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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
January 2024

The New Jersey Council of the Blind’s mission is to strive for the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community. The purpose of this publication is to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information that concern blind and visually impaired people.


President’s Message: Norman Sabastian Warren takes the Helm as the President of the New Jersey Council of the Blind

My aspiration to be president of the New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) evolved from my journey and the challenges I have faced due to being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Living with this eye disease that causes visual impairments has fostered within me a profound understanding and empathy towards others who navigate similar visual impairment struggles. Thus, I am grateful to be president, as I am motivated to effect meaningful change. There are several goals that I am interested in pursuing as president that I know are important to all of us at NJCB.

As president, I will advocate for greater accessibility and inclusivity within the community. I envision a society where visual impairment is not a barrier to success and where individuals are provided with the tools and resources necessary to thrive. This includes pushing for affordable technology that can aid the visually impaired in their daily lives, such as improved screen-reading software and more accessible public spaces.

I aim to foster a sense of community and support among the visually impaired. The importance of mutual support and the sharing of experiences and knowledge cannot be overstated. By strengthening the community, I believe that individuals can empower each other to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

Additionally, this platform enables me to raise awareness through public speaking and advocacy about the challenges faced by the visually impaired. That may include educating the public and organizations about the importance of creating a society that accommodates all its members, regardless of their physical abilities. Through promoting this awareness, it is possible to dispel myths about visual impairment and thereby foster compassion and understanding in the larger community.

The intent is to normalize blindness in society. From my own experience, I understand that societal perceptions and attitudes toward visual impairment often shape the experiences of those living with it. Therefore, a significant part of my work as president is to challenge and change these perceptions. This work also includes promoting stories of successful individuals who are visually impaired and showcasing the wide range of capabilities and talents within the blind community.

These narratives serve to dispel myths and stereotypes that often limit opportunities for the visually impaired, which continues to undermine blindness as a normal aspect of life. In this way, educational institutions and employers will be encouraged to adopt more inclusive practices. Their collaboration is a crucial step in ensuring that visually impaired individuals have equal opportunities in education and the workforce.

I hope to grow the membership of the NJCB so that together we can accomplish these goals and take our place as an effective collaborator and partner in addressing the challenges of the visually impaired in the state of New Jersey.

Jessie Rayl, licensed professional counselor, will join us to discuss vision loss, anxiety and depression. We will discuss the prevalence of anxiety and depression in the blind community, how to spot the signs and when you should seek help.

January Quarterly Meeting Notice

Our January Quarterly meeting will be held by conference call on Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Call 719-300-3278, no passcode required.

Our guest speaker

I am Jessie Rayl. I have been blind since 11 months old from Retinoblastoma.

I am also hearing impaired and have used hearing aids since I was in 7th grade.

Presently, I have Dorrie, my owner-trained hearing alert dog, and Cheddar my Pilot dog guide. attended the school for the blind in Romney. After graduation, I earned my Associate degree in Secretarial Science and did medical transcription for several years. I then earned my BS degree in Community Psychology with Vet Tech and Sociology as minors. I began my work with WV Advocates for Developmental Disabilities where I worked a few more years.

Then I got my Masters in mental health counseling and worked at the local community mental health center as triage case manager, crisis worker and counselor for ten years.

After that I opened my business in private practice which I had for 15 years, working with a wide mix of people with mental health and substance use issues including Division of Corrections.

During that time, I attained my Doctorate degree in psychology.

I have worked with many people of diversity including disability, race and LGBTQ+ over the years. Presently, I am mental health consultant for Job Corps in our area and have been in that position for the past 8 years.

I enjoy being with dogs and animals, playing the flute, crafts and craft shows, studying and applying alternative medicine for health and mental health, exercise, walks and of course the dog park.

Jessie L. Rayl, Ed.D., LPC

Meet The Board

President, Sabastian Warren
I have been a NJCB/MCAB member for 4 years.
I joined the organization to see what resources it offered blind individuals.
The information that guests speakers provided that I can use in my life stands out. I'm happy I joined because of the comradery I feel from being around like-sighted people.
My primary goal as the incoming president is to advance NJCB's advocacy efforts for our members and within New Jersey.

1st Vice President, Wanda Williford
I joined NJCB in October of 2018 and served as a Board member. In 2020 I was elected President and joyfully, served 2 terms. Currently, I also serve as chapter President of the Mercer County Association of the Blind.
Being a member of both NJCB and MCAB has impacted my life in numerous positive ways. The most important of which is sharing challenges and triumphs with my NJCB family.
My main goal as NJCB 1st Vice President, is to help grow our membership to ensure we're able to engage, educate and advocate for the blind and low vision community in New Jersey, for many years to come.

2nd Vice President,Pottackal
Hello, NJCB Family! My name is Lisha Pottackal. I am one of the newest members of our chapter, and I will be your Second Vice President starting January 1st, 2024. My journey with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) began in October 2020 when I discovered the organization through Hadley’s Crafters Circle on a crocheting and knitting call. While on the call, an ACB member told me about the ACB Crafters group and soon thereafter I joined the community calls. Then in March 2021, I started volunteering for the ACB as a moderator for the ACB Conversation listserv. During that time, I also became a member of ACB Next Generation and virtually attended the ACB Convention and the ACB Leadership Conference. Finally, in September 2022, I was admitted to the ACB Mentorship, Access, and Peer Support (MAPS) Program at the national level which aimed to place members in leadership roles in the organization. Once MAPS realized I was not involved in my state chapter, they introduced me to Wanda in October 2022. Immediately, I joined the scholarship committee and helped to start the transition process to an online application. Finally, on January 1st, 2023, I paid my dues to Mercer County and under Wanda’s mentorship agreed to accept this position.
Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in Business Administration full-time at Louisiana Tech University and taking Marketing and Organizational Behavior this quarter. I hope to take the lessons learned from my experiences with ACB and education to promote empathy, compassion, inclusivity, and leadership in our chapter.

Secretary, Dan Bausch
I have been active in NJCB for more than 5 years now. I first got involved at the encouragement of my friends Tuan and Lauren who simply invited me to come attend. As I began attending meetings and getting to know members, I was very struck by how welcoming, supportive, and empowering NJCB was to people with very different experiences relating to blindness and visual impairment. As a sighted member without a visual impairment, my main goal is to be a good listener (which is still a work in progress) and to provide support in maintaining minutes from our meetings. Thank you for having me!

Treasurer, Steve Sowa
I joined NJCB in 2008 to support Joyce and learn as much as I could about the blind and visually impaired community. Along the learning road, I made some new friends and learned new skills. After Bernie Zuckerman passed away late in 2019, I became the Treasurer. I hope I can keep supporting NJCB for as long as they will have me. The road to learning never stops.

Board members at-large
My name is Alice Burnett and I am an Ewing Township resident. I have lived in Ewing Township for the past 34 years. I am a retired public schoolteacher. I have been in public education as a school library media specialist for 34 years before my retirement in 2017.

I am new to this organization, NJCB and MCAB this year. I was introduced to MCAB, Wanda Williford. I met Wanda attending a class at the New Jersey State Library for the Blind in Trenton, NJ. Speaking with Wanda I knew I needed to be a member of the organization to meet others with the same disability I have been working with since my first diagnosis in my early 30s. It is through MCAB that I became familiar with NJCB.
My hope and desire in working with the organization is to become more familiar with concerns of the blind and low vision community. As I work with the organization, I would like to be able to find avenues of assistance, products that are relevant and organizations and people that have services to offer to the blind and low vision community.
I am excited to begin this new area of service, and hope I can offer to the community information and assistance that is needed.

I am Julius Braimah a member of New Jersey Council of the Blind.
I am currently residing in Hamilton, NJ. I joined this very important organization in 2020 When I relocated from North Carolina to New Jersey.
I joined this organization simply because it was the only blindness organization that welcome me when I move to New Jersey. I was alone and had no friends in 2020. Members of this organization became my immediate friends and family.
In addition, I have been extremely glad and always count myself as blessed since joining this great blindness organization. The president and the members introduced me to so many blindness resources and other useful places in New Jersey. This includes access link, the commission for the blind NJ, Mercer County trade transportation and many others. I was very excited when my name was selected as the winner of the ACB scholarship in July. This scholarship gave me much financial confidence as I was preparing to study for the fall semester at MCCC.
As a new board member, my immediate is to speak for the members during our meeting. Again, I hope to learn from the leaders of the board and bring out more ideas and solutions for the direction of the group during our meetings.
I look forward to supporting and collaborating with all the board members to achieve our goal during our term of office.

2024 Dues are due

Please send your annual dues along with the attached membership form to our Treasurer, Steven Sowa. Annual dues for members at large are $10.00. Checks should be made payable to NJCB and mailed to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

We offer the option of using PayPal to pay dues and making donations using your credit card. Our webpage has the direct link to the secure page.

2024 Scholarship Opportunities

NJCB is pleased to announce the 2024 Scholarship program. To apply, eligible candidates must be certified legally blind or visually impaired, will be a full-time college student, undergraduate or graduate, in the 2024 – 2025 academic year and be a New Jersey resident. The deadline to apply is May 15th and the winner will be awarded at our July Quarterly meeting. Full details, application forms and how to apply can be found on our website at www.njcounciloftheblind.org. You may also email questions to njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com

Bernard Zuckerman ACB scholarship recipient

I am Julius Braimah, the current award winner of the Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Award for 2023.

I am a visually impaired person born in Ghana in West Africa. I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when I was born. My Sight was more clearer during my childhood where I could play and performed many activities with my seeing friends in my community. I attended school for the blind in Ghana to learn braille and Orientation and Mobility. I had my primary education at Akropong school for the blind in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

I received my senior high school education at Wenchi Senior High School that both blind and sighted students attended. When I graduated from the senior high school in 1994, I was offered 1 year scholarship to study adaptive computer technology program at Overbrook School for the Blind Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I returned to Ghana to advocate for the setting up of a computer training center for visually impaired persons in Accra Ghana. With the collaboration of the Ghana Blind Union, we established the first computer training center for the blind where most visually impaired persons received their assistive computer training with a screen reader software Jaws.

In addition to this, I was the vice-president of Ghana Blind Union Cape Coast. This organization is the main blind organization advocating for the rights and inclusion of visually impaired persons in Ghana.

I am currently a student at Mercer County Community College pursuing an Associate degree in liberal arts. After my graduation, I will continue to pursue further studies in social work specializing in counseling at Rutgers University NJ.

My goal is to have a career in social work. Working as a counselor assisting visually impaired persons residing in New Jersey to achieve their career goal in the US.

I was extremely grateful when my name was selected as the winner of the NJCB scholarship this year. This scholarship gave me much financial confidence and motivated me so much as I was preparing to study for the fall semester. In addition, I am very grateful to Bernard Zuckerman and the scholarship committee for establishing this very important scholarship award to assist blind individuals studying in college.

I sincerely hope this scholarship will encourage and motivate many visually impaired persons residing in New Jersey to pursue further studies in college.

Black Men with Visual Impairments Struggle for Adequate Support and Resources in the United States

By Norman Sabastian Warren and Dr. Akila Ka Ma’at

There are intricate disparities that burden Black men grappling with visual impairments in the United States. These disparities encompass a wide array of issues, spanning from access to critical resources such as workplace accommodations and the persistent non-compliance of federal agencies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the dearth of affordable on-demand transportation services. This article discusses these disparities and suggests potential solutions to mitigate these pressing challenges.

Notable Disparities

Disparities in access to resources, notably within the workplace, constitute a significant hurdle for visually impaired individuals. At the core of these challenges lie issues such as inaccessible digital platforms, the unavailability of adaptive technologies, and the absence of inclusive policies. These inequities are primarily attributed to a lack of awareness and understanding among employers and a failure to enforce existing legal provisions, including the ADA.

Federal agencies, entrusted with upholding public interest and promoting equitable treatment, bear a substantial responsibility in ensuring accessibility. Regrettably, an extraordinary lack of compliance with ADA guidelines persists within various federal agencies. This non-compliance can be traced back to a combination of factors, including insufficient oversight, limited enforcement mechanisms, and inadequate resource allocation for necessary accessibility adaptations. Consequently, Black men confronting visual impairments are disproportionately affected by this systemic lapse.

The challenge of transportation remains a persistent issue for visually impaired individuals, compounded by the scarcity of affordable on-demand transportation services tailored to their unique needs. This shortfall is rooted in the failure to consider inclusivity in the design and operation of transportation systems, a shortcoming exacerbated by economic disparities that hinder access to specialized transportation options for Black men with visual impairments who require these services. There is limited availability of community support systems exacerbates the challenges faced by this demographic. Communities often fall short of providing essential social infrastructure, including support groups, advocacy organizations, and peer networks. This absence of communal support intensifies feelings of isolation and inadequacy experienced by many Black men grappling with visual impairments.

Additionally, organizations ostensibly dedicated to enhancing the well-being of the visually impaired sometimes fall short in addressing pertinent policy and practical requirements. These entities may inadvertently prioritize medical aspects over holistic support, thereby neglecting the broader spectrum of socioeconomic challenges encountered by Black men with visual impairments.

In housing environments, which constitute a fundamental aspect of daily life, there is often a failure to make written notices accessible to residents with visual impairments. Not to mention, this oversight can be attributed to inadequate consideration of the specific needs of visually impaired residents during the formulation and implementation of housing policies.

Inadequacy of Social Security Disability/Insurance

Lastly, the pervasive issue of limited financial resources further compounds the challenges faced by Black men with visual impairments, particularly in acquiring essential assistive technology. The cost of such technology can be prohibitive, making access to vital tools for daily living a daunting endeavor for those lacking adequate financial means.

Further, many U.S. Black men with visual impairments rely on Social Security Disability/Insurance (SSDI) as their primary source of income. is not a living wage. The fundamental issue lies in the fact that SSDI payments are often insufficient to cover the basic cost of living. Given that Black individuals, on average, have lower lifetime earnings due to historical and systemic inequalities in employment opportunities and wages, this demographic is disproportionately affected by lower SSDI payments.

Moreover, the SSDI program imposes strict income limits on recipients, often disincentivizing additional income-generating activities. This limitation can be particularly burdensome for Black men who may have limited access to well-paying jobs or opportunities for supplemental income due to disability-related barriers and other systemic challenges. As a result of these limitations, many Black men relying on SSDI find themselves in a precarious financial situation, struggling to meet their basic needs.

Food insecurity becomes a pressing concern when SSDI payments are insufficient to cover grocery bills and other dietary needs. This situation is exacerbated when considering the higher prevalence of chronic health conditions among individuals with disabilities, which often require specialized diets and increased spending on healthcare-related expenses.

Furthermore, the inadequate SSDI payments make it exceedingly challenging for many Black men who are visually impaired to secure adequate housing.

Housing costs, particularly in urban areas, can consume a substantial portion of their monthly income, leaving little room for other essential expenses. This situation often forces individuals to live in substandard or overcrowded housing conditions, perpetuating a cycle of instability and housing insecurity.

The disparities and inequities confronting Black men with visual impairments in the United States are the result of a complex interplay of factors, including insufficient awareness, systemic non-compliance, economic disparities, and societal oversights. These challenges have far-reaching consequences, ranging from restricted employment opportunities to a diminished quality of life. It is imperative to prioritize community support, enforce American Disability Act regulations, and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving the visually impaired. It is also critical to advocate for inclusive housing policies and expand financial assistance programs to facilitate the acquisition of assistive technology.

Through concerted efforts on these fronts, society can strive towards a more equitable and inclusive future for Black men grappling with visual impairments. Implementing effective and sustainable solutions supports visually impairments Black men to live with dignity and access the resources necessary for a decent quality of life.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots: Revolutionary Technology or a Sign of the End of the World?
By Miss Ruth

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been in the news a lot lately, and, for most of us with vision loss, it is a godsend. For some, though, AI is confusing, even controversial.

One AI chatbot, ChatGPT, is being hailed as the most consequential innovation in technology of this generation.

In my writing and arts groups, there is a general feeling that AI is helpful, while some feel it is a way of cheating at doing the actual work of writing or creating. That it takes away the spark of inspiration for creators and replaces it with a mechanized product instead of a work of art.

I recently started using the AI version of BeMyEyes, which is called BeMyAI.

The picture is a painting of a lighthouse. There is a small white house or building to the left of the lighthouse. It is set against a blue sky with some clouds. The lighthouse appears to be on a small hill or cliff with some greenery around it. The painting is framed with dark wood and has a white mat border. The wall on which it is hung has a textured wallpaper with a subtle tree design.
I aimed my iPad at this picture in my living room and asked BeMyAI to describe it. Here is its answer:

“The picture is a painting of a lighthouse. There is a small white house or building to the left of the lighthouse. It is set against a blue sky with some clouds. The lighthouse appears to be on a small hill or cliff with some greenery around it. The painting is framed with dark wood and has a white mat border. The wall on which it is hung has a textured wallpaper with a subtle tree design.”

That picture has been hanging on my wall for twenty-five years and I never knew there was a tiny white house next to the lighthouse. I actually went over to it and checked. I’ll be doggone!

For me, AI is a welcome, innovative technology that expands my world in myriad ways. It doesn’t just fill in the blanks for me when I need to know what's on the ingredient label on a can of soup; it paints a mental picture for me, in vibrant color.

For many others, it’s the precursor to Armageddon. Soon, the machines will become sentient and take over the world, just like in the movie Terminator!

Those who feel AI is a sign of the end times won’t be comforted by the news recently surrounding ChatGPT.

Before I go into the saga that occurred at the company that created ChatGPT, here is a great explanation of what ChatGPT is from TechTarget.com: "ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversational dialogue. The language model can respond to questions and compose various written content, including articles, social media posts, essays, code and emails.”

The tech world recently held its collective breath when Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, was fired abruptly last month and then re-hired shortly thereafter. Some say it highlighted the fact that the government should regulate and run AI:

“The turmoil accentuated the differences between Altman and members of the company’s previous board, who have expressed various views on the safety risks posed by AI as the technology advances. Multiple experts add that this drama highlights how it should be governments — and not big tech companies — that should be calling the shots on AI regulation, particularly for fast-evolving technologies like generative AI.”

One detractor speaking out against ChatGPT is David Krueger, an assistant computer science professor at the University of Cambridge. He said “AI systems don’t need to be self-aware or setting their own goals to pose a threat to humanity. I think there’s a lot of different ways for things to go badly, but I think the one that is historically the most controversial is risk of extinction, specifically by AI systems that get out of control.”

Well now! That guy is kind of a buzzkill. I still like AI, so there! Plus, I've seen all the Terminator movies, and none of the cyborgs is named ChatGPT!

All kidding aside, I can understand that the unknown aspect of how AI will address issues of privacy, security and bias can create uncertainty. Also, what if there is a data breach? And, importantly, how will AI affect jobs and the economy? No one can say for sure what the future will hold.

In any case, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. The world is changing constantly, and our best approach would be to avail ourselves of all the technology we can to improve the quality of our lives. Stay connected but stay vigilant. We can only hope that the arbiters of AI will keep a moral compass in their pockets, along with their revenue reports.

Chapter News

News from Blind Citizen’s Association
By Sarah Thoma

Holiday Greetings from the Campers and Staff at New Jersey Blind Citizens Assn…

It is mid-December, the sun is out, temperatures are mild, and it is another beautiful day here at Camp Happiness. Campers are in Camp today and are busy creating holiday ornaments to give to the volunteers at Lunchbreak who generously provide us with lunches and fresh produce to take home. Rena, our talented musician, is playing the guitar and the sound of laughter from playing “trivia” fills the air. The incredible spirit of our Campers continues to inspire us.

As we go into 2024, we are celebrating 114 years of providing free services to the blind and visually impaired community. We will also be celebrating 97 years of Camp Happiness in July! I often think of the four blind men who had the courage to found this amazing organization. Kat and I take the responsibility of continuing their legacy seriously.

This year we welcomed six new members into Camp, brought on seven new board members and fostered new partnerships to enhance the quality of life of the blind and visually impaired, in Camp as well as in the community. Unfortunately, we suffered the loss of a two long-term Campers this year who will be forever missed.

Our new “Blindness Doesn’t Define Us” motto created a new mindset among our Campers giving them more confidence and willingness to explore new possibilities.

Our programs which include creative arts, crocheting, painting sculpture, wellness, meditation, mindfulness, and educational forums expanded, and we were gifted with sessions from Shore O&M for mobility training. The Keyport Kiwanis provided Campers with funding for new folding canes and off we went…

Our Blinds on the Go program took us to concerts, plays, restaurants, and other places of interest. Our Campers broke barriers and bias towards the blind and visually impaired through this initiative funded by the Monmouth Park Charity Fund. We are so thankful to them for sharing our vision for making the invisible population we serve visible.

While we wait for the new legislators to come into office in January, we along with other members of the Accessible Voting Coalition are still pursuing the Accessible Voting bill (S3302), which will allow the disabled members of our community to vote from home. Members of the community are invited to send letters to their legislators to pass bill S3302 even in the current lame duck administration.

I joined the League of Women Voters and sit on their DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) committee. I was told that being on the committee, I brought a new dimension to the group, which I could not be prouder of as it gives me the opportunity to represent the blind and visually impaired in a new light. I have been invited to be interviewed and the conversation will be shown on their cable network. This group of professional women have also been incredibly supportive of our efforts on the Accessible Voting Bill. We are so thankful for the new partnership.

Transportation seems to be an issue everywhere but especially in Monmouth County. After speaking with the person who is leading the development of a new transportation plan for the County, NJBCA has been invited to participate on a committee.

By joining the Monmouth County Acts, we will be working cohesively with more than 50 different service providers and provide anyone who needs services with a more focused approach.

Our programs with Monmouth University were a success this past year and we are looking forward to continuing the program in the next semester. We have also been asked to participate in research studies with Stevens Tech, and Stockton University and look forward to collaborating with them in the New Year.

The Colts Neck Lions Club is working with the Monmouth County Parks System to create braille trails that will enable the blind and visually impaired with the opportunity to explore nature safely and independently. In a conversation with the president of the club, NJBCA was invited to be a community partner. Campers were, once again, invited to be subject matter experts on the development of this wonderful initiative giving them the opportunity to give back to the community.

We are closing out 2023 with our first 50/50 raffle which resulted in more than $16,000 in ticket sales. We are thankful to the members of the Lions Clubs of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands who joined us in selling tickets. The partnership was a win-win as they reported an increase in interest from the community to learn more about their Clubs! It was definitely a fun and exciting time at NJBCA as it allowed us to meet many new members of the community who came into the thrift shop or offices to purchase tickets. The ticket pull took place during a live event on Facebook and Paul D of Red Bank was the lucky winner. Plans are already in the works for two raffles in the Spring and Fall.

The new year is also looking great with another dinner in the Dark with Chef David Burke. The event will take place on January 18th at 6 pm at the GOAT restaurant in Union Beach, NJ. Tickets are available at thegoatbydb.com/event/jan-18-24-dinner-in-the-dark-benefit-njbca/

April is looking to be a fun month with another Artisan Market, and we will be celebrating with the Atlantic Highlands Lions Club on their 100th anniversary with an event.

May will kick off with the 17th Race for the Blind 5k run created for NJBCA by the Eatontown Lions Club and Shore Running Club. It is always a fun event and takes place rain or shine. NJBCA will be represented at the Lions Convention in Atlantic City from May 18 – 20 as we are one of their State Projects.

Every day we strive to continue the mission of our founders by unlocking more opportunities for growth for our much-loved Campers. Through our partnerships with other non-profit and government agencies, our Campers are informed of the plethora of resources available that will allow them to live more independently.

Have no doubt, Kat, our Operations Manager, and I, along with the Board of Trustees, go into the New Year with a renewed commitment for another exciting year of opportunity to strengthen the future of NJBCA.

Needless to say, we end this year in gratitude…

Wishing you all a beautiful holiday season filled with wonder, love, and joy…

My best always,


Mercer County Association of The Blind (MCAB)
by, MCAB President

Mercer County Happenings

New year, new happenings for the Mercer County Association of the Blind. The brand spanking new calendar year gives us the opportunity to assess, reflect and reset. 2023 was a productive and gratifying year for MCAB. We worked extremely hard to accomplish our goal of focusing on our health and wellness, which included hosting several informative guest speakers, taking a long-awaited road trip and starting some new traditions, which hopefully be a part of our celebrations for many years to come.

Amongst MCAB’s Fall activities, elections were held on November 16th 202023. The following officers were elected via acclamation: President Wanda Williford, Vice President Mustafaa Shabazz, Recording Secretary Dan Bausch and Corresponding Secretary Susan Yochim. Newly elected Treasurer Nicole Gorman Will be serving her first term. Barbara Plunkett and Sabastian Warren were appointed to the Executive Board. Congratulations to all!

Also in November, we held our inaugural "Friends giving" celebration. We catered our own dinner which included turkey, the usual Thanksgiving sides and several yummy pies for dessert. Many thanks to Nicole Gorman, Angela Lampkin, Barbara Plunkett and all the volunteers who so graciously contributed their time and energy to make the meal such a delicious success. Additionally, MCAB members, family and loved ones, gathered at Massimos Cucina in Robbinsville, NJ for our annual Holiday party on December 7th. There were 43 joyous guests in attendance, ranging from 8-year-old Mason, adorable grandson of member Sharon Allen Brooks to 83-year-old member Joan Jones whose birthday we celebrated that wonderful night. A good time was had by all.

For 2024 our theme will be, "Onward & Upward". We will focus on forward movement in various aspects of our lives. In January, our guest speaker will be Alexa Snitkoff, with OrCam. She will give us a demonstration of the latest and greatest iteration of this amazing device. February we will discuss strategies for safe travel. And, in March we were host our second annual trivia night. We plan to hone in all things that will propel us towards a successful and productive 2024!

As always, we look forward to growing our membership and getting to know those individuals who have joined MCAB recently. With that being said we welcome new members Sharon Allen Brooks, Maryann Dartesia, Tony Pollack and Salomon Tucubal.

Wanda Williford

Check out the NJCB Facebook Page

NJCB is on Facebook. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of this page please send your ideas and posts to our email address at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.

Save The Date

Saturday April 27th Location TBD

Saturday July 27th Location TBD

Saturday October 26th Location TBD

The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at 800-792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge by E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site www.njcounciloftheblind.org. Feel free to write us at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Much appreciated tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.

The NJCB officers are.
President, Sabastian Warren (609) 672-7059
1st Vice President, Wanda Williford (609) 375-6682.
2nd Vice President, Lisha Pottackal (856) 524-0141
Secretary, Dan Bausch
Treasurer, Steve Sowa (848) 999-2079 or by mail to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

NOTE: Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the New Jersey Council of the Blind officers and/or members. The editor reserves the right to edit articles submitted for both space and content.

New Jersey Council of the Blind
An affiliate of
American Council of the Blind

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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
PO Box 434
Woodbridge, NJ 07095