Sunday, September 18, 2016

OCB Convention Newsletter 2016


“The Blind Spot”

Newsletter of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind, an Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

P.O. Box 1476

Oklahoma City, OK  73101

1-877-578-6212 -- Website:

August 2016

2016 Convention Newsletter




Come Join Us At the

Oklahoma Council of the Blind

2016 Annual Conference and Convention

September 23-25, 2016

The Wyndham Hotel

10918 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74146



President’s Message

By Joe Fallin


Here we go! It’s almost time for the 2015 State Conference and Convention of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind at the Wyndham Hotel in Tulsa on September 23-25. This convention promises to be a good one. A tentative agenda is elsewhere in this newsletter. There’s plenty to keep you involved, no matter your interest.

This is a time of fun, learning, as well as meeting old and new friends. In addition, we have a lot to celebrate. OCB had the most successful legislative and advocacy year in a generation. 


We’re entering a time of hope, both for blind and visually impaired Oklahomans, as well as OCB. However, there’s plenty left to be done. State budget cuts are expected to continue, so we must be ever watchful. We can do that and celebrate our success too. We welcome you, whether this is your first convention or your twenty-first. I look forward to meeting you there



Convention Notes

By Allison Fallin, 2016 Convention Chairman


It's getting closer! Of course, I am talking about our Annual OCB Conference and Convention, held in Tulsa at the Wyndham hotel. The address is 10918 E. 41st Street. We will have the usual updates, as well as plenty of good food, good fun, and good facts.


There will be a Friday afternoon session for both consumers and Visual Services staff. Featured will be hands-on training on various technological devices, which will help consumers master their iPhones, iPads, fire devices, etc. This session will also assist Visual Services staff when they deal with clients. Please be sure to bring your own devices. More on that later in the newsletter.


We'll have a fun night in the hospitality suite with a light supper and movies and/or games.


Sharon Giovinazzo will be our speaker, who is the CEO of World Services for the Blind in Little Rock. I can tell you that she is a dynamic speaker. How can I be so sure about Sharon? She was my boss when I lived in New York State. You won't want to miss her presentations.


Of course, we'll have our usual updates, and the all-important business meeting Sunday morning.


We will have an informative and fun convention, with something for everyone. Our theme is "Partners in Progress” and we're eager to have you as a partner. There's strength in numbers, so show your support by coming for a busy and rewarding weekend in Tulsa, September 23-25.      


2016 Convention Highlights:


Allison Fallin, Convention Chair &

Jeanne Meyer, Convention Co-Chair


“Partners in Progress” - What a wonderful theme for this year’s convention.  We are firm believers that no matter who you are or what you do in your professional and personal life, there is always room for new partnerships. We hope to emphasize our theme, “Partners in Progress,” starting with our Friday Educational Program. Below you will find information about what you can expect throughout the weekend.

·       Friday afternoon there will be a hands-on training seminar on popular adaptive technology such as the iPhone, iPad, fire devices, popular apps, and much more. The ability to efficiently operate assistive technology empowers us to succeed in competitive employment, as well as enjoy networking with others in your personal life.

·       Friday night you will be welcomed by the OCB officers and Conference Committee Chairs, Allison Fallin and Jeanne Meyer.

·       You will have the opportunity to give your input on important OCB resolutions and constitution/bylaws. Come be a part of OCB’s future and learn what each of us can do to improve the lives of blind and visually impaired Oklahomans.

·       You can also choose to socialize and network with fellow OCB members while playing bingo or watching a popular described movie. So, don’t miss the fun!

·       Vendors will exhibit Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. Exhibitors include:  high-tech computers and CCTVs, low-tech independent living aids, arts and crafts, home decorating aids and some vendors you have not seen before.

·       It does not end on Friday; no, we are just getting started.  On Saturday you will hear updates from Interim Visual Services Administrator Paul Adams, Library Director Kevin Treese, and Tulsa Regional Director Brandi Bynum from NewView Oklahoma.

·       Much, much more will take place on Saturday with additional speakers, our awards luncheon, banquet and evening activities.

·       A silent auction will be held all day Saturday, an excellent opportunity for you to help OCB by donating items to bid on and then opening your wallets to purchase your favorite basket, purse, jewelry, device, etc. These funds keep OCB going during its mission of advocacy for Oklahomans with blindness and low vision.

·       A non-denominational church service on Sunday morning is where we can give praise to our Lord for all that he has created and for our lives.

·       Then we have the most important part of OCB, our Annual Business Meeting where we take care of important OCB business. We discuss and pass resolutions to make this world accessible to all. We decide on our leaders of OCB to lead us into the future. This is a time to advocate for the Oklahoma Council of the Blind. 


Please register as soon as possible so the Conference and Convention Committee has time to prepare your name tags and registration packets in advance.


Please complete the form at the end of this newsletter and mail, along with your payment, to Jeanne Meyer, 814 North F Street, Muskogee, OK  74403.  Make checks payable to "The Oklahoma Council of the Blind." You can also find the registration form on the OCB website


The $85 registration fee for the convention is an excellent deal. If you only plan to attend the Friday educational/training seminar, registration is $30. Please remember that the Oklahoma Council of the Blind must cover the expense of meeting rooms, printing the convention program, paying for incidentals such as meals and lodging for speakers, etc. Also, the cost of our meeting rooms is impacted by how many people reserve sleeping rooms at the hotel. We appreciate your support.


Make Those Reservations NOW!!!!

Hotel rooms run $85 a night plus tax for up to 4 people. This room rate is guaranteed if reservations are made by September 16, 2016. The Wyndham Hotel is located at 10918 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The phone number is (918) 627-5000. Please remember to let the hotel staff know you are with the Oklahoma Council of the Blind to receive the special rate of $85 per night plus applicable taxes.


First-Timers Scholarships Available

Is this your first time to go to an OCB Convention? Do you need a little help with the financial burden of attending the convention? If you are blind and would like to apply for one of five scholarships for first-timers at our convention, please email or write a letter telling us why you would like to attend. The scholarship will cover the $85 registration fee, which includes a light dinner on Friday night and four meals. Scholarships will be awarded to individuals who are first-timers depending on the date applications are received. Contact Vicky Golightly, 425 N.W. 27th, Oklahoma City, OK  73103 or email her at You can also contact her at (405) 740-6227. Applications must be received by August 30.      


Convention Sponsorship Opportunity

Sponsorships support the OCB and help us with printing our convention program and weekend expenses. Your name will appear in the program as a sponsor and you will also be recognized at the convention during one of the general sessions. Convention sponsorship levels are:  Patron, $5; Silver, $10; Gold, $20; and Platinum, $30. Send your check to our treasurer, Jeanne Meyer (address listed above) and be sure to tell us of your wish to become a sponsor and at what level. The OCB sincerely appreciates your generosity.


Convention Advertising

Do you have a business you’d like to advertise? What about those arts and crafts you’d like to sell? Do our OCB chapters feel this urgent need to tout their outstanding programs? Place an advertisement in the cconvention program at the following rates:  quarter page, $25; half page, $50; and full page, $100. Please make checks payable to the Oklahoma Council of the Blind and send them to Treasurer Jeanne Meyer, indicating the money is to be used for an advertisement. If you are an exhibitor, check with Convention Chairman Allison Fallin for combined exhibitor charges plus an advertisement.


Meet Our Feature Speaker


Sharon Giovinazzo

CEO of World Services for the Blind


On August 3rd, 2015, Sharon was named the new President and CEO of World Services for the Blind in Little Rock, Arkansas. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, her determination was strengthened as she entered into an unknown world, the world of blindness. One of the lessons learned is that everyone has a story.


Sharon received her BS degree in Human Services Management at SUNY Empire State College, as well as her MBA and Masters of Social Work, both of which she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is a certified trainer for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, as well as, an Assistive Technology Practitioner as certified by the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the American Legion Award for Military Excellence, The American Legion Award for Academic Excellence, and the Marjorie Thorpe Award for Excellence in Research and Writing, as well as, a veteran of the US Army where she served as  a combat medic.

Time for Awards Nominations!!!


It is almost time for the 2016 Conference and Convention of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind and once again, we have the chance to say “thank you” to the people that help us all year long.


OCB has two awards when we honor individuals we feel have been helpful above and beyond each year. Below are the guidelines for the two awards.  Letters of recommendation should be sent to Frances Poindexter


Gordon P. Stevens Award

The Gordon P. Stephens Award has been established by the Oklahoma Federation of the Blind (now the Oklahoma Council of the Blind) to honor and memorialize a long time member of this organization. His kind, generous, unassuming manner graced the lives of many blind people within and outside of the organization. The following guidelines have been established for selection of the recipient of this award:


(1)   This award shall be conferred only at such time as a fully qualified and deserving candidate is selected. (Not on a regular basis).


(2)    The recipient of the award shall be an individual, or

individuals, whose voluntary services to blind persons and/or organizations of and for the blind have been  meritorious, unselfish, and without personal remuneration.


(3)    The President of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind shall appoint an Awards Committee consisting of a chairman and two additional members of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind; and


(4)    The Committee shall select a recipient of this award not less than thirty days prior to the Oklahoma Council of the Blind Annual Convention at which the award is to be conferred. The committee may use its discretion in notifying the recipient in advance of the presentation. A plaque or some other appropriate item shall be selected by the committee as a tangible recognition of the award.


An award nomination form will be accompanied by a letter enumerating the qualifications of the candidate. The nomination shall further be supported by two additional letters of recommendation.


Gordon P. Stephens Award Nomination Form


City, State, Zip:
(use more space if necessary):
City, State, Zip:


All nominations must be submitted either by mail or e-mail to the Chair of the Awards Committee no later than 30 days prior to the OCB State Convention.




LeRoy F. Saunders Award


The Oklahoma Council of the Blind instituted the LeRoy Saunders award in 2002. This award is in honor of Mr. Leroy Saunders who contributed a lifetime of dedicated effort in promoting the abilities of individuals who are blind and to improve their quality of life. His professional endeavors expanded employment opportunities for Oklahomans who are blind. His national advocacy role through active participation in the American Council of the Blind and the President's Committee For Purchase From People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled exemplifies his lifelong achievements in the field of blindness.


The guidelines for nominations are as follows:


Nominees for this prestigious award should demonstrate extraordinary effort in promoting employment and advocacy activities, which promotes the abilities of Oklahomans who are blind.


1.   Any person employed and/or residing within the state of Oklahoma is eligible. The award may be made posthumously provided that death has not taken place more than twelve months prior to the nomination.


2.   Persons nominated for the award should be considered carefully. The person must have made some outstanding contribution to services in the field of work for the blind. The nominee should be selected solely on merit and performance. Any member of OCB in the state is eligible to submit the name of a nominee.


3.   Nominations shall be submitted on a form provided by the awards committee (also found on the OCB website) and supporting statements should adequately justify the person's nomination.


4.   A person who has retired or resigned from his employment or volunteer services may be nominated provided that they have left within five years of nomination.



LeRoy F. Saunders Award Nomination Form


City, State, Zip:
(use more space if necessary):
City, State, Zip:


All nominations must be submitted either by mail or e-mail to the Chair of the Awards Committee no later than 30 days prior to the OCB State Convention. Email Frances Poindexter at







2016 Annual Conference and Convention of the

Oklahoma Council of the Blind

Wyndham Tulsa Hotel, Tulsa, OK

September 23-25, 2016




Note:  This agenda does not include locations of meetings and other details. The Conference and Convention Program will feature the entire agenda.


Friday, September 23, 2016


 12:00 pm-7:00 pm



1:00 pm-1:30 pm 

Update on ABLE-Tech:  Kim Berry


1:30 pm-3:00 pm 

Concurrent Sessions:

IOS: How do we learn its function? 

Julie Bailey and Marilyn Sanders


iPhone and iPad: How do we help our consumers use these?

Julie Brantley and Elaine Boykin


3:15 pm-4:45 pm

Concurrent Sessions:

Fire Devices: How do they work?

Paul Miller


Apps for your iPhone and iPad

Julie Brantley and Les Barr


        Using Braille with your Mobile Device

               Mike Harvey & Jeri Cooper


Presentational style will be limited lecture, facilitated group participation and discussion. Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices and earphones. Breaks will be provided at appropriate times.


6:00 pm-7:00 pm 

Light dinner consisting of sandwiches, chips & drink


7:00 pm-7:30 pm 

Welcome: Joe Fallin


8:00 pm-9:00 pm 

Developing resolutions and constitution & by-laws


7:30 pm?

Hospitality Room Open



Saturday, September 24, 2015


Exhibits from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


6:30 am-10:00 am



7:00 am-8:00 am  



 8:45 am-9:15 am

Welcome and Presentation of Colors


9:15 am-10:00 am

Sharon Giovinazzo, President and CEO of World Services for the

Blind, Little Rock, Arkansas.


10:00 am-10:20 am      

Legislative Report, Jean Jones


10:20 am-10:40 am      

Break; Visit Vendors and Silent Auction


10:40 am-11:50 am      


Paul Adams, Interim Administrator of Visual Services

Kevin Treese, OLBPH Director

Brandi Bynum, Tulsa Regional Director of NewView



11:50 am-12 Noon

Nominating Committee Report, Frances Poindexter


12:00 pm-1:00 pm



1:00 pm-2:00 pm 

Technology Trends: From Parchment to PC, Sharon Giovinazzo

This session will provide a broad overview of the evolution of technology for persons who are blind and visually impaired. Additionally, we will talk about everything from no tech, to low tech, to high tech items that are the most popular among the blind population.


2:00 pm-2:30 pm

Sharon Giovinazzo, Why do you use what you use?


2:30 pm-3:00 pm 

Break; Visit the exhibitors and silent auction


3:15 pm-4:00 pm

Sharon Giovinazzo, Healthy, Happy Retirement – Financial



4:00 pm-5:00 pm 

Break; Visit the exhibitors & silent auction


6:00 pm-8:30 pm 


Emcee: Jay Doudna


Featured Presentation - Sharon’s Story: Each journey begins with just one step. Is blindness a career choice? It was for Sharon. Sharon will share her story of how she went from having perfect sight to no sight in a short seven months, and how she went from the manufacturing line to the CEO's chair in fifteen short years. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in May of 2001, her determination and drive has allowed her to become the President/CEO at World Services for the Blind in Little Rock.


Awards Presentation, Frances Poindexter


Make your final bids on the silent auction items.

Silent Auction will close just before the end of the Banquet.

Music, dancing and visiting with friends will immediately follow

the Banquet.


Sunday, September 25, 2015


7:30 am-8:15 am  



8:15 am-9:00 am  

Nondenominational Service 


9:15 am-12:00 pm

Business Meeting, Oklahoma Council of the Blind


2016 Oklahoma Council of the Blind Conference and Convention Registration


Please complete the form below and mail, with your paymentto Jeanne Meyer, 814 North F Street, Muskogee, OK 74403.  Make check payable to OCB "The Oklahoma Council of the Blind" Registration deadline is September 19, 2016.


Name ____________________________________________


City_______________ State__________ Zip____________

Work Phone (      )___________________________________

Home Phone (___)__________________________________

Cell Phone ­­­­­­­­­­­­­(___)___________________________________

E-Mail ____________________________________________


____        Friday Only Workshops      $30.00  

____        OCB  Convention and Workshops             $85.00  

____        OCB Registration after 9-19-16          $95.00      

____        Extra Saturday Breakfast Ticket        $15.00

____               Extra Sunday Breakfast Ticket           $15.00

____        Extra Saturday Lunch Ticket             $20.00

____        Extra Saturday Banquet Ticket          $30.00 

____        I would like Vegetarian meals (applies to entire weekend).

I need my program in __ Large Print  __ Braille  __ Electronic

(If electronic make sure we have your Email address above)

_____ I need an assistive listening device

_____Other Special Needs____________________________

_____I applied for a Scholarship-Verified by Vicky Golightly 

The Hotel is $85 a night plus tax for up to 4 people. Guaranteed room rate if reservation is made by September 16, 2015.  The Wyndham Hotel is in Tulsa, 10918 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74146. Phone: 918 627-5000. Check-in time is 3:00 pm. Check-out is 12:00 noon. Let the hotel staff know you are with OCB by 9-16-16.