edited by Sue Lichtenfels

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering's mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.


The 4th annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event will take place throughout May 2011. Service animals, whether dogs, cats, horses, or the like can receive a free eye exam to look for problems including: redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts and other serious abnormalities. Last year, more than 3,200 exams were conducted. Owners must register their animal online between April 1 and April 29. Once registered, owners will be given a list of participating veterinary ophthalmologists to schedule the appointment. To qualify, animals must be "active working animals" that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Additional registration details can be found at


The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) administers a scholarship program. Each year individuals who are legally blind can apply for financial awards to support their college education. For more information, contact AFB's Information Center at 1-800-232-5463, e-mail, or visit the web site, The application deadline is April 30, 2011.


The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians will hold its seminar for blind college-bound musicians July 10-16 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pa. The seminar tailors instruction to each person's need to develop braille music and theory skills and to learn to use technology to submit music assignments in print notation. Applications are currently being accepted from serious braille-reading music students preparing for or already in college. Applicants must have already studied some music theory, have had several years of music lessons, and be able to present a polished and pleasing performance. They must be willing to put effort into braille music study, and demonstrate a commitment to use the braille music and computer notating skills they will learn at the institute when they return to school. Applicants must also show they have begun thinking realistically about reachable goals, and that they have the independence skills, social readiness and maturity to be a contributing part of a close-knit group. All application materials are due by May 4, 2011. For application and audition details, visit; call (203) 366-3300, ext. 229; or e-mail


Hadley School and Utah State University have partnered to offer college level distance education courses for individuals who want to receive training in working with students who are blind. The program is geared to parents, paraprofessionals, and teachers seeking either a Certificate in Blindness at the undergraduate level or a USU Associate's Degree in General Studies with a Focus in Blindness. Courses include: Introduction to Blindness and Visual Impairment, The Human Eye and Visual System, Introduction to Braille, The Role of Paraeducators with Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired, Introduction to Low Vision, and Introduction to Multiple Disabilities. To learn more about this program, contact Linda Alsop at or (435) 797-5598. To take courses on a non-credit basis, contact Fran Payne at or (435) 797-5591.


The Jewish Guild for the Blind has awarded 16 scholarships to high school seniors who are visually impaired. Each winner will receive $10,000 to begin their college education in the fall of 2011. Winners were chosen based on criteria including academic excellence, community involvement, legal blindness, U.S. citizenship, and financial need. Congratulations to: Karen Arcos of Los Angeles, Calif.; Thomas John Carroll III of Glenview, Ill.; Katelyn Chandler Corey of Culver City, Calif.; Sarah Gonzales of Atlantic Beach, Fla.; Constantine Greanias of Valencia, Calif.; Michelle A. Hackman of Great Neck, N.Y.; Ann Kwong of El Monte, Calif.; Catherine Lei of Elk Grove, Calif.; Emma Liu of Bethesda, Md.; Wai Hin Judith Lung of Monterey Park, Calif.; Maayan Malter of Wilmette, Ill.; Christopher Meyer of Kokomo, Ind.; Sylvia Modesitt of Martinsburg, Mo.; Lance Matthew Norris of Spring, Tex.; Isaac Edward Prahl of Portland, Ore.; and Trent Underwood of San Diego, Calif. For information on the Guild Scholar program, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-7801 or e-mail


The National Statler Center for Careers in Hospitality Service, headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., is entering its 11th year and has recently graduated its 35th class. Graduates are employed by hotel companies such as Ritz Carlton, Adam's Mark, Sheraton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Radisson and Hampton Hotels as well as respected smaller properties. To learn more about this training program, contact Jeff Pease at (716) 888-4526 or Additional information is also available at


Camp Siloam 2011 will take place at the Golden Cross Ranch in New Caney, Tex. from May 21-28. Bruce Coonce, Assistant Pastor of Community Baptist Church in San Marcos, Tex., will lead the morning Bible study from the book of Jonah. Activities will include hayrides, shopping trip, swimming, horseback riding, and evening services. When you send the $25 non-refundable deposit, you will be sent a full camp registration packet. Send the deposit to: The Gospel Association for the Blind, PO Box 1162, Bunnell, FL 32110. The week of camp costs $220 minus the $25 deposit. There is no charge for first-time adult campers. Transportation assistance is also available. For more information, call (386) 586-5885 or 1-866-251-5165 and enter mailbox 7128#.


On March 3, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) celebrated its 80th birthday. Through a network of 113 regional libraries, NLS brings reading materials in digital audio and braille formats to the homes of patrons from preschoolers to centenarians. Some request and receive hard copies via postal mail while others download accessible files from the web site. The NLS collection includes more than 400,000 books covering a variety of genres. Each year an additional 2,500 books are added to the collection. For magazine readers, NLS offers free subscriptions to 40 periodicals on audio and 30 in braille. To register for or learn more about this service, call 1-888-NLS-READ (657-7323) or visit


Long-time talking book narrator Fred Major passed away in mid-January at the age of 73. Major's health had been in decline since a heart attack 12 years ago. He recorded hundreds of NLS books at the APH studio in Louisville, Ky. He made a career as both a stage actor in theatres across the country and was voice talent for a number of documentary programs. Since 1982 he was a resident actor at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, where he played his final role as the narrator in "A Christmas Carol" in December.


The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has launched several new tools in its "I Can" campaign to enhance and increase the employment of people with disabilities. In addition to the "I Can" public service announcement, ODEP now offers two discussion guides and seven educational posters addressing disability and employment. The two PSA discussion guides are a "Workplace Discussion Guide" to help employers and human resource professionals facilitate staff conversations on flexible and inclusive workplaces, and a "Youth Discussion Guide" to help start a conversation among youth with and without disabilities that focuses on abilities and talent. Each guide includes a DVD of the PSA. Each of the seven "What can YOU do?" posters addresses a different audience and includes a compelling image and message. Any of these tools can be downloaded or ordered through the campaign web site at


The Hadley School for the Blind has launched a new course for individuals who are blind and want to learn more about self-employment. "Self-Employment with a Minimal Investment" focuses on small businesses that involve an investment of $500 or less. The course covers the fundamentals of: self-discovery, idea evaluation, budgeting, marketing, business planning, and accessing resources available to entrepreneurs who are blind. The course is conducted online and is free for blind students and their families. A similar course with an additional section that discusses the vocational rehabilitation counselor's role in helping a client become self-employed, as well as the client's responsibilities, is being offered to professionals who work in the blindness field. Enrollment in this version of the course will be $99 but is being offered for free for a limited time. For more information, or to enroll in either course, contact Student Services at 1-800-526-9909 or e-mail


The 2011 edition of the "Medicare and You" handbook is available in accessible formats, including braille. The book covers what's new, what Medicare pays for, health and prescription drug plans and your Medicare rights. To request an alternate format, call 1-800-633-4227 and ask to speak to a live representative.


Six times each year, Bob Branco publishes "Consumer Vision Magazine." Articles are of general interest but specifically cover topics related to disability. Issues are available in braille, cassette, CD, print, e-mail and online. Back issues and additional information about the magazine are available at To subscribe, contact Bob Branco at or call (508) 994-4972.