The Promoter November 2015

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind
Available in four formats: large print, e-mail, braille and cartridge
Editor: Kathy Larson

Not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision are blind.
“We strive to enhance the way of life for people who are blind or visually impaired,
To encourage employment opportunities, and to educate the public about sight loss.”

Table of Contents

Greetings from the President

Hello Team NDAB,

Fall always brings fond memories of my youth, walking down county lanes or maybe a tree row and the sound of pheasants with their unique sound in the distance, or maybe duck as it flies by. These days of fall have been wonderful with my only wishes being that of having more time to spend in the great outdoors and giving thanks for my many blessings I have received.


Blessings come in many shapes, sizes and forms. I am grateful for each and every one of them, even those I don’t understand or recognize at the time. As many of you are aware, I had only a few short hours at camp this year due to my wife Shannah getting very sick; I left very abruptly as all I could think of at the time was getting back to her, for she is as much of a blessing to me as the air I breathe. That being said, she is much better now and hopefully getting better. Although this event wasn’t exactly what I would call a good time, in many ways it was packed full of blessings from the very beginning.

“My Blessings”

First, there was Becky Monroe, my fellow classmate from the NDAB Summer Camp class of 1995. For those of you who know Becky, she is a blessing to all who know her. She didn’t think twice when she found out I had to have a ride home immediately. She just said, “I’ll take you home,” and never gave up believing I would walk the paths at camp again later in the week. Thank you Becky. Then there were more blessings: Loris Van Berkom, Rick Feldman, Janelle Olson, Kathy Larson & Karlyn Frantsen, all of whom were very supportive. Karlyn, shortly after seeing me leave band class, found me to see what was wrong and if she could help. Then there’s was Rick, one of my cabin mates…he was there with me the whole time as I packed and helped carry my stuff to Becky’s truck. Janelle and Kathy were right there too as we packed the truck & I said my goodbye’s, and although at the time I could not talk much because of the emotions running through my head. I remember thinking how much I love them and how very blessed I am, and Loris who has been such a blessing from the very moment I told her I had to leave, continuing to check on Shannah & me all week long, and just today received a text asking how Shannah and I were doing. Mere words cannot say how grateful I am for all of you.

Then there are more blessings. During the trips to emergency room, the doctors’ offices, the night watches, the small moments of time I had to rest, the waiting…waiting…waiting for test results, I was blessed with many wonderful memories of camp. The memories of campers who are no longer with us, of the many conversations, of the bell, of fun in the sun, of water games, of the day I saved the Easter bunny from the shark, to  following all of you through your camp days, evening events, and week. Then after camp week I was blessed with phone calls from many of you such as Bobby Westermeyer calling to tell me what a great camp week it was and how glad he was to see Dale Hoppe again, or Rick talking about Friday’s dance and 50’s theme to Michelle Zentz calling and talking about how Tony Scherer and Robert Hart were jamming in the evenings and how much fun that was, to Janelle checking in on us and talking about the many new memories that were made this year.

“NDAB is Family”

Although I have only mentioned a handful of campers, I want to stress to everyone how many more of you, in fact, all of you, were a blessing to me this year. As I have thought of each of you in these last couple months and have fond memories of everyone, memories that put smiles on this man’s face during some stressful times, I am exceedingly grateful for all of you. Even I who spent maybe 24 hours at camp this year came away with even more memories, reminding me of how many blessings I truly have, and that NDAB is family. You people are the best and I am proud to call you family.

“The future is yours to create”

Each of you are a blessing, each of you are an asset to this wonderful organization, each of you can teach us valuable lessons, and each of you have a story to tell. As NDAB moves ever further into the future, please stop. Remember your many blessings and smile. NDAB has touched so many lives and will continue to do so for many generations to come with your help; the future is yours to create. Get excited! Be involved! And, have fun!

Let’s create our future today, together,

Mark Kueffler, President

Note from the Editor

By Kathy Larson

“The holidays are just around the corner” is what I am reminded of as I hear ads on the radio and TV. In the news articles sent in from around the state, there are greetings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year! By the time of the next Promoter, it will indeed be into a new year, so I will include best wishes to each of you as well.

Thanks to those of you who sent in quotes for this issue. Helen Baumgartner shared these:

“Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes.”

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” Bill Meyer

Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Never look down on anyone, unless you are helping them up.” -Jesse Jackson Sr.

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” -Carlos Castaneda

Loris Van Berkom submitted this one:
“It’s not how many friends you can count, it’s how many of those you can count on.” -Anthony Liccione

Karlyn Frantsen shared the following quotes:
“Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway!”

“Don’t worry about getting old, worry about thinking old.”

“Happy ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”  Fawn Weaver

Michelle Zentz sent in this one:
“Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty.” -Henry Martyn Robert

Welcome New NDAB Members

We extend a “late welcome” to Robert Hart of Bismarck who joined earlier; somehow I missed his name on the list. Welcome to Jinks Monroe of Great Falls, Montana.

NDAB Membership Renewal Notice

This is your official notice that your 2016 NDAB Membership renewal form will be mailed out the end of December. Your completed renewal form and dues in the amount of $15.00 (adult), $3.00 (youth) must be sent to the treasurer by February 1st.

No action needs to be taken at this time. You are just being notified so you will keep a watch out for the renewal form. If you have not received it by January 1st, please contact me.

Thank you,

Zelda Gebhard, Membership Chair at or 701-493-2399.

Members of our NDAB Family

We extend our deepest sympathy to Tom and Nancy Capes on the death of Robert Thomas Capes. Tom’s father passed away on August 31st at the age of 94 at Valley Eldercare Center in Grand Forks. During World War II, Bob served in the European African Middle Eastern Theatre; the D-Day invasion of Normandy and was awarded a Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged from military service, with the rank of Sergeant. Robert was employed with Custodial Services at the University of North Dakota, until his retirement.

Gladys Huizenga, 92 of Minot, died on September 9th in a Minot nursing home. She was a member of the Minot blind and visually impaired support group.

Many of us remember former NDAB members Bob and Marlene Nelson. Robert Dale Nelson, DVM, 82, of Watford City passed away October 5th at Sanford Hospital in Bismarck. He started Watford City’s first veterinary clinic and practiced in McKenzie County for 45 years, retiring at the age of 80. Even then, he enjoyed occasional trips to Grassy Butte to write health certificates and keeping tabs on the new clinic. Bob and Marlene were very active in NDAB and served on the Family Adjustment Seminar Committee for years.

Deloris Stenvold is still a resident in the Trinity Nursing Home. Please remember her in your prayers. She enjoys hearing from you. Send mail to Trinity Homes, Room 243, 305 8th Ave NE, Minot ND  58703. She would love to hear from you!

NDAB Summer Camp 2015

The 45th annual NDAB Summer Camp was held August 9-16 at the Elks Camp Grassick. Twenty-five campers and twenty-one staff made up the forty-six in attendance. We welcomed two new campers and two new instructors. The new campers were Angie Kokett from Jamestown and Robert Hart from Bismarck. Lexee Steffan from Dickinson and Sherry Shirek joined as first time staff. We missed those staff and campers who were unable to attend due to health issues, work Schedules or family commitments.

The weather was challenging most of the week. We had a little rain both Sundays and the days in between were very hot and humid. The Friday night dance actually ended thirty minutes earlier than scheduled due to the extreme heat.

The classes and instructors were as follows: Lawn Chair Macramé – David McCloud, Caning – Mike Hoeppner, Basket Weaving – Paula Anundson and Dave Sundeen, Handicrafts – Milissa Miller, Machine Knitting – Kathy Larson & Karlyn Frantsen, Round Loom Knitting – Helen Baumgartner, Nancy Kracl & Loris Van Berkom, New Camper 101 – Janelle Olson and Mark Kueffler, ND History, Legislative Issues & Eye Diseases, Treatments and Research – Allan Peterson, Leisure Activities – Nancy Kracl, Bread Basics – Zelda Gebhard, Spanish Language – Lexee Steffan, I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy & Strike Up the Band – Janelle Olson, Gentle Yoga & Insight with a New Outlook – Sherry Shirek, Drawing & Sports – Jesse Shirek, Personal Technology – Jesse Shirek & Nancy Kracl, Walking & Chair Exercise – Susan Jorgenson, Orientation & Mobility – Becky Monroe, Life Guard – Dan Mimnaugh, Nurse – Kathy Johnson, Co-Directors – Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman. Susan Jorgenson & Becky Monroe helped with several classes where ever they were needed. Becky had an informal water aerobics class in the lake during open swimming.

The evenings were filled with activities. Sunday night began with our traditional receiving line followed by a reading about the 50’s after which everyone introduced themselves and either shared something about themselves that no one knew or talked about their memories of the 50’s. Rick hosted the Monday night trivia contest as Dan and Jenny popped and served us popcorn. Each member on the winning team received a pair of fuzzy dice, a bottle of soda, a microwaveable popcorn bowl and some candy. On Tuesday night, Helen hosted Blackjack in the Dining Hall and Becky called bingo in Cabin #7. Wednesday night was filled with the casino night gift exchange followed by a hayride sponsored by Dan and the movie “Grease” shown in the Rec Hall. Thursday evening began with a great talent show hosted by Milissa Miller and ended with a pizza party in the Dining Hall. “Back to the 50’s,” the Friday night banquet theme planned by Paula and Missy, took us back in time. We ate burgers and fries out of cardboard baskets, drank Coke products and cooled down with a chocolate sundae for dessert. Janelle shared happy memories from her past, noting how so many things have changed but the support we get from our NDAB friends remains unchanging. The Jim Geiger Band rounded out the night with great dancing and listening melodies. During the dance, Rick provided and served delicious Italian Cream sodas. Auctioneer Rich Fadness and Randy Tank from Bismarck along with other NDAB members conducted our Saturday night auction where we took in $5,289.50.

We invite guests to visit on Wednesday from vision related agencies. We were pleased to welcome three visitors from North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind which included Paul Olson, Jessica Bolt and Emily Stenberg.

Sunday morning devotions, planned by Rom Thielman, preceded a great breakfast of eggs, fruit and caramel rolls. Our final good-bye’s via our receiving line, which had to be held inside for the first time due to rain, brought closure to our week.

There are so many thanks to extend after such a successful week because it takes the entire group working together to make it happen! Thanks to all of the instructors who spend many hours before camp begins preparing and then working diligently all week. Thanks to all of the campers who faithfully attend the classes and contribute their personalities into the mix. Thanks to Janelle for waking us up in the morning with coronet melodies and for leading the flag raising, to Paula Anundson and Kathryn Schmidt for holding the dining hall doors open as we went in and out for each meal and evening activity, to Nancy and Karlyn for sharing readings each morning, to the NDAB Concert & Marching Band for sharing musical talents as they marched parade style up and down the hill, to Clowns Missy and Mike and Parade Marshall Dan who added to the parade festivities, to Becky for lining up people to lead the table grace for each meal, to Zelda  and her Bread Basics students for all of the delicious bread they shared for meals and donated for the auction, and to all those who hosted the evening activities. Thanks to   everyone in the Big Boys Club who faithfully worked hard setting up and tearing down for all of the activities. Thanks to Kathy Johnson and Donna Hepper and their set-up crew for the auction, to Rich, Randy and all who helped conducting the auction and to everyone else who helped with the auction with their time, talent and money. A special thanks to Dan for so efficiently and graciously hosting us at the Elks Camp Grassick and to the cooks and kitchen staff for providing such scrumptious meals and snacks along with such great service!

We closed our camp session with the following reading. We want to share it with all of you.

The Train

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors

NDAB Memorials and Donations

Memorials: None for the past quarter.

Boeing – $325
Thrivent – $100
Total Donations – $425

Total Memorials and Donations: $425

Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer

Candy’s Corner

In this column I will continue introducing some of the changes that will occur with the advent of UEB, or Unified English Braille. In my last column, I spoke about the nine contractions that will be dropped and that braille will now follow print spacing. This time I will mention that one of the rules of braille will be changed, that is the rule that forbade the use of a single-cell contraction when it would span a prefix and a root, or a root and a suffix. This means that with UEB we will be able to use the “ed” contractions in words like “reduce,” and “deduct;” the “of” sign in words like “professor” and “ profound,” the “er” sign in words like “eradicate” and derail,” and the “ed” sign in words like “freedom” and “boredom.” We will be able to use the “st” sign in “mistake,” which will make lots of braille users happy. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, as always. We will not be able to use the single-cell contractions when the “h” is aspirated, as in the word “mishap,” and we will not be able to use the single-cell contractions when they span two parts of a compound word. An example of the latter would be in the word “dumbbell”—we will not be able to use the “bb” sign in that word. Many hail this change as a welcome simplification of the code.

I hope everyone has a great fall and a wonderful holiday season coming up!

Easy Meatball Stroganoff

Submitted by Brenda Bruins

3 cups cooked noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
15 frozen fully cooked meatballs thawed out
1½ cups beef broth
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
¾ Teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup whipping cream
¾ cup sour cream

Brown meatballs in oil and remove from pan. Mix seasonings, beef broth and whipping cream and boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Add meatballs and noodles and bring to a boil. Stir in sour cream and heat.

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2016

Submitted by Jesse Shirek

It’s time to start thinking about signing up for the 37th annual Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event! It is an excellent opportunity to experience downhill, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The dates for this year’s event are January 25-28th. The banquet will take place Thursday evening and hotel check-out Friday morning January 29th. If you would like to visit with a yearly participant about the event, you are encouraged to contact Dave Sundeen at 701-847-3139.

In previous years, a bus has been chartered to the annual event and we would like to do so again this year. We would like to send out a special thank-you to Judy’s Leisure Tours for arranging for the charter bus for departure from various communities in North Dakota. The bus will depart for South Dakota on Sunday January 24th and return on Friday the 29th. It is an excellent opportunity to sit back, relax, visit, sleep and leave the driving to an expert. There is room for participants, volunteers and space to store your luggage. Sign-up early to reserve a seat on the bus; tickets for the bus will cost $15 round-trip and part of the $15 will be used to ensure a reservation on the bus. Make your non-refundable check or money order payable to: North Dakota Association of the Blind. Please write Ski for Light in the memo line on your check and mail to Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer, NDAB, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan, ND  58554.

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light has e-mailed or mailed out applications for the event. The cost for the event for one week is $200. This includes five nights lodging based upon double occupancy, four lunch meals, one evening meal and a banquet ticket. The $200 also covers all equipment rentals. Please note that Black Hills Regional Ski for Light may be providing partial scholarships for those who qualify for financial need. To obtain an application for a scholarship please contact Tracy Perdue at 605-341-3626. All scholarships must be approved by the Ski for Light board. Please note that in order to receive a scholarship you must be willing to share a room with another Ski for Light participant. The application deadline for this year is November 30th. All applications will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis, so you are encouraged to get your application in as soon as possible. If you wish to receive a Ski for Light application you can contact Tracy Perdue at 605-341-3626 or you can fill out an online application at

Amy Osvold, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in western North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-857-7634 or emailing Jesse Shirek, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in eastern North Dakota. He can be contacted by calling 701-739-0946 or emailing They can provide assistance with applications, raffle tickets, bus transportation questions or any other questions regarding the event.

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2016 will be a great place to connect with old friends and give you the opportunity to make some new ones. We hope to see you there!

SFL International

The 41st annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday January 24th to Saturday January 30th, 2016 in Northwest Lower Michigan on the grounds of Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire. Located 45 minutes from the Traverse City airport, Shanty Creek Resorts is a 4,500 acre complex. It contains three housing and entertainment villages, both cross-country and downhill ski trails, a tubing hill, several swimming pools and hot-tubs, a fitness center and spa, and more. Applications are requested by November 1. Late applications can only be considered on a space available basis. Partial scholarships are available to first and second-year participants in financial need. More details about the event and the fully accessible online application, which can be completed on the Ski for Light website, can be found at

Legislative Report Fall 2015

By Allan Peterson

As the media constantly is reminding us, next year in 2016 our nation will be in the throes of a national presidential election campaign. By now, you are also well aware, next fall’s election will be an ongoing part of our news coverage for the coming year. Like it or not, politics, policy, legislation, and laws are an integral part of our lives. Despite all of the griping, whining, and complaining our political system despite its failures, faults, flaws, warts and imperfections, is one of the best in the world; unfortunately perhaps, that’s saying a lot.

As I see it, our job as advocates who don’t have the money to “buy” our influence into the political process, is to be ever persistent, to cultivate relationships, be well informed, and work to recruit allies. I firmly believe that our advocacy work is some of the most important work that we can do to advance and improve the lives of all of us who are a part of the community of people who are blind and sight impaired. I will reiterate again that to be faithful to our mission and the purposes enumerated in our NDAB Constitution for which we were established, it is imperative that we be an organization that is very intentional about our advocacy on behalf of the interests of people with sight loss.

A tidbit, for better or worse, it’s true that we are a nation that’s governed by laws. And, the process of drafting bills that eventually lead to established laws, has often been describe as something akin to making sausage – that is, the final product doesn’t look to much like the initial ingredients. The sausage reference alludes to the fact that A bill can be amended many times as it proceeds through the legislative process and the language of a bill can even be stripped out entirely and replaced with different language – when that happens the bill is said to have been “hog housed” into something that’s much different.

Currently, the U.S. Congress is in the midst of its 114th Session; the Session began this year in January 2015 and will conclude in January of 2017. During the current congressional session, our advocacy efforts at the federal level have primarily   been directed toward the enactment of two legislative priorities and for the ratification of the MARRRAKESH Treaty. To aid your recollection of these initiatives, a brief summary of each is as follows:

NDAB Resolution 2015-01: Blindness Specific Services Utilized for the Education of Children with Sight Loss. This initiative supports a collaborative effort by leadership from the blind and deaf communities to address our concerns that children with sight and hearing loss be properly identified, that a thorough assessment of their needs be conducted, and that they be provided with a comprehensive set of specific skills to deal with their individual disabilities in their K12 educational setting.

NDAB Resolution 2015-03: Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by the U.S. Senate. This Treaty is the outcome of an international diplomatic conference that was conducted under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013.

As many of you will know, our advocacy for these two Legislative priorities and the MARRRAKESH TREATY were the subject of the 3 resolutions that were adopted by our NDAB Convention that met this year at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown. These 3 resolutions have since been sent on to our North Dakota congressional delegation, Senators Hoven and Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer. I also have been working with our neighbor state American Council of the Blind state affiliates in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to help them adopt similar resolutions that they can submit to their respective congressional delegations that represent them in Congress.

Every step in the legislative process is an achievement worthy of celebrating and one of those milestones was achieved recently when the Alice Cogs well Anne Sullivan Macy Act was introduced as a bill in Congress. Note: It’s the subject of our NDAB Resolution 2015-01, adopted at this year’s Convention.

The press release that the American Council of the Blind released to announce the introduction of the bill is worthy of reading, so I’d like to include it as a part of this report. As you will note, it has broad support among the sensory (blind, deaf, and deaf/blind) disability communities.

Sep 16, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA, 17) and David McKinley (R-WV, 1) introduced the bipartisan Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535), named for two pioneers in the education of deaf and blind students.  This landmark legislation would dramatically improve educational results for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind.

In 1975, Congress enacted America’s federal special education law known today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Cogswell-Macy Act would amend and modernize IDEA to address the largely unmet unique needs of students with sensory disabilities.  The bill would: ensure that students with vision and/or hearing disabilities are properly identified, evaluated  and served, especially when they may have additional disabilities; guarantee that students with sensory disabilities are provided with the full array of special education and related services they must have to truly receive a free and appropriate public education; promote and support teachers and associated professionals who are critical to the delivery of such services; and hold all levels of our public education system accountable for these expectations.

“Upwards of 350,000 students are deaf or hard of hearing, and an estimated 100,000 have blindness or vision loss.  Yet less than one-third of those students are reported as having those needs under IDEA.  That is completely unacceptable,” Rep. Cartwright said.  “This legislation would ensure that students who are deaf, hard of hearing blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind receive an equal and appropriate education and have access to vital services.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to guarantee that all children can succeed and achieve their potential.”

“Americans have made great strides since 1975 toward improving the lives of children dealing with hearing and sight disabilities but there is still more work to be done. We need to ensure the nearly-half a million kids with these disabilities have the same opportunity as other children to learn and develop skills. This is a common sense step to ensure we are helping these children,” Rep. McKinley said.

The American Foundation for the Blind and Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf have endorsed the Cogswell-Macy Act, along with more than 100 other leading national, regional and community-based organizations.

“The introduction of this bill represents a momentous step toward the transformation of this country’s special education system in a manner that will truly allow for students who are blind or visually impaired to succeed in a twenty-first century classroom.” said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind (ACB).

“The Cogswell-Macy Act is the most significant national proposal to improve education for students who are deafblind we’ve seen in decades,” said Mussie Gebre, President of the national consumer advocacy group, DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA).  “When America’s deafblind children and youth have their unique communications and learning needs fully met, are provided with essential supports such as intervener services, and are empowered by our national education system to rise to their full potential, well then just you look out because they’re on their way to achieve great things.  Just watch us and see for yourself!”

“Our national special education law has been a success at getting kids with disabilities into their neighborhood schools, but what we haven’t done yet is to make sure that students with vision loss get the education they deserve once they get in the schoolhouse door,” said Mark Richert, Director of Public Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind.  “We’ve waited forty years, and we’re not waiting another forty to give kids who are blind or visually impaired an education that is worthy of their tremendous potential. That’s why the Cogswell-Macy Act is imperative.”

“We expect that the passage of the Cogswell-Macy Act will rectify years of misapplication of IDEA for deaf and hard of hearing children everywhere.  Deaf and hard of hearing children continue to experience language and academic delays because their educational environments are not optimal or even conducive to their learning,” said James E. Tucker, Superintendent of the Maryland School for the Deaf and President of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.  “Every student’s Individualized Education Program needs to be student-driven and focused on the child’s language, cognitive, and social development.”

NAD President Chris Wagner stated “Every deaf or hard of hearing child deserves access to a quality education, and this Act will be an important step towards reminding states of their accountability regarding deaf, hard of hearing, blind, deafblind, and visually impaired children’s needs.”

What Is the Most Important Thing?

Reprinted with permission from Steve Goodier

Have you heard about the man who was shopping with his baby boy? The obviously distraught and screaming child sat in the shopping cart.

As the man walked up and down the aisles, he calmly and patiently repeated, “Don’t yell, Bobby. Calm down, Bobby. Don’t get excited, Bobby.”

A woman standing next to him turned and said, “You certainly are to be commended for trying so hard to soothe little Bobby.”

The bewildered man looked up and said, “Lady, I’m Bobby!”

It may seem like more than he can manage at times, but if he’s like most parents, he’s in it for the long haul. Being with his son is a priority. There are certainly easier and, at some times, more pleasurable ways to spend his time, but active parenting may be one of the most important things he can do.

Here is an experiment: Every once in awhile pause and ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can be doing with my life at this particular time?” Then ask yourself, “Is anything keeping me from doing it?”

Robert Reich did just that. As Secretary of Labor in President Clinton’s administration, Robert B. Reich told of his decision to do something almost unheard of…to resign from his high profile and stressful job. He said, in an article published in the Op-Ed sections of the New York Times and Washington Post, “I have the best job I’ve ever had and probably ever will. No topping it.” It was true. He seemed to love his job. But he added, “I also have the best family I’ll ever have, and I can’t get enough of them.” And there was the problem. He could not give himself to his family and to this particular career at the same time.

So Reich concluded, “I had to choose. I told the boss I’ll be leaving, and explained why.” His boss, of course, was the president of the United States. And the country took notice. Some people were stunned. Here was a high government official who made a decision to step out of an important and powerful position in order to spend more time at home. But like an old Chinese proverb teaches, “He who chases two rabbits catches none.”

He was wise enough to figure out what was the most important thing he could be doing with his life, insightful enough to see that something else was keeping him from doing it, and courageous enough to pick between the two. What if you asked yourself, “What is the most important thing I can be doing with my life at this particular time?” Then followed it up with the question, “Is anything keeping me from doing it?” What changes might you make?

Are you willing to find out?

All members are encouraged to submit items of interest to the editor by mail, phone or e-mail for publication. Deadline is the 10th of the month prior to quarterly publications of February, May, August and November.

NDAB is a nonprofit organization which promotes the interest of ND residents who are blind and visually impaired. As a nonprofit organization, we welcome donations to help in advancing the cause of persons who are blind and visually impaired.

To learn more about NDAB visit us online at

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