The Vigilant Blog

How often have you had a question you felt too shy to ask? Sometimes you work up the courage and just ask. At other times, it’s better to read about someone else’s experience at your own speed and in the privacy of your own space.

Our blog is a collection of posts aimed at stimulating discussion about assistive technology, independent living, and blindness philosophy. Please comment freely to keep the discussion moving, and please share content you find thought-provoking with your social networks to help spread the discussion to people we might otherwise not reach.

And, please don’t forget to check out the publications from our parent organization. The Braille Monitor, our general magazine, and Future Reflections, our publication for parents, are just two examples of the excellent resources you’ll find in our NFB library.

Do you want to write a guest post? Send us a note, and tell us about your idea!

Project RISE: From Low Expectations to High Impacts

By Lizzy Schoen

Resilience, Independence, Self-Advocacy, Employment: that is what the RISE in Project RISE stands for. Going into the program, I had low expectations; everything I had done so far had not prepared me for what I got. The power of Project RISE is not in the curriculum, though it is extremely beneficial, it is in the people who you meet and the lives the mentors are willing to share with you and teach you to attain.

From a young age, a blind person is taught two universal truths that, though probably not said out loud, are said by actions:

Virginia Agrees to Provide Accessible Absentee Voting Option for Voters with Print Disabilities

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts
American Council of the Blind: Clark Rachfal, crachfal@acb.org, 202-467-5081
disAbility Law Center of Virginia: Colleen Miller, colleen.miller@dlcv.org, (804) 225-2042
National Federation of the Blind: Chris Danielsen, cdanielsen@nfb.org, 410-262-1281
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP: Steven Hollman, shollman@sheppardmullin.com,

Authenticity Matters

By Sarah Patnaude

The sun was shining; the breeze was blowing. I could hear the crashing of waves in the distance. It was a normal week spent at my childhood vacation spot: Nags Head, North Carolina. Except it wasn’t. Unlike most thirteen year olds, I couldn’t be found bogey boarding or swimming. I wasn’t playing basketball or even relaxing inside. Instead, I made the porch my fortress for the week. You see, the back porch was my practice stage.

3 Steps to Launch a Website

For those of you interested in entrepreneurship, we try to run articles from time to time to help you in that venture. Without a doubt, setting up a website is essential to your operation. Here are a few ideas on how to get started.

Launching your own website does not have to be as complicated as people make it out to be. In fact, you can knock it out in a few simple steps:

Word of Mouth

By Mary Fernandez

Editor’s Note: Some of you may have met Mary Fernandez from one of her visits to Virginia. Though she calls New Jersey home, she is a friend of the Virginia affiliate and was a part of the team who prepared the original proposal for what would become Project RISE. Though this article, borrowed from the Student Slate archives, was published a long while ago, the core message remains relevant today and will hopefully serve as a source of encouragement for anyone currently looking for a job.

Protected Class? Not So Fast: The Exploitation of Workers with Disabilities

By Sarah Patnaude

Editor’s Note: Sarah Patnaude is our affiliate’s corresponding secretary. Among other tasks, Sarah oversees our social media channels, our website, newsletter production, and promotion campaigns surrounding events like the state convention. She is a member of the Potomac Chapter and represents the chapter in the Chapter Leadership Institute. In May 2019, Sarah graduated from George Mason with a Masters in Social Work, and before leaving the halls of Academia, she wrote an article for the university newspaper that appears below with permission.

My Experience of Being a Member of the National Federation of the Blind

By Chris Walker

Editor’s Note: The following article by one of our own appeared in the April 2019 edition of the Braille Monitor. The text follows.

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Proposed 2020 State Convention Principles of Engagement

Nothing in these rules of engagement is intended to change Article IV, Section 2 of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia’s (NFBV) constitution. The Convention remains “the supreme authority of the NFBV. It is the legislature of the NFBV . As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues of policy. Chapter board delegates and members in attendance may participate in all convention discussions as a matter of right.

Minutes from the NFB of Virginia 5/16/2020 Board of Directors Meeting

From Evelyn Valdez, Recording Secretary, National Federation of the Blind of Virginia


National Federation of the Blind of Virginia
Meeting of the Board of Directors
Saturday, May 16, 2020
1pm-4pm
Zoom Session

The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia’s Board of Directors meeting was called to order by President Tracy Soforenko
Invocation: Chamiere Roberts from the Richmond Chapter
Heartfelt Words about Dr. Brian Miller by Bonnie O’Day

Coalition of Disability Groups Demand Access to Virginia’s Inaccessible Absentee Voting

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts

American Council of the Blind: Clark Rachfal, crachfal@acb.org , 202-467-5081

disAbility Law Center of Virginia: Colleen Miller, colleen.miller@dlcv.org , (804) 225-2042

National Federation of the Blind: Chris Danielsen, cdanielsen@nfb.org , 410-262-1281

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