About the National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas
The National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back. Together with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality.
What is the National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas?
The National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas (NFBAR), an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, is an organization that believes in the full capacity of blind people, and has the power, influence, diversity and determination to help transform our dreams into reality. Members work together for a brighter tomorrow by raising expectations so that blind persons can live the life they want.
Who We Are
The National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas is a 501c(3) nonprofit volunteer membership organization comprised of blind and interested sighted persons of all ages, their families and friends. Our committed local chapters, divisions, committees, programs, and well-trained leaders help newly blind people adjust to vision loss, and promote the full participation and integration of blind people in our communities. We bring our collective experiences together to effect change at the state and national level.
What We Do
- Assist blind persons to acquire the skills of independence
- Help blind persons to develop confidence in themselves through our many service activities
- Teach blind persons the skills of leadership through active participation in conventions, chapter meetings, and civic activities
- Encourage blind seniors to continue their active and meaningful lifestyles
- Prepare blind students for productive tax-paying careers through academic and training scholarships
- Inform diabetics about their options for coping with vision loss
- Support parents and friends of blind children with information about the capabilities of the blind
- Protect and promote the civil rights of blind persons through public education and legislative action
- Advocate for policies that eliminate discrimination and guarantee equal access to educational programs and high quality rehabilitation
- Educate the public through seminars, community activities and our publications
The ultimate purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. This objective involves the removal of legal, economic, and social barriers; the education of the public to new concepts concerning blindness; and the achievement by all blind people of the right to exercise to the fullest their individual talents and capabilities. It means the right of the blind to work along with their sighted neighbors in the professions, common callings, skilled trades, and regular occupations.
Changing What It Means To Be Blind
It is estimated that over one million persons in the U.S. are blind and each year 50,000 more will become blind. Studies show that only AIDS and cancer are feared more than blindness. However, blindness need not be the tragedy which it is generally thought to be. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is a consumer organization of blind people working together to improve opportunities for the blind and the understanding of blindness by the general public. The NFB has affiliates in all fifty states, in the District of Columbia, and in Puerto Rico, and over seven hundred local chapters in most major cities. There are currently more than fifty thousand members nationwide. The purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is to act as a vehicle for collective action by the blind. Since its beginning in 1940, the NFB has been working toward the ultimate goal of helping blind persons achieve self-confidence and self-respect, and the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. The National Federation of the Blind is doing this by providing public education about blindness, information and referral services, scholarships, literature and publications about blindness, aids and appliances and other adaptive equipment for the blind, advocacy services and protection of civil rights, employment assistance and support services, development and evaluation of technology, and support for blind persons and their families. In the NFB we say, "The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight, but the misunderstanding and lack of information that exists. If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance."
The Newly-Blinded Person
The newly blinded person faces a difficult adjustment. One of the best medicines is to meet other blind people and learn of their jobs and the techniques they use in doing things without sight. Membership in the NFB provides this common meeting ground and, even more important, a sense of participation and restoration of confidence. Members of the NFB contact newly blinded persons to help them with problems of adjustment and orientation. Information is also given concerning available services from governmental and private agencies, as well as facts about laws and regulations concerning the blind.
Who Represents The Blind
The Federation corresponds to blind people in the same way that labor unions correspond to workers, the Chamber of Commerce to business people, the American Bar Association to lawyers, the NAACP to African-Americans, the American Medical Association to doctors, and the Farm Bureau to farmers. It is a vehicle for joint action by the blind. In other words, the National Federation of the Blind is the voice of the blind. It is the blind speaking for themselves. There are numerous governmental agencies and private charitable organizations and foundations providing services for blind people, but only the blind themselves (acting through their own organization, the National Federation of the Blind) are able to speak for the blind. This is a basic concept of democracy. The government has a Department of Labor, but it cannot truly speak for workers. They speak for themselves. Likewise, the Department of Agriculture does not replace farm organizations, nor do governmental agencies or private foundations take the place of democratic membership organizations of minority groups. This is true even if the agency or foundation is headed or largely staffed by members of the minority. As with others, so with the blind. More and more of the governmental agencies and private foundations are becoming responsive to the views and needs of the blind and are learning new concepts and attitudes about blindness. The future looks bright. There is an overwhelming feeling of goodwill and a wish to help on the part of the general public. Most important of all, the blind are moving forward to speak for themselves and take a hand in the management of their own affairs through their organization, the National Federation of the Blind.
We Protect Our Rights
There are barriers to full participation in society by the blind. The National Federation of the Blind stands ready to help blind people overcome these barriers when collective action is necessary. Many blind mothers and fathers are currently experiencing challenges from social service agencies who want to take their children. The recent increase in the number of such reported instances reflects not just an increase in government meddling or custodialism (although there is plenty of that), but heightened awareness and determination to take action on the part of the blind and their friends. The National Federation of the Blind is responding to the challenge. A blind mother in Florida is once again busy raising her child without interference from a social service agency. The agency backed down when the National Federation of the Blind came to her defense. Several cases are currently under way in which blindness is a central question in a custody suit. Because the National Federation of the Blind was not contacted, it is already too late for some blind mothers and fathers. The organization is determined to establish sound case law on this issue. Blindness knows no discrimination. Any child can be born blind. Any individual can become blind in childhood or in later life. It is in the best interest of every individual to understand blindness and how to cope with its problems.
You Can Help
The most important thing you can do is help us spread the new concepts about blindness. When you see our literature in the mail or meet one of us on the street, remember that we are people, just like you- with all the range of talents and capacities, wits and wants that you possess. You can also help by making contributions to our organization or remembering the National Federation of the Blind in your will. The National Federation of the Blind is principally supported by public contributions. Donations are tax-deductible.
“The National Federation of the Blind gave me a glimpse into a real and a successful future for my then three-year-old little girl who was going blind. Taking her to an NFB Braille camp and attending our first national convention changed our lives forever.”—Parent of a Blind Child, Nokesville, VA
“Before I found the National Federation of the Blind and decided to get the training I needed to improve my blindness skills and my confidence in using them, I was an emotional mess hiding behind paper successes. Now I can make my own choices about where I go and what I do, without depending on others or experiencing stress and anxiety. I am living the life I want and I strive to show others that it’s the best way to live.”—Blind Student, Seattle, WA
“The National Federation of the Blind is like a big brother who teaches you confidence, self-reliance, and determination. The NFB has mentored me in all aspects of my life and, in turn, I have been able to mentor others.”—Blind Professional, Atlanta, GA
“The National Federation of the Blind taught me that blindness did not have to make me a passenger in my own life, and from my mentors and friends in the Federation, I learned to be a driver. I am fortunate that I can now give this invaluable gift to others. I pledge to give all of my energy, my creativity, and my love to our movement. This is how I intend to pay it back, pay it forward, and make a future full of opportunity for blind people. I have no illusions that this will be easy, but I have every expectation that it will happen when all of us pull together to create the kind of future in which we truly live the lives we want.”—Mark A. Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind
Why should I join the National Federation of the Blind?
The National Federation of the Blind can help you:
- Find hope and move forward after vision loss.
- Access local and nationwide networks of blind people who can provide information and support about all aspects of living, working, learning, and thriving as a blind person.
- Work with other blind people to change misconceptions about blindness, policies and laws that affect the blind, and the individual lives of people who are blind or who are losing vision.
- Meet and make friends with blind people who share your profession, hobbies, interests, or goals.
- Learn about and select the right technology for your active and productive life as a blind person.
You’ll also have access to all of the following services and resources:
- The world’s largest audio information service for the blind, NFB-NEWSLINE®, is free to anyone who is legally blind. NFB-NEWSLINE® makes over four hundred newspapers and magazines, as well as TV schedules, localized emergency weather alerts, and job listings, available on demand to blind readers by telephone, online, or via an iPhone/iPad app.
- A free white cane, the basic tool for independent travel by the blind.
- A free slate and stylus, the basic tools for writing Braille.
- The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market, which offers hundreds of products especially designed for the blind.
- Thirty national scholarships, totaling over $100,000, for outstanding blind students, as well as other scholarships through our state affiliates.
- Innovative programs for blind children and youth, including the Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) program for beginning Braille readers and a number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs especially designed for blind students of all ages.
- And much more!
But the most important reason to join the National Federation of the Blind is that we need your time, your talents, your hands, your heart, and your dreams. In short, we need you!
How do I join the National Federation of the Blind?
The best way to become a member of the National Federation of the Blind is to join your local chapter. That way, you’ll meet blind people in your community and learn about the organization, too. You can find your nearest chapter by contacting your affiliate. You can find out how by visiting www.nfb.org/state-and-local-organizations. You can also find your nearest local chapter by downloading the free NFB Connect iPhone app from Apple’s App Store. If there’s not a chapter near you, your state affiliate may have an at-large chapter that meets by conference call or other ways for you to get involved. You can also join one of our special-interest divisions or groups; there’s a list of them at www.nfb.org/divisions-and-committees. Finally, you can join the National Federation of the Blind as an at-large member by visiting www.nfb.org/how-join and filling out our online form. We’ll follow up with you to help you get involved and live the life you want!
How can I support the National Federation of the Blind?
You can send a donation to the National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230. You can also learn about other ways to support the National Federation of the Blind by visiting www.nfb.org/make-gift.
2018 Annual Report
For more information, you may view our 2018 annual report:
More detailed financial information is available on annual report and financials page.