Be a Leader: Be a DKM First-Timer

by Allen J. Casey

You've never attended the ACB national conference and convention.  You want a unique learning experience.  You seek to be involved.  You aspire to be a leader.  If all of these characteristics describe you, then you should apply to become a DKM First-Timer.

The DKM roster over the years is filled with the names of leaders at the national and state levels - Bob Hachey of Massachusetts; Tony Ferrita of North Carolina; Carol Edwards and Kenneth Semien Sr. of Texas; Michael Golfo of New York; Mandi Holley of South Carolina; Darrin Cheney of Idaho, and about two dozen more.  Ask one of these leaders about the value of the first-timer program to their ACB careers.  Ask them about the leadership opportunities they have encountered.  Imagine yourself with the same opportunities.

If you want to join the DKM ranks, you first must meet the basic qualifications:  (1) ACB member in good standing; (2) 18 years of age or older; (3) blind or visually impaired; (4) never attended the ACB national conference and convention.  Additionally, each applicant is required to submit two letters - the first stating the applicant's interest in being a DKM First-Timer and describing the benefits of the award to the applicant and to his or her affiliate and community; and the second, a letter of sponsorship from the president of the applicant's state or special-interest affiliate.  Letters must be received in the ACB national office no later than April 1 and directed to the attention of Dionne Matthews (

DKM First-Timers will attend the 2012 conference and convention in Louisville as guests of ACB and the DKM committee.  Reasonable travel, lodging and conference costs will be paid for each first-timer as well as a per diem meal stipend.  Recipients are expected to be active participants in conference activities.

Talk with your affiliate president and take the first step toward national recognition as a leader in ACB.