by Susan Lichtenfels

The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff, or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.


Margarine Beaman, who many of you know as ACB's volunteer coordinator, was recently honored with an Older Volunteers Enrich America Award for her volunteer work. She has been involved in numerous organizations, including the Travis County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and MetLife Foundation sponsored the award.


Dawn Brush, a former ACB scholarship winner, graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., on May 13 with a bachelor of science degree in sociology and a minor in gerontology. She retired from managing a cafeteria business after more than 25 years, and currently works as a traveling counselor for the blind in the state of South Dakota.


VisionOutdoor is a new company based in Germany that is offering tours designed for people who are visually impaired. Its first tour is a combination of nature discovery and cultural activities that includes four destinations in eastern Germany. The tour package accommodates one sighted guide for every two visually impaired travelers. For additional details regarding pricing and dates, visit, e-mail [email protected], or call 0049-521-1640020.


Trekk is a seven-day summer Sports for Health regional adventure run through Colorado Ski for Light. The 10th anniversary summer Trekk will be held Aug. 4-11 in Fort Collins, Colo., and the Rawah Wilderness, located about 60 miles west of the city. Trekk is a cross between llama-assisted trekking/hiking and car camping. Both visually impaired participants and sighted guides are needed for this annual summer sojourn. The program costs $450. Limited scholarships are available for first-year participants. Travel to and from Fort Collins is not included. Space is limited. For additional information, contact James Patchell at [email protected] or (970) 402-5832 or Kristin Anderson at [email protected].


Wendy Olson, a teacher of the visually impaired from New Jersey, will be traveling to Ghana to adapt science and math curricula for 12 blind Wesley College students studying to be teachers. She is seeking financial donations to purchase adaptive equipment, or donations of equipment. The items she seeks include: Nemeth and science textbooks, talking calculators, a braille dictionary, math tools for the blind, JAWS, Kurzweil, a tactile image machine and paper, a braille embosser, and braille writers. If you'd like to donate, please call Wendy at (201) 918-1448.


The 2006 NCAA braille college football schedule is available with 119 division 1-A and some requested division 1-AA teams. It also includes the results of the 2005-2006 bowls, the AP top 25 final polls, and the 2006-2007 bowl schedule. Make your $10 check payable to Allen H. Gillis and send it to Allen H. Gillis, 302 Schaeffel Road, Cullman, AL 35055. Call (256) 734- 4047 or e-mail [email protected].


Audio Darts of Pittsburgh will host the sixth Harold Schlegel Dart Tournament Oct. 6-8 at the Best Western on Greentree Road in Pittsburgh, phone (412) 922-7070. Make your reservations by Sept. 17! The rate for the weekend is $85 a night singles and doubles, plus 14 percent tax. Add $9 each for a third and fourth occupant. The hotel rate includes manager's receptions and super continental breakfasts. Tournament registration costs $75, $20 for individual events. The total prize money will be $3,550. Events include 301 singles Friday at 7:30 p.m., 301 round robin, 501 doubles, 301 doubles, and 301 triples. All team events are "pick your team." Send your registration fee and contact information to Louis Wassermann, 2503 Silver Oak Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15220 no later than Sept. 25. There will be no refunds. For more information, call Joe Wassermann at (412) 687-5166 or Gene Barton at (412) 341-0114.


Toledo native Dawn Christensen has been named the executive director of The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio. Christensen's initial involvement with The Sight Center began more than 20 years ago, when she was employed in production and auto parts assembly with the sheltered workshop. Christensen founded the Toledo chapter of ACB, has served as president of the Ohio ACB, and has participated as a board member at the national level.


Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, has a variety of information resources available for blind and visually impaired students considering enrolling in or currently enrolled in education beyond high school. The Student Aid Audio Guide contains a 60- minute overview of the department's federal student aid programs and the federal student aid life cycle including eligibility criteria, application procedures, notification of results, loan repayment options, and deferment and cancellation provisions. To hear it, visit, or order a CD copy by calling 1-800-433- 3243. Additional publications are available in braille through the toll-free number.


MathTrax is a free computer application from NASA that helps students who are visually impaired to understand math. Its text descriptions and "audio graph" allow students to "see" and "hear" mathematical equations, providing access to information that might otherwise have been unavailable to them. To download and learn more about MathTrax for both Windows and Macintosh, visit


Spheris, one of the largest medical transcription companies in the nation, offers many transcription opportunities. Certified medical transcriptionists with at least one year experience within the last five years may qualify for employment. Benefits include health insurance, 401(K), paid days off, and flexible schedules. Spheris provides JAWS software and 24-hour help desk support. To apply for a position with Spheris, visit, e-mail your resume to Anne McGirr at [email protected], or phone 1-800-788-0629, ext. 2629.


The Hadley School has recently launched two new courses, "Business Writing" and "Basic Nemeth Code." Business Writing includes four lessons that present the information and practice you need to write successful business communication. "Basic Nemeth Code" (now open to blindness professionals and family members of blind individuals) gives you the tools to read and braille the basic symbols of the Nemeth Code. After briefly describing the development, use and production of the Nemeth Code, this course introduces the symbols and basic rules for brailling math computations. Each course is free, but each has prerequisites. For course and enrollment details, call 1-800-526-9909 or visit


Ai Squared has partnered with over 150 accessibility resource centers throughout the United States and Canada. Each of these resource centers can provide evaluation of your computer access needs, demonstrate ZoomText, and give personal ZoomText training. Free ZoomText trial packs are also available to try on your home or work computer. You can locate the center closest to you by visiting


The Parent/Teacher Resource for Children with Sensory Impairments is set up as a place to exchange ideas among those who want to create activity programs for individuals or groups who are blind, deaf-blind, or who have low vision. It lists adapted physical education programs, adapted athletic/sports organizations, equipment resources, sport camps, articles, toys and games, books, and services available on the national, regional and state levels. For more information or to submit additional resources, visit


Cambridge, Mass., West Hollywood, Calif., and Austin, Tex. have won the fifth annual Accessible America Contest, run by the National Organization on Disability. These cities are heralded as national models for their focus on disability issues and successful design of programs, services and facilities accessible to citizens and visitors with disabilities. Cambridge will receive the top prize of $25,000 for its innovative emergency preparedness planning, information dissemination, public works projects, transportation opportunities, inclusion training and outreach to faith-based organizations. West Hollywood and Austin will receive $20,000 and $10,000, respectively. Other finalists were Arlington, Va.; Berkeley, Calif.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Haven, Ct.; and Pittsburgh, Pa. For information about entering the 2006 Accessible America Contest, call Sharone Belt at (202) 293-5960. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2006.


Christina Brino offers Tupperware products for sale on her web site, Individuals interested in making extra money as Tupperware consultants can get more information from Christina by calling (973) 713-7724 or e-mailing [email protected].


Dr. Larry Cole has developed a pillow that encourages proper posture for a good night's rest. The SleepPosture (TM) pillow is designed to encourage sleeping on one's side, and is shaped to provide support for the head, neck and back. It also has a patented ear well that enables the ear to remain suspended while sleeping in order to prevent ear pain. The pillow may also benefit people with congestive heart failure because it enables them to remain in an upright position on their right side while sleeping, therefore decreasing stress on the heart. It may also provide relief for expectant mothers and people who suffer from sleep apnea. Learn more about this pillow at; call (901) 767-8824, or e-mail [email protected].


"To the Left of Inspiration: Adventures in Living with Disabilities" is written by Katherine Schneider, a woman blind from birth. She writes about the activities of her daily life, like talking to children about disabilities, traveling, going to church, and working. Kathie's life experiences highlight the warmth and humor in our struggles to be humane with each other, whether we are temporarily able-bodied or disabled. The book, ISBN 1-59858-131-7, is available through online book sellers and in accessible format through


The Rural Blind Progress Centre teaches blind people how to sew, make music, do hand crafts and much more. The center needs braille books and magazines, writing paper, slates and styli, and other educational items. If you have items to donate, mail them to the Rural Blind Progress Centre, c/o K.L. Dhavale, Guravoali, at Post Pen, Dist. Raigad, Maharashtra, India.


U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with Johns Hopkins has recently launched an online guide to glaucoma. Visit the guide at


Chuck Ayers is blind and has been writing and blogging for over a year now. His writing interests vary from recent experiences to events 50 years past. He loves to include a little humor and sometimes a little commentary. Chuck enjoys hearing from readers. He encourages the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Visit Chuck's blog at


Harmony Productions is a Christian ministry working to spread the word of God among people with disabilities. The organization needs photocopiers, cassette duplicators, blank cassettes, Bibles, and braille Bible information. For mailing information, send an e-mail message to [email protected].


R.T.R. Rabindra from Yala, Nepal works with blind students. He is seeking braille materials such as posters and alphabet instruction. Send items to R.T.R. Rabindra lal Shretha, 16/22 Baliphal, Navanani, Lalitpur, Nepal.


The site is a dating and social web site for people with all kinds of disabilities. It includes an audio link for visually impaired users to access the message boards, chat rooms, and information links. Membership is $45 for six months or $60 for one year. Join the club at


There's another new web site out there geared specifically for disabled individuals, This site is aimed at helping disabled individuals develop their social, personal and romantic lives in a supportive and understanding environment. It offers forums, private chats, a dating service and blogs, among other things, to facilitate personal expression and connection via an on-line community. There is no cost. Visit the web site to join!


Blind-singles is a new online group for blind singles over 18 years old. The aim of the group is to let singles meet other singles with the same disability so they can interact, exchange ideas and form solid friendships. To subscribe, send a blank message to blind-singles- [email protected].

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