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CONSUMER GROUPS
NATIONAL AND STATEWIDE

American Council of the Blind (ACB)

1155 15th Street NW. Suite 720
Washington, DC 2005
(202) 467-5081 (800) 424-8666 (between 12PM and 2PM Pacific time)
www.acb.org


The ACB is a membership organization of individuals who are devoted to improving the independence, quality of life, level of employment, economic well being and accessibility for persons who are blind or visually impaired. The organization is concerned with a huge variety of aspects related to blindness and visual impairment, including National, State and local legislative issues. ACB has affiliate chapters in nearly every State in the country, and there are also over 60 special interest chapters, such as blind students, lawyers, teachers, guide dog users, government employees and many other concerns. The Braille Forum is the national journal of the ACB, and there are publications for most ACB state and special Interest chapters. There is a week-long national convention every summer, and the state chapters also have annual conventions that will be highly informative for those new to vision impairment.

ACB has National, State and local chapter memberships available, and you can find general or chapter information on the Web or by calling their Washington DC numbers. It is usually very easy to become involved and find a niche in the ACB's multitude of special interest groups for any person who has an interest in visual impairment. Membership in any particular ACB affiliate or chapter may be limited to that affiliate, or may include ACB national, state, local, and special affiliate membership. It is best to inquire with the contact affiliate, because each ACB group is fairly autonomous and has its own guidelines.

The 2004 Oregon affiliate President Bob Johnson is very friendly and would enjoy answering any questions; call him at (503) 361-8693 or contact the ACB of Oregon via the web at www.acboforegon.org

 

Association of Blind Citizens (ABC)

P.O. Box 246
Holbrook, MA 02343
(781) 961-1023
www.blindcitizens.org

The ABC was started in 2000 and is a new organization of the blind and visually impaired. Their bent appears to be more recreational, more social and slightly less political than either the ACB or NFB. The ABC has a good website, and it appears that folks are learning about them through the Internet and by direct E-list mailings. Membership on the Web is free. Check out their website offerings: scholarships, employment offerings, Beep Ball tournaments, their newsletter, a chat room and a list of outings for the blind and visually impaired (for those who live along the Eastern Seaboard).

Most of ABC's recreational activities and outings appear to be East Coast oriented. The organization started in Massachusetts, is young, and is not geographically representative as yet, so the ABC's options should be investigated by those who live outside of this area.

 

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)

477 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Washington DC Office: (800) 669-7079
E-mail: vets.are.best@worldnet.att.net or vivet@yahoo.com

The BVA is an organization of veterans who have had vision loss. ONLY veterans of the U.S. military are eligible to join and utilize the services and programs. There are BVA Chapters in each State and they also divide their memberships into several regions that parallel the Veterans Administration's regional divisions.

The BVA has a National magazine, many regional publications and an active presence on the web. Check their website or toll free phone number for more detailed information and contact information on local chapters.

 

Council On Citizens With Low Vision International (CCLVI)

(800) 733-2258
www.cclvi.org

CCLVI is an independent organization within ACB and concentrates on issues concerning low vision. They are a membership group that has a strong interest in the varied forms of low vision disability and is open to any individual and group that likewise has an interest in the broad spectrum of visual impairment issues.

They have a quarterly journal, which has many announcements of both consumer and professionally oriented meetings on low vision, along with countless informative articles of interest. CCLVI has many state affiliates and meetings, scholarships for vision impaired students, occasional national low-vision conferences, and they generally maintain a presence in legislative and other public domains of interest. Their National Chairperson usually manages the toll free number, which rotates from current Chair to Chairperson's home each year. 800 calls may be referred to local CCLVI representatives.

 

National Federation Of The Blind (NFB)

1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
National Office (410) 659-9314
www.nfb.org

The NFB, like the ACB is a nationally-known consumer group of persons who have an interest in issues related to blind and visually-impaired individuals. NFB is generally quite political in their concentration and they are very structured in their organizational fields of interest and conduct.

Like other such consumer groups, the NFB has a National organization with many affiliated state and local chapters. Joining NFB means that a national membership comes with your local and state NFB membership (dues for local and state membership covers all NFB categories). NFB also has a week-long annual national convention, and state chapters also have annual conventions.

The NFB national journal, The Braille Monitor, is published monthly, and informative state publications also come out frequently. The NFB also has "Newsline" to offer members, which is a phone-in contact line to have newspapers read to listeners. For details on "Newsline, check the NFB website or call the national office.

Interested persons can also call the national office number above and be referred to related NFB offices and state chapters. You can contact the Oregon and local NFB chapters through current State President Karla MacQuinlan at (541) 726-6924.

 

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