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Happy Birthday to Helen Keller

June 27, 2022
Today marks the 142nd birthday of Helen Keller! Helen paved the way for so many of us to follow in her example of innovation, courage, and advocacy. When Helen joined AFB in 1924, her work led to state commissions for the blind, funding for rehabilitation centers, and increased access to education for students who are blind or have low vision. The Helen Keller Archive contains over 475 speeches and essays that she wrote on topics as varied as faith, blindness prevention, women's rights,…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller

Post-AFB Leadership Conference Thoughts: Blind Leaders Development Program Challenges and Rewards, Part 2

June 10, 2022
[Editor’s Note: The following post comes from Chris Fendrick, a fellow in the Centennial Cohort of the Blind Leaders Development Program, and the second of a two-parter. His first entry describes the program; Part 2 recaps the AFB Leadership Conference.] The in-person Leadership Challenge aspect of the program began in earnest as we convened in Arlington, VA, in advance of the AFB Leadership Conference. My colleague, Ken Meeker, spoke for many of us, noting that it was a transformative…

Post-AFB Leadership Conference Thoughts: Blind Leaders Development Program Challenges and Rewards

June 7, 2022
[Editor’s Note: The following post comes from Chris Fendrick, a fellow in the Centennial Cohort of the Blind Leaders Development Program, and is Part 1 of a two-parter.] This last year I was fortunate to be chosen as a Fellow in the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Blind Leaders Development Program. This unique program in the blindness community was an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally. As a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) I have had the…

Post-AFB Leadership Conference Thoughts: Mentoring in the Blind Leaders Development Program

May 27, 2022
[Editor’s Note: The following post comes from Laurie Alice Eakes, a mentor in the Centennial Cohort of the Blind Leaders Development Program.] I perch on the edge of my chair, fingers poised on my keyboard. I’m ready to take notes between yawns from too little sleep and coffee. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has invested considerable resources in my presence in this room, and I am determined I won’t waste it, even if, so far, I’ve been leaning more toward the attitude, “What can…

Journey Forward Study Exposes Issues, Suggests Solutions, in Ongoing Pandemic Society

May 11, 2022
As we pass the two-year mark since the start of COVID-19 restrictions, the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) recently released study, The Journey Forward: Impact of COVID-19 on Blind, Low Vision, and Deafblind U.S. Adults, captures reflections on experiences during a year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Summer of 2021. Although the data gathered from the 488 survey participants revealed challenges specific to COVID-19, it also provided insights into the systemic issues…

Justice Department Issues Web Accessibility Guidance

March 18, 2022
Today, the Department of Justice released guidance on the obligations of public entities (such as state and local governments) and businesses open to the public with regard to website accessibility. This guidance comes less than a month after 181 organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice calling for regulations on the accessibility of websites and applications. This guidance covers why website accessibility matters, examples of barriers, and when the ADA requires websites to…
Author AFB Staff

International Women's Day: Helen Keller Archive Lesson Plans

March 8, 2022
Photograph taken indoors of Helen Keller and Polly Thomson with leading female members of the "Welfare for the Blind," "Alexandria School for the Blind Girls," Alexandria, Egypt. April 24, 1952. International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. Helen Keller never ceased to demand that all women, especially and including those who were poor…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics

AFB Honors the Legacy of the Late Donald H. Wedewer

February 25, 2022
The American Foundation for the Blind mourns the passing of Donald H. Wedewer, 96, of Charleston, South Carolina, a former AFB trustee and beloved colleague who committed his life to service. Born in Dyersville, Iowa, Wedewer was badly wounded in combat during World War II while serving as an infantryman, resulting in his losing both legs as well as his vision. While recovering from surgery, he met Helen Keller, who was visiting the veterans’ hospital and was particularly interested to speak…

Mentorship: The Key to Success and Personal Empowerment for Students Who Are Visually Impaired

February 1, 2022
When asked, "Were you nervous the first time you had to use a Bunsen burner with an open flame during microbiology lab?" Maureen J. Hayden, a blind woman who is pursuing a doctoral degree in marine biology at Texas A&M University, replied, "Of course!" This exchange begins a commentary featured in the recent Special Issue on Transition to a Meaningful Adult Life for Individuals With Visual Impairments of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), in which Ms. Hayden…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Personal Reflections

Celebrating One of the Original Coders on World Braille Day

January 4, 2022
Every year on January 4 we celebrate braille and the birthday of Louis Braille, the French teenager who invented it. (Learn more about Louis Braille’s life and the impact of his famous code in our online Louis Braille Museum, featuring photographs, engravings, and illustrations from books preserved in the American Foundation for the Blind's Archives and Rare Book Collection.) In 2019, the UN General Assembly first officially designated January 4 as World Braille Day—noting that “braille is…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Braille