Board Meeting

August 27, 2017

Meeting called to order at 8:00 PM


Present:  President - Denise Valkema, 1st Vice President - Paul Martinez, 2nd Vice President - Miranda Kilby, Secretary - Sylvia Young, Treasurer - Gloria Mills-Hicks, Board members:1 Tekesha Saffold, 2 Jorge Hernandez, 3 Camille Tate and 4 Rafael Fernandez.

Secretary Report:  The minutes will be sent via email and the approval will be done via email.  Addendum: August 28, 2017:  Motion to accept the July minutes by Hernandez; it was second by Saffold.  Approved by all and passed via email vote. 


President report:  I attended the pilot BELL academy four of the five days in Miami. Attended

affiliate presidents call on cardtronics and submitted eleven testers. I received an email to follow up with youth slam participants. I inquired about the Silver bells program in Texas. Our financials were reviewed and submitted.  Motion approved by email to have holiday calendar raffle. Attended presidents call, calls on legislation, FPOBC, fundraising, and communications.  Jorge attended the webmasters training this weekend.


Treasurer Report:  Bank balances for July: Operations Account July 1, 2017: $20,034.57;             Operations Account July 31, 2017: $12,130.13; NFB-Newsline® Account July 1, 2017       $35,480.32; NFB-Newsline® Account July 31, 2017 $34,903.67.  I want to remind you that, even though we have a lower bank balance at the end of the month than we did at the beginning, we made money on the 777 Raffle.  A motion was made by Young to accept the July treasurer’s report as sent via email; It was second by Tate.  Approved by all and passed. 


Division/committee/chapter reports:

Valkema reported.


Martinez reported: Fundraising Committee - Every chapter has confirmed that they have

received the Holiday Raffle tickets. All chapters are excited about this year’s raffle and cannot wait to see the changes in the trophies. Good news, at the current time we only have 20 tickets left.  Paul reported that the old tumbler is no longer working.  A motion was made by Saffold that we purchase another tumbler for the raffle; it was second by Tate.  Approved by all.  Central Florida –The chapter is doing well and will be doing a spirit night at 5 Guys, September 7th. They have asked for more tickets, which is really exciting. I also have been asked several times to come and visit their chapter. I am planning to try and go in September.  Daytona Beach – They are working hard and in the planning stages for meet the blind month.  State Wide – Each member is dedicated in selling 5 tickets for the state raffle. However, when we win the free room, the person who sold the most tickets will receive the room for all their diligence. So, this is encouraging members to sell more than the 5 tickets. We are working on gathering guest speakers on different topics, and we are still in need of a vice president.  Newsline – Will be contacting Russ to see when the Newsline meeting will be in September.


Kilby reported Pinellas – Paul and I visited the chapter and shared some team building exercises to the chapter. The chapter is small, but wants to work on membership. I will be working with President Snow to help aid this process.  Asking that all board members help to encourage the chapter in how to help it grow.  Tampa – The chapter viewed the documentary, “Do You Dream in Color” at the last chapter meeting. They are working on creative ideas for meet the Blind Month, which include a pancake breakfast, an event downtown, a spirit night, and a reading at the book store or library.  Communications Committee – The committee has proposed several different goals. We will be having a Newsline campaign in the month of October, on our social media.  We will be posting different tips and tricks in the month of October, and we will be working on a grant in the month of September.  NFB411 – Reaching out to Federationist to aid the topic of meet the blind month. The call will be September 10th.


Young reported the Tallahassee Chapter is focused on our Applebee's Flapjack fundraiser coming up September 9th and preparing for Blindness Awareness Month and planning White Cane activities.  We have gained 2 new members and are excited with our growth.  The Jacksonville Chapter has been very busy.  They attended the Number 1 Party at the Comer Museum August 12th, and plan to participate in Jacksonville’s Community Fair September 16th, where they will walk in the Heart walk and give out NFB materials.  Thank you for all of the submissions for the Newsletter and Camille for your Apple Tips and Tricks.



Mills-Hicks reported Polk Chapter - I spoke to Joe and Kitty, and the Polk chapter is getting new members and doing well. Joe and Kitty’s health is continuing to improve. The transportation system in Polk County is still very spotty.  FLAGDU:  I called Sherrill O’Brien and asked to join one of their telephone conferences. However, they do not schedule regular conference calls. Sherrill said she will tell me when the next one is to take place, and she will let me know so I can join them and report back to you. Sherrill and Merry, both FLAGDU members continue to have problems with Yellow Cabs, as the drivers are sometimes reluctant to pick up people with dogs in Hillsborough County.  Senior Concerns Committee:  I have sent an invitation to join our next Senior Concerns Committee teleconference to the NFBF-L List and the NFBF-Leader’s List, as well as to the list for the Tampa Bay Chapter. The meeting is set for September 7th, at 8 PM. Please help spread this message as we want as many people as possible to be part of this committee. Remember that you don’t have to be a senior to be involved in this committee.


Saffold reported Palm Beach Chapter - The Chapter meetings will be in a new location and that information was emailed to Dan Hicks to make changes to the website.  We are organizing a Resource Fair with Palm Beach State College and a White Cane Walk with the Florida Outreach Center for Meet the Blind Month activity; dates are pending.  We are having a Holiday Starbucks Raffle; the drawing will be held during our Christmas meeting in December. Also, I did receive the raffle tickets for our Holiday Calendar Raffle.  I actively participated on all conference calls that were scheduled since our last meeting such as president’s call, legislation, fundraising, and our meeting on how to define active participation.  Empowerment Committee:  The Committee will have a conference call on Monday August 28th at 7:30 pm. We are currently working on our fact sheets, which will be discussed during the conference call.


Hernandez reported Miami-Dade Chapter - We are continuing to gain new members and building the Miami-Dade Chapter.  This month we gained three new members and a longtime member of the chapter returned to our meeting after a long time of not being active with the chapter.  The chapter is beginning to organize the event “Sparkles in the Dark” – a talent show of blind members of the chapter.  A White Cane day event is in the works and members are eager to participate.  Other fundraiser events have been brought to the chapter and will continue to have a debate on which one will be adopted.  Guest speakers will be attending on the October and November meetings.  Raffle tickets have been distributed and will be seeking to collect the funds and tickets at the October meeting.  Treasure Coast Chapter - I contacted President Edwards and advised him that I will be attending their September meeting.  I have done some research on the vicinity to see how I can help them with fundraising.  President Edwards is also seeking advised on how to have a White Cane event.  I will be speaking on the importance of having monthly meetings.


Tate reported: Melbourne Space Coast Chapter - held elections August 12th. The New board is President Camille Tate; Vice President Peter Poliey; Secretary Julia Savage; Treasurer Joe Naulty; Board 1 Maria Rigogliosi; Board 2 Alan Kessler; Board 3 Andrew Miles. 

The Vision Fair September 14th has been completely filled, with 22 vendors.  White Cane Day activity, 3rd annual Car and Bike Show is picking up registrations already.  Will be planning to exit from The Fountains sometime in early 2018.  President Crow is considering planning to develop a mental health service center that would be supported by the Florida Deaf Blind Division and mental health professionals.  Martinez suggested that we check with National to make sure this is allowed.  They have been discussing the financial burden of hearing aids and how they can get financial assistance to purchase them.  Legislation – They have had several conference calls; with Merry Shoch, Denise Valkema, John Paré and one committee call. Next conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20th, at 7 p.m. A core group of interested people will go to their chapters to locate members interested in legislation to join the




Fernandez reported FABS - The student division is working on passing out information at their accessibly offices at their colleges in order to bring awareness the student division and the National Federation of the Blind. These information packets are going to be printed out by President Joseph Chica.  Also, the students have voted and agreed to participate in the holiday calendar raffle and have agreed to start off with 50 tickets and ask for more if needed.

Gainesville - Judy seeking advice on how and where the chapter can do a screening of the movie “Do You Dream in Color. If any chapters have any ideas or is planning on holding a screening, she'd really appreciate some advice.  Next month’s meeting date is up in the air due to the University of Florida football team. As of right now there are no plans in the works for the chapter on events for October except the hope of holding a screening for the movie if possible.

Last Thursday evening I joined a HumanWare Webinar to show off the company’s newest product. There was a demonstration of the Victor Trek. This product has the form factor of the victor reader stream that we are now used to, but combines the trekker Breeze as well. One of the best benefits is it’s in all in one device.  There's a special preorder price right now for $599 and it will retail for $699 after launch.  The device is expected to start shipping in October of this year. 


Action items:

Kilby emailed the Florida Parents of Blind Children’s constitution.  Martinez motioned that we to approved the FPOBC constitution submitted by Miranda.  It was second by Hernandez.  Approved by all.  We will send the constitution to the National office for review.


NABS informed us that they are willing to send a representative to our state convention.  We will let them know as we get closer to convention time.


The National office says that all websites need to be up-to-date for our event dates to appear on


Our toll-free numbers should go away soon.  Marion suggested that each chapter should have separate extension to get information on our state toll free line.  We agreed that He can research the cost effectiveness of this idea.


Convention 2019:  we discussed possible hotels for the 2019 convention. 


Board meeting dates: The December meeting will be the 18th.  The November date tabled until next month. We discussed having a face to face board meeting and meet with the host chapters to assess the hotel for the 2018 convention.  We will check into the 2nd or 3rd weekends. 


Our next board meeting will be September 24, 2017.


Hernandez made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; second by Sylvia.  All approved.  Meeting adjourned at 9:28 pm.


Respectfully submitted by Sylvia Young, NFBF Secretary