Board Meeting

March 25, 2018


Meeting called to order at 8.03 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:  A motion was made by Tekesha to accept the February 25, 2018 minutes as sent via email; second by Martinez.  Motion approved by all and passed.

 President report:  In preparation to cohost the national convention, I attended host committee meeting, chaired the information table and hospitality committee meetings. I attended a Florida BELL planning meeting, our special called board meeting to go over BELL budget, NFB 411 call on NAC, convention planning, meeting with Director Doyle, Deaf-Blind division, our special legislation call, and our legislative committee call. I attended the Broward chapter meeting and have conducted interviews to write president letters for national student scholarship applicants and Kenneth Jernigan convention scholarship applicants.  We have been answering calls since the postcard convention announcement went out. Our motion to contract with Embassy Suites in Boca Raton for state convention 2019 passed. Our FOPBC held a successful Florida BELL academy training.

 Treasurer Report:  Bank balances for February 2018:

               Operations Account February 1, 2018:        $3,604.91

              Operations Account February 28, 2018:      $19,062.21

               NFB-Newsline® Account February 1, 2018:           $28,967.10

              NFB-Newsline® Account February 28, 2018:         $28,403.00

 Division/Committee/Chapter reports:

Valkema reported:  Broward Chapter: I went to the Broward chapter meeting to help the chapter in transition with successful elections held. Twenty-nine were in attendance.  The president is firming up who is coming to state. Suncoast Chapter: Most members are attending state. The chapter is raising funds to help.

 Martinez reported: Central Florida: Saturday March 17th the chapter celebrated 35 years

in existence. They have requested more tickets from the Amazing Trio Bundle.  The chapter is in the planning process to meet with the senators of Florida.

Daytona Beach: Attended the chapter meeting Saturday, March 24th, which was well attended with many members. Vice president, Brian led the meeting as president Joshua was only able to attend by phone. The chapter is planning a White Cane walk honoring Peter along with the Police department in October. As of right now, 12 members are attending our state convention.

State Wide: The chapter purchased a few years ago our 75th anniversary pins that the state sold, we still currently have 6 and will be raffling them off as a chapter fundraiser at state convention. We currently have 8 members that will be attending our state convention. The chapter would like to see a map of the hotel, menus, and an outline of surrounding areas in a format that all can read.

Scholarship Committee: The deadline is April 17th, so share, share, and share.

Fundraising Committee: All chapters have received thickets, and Central Florida has requested 100 more tickets. If any chapters or divisions need more tickets, please contact me.

 Kilby reported: Tampa: The Chapter held elections last month and the board changed slightly. Since then the chapter attended a vision summit, hosted by FFB, where the chapter had a table along with different vendors. In addition, members of the chapter met with Senator Bill Nelson’s

regional Director, Digna Alvarez, and is working on a meeting with Senator Marco Rubio.  The chapter plans to hold a spirit day/night on behalf of the parent’s division for BELL at Chipotle.

NFB 411: Our Special call on NAC was well attended and questions were answered. The next call is in May and is in the planning process.

Communications committee: The committee is thinking different ways to advertise our upcoming state convention. As of right now we have posted about our convention on, our list serves, and we have created an event for our convention on Face Book. Our Face Book page has a total of 632 likes, and our Twitter account has 122 follows, we

are growing on both platforms, and the membership is interacting by sharing and liking our post. We have submitted grants for Publix and Kohls, thanks to Jorge.

Parents Division: The division held a successful fundraiser for BELL at Chipotle and are asking for help.  Chapters can hold a spirit day in behalf of BELL by contacting Kimberly Banks. In addition, March 17th there was a BELL training for the BELL program. Jackie Anderson who will be our TVI was in attendance and led the training. The team is energized about the upcoming BELL in July.

State Convention: The hosting chapters are excited that convention will be here soon. We are trying to finalize our activity for Saturday and hope members will help make the decision on

Wednesday night’s events committee call. We are still looking for guest speakers, so please contact Lauren Blum or Miranda Kilby with any suggestions.

 Young reported:  The Tallahassee Chapter is planning to bring 6 members to the State Convention.  We had a Yard Sale that was successful in helping us raise funds to assist members to the convention.  We are planning a community service activity for a local church next month and to participate in the Springtime Tallahassee parade.

The Jacksonville Chapter has two fundraisers in the works; a yard sale and a Flapjack Breakfast at Applebee’s.   They are very proud of Russ Davis meeting with the Senator’s representative recently to help oppose HR620.

The Next Breaking Newsletter will be published April 1st.   Please get your submissions in for your chapters and liaisons.

 Mills-Hicks reported: Polk Chapter:  This time of year, I am trying to collect all of the financial reports and dues from all of our chapters. What a surprise it was to receive my first report and dues check from the Polk Chapter. They accompanied their report with a little book of members, which included birthdays, and other significant information for them. Sometimes it gets to be a lot of work for Joe and Kitty, as most of their members are in their eighties. Many of them come to their meetings but do not take on positions of responsibility. It was nice to receive the little members’ book that Joe and Kitty made with much love.  The chapter’s Spring Pancake Breakfast fundraiser is coming up.

FLAGDU:  FLAGDU is still working with NAGDU to make Delta and other airlines be more responsible in their policies regarding owners of emotional support animals. The service animals that our people have are more well-trained than most of the emotional support animals. For sure they should not be treated in the same way.  Next month, Marion Gwizdala will be travelling to Baltimore to meet with Delta officials.

Denise, Dan and I plan to visit Embassy Suites in Boca Raton for a couple of days. Dan has gotten some fabulous room rates for us through his work.

Events Committee:  Please call in Wednesday, March 28th at 8:00 PM for more details and to contribute ideas. I will send out a reminder for date and time and phone number.

The next meeting of the Senior Concerns Committee will be Thursday, April 5th at 8:00 PM.

 Saffold reported: Palm Beach Chapter:  We are having our chapter Engagement activity today March 24th from 3 to 5 at Tropicana Bowling Lanes to be more visible to others in the blind community who are not members of our chapter and for new members to socialize with other members. Our fundraiser is a spaghetti sale in June. We have 2 members thus far who confirmed that will be at state convention.  I assisted a member with her Kenneth Jernigan essay. Next month, we will have a county official as our guest speaker. As our chapter continues to grow, we may consider relocating.

Empowerment Committee:  We will be having a meeting Monday, March 26th to make plans for the upcoming state convention.

 Hernandez reportedMiami-Dade Chapter: We are planning our annual “Walk in the Park” event for this upcoming June 9th.  We will be visiting Reynolds Parks located on the northeast section of the county.  A tour of the park will be provided by park keepers, food and beverages will be served, and a county official will be invited as our guest of honor.  The chapter continues to grow, and attendance is at its highest.  We completed the World’s Finest Chocolate fundraiser and are asking for ideas for the next fundraiser before the State Convention.  An estimated 15 members are confirming attending the State Convention.

Treasure Coast Chapter:  I visited the chapter this month. The chapter held their elections and elected Tamika Butts as the President

The Chapter received the raffle tickets and started to distribute them during the meeting.

They gained three new members this month and it appears that the membership will rise under Tamika’s presidency.  The chapter is planning a Spirit Night in the upcoming months and they are looking forward to the State and National Convention.

 Tate reported: Melbourne Space Coast: Chapter now has six potential attendees for state convention; working on transportation to Tampa.  Chapter is also working on transit issues for members getting to chapter meetings.  Chapter will meet with Congressman Posey's office to discuss AIM HI and ATAA on Tuesday, March 27th.

FL Deaf Blind Division: The Division is working on their seminar for state convention.   They prefer to keep the seminar on Saturday, May 26, 1-3 p.m.  The Board will work on finding members to be part of division board for elections in May and getting members more involved with division.  Next meeting on Tuesday, April 10, at 8 p.m.

Legislation: Committee is working on meeting with Senators Nelson and Rubio's regional offices in effort to halt H.R. 620 Senate companion bill. Merry Schoch has posted to list over the last few days with sample letters and talking points.  I am focusing on a blind parental rights bill in Florida. Jeanette Taurus and Debbie Ryan will assist with research and information on possible cases of discrimination against blind parents. The goal is to get our bill on the Florida House floor in March/April 2019.  The committee will meet Tuesday, April 17th at 8 p.m.

Call for resolutions went out to the list. Deadline for submission is April 30th. Email submissions are to be sent to No committee meeting date has been set.

Book Club: Attendance has not yet increased. Attendees like the open format and discussions, as well as the speeches. The next speech is Dr. Jernigan's "The Top of the Stairs". The next meeting is Thursday, April 26th 8 p.m.

 Action items:

State Convention:

 National Convention:

 Hernandez requested $6000 donation from Publix for the convention.  Also put in request to Kohls and Publix for volunteers.

 We will have our next open board meeting during State convention

 Code of Conduct:  A motion was made by Kilby that we should get the code of conduct out by April 1st to all the chapters and have them returned by May 15th; second by Hernandez.   Motion approved by all and passed.

 Our next board meeting will be 4/22/18.

 Martinez made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; second by Young.  Approved by all and passed.

 Respectfully submitted by Sylvia Young, NFBF Secretary