NABS NOTES | August 2017

National Association of Blind Students

A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind


-YouTube Channel
-NABS Board Meeting Minutes
-Blog Post
-Fantasy Football
-State Updates

YouTube Channel

On behalf of the National Association of Blind Students, we are proud to announce our new student division YouTube channels titled "how blind students see it". On this YouTube channel, it will be a platform for different blind students to show us what is going on in their lives and their different successes. This channel will also have different videos educating people on different situations that blind people face and how blind students accomplish their goals. Here is a link to our YouTube channel and our first video introducing the board. We hope to have you subscribe and like our videos. We look forward to connecting with all of you in the future!

Board Meeting Minutes—August 5, 2017

Meeting called to order at 9:00 EST
Members present:
- Kathryn Webster (President)
- Michael Ausbun (1st Vice President)
- Syed Rizvi (2nd Vice President)
- Cody Beardslee (Treasurer)
- Chelsea Peahl (Secretary)
- Shannon Cantan (Board Member 1)
- Tarik Williams (Board Member 2)
- Luke Schwinck (Board member 3)
- Bryan Duarte (Board Member 4)

Treasurers Report:

• Revenue: $5,967.59
• Expenses:$1,294.44
*Expenses were high due to a donation to the Jernigan Fund, White Cane Fund, and tenBroek Fund.

State Updates:

What the difference is between NABS rep and NABS liaisons?
-NABS Rep: Who Kathryn decides to send to a convention/student seminar. When serving as a NABS rep, the member of the board is responsible for before, convention, and after convention reports and prep where needed. If going to convention, you attend everything scheduled for students, and the affiliates itself. Also, if there is a change in state leadership, we need to get it to Bryan or Kathryn ASAP. Reimbursement: NABS pays, but use cheapest flight. Affiliate is responsible for hotel, registration, and banquet.
-State liaison: The State that you will be in contact with from the end of convention to the end to help build and grow a student division.

Committee Reports:

Announcements for calls must go out one week before the call, and one day before the call. Reach out to Tarik to have promoted on Twitter and Facebook. Transparency is key. Post agenda and minutes within 48 hours of the meeting.

Legislative and Advocacy:

First section of the toolkit is complete. Everyone emailed their parts in. Call tomorrow night to start the next part of the toolkit.
Personal testimonies are going good. Bryan edited his and sent to Gabe. New “who to address” to, so the letters are universal. New “template” to get people going so letters are in correct form. Bryan and co-chair will reach out to states to do 1-on-1 mentoring to get letters written. Legislative call second month every Tuesday.

Fundraising update:

Call will be Monday, Aug 14 9EST. Fantasy Football starts Aug.


YouTube channel launching. Meet the board call. Interview with Elizabeth Sheeler. New blog post coming from cricket. Send out updates to Tarik. Calls fourth Wednesday. Send Chelsea info by the 22nd of the month! 100 Aira students. Membership: Thursday is the call. Some ideas. Focusing on recruiting. Focusing on Meet the Blind Month events.

New Business:

NABS Rep request forms we currently have, and those who have been assigned:
• Michael is going to West Virginia.
• Kathryn is going to Texas.
• Massachusetts for February
• Luke is going to North Carolina
• Bryan is going to Iowa
• Kathryn, Cody, Luke, and Michael are going to Virginia
• Syed is going to Illinois
• Kathryn is going to Arizona
Adjourned at 9:55 EST
Respectfully submitted—Chelsea Peahl-National Association of Blind Students Secretary

Blog Post

This months blog post comes from Cricket Bidleman who was one of our national scholarship winners this year.

Cricket Bidleman was adopted from China, and currently lives in California. She will be starting her freshman year at Stanford University in September. Currently, she is a proud member of the National Federation of the Blind, serving on multiple committees in the student division. She also does outreach for the California student division of the NFB of California, and does quality assurance work on Pearson’s accessibility team. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, knitting, singing, hiking, playing the piano, learning, and working with technology. She hopes to be a college professor, and to study abroad in Europe. Please join with me in reading this story about how another one of our NFB training centers has empowered one of our student members. If you have any questions or comments please contact Bryan at:

When I first made the decision to attend the PREP program at BLIND, Inc. I was a little nervous. I had never lived in an apartment separate from my family. I had never been responsible for doing my own laundry, I had never had the opportunity to cook, and I had never attended a training center. Nevertheless, I still thought it was the right decision… And I still think it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m Cricket Bidleman. I live in California, and this fall, I will be attending Stanford University as part of the new class of freshmen. I made sure to take all of the most rigorous classes in high school. I got out of my comfort zone by taking choir and also by raising chickens as part of my biology class. Yes, that actually happened. Despite all of the chicken-raising, music-singing, and book-reading, there was one area of knowledge I was dreadfully deficient in. I had no idea how to cook or clean. Imagine being the only student on the entire Stanford campus who couldn’t do their own laundry… I wasn’t having any of that, so I decided to attend BLIND, Inc. The last two months have been full of firsts. For the first time, I lived in an apartment. For the first time, I traveled completely independently to places I’d never been before… Without Uber… For the first time, I had to do dishes, and laundry, and cooking… And for the first time, I felt capable of something completely non-academic. Now I feel prepared to tackle the challenges I’m sure to face at Stanford. I’ll know how to approach completely unfamiliar situations, both academic and otherwise. I’ll know how to stick stuff in the oven without burning myself. I’ll know to keep my fingers well away from pineapples when I’m trying to slice the skin off… And if I slice the skin off my fingers instead of the pineapple, I’ll know how to deal with it. I know a lot of people are nervous about attending training centers. I was. I guess what I’m trying to get at with this blog post is that training centers don’t just prepare you for college. They prepare you for life.


Get Involved With NABS by Joining Our Committees If you have ever wanted to get involved with the work the National Association of Blind Students is doing, this is your chance. We have recently reorganized our committees and are looking for students with a passion to work beside us in building the Federation. If you are interested in joining one or more of our committees, please select the committee(s) you are most interested in and send an email to the Chair of the committee. Or, join the conference line at the designated times when it is most convenient to you. We look forward to working with you to build the National Federation of the Blind.

Fundraising Committee

The Fundraising Committee is always hard at work to raise funds to support our NABS members, leaders, and blind students across the nation. On the Fundraising Committee, you are working alongside our Chair Board Member Shannon Cantan, Co-chairs Dustin Cather, Edward Shaham, and Cody Beardslee to strategize and carry out different fundraising ideas. This committee is a lot of fun to be apart of and very rewarding. If you are interested in joining this committee please email Shannon Cantan or join us on the second Monday of the month at 9pm eastern by calling 712-770-5197 and dialing access code 265669.

Legislative Advocacy Committee

The Legislative Advocacy Committee is focused on learning and sharing knowledge of national and state legislation that impacts the blind. On this committee, you would be working alongside Chair 2nd Vice President Syed Rizvi and Co-chairs Bryan Duarte and Kenia Flores to learn and teach legislation, as well as work with different student divisions and universities/colleges. If you are interested in joining the Legislative Committee, please contact Syed Rizvi or join us on the second Tuesday of the month at 9pm eastern by calling 712-770-5197 and dialing access code 265669.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee is set up to handle all of NABS membership and recruitment. This committee is responsible for monthly membership calls, social media, monthly blog posts, handling our YouTube channel, generating NABS Notes, and so much more! As a part of this committee, you would work alongside Chair Tarik Williams as well as Co-chairs Chelsea Peahl and Ellana Crew to engage students through social media and recruit new members through planning events. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact Tarik Williams or join us on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 9pm eastern by calling 712-770-5197 and dialing access code 265669.

Event Planning Committee

Join our newly created committee this fall! The Event Planning Committee will serve as a group of members interested in broadening awareness, spreading our message, and increasing membership. We aim to create a committee that coordinates regional seminars, plans events, and implements "Meet the Blind Month" initiatives and so much more! We are proud to announce that the Chair of this committee is Luke Schwinck and the Co-chairs are Elizabeth Scheeler and Janae Burgmeier. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact Luke Schwinck or join us on the second Thursday of the month at 9pm eastern by calling 712-770-5197 and dialing access code 265669.

Fantasy Football

The National Association of Blind Students is excited to host our second annual NABS Fantasy Football League! Whether you are a seasonal football fan or interested in learning about the great American sport, we invite each and every one of you to participate in a little friendly competition amongst our Federation family.

This year, the league will require $30 to get started. The $30 will be broken into $15 for NABS as a participation fee, while the other half ($15) will go into a pot for the end of the season winner to grab for personal reward. There will be only one winner in this League. We wouldn’t be our Federation family if we weren’t welcoming, encouraging, and inclusive, so please, bring family, friends, and other football enthusiast’s that you know to join in on the fun.

Payment has never been easier. NABS is up to date with all payment options, including, but not limited to, check, PayPal, Venmo, and Square cash.

Football season is here!

State Updates:


Greetings from Arizona students. We are hard at work preparing for our state convention taking place on August 31 through September 3. This year we are planning a student seminar packed full of NFB fun and excitement!!! The state of Arizona is very excited to announce that we have requested a National Association of Blind Students Rep. and this year that person will be our fabulous president Kathryn Webster. We all saw how amazing and inspirational her presidential speech was during national convention and we know she will fire up our Arizona student members the same way. During this convention we will also be holding elections for the next Arizona Association of Blind Students board so I would like to take this time to express my gratitude for the board I have served with this past year. We have worked so hard to unite the students division with our state affiliate as well as our local training centers such as SAAVI Services for the Blind. We will continue to foster this collaborative work in the future to build the Federation. Thank you all and have an awesome first back to school season.


The California Association of Blind Students is preparing for a wonderful state convention to be held on November 2-5 at the Embassy Suites in Milpitas, CA. Join us if you can. This will be a great year of celebrating change and growth in our affiliate and our student division. CABS is also holding a fundraiser to win a handmade NFB theme quilt. Please see our gofundme campaign page at Also, CABS will be holding a student division back to school call on Sunday September 3. Please visit our Facebook page for topic updates and call in information at


We are excited to host our first-ever student seminar on September 22-24 in Honolulu, Hawaii. We will have representation from Vriginia, Arizona, California, and many of our islands in Hawaii. We are also excited to have the NABS President, Kathryn Webster, and the Director of BLIND Inc., Dan Wenzel, with us for the fabulous weekend! All are welcomed and encouraged to join us in the beautiful state of Hawaii! Our seminar will cover leadership development, legislative advocacy, education, employment, break out sessions, and a trip to Waikiki Beach! Stay tuned for more information once our seminar concludes! Mahalo!


The Massachusetts student division is gearing up for another exciting school year. The MASSABS board is hard at work planning an engaging fall social, and planning outreach efforts such as membership calls and posting monthly discussion topics in the division's Facebook group. Massachusetts student division President Precious Perez will be studying abroad for the semester, and Vice President Tyler Littlefield will be stepping up and taking her place while she is away. MASSABS is excited for yet another year of helping blind students live the lives they want, and building the federation. Maryland: Riding high on the success of our first ever regional seminar and the energy of our national convention, the Maryland Association of Blind Students is hard at work planning for a huge student presence at this year’s state convention. Recently, we were fortunate to receive a generous grant which is helping us execute projects we had only dreamed of doing in the past. Following the example set by NABS at this year’s Washington Seminar, MDABS is planning to fund a few students to attend our state convention, who will be matched with experienced student leaders who will mentor them through convention and beyond. We will have more information on those details in future updates in the NABS Notes. We also have a few surprises planned at our business meeting and throughout the convention which are sure to keep students stimulated, energized and inspired! So join us in Towson November 10-12 to be part of the excitement! As always, to keep up on the activities of MDABS and enjoy some lively discussion among your fellow blind students, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See you in Towson!

North Carolina:

The North Carolina Association of blind students is gearing up for what is sure to be a wonderful convention. The convention is at the Holiday Inn North-Midtown in Raleigh, NC from September 22-24. NABS Board Member Luke Schwinck will be joining us, as well as Everette Bacon as our National Representative.


The Utah Association of Blind Students is hard at work planning our year. On August 26th, we hosted our kickoff swimming social and began planning for our student seminar to take place October 21, 2017. More details to come! Feel free to reach out to Chelsea Peahl, President of the Utah Association of Blind Students at if you have any questions or suggestions of what you’d like to see this year!

National Association of Blind Students-

Live the life you want!