The Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Fund Committee proudly presents the Class of 2021 DKM First-Timers.
Each applicant met all requirements to be honored with this annual award in which we select one recipient from east of the Mississippi River and one recipient from the west.
- Age 18 or above
- Blind or Visually Impaired
- An ACB Member in good standing (Current with membership dues)
- Never attended an in-person ACB Conference and Convention
- Agree to attend the ACB Conference and Convention from July 16-23, 2021 and participate in all required sessions and activities.
Recipients will have their general registration fee paid for the 2021 Virtual ACB Conference and Convention and be given the privilege of attending the 2022 ACB Conference and Convention in Omaha, Nebraska with general registration fee paid; travel expenses; lodging (double occupancy); Stipend for designated special events and incidentals.
2021 DKM First-Timers
Kaila Allen has been selected as the 2021 DKM First-Timer from the West. She resides in Mesa, Arizona as a wife and mother of two. Prior to joining ACB and community events as a host and presenter, she worked as a licensed massage therapist and childcare provider. At the state level, Kaila serves on the 2021 Arizona Council of the Blind (AZCB) convention committee with lead responsibility for planning and organizing its "after hours" social activities as subcommittee chair. She is a member of the ACB Next Generation affiliate. Kaila Allen is the owner of Blind Beauty Crafts Custom Creations. She loves ACB’s core values due to the fact that they align with her belief system. She desires to share ACB’s values more broadly as a leader and help bring positive change for the blind community. As a student at the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kaila completed ceramics and weaving courses, among many others. She has also taken advantage of business classes offered by Hadley School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Crafting has always been Kaila’s favorite hobby and it brings her great joy that people find excitement and a sense of accomplishment upon completing a craft. One of her strongest leadership examples is when she went to the Capitol and advocated for a law to prohibit children from being taken away from parents with visual impairments and blindness. Kaila has planned and scheduled numerous events, while taking time to train, mentor and encourage others.
Belinda Collins has been selected as the 2021 DKM First-Timer from the East and she resides in St. Pauls, North Carolina with her husband. She graduated in the top ten percent of her public high school class of 350 in 1997 and went on to UNC at Charlotte, where she majored in English. Belinda loves technology and she shared her technological skills with her blind peers in college and worked alongside these same blind peers to speak out for necessary accommodations and advocate for needed changes in their university system.
Advocacy and accessible technology are two of Belinda’s biggest passions. Belinda acquired her certification as an Assistive Technology Instructor from World Services for the Blind in Little Rock, Arkansas. Last year, she began attending the ACB community calls and eventually started hosting community calls on a regular basis. Her inquiry about volunteering to assist with some of the duties and responsibilities that go along with managing events for the community calls, resulted in being offered an internship working with Cindy Hollis, ACB Member Services Coordinator on a daily basis. Belinda holds memberships in the North Carolina Council of the Blind and Blind Information Technology Specialists (BITS). She is now serving on the convention committee in her state affiliate and anxiously awaits to serve in other capacities.