Dear Federation family and friends,
We often forget that it is important to celebrate our successes. We are continuously trying to grow the North Dakota affiliate and it's natural for us to look at areas where we could improve. Sometimes we get so focused on looking at what we are not doing or what we could be doing better we forget to point out milestones of the NFBND affiliate and our members achievements. The reality is we may be a small affiliate, but we are growing! And we have synergy, but don't take my word for it, see for yourself:
- Sherry Shirek - Uber ride-share coordinator has successfully completed our final year in a three-year monitoring program to ensure that the civil rights of service dog users are protected. In order for us to accomplish this goal we were required to have a person take at least three rides with a service dog and document the results each month for a continuous three years. Thank you, Sherry for donating your time, energy and financial resources to protect the civil rights of service dog teams in North Dakota and across the country! Congratulations on your accomplishment!
- Richard Early - Received his first national exposure through publication in the December 2019 issue of the NFB Braille Monitor - Always Early: Find Your People. Richard has also recently received an opportunity for paid submissions to and industry-specific publication related towards his business. Richard, congratulations on these accomplishments towards making your dreams a reality! I wish I had just 10% of your energy and enthusiasm!
- New NFBND Internship - Thank you Joseph Engel for accepting the position of intern. Joseph has been working directly with us for 8 to 10 hours per week. He's been assisting us with our social media and outreach efforts. Thank you, Joseph for your work. You've made a tremendous impact on our affiliate!
- PayPal donations - we are now able to receive donations and take payment through PayPal, this has been implemented through nfbnd.org. Thank you to the communications team for working on this project!
- Sports and Recreation Division - new member Cole Roberts is interested in forming a sports and recreation division under our affiliate. Thank you, Cole for working on this initiative. We are all excited to be working alongside you!
- Communication Seminar - Thank you, Richard for organizing the November 2019 communications seminar and helping the affiliate to update our social media and carry out our branding strategy.
- Blind Bowling Fundraiser - Thank you Richard for organizing the fundraiser to reimburse Sunset Lanes for the purchase of accessible rails and thank you Bob More for your willingness to work with us on the project. We were able to reach thousands of people through the outreach effort.
- Holiday Party in Bismarck – Thank you, Sherry and Cole for organizing the holiday party that Will be on December 18 at 6 PM at the Bismarck Radisson. If you've not yet received an invitation, please consider this your invitation to come and have some fun with us. Dress up in a noisy Christmas sweater and enjoy the company of the Federation family. Please contact Sherry, Cole or Jesse to RSVP.
- 2019 State Convention - we had a wonderful state convention at the Clubhouse in and Suites in Fargo. We had featured speakers from Vocational Rehabilitation, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Protection and Advocacy, the Fargo Morehead blind bowling group, National Association of Blind Students and NFB national board member Adelmo Vigil and his wife Soledad representing our national organization. Milton Oda decided to step down as affiliate president, but he has agreed to remain on our board as Treasurer/Vice President. Thank you, Milton for your years of service to our organization and for your demonstrated love of the Federation. The rest of the board is made up of Charlene Oda elected to serve a one-year term as Officer, Richard Early was reelected to serve a two-year term as officer, Sherry Shirek is entering her second year of a two-year term as Secretary and I Jesse Shirek was elected President for a one-year term. Our convention delegate is Jesse and Milton, is the alternate delegate. Thank you to everyone serving on the state board of directors for helping see us through the transition. I am excited for the future of this great organization that we all love. A big thank you goes out to Sherry for chairing the convention committee and keeping us all on track!
I'm sure there are more successes that are missing from this list. I apologize for any omissions. I'm grateful for every member of our state affiliate, our NFB sisters and brothers across the country and our colleagues from partnering organizations. Thank you for all that you do to impact our community!
President, National Federation of the Blind of North Dakota