to have access to the internet, you can always subscribe to the NFB:AE's email listserve. It's important to understand that those who do subscribe don't have any advantage over those who don't, because nothing is decided by means of email. But if someone happens to come across an interesting newspaper article, or if they have stumbled onto some relevant government document, or if someone simply has a pet peeve that they want to air, the listserve provides the perfect opportunity.

Sound interesting? Don't just set this article aside. It's true that our national office is located in Kelowna, British Columbia, but it is as close as your phone. Call and ask how you can make the most of your membership. Ours is an organization that is already gaining momentum. Imagine what we could do and where we could be with your help. The number of our national office is 1-800-561-4774. To subscribe to our email listserve, send a message to:

majordomo@nfbae.ca

Don't put anything in the subject line, and don't sign your name at the end of your message. The only line that should appear in the body of the message is:

Nfbcan-l-subscribe

In short order, you should receive confirmation that your subscription has been received.

Don't put it off. Stay connected. Get involved. Help us show the rest of Canada that Canadians who are blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind really do have a voice.

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*The NFB:AE has a wide range of committees to get involved in:

Access to Electoral Process?

Assistive Devices Program?

Education/Employment?

Fundraising?

Membership?

Mentorship Program?

Publications (the Canadian Blind Monitor magazine)?

Scholarship Program?

Web Design Committee?

For more information, call 1 800 561 4774 or email info@nfbae.ca

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