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 [email protected], 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 National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is accepting applications for its seminar for blind college-bound musicians, to be held July 19-25 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pa. Designed for serious braille-reading music students preparing for or already in college, the program 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. 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 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. Contact the Resource Center regarding the application and audition procedure. Deadline for requesting applications is April 30; all application materials must be in the Resource Center office by May 14. Parents and teachers of younger students are invited to discuss coming for an evaluation and guidance. For more information, visit, call David Goldstein at (203) 366-3300, extension 229, or e-mail [email protected].


Incight Resources for Self-Empowerment offers scholarships to individuals who are full-time students with documented disabilities. Applications are available online at; or contact the company by phone, (971) 244-0305, or e-mail, [email protected].


The Eye Care Center at the Southern California College of Optometry has extended the "Call for Artists" for its fifth annual juried art exhibit. Submissions that are selected will be displayed in the Eye Care Center for a period of one year, and are available for purchase. The deadline for entries is May 13, 2009. For entry and application details, visit, and click on the links "Call for Artists" and "Application Packet" in the section "Shared Visions Art Exhibit 2009-2010 Call for Entries." For further details, contact Rebecca L. Kammer, O.D. at (714) 992-7865 or [email protected].


The Jewish Guild for the Blind has awarded scholarships to 13 college-bound high school seniors who are legally blind. Winners are: James Baker, West Valley, N.Y.; Nicole Caso, Bronx, N.Y.; Gabriel Castellanos, Tempe, Ariz.; Michael Forzano, Yonkers, N.Y.; Briana Friel, South Salem, N.Y.; Gene Kempfer, Springboro, Ohio; Janice Jihyun Lee, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Samantha Pinnell, Carlsbad, Calif.; Nicole Press, Norwalk, Conn.; Heather Marie Rasmussen, Watertown, Tenn.; Abby Schoenbeck, Apple Valley, Minn.; Rose Sloan, Schaumburg, Ill., and Ashley Claire Townsend, Ormond Beach, Fla. This year, JGB also awarded a former teacher of one of the students, Nancy Burrows of Pine Trail Elementary School, Ormond Beach, Fla., for her role in encouraging and bringing out the best in her student. For more information on the GuildScholar Program’s scholarships for the 2010 academic year, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-7801 or e-mail [email protected].


Serotek has announced that it will no longer require a fee to upgrade or maintain any software in its System Access product line. Serotek will continue to provide regular upgrades and software improvements but will offer them free of charge to all Serotek customers; no longer will customers need a software maintenance agreement.


Kareem Dale has been appointed as Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. Dale, who is partially blind, will coordinate the administration's efforts to see that people with disabilities are on a level playing field with all Americans. Originally from Chicago, Dale previously served as the National Disability Director for the Obama campaign. He also served on the Arts Policy Committee and the Disability Policy Committee for then-Senator Obama.


As part of its national vision awareness campaign, the Jewish Guild for the Blind has available a new, colorful poster. It measures 18 by 24 inches, and features New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning falling back to throw a pass during Super Bowl XLII, then how the same scene looks to someone who has macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts or glaucoma. For one free copy of the poster (also available in Spanish), contact: SightCare, Jewish Guild for the Blind, 15 W. 65th St., New York, NY 10023; phone 1-800-539-4845, or send e-mail to [email protected].


In 2008, completely rebuilt its online library of accessible books and expanded its collection of textbooks. Bookshare recently re-launched its site with state-of-the-art web technology that simplifies the reading experience.

Improvements in accessibility and ease of use now make it easier for individuals to get the books they need quickly. The new library implements many of the current best practices for website accessibility and puts most features of the library within two or three clicks. It also provides improved support for its rapidly growing collection of more than 43,000 books and 150 periodicals. Students can register for the service for free; others pay $25 to sign up and $50 annually to access the library.


Mind's Eye Travel, which organizes trips for people who are visually impaired or blind, recently released its 2009 schedule. This year’s trips include: New York City and the Arts, May 13-17 for $1,595; Discover the Coast of Maine, July 22-26, with prices starting at $995; and Santa Fe and Taos, Sept. 16-20, with prices starting at $1,195. All prices are per person based on double occupancy. For more information, visit For reservations, call (207) 542-4438.


The Oregon State School for the Blind Alumni Association will hold its 2009 reunion at the school June 12-14. Activities will include: a pizza party, lots of time for getting back with old friends, good food, bowling, staff meet and greet, memory walk around the school grounds, professional karaoke and much more. For more information, contact Carl Belnap at (503) 857-5687 or [email protected].


Julie Goldbeck, a teacher with low vision, is offering an on-line course called Introduction to Children's Literature for 10 clock hours. It is a self-paced course that can be completed from home with an Internet connection. The course will cover all areas of children's literature, including: special events in children's literature, U.S. and international children's literature awards, authors, illustrators, children's book publishers, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, etc. To register, e-mail [email protected] and Julie will send you the course materials. A $50 instructor fee is due upon completion.


Alice Crespo owns a home-based business with Stanley Home Products. To learn more about the products, how you can earn extra money in your spare time, or to host a demonstration and get free prizes, call (917) 696-8115.


The Talking Voice is a new magazine where blind folks talk to each other. It is a quarterly magazine on tape. Features include: recipe roundup, voices of the Talking Voice, technology corner, the talent show, tape pen friends, and much more. For more information, write to Carl Belnap, 900-A Ash St., Dayton, OR 97114; call (503) 857-5687; or e-mail [email protected].

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