Becky Floyd, president of the Mississippi Council of the Blind, married her childhood sweetheart, Buddy Collins, on Oct. 29, 2005 in Madison, Miss. Congratulations to them!

Human Service Professionals Needs You!

What is ACB-HSP? It is the Human Service Professionals affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.

Who can join? Anyone who is working in the human services fields, including but not limited to social work, mental health/chemical dependency counselors, rehabilitation counselors and workers, psychology, psychiatry, etc. Students who are pursuing these majors are also encouraged to join, as well as people who are interested in the field of human services, which actually includes a wide range of possibilities. If you are interested and have questions about this, please contact me at the phone number or e-mail address listed below. We welcome anyone who expresses an interest in working with and serving people in just about any capacity.

Why should I join? I can think of many reasons, but just to name a few: it connects you with others working in the same or a similar field; you gain support; to learn ways to enhance your career through personal growth, adaptive technology and furthering your education; mentoring and resources; it could be helpful on your resume; you may find people who could be possible references while job seeking. And hopefully, you can come up with other reasons of your own when considering whether to join ACB-HSP this year.

What are the benefits to me? At this time, we have an e-mail list which is low volume. It is designed for discussion and information sharing. You can subscribe to that list either on the ACB web site,, under "join our e-mail discussion and information lists," or by sending a blank e-mail to [email protected] Once membership picks up, I would like to have conference calls where people can connect via phone on a regular basis, and I would eventually like to begin publishing a newsletter. We will also be doing some seminars and co-hosted presentations at the 2006 convention. (More information about this will be forthcoming.) I need your help, and we need your attendance and participation. Benefits beyond that are as much as the membership makes them, as it is my belief that the membership, not the officers, determines this.

When do we meet? ACB-HSP will have its annual meeting at the 2006 convention. Watch future issues of "The Braille Forum" for more information.

How can I join? You may send $10 annual dues to Jessie L. Rayl, ACB-HSP President, 305 S. Maple Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25401; phone (304) 263-2996 (home) or (304) 262-8020 (work); e-mail [email protected]

ACB Special-Interest Group Just For Lions
by Adam Ruschival

A pride of Lions is proud of serving when it comes to blindness issues and activities. The American Council of Blind Lions (ACBL) is a sanctioned club of Lions Clubs International (LCI). ACBL's members are active in local clubs throughout the United States and in some foreign countries.

ACBL provides a forum for spreading the word about what local clubs are doing and how blind Lions are contributing to blindness-related projects. There are usually four organizational activities during the ACB national convention: a roaring party and pin swap; a visit to a local Lions Club; a board meeting; and a luncheon and business meeting. ACBL also hopes to publish at least two newsletters before the 2006 ACB convention in Jacksonville.

ACBL is currently in transition, with approximately 75 members. Immediate past president Alan Beatty was the driving force behind ACBL for several years, and obtained the LCI charter for the club. Alan is a past district governor in the Fort Collins, Colo. area, truly a distinguished position of leadership in Lionism.

New officers were elected at last year's national convention in Las Vegas. Alan was elected treasurer and Adam Ruschival was elected president. For information about becoming an ACB Lion or renewing your ACBL membership, or to learn more about organization activities and how to receive the LCI Lions Magazine in an accessible format, contact Adam Ruschival, ACBL President, 148 Vernon Ave., Louisville, KY 40206; phone (502) 897-1472 (home) or (502) 303-7078 (cell); or e-mail [email protected]

Calling All Veterans!

Every day our soldiers prove that the United States armed forces are by far number one in the world. They prove it in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, the Philippines, and right here in the United States. It's the United States keeping Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden on the run in Afghanistan and the rest of the world, while helping to keep terrorism in check here in the United States. Whether by land, by air, or by sea, it's the United States that sets the standard for excellence.

As members of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and veterans of the United States armed forces, we need to insure that today's young men and women serving the United States receive all the help and support they deserve. When veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan need the services of the Veterans Administration (VA), we need to make sure they are there.

At the same time, we need to continue keeping an eye on services for our older veterans who are blind and visually impaired. As our population grows, so does the number of older veterans who need help because of low vision and blindness. Service-connected or not, veterans have earned the right to the excellent care that the VA provides, and with help from organizations like ACB and VIVA, it will only get better.

One way we can do this is through the Visually Impaired Veterans of America (VIVA). VIVA is a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind consisting of veterans who are blind and visually impaired, their family members and friends. VIVA also has members who are professionals in the fields of blindness and veterans' affairs.

When you join VIVA, you automatically become a voting member of ACB. Dues for VIVA are $15 annually. You will receive copies of "The Braille Forum" and the VIVA News. The VIVA News is available in large print or by e-mail. You can send your dues, contact information, branch of service, and your format preference for "The Braille Forum" and the VIVA News to David L. Dowland, VIVA Secretary, 1111 E. 39th St., Tulsa, OK 74105.

VIVA does its work in part through the ACB resolution process, the ACB legislative seminar, and through advocating from the national to the grassroots level. VIVA holds its general membership meeting at the ACB national convention. Our next meeting will be in Jacksonville, Fla. We plan on having an afternoon meeting on Tuesday, July 11. You need not be a member of VIVA to attend, but we encourage those interested in veterans' affairs to join and lend their support. We look forward to seeing you at the next VIVA general membership meeting in Jacksonville!

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