Guest Author - Carla Ruschival
The American Council of the Blind is a nonprofit organization of blind and visually impaired people from all walks of life and from all across the United States. ACB also has members in Canada, Australia, and many other countries.
ACB began in 1961 in Kansas City, Missouri. It was formed by 29 people who wanted blind and visually impaired people to be free to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families.
Today, ACB has grown to over 20,000 members. Over 65 state and special-interest affiliates make up the national organization, and many of these affiliates have local chapters.
The American Council of the Blind works hard for better education for blind children, for increased employment for blind people, and for changes in Social Security and Medicare that will help older Americans who are blind or visually impaired.
ACB's National Office in Washington DC answers many questions every day about the rights of blind people and helps people find the information and resources they need. National Office staff prepares testimony on important issues and submits it to Congress, files complaints related to discrimination under such laws as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) etc.
ACB publishes The Braille Forum, a magazine packed with information and news. The Forum is available in braille, large print, email, and on tape and electronic disk.
ACB's scholarship program provides financial assistance to approximately 25 blind or visually impaired students every year. Scholarship winners may be undergraduates, graduate students, or enrolled in vocational school. Most scholarships have specific requirements, such as place of residency or preferred major. Scholarship winners are encouraged to attend the ACB annual convention to receive their award; ACB and/or its affiliates help to sponsor this trip for the winners.
ACB sponsors an annual convention, usually over the week of July 4. The convention is held in a different city every year; it's in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2007. The convention is packed with workshops and seminars, exhibits of all kinds of products specially designed for the blind and visually impaired, information and discussions, resources for people who are new to vision loss, and of course lots of fun and tours.
One of the most popular services provided by the American Council of the Blind is ACB Radio. Heard on the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ACB Radio brings you four channels of great listening. From talk and technology to old-time radio to music by blind musicians and shows hosted by blind deejays, ACB Radio is a listening experience you don't want to miss. Check it
out by visiting
ACB also hosts several email lists that are free to all. There are lists for general discussion, for diabetics, for families, for guide dog users etc. ACB sponsors some of the lists, while affiliates host others. Feel free to join as many as you wish. Subscribe by visiting www.acb.org.
For more information, call the American Council of the Blind at (202)467-5081 or (800)424-8666, or visit the ACB website at www.acb.org.