New Board Elected During Conference 2014

Congratulations to the board members elected March 8, 2014 during our annual Conference! The election was for all board members except for 2nd member at large (which was voted on at last year’s conference). Here is the new board:
President: Bud Cayton
1st Vice President: Ricky Covington
2nd Vice President: Patrick Vellia
Secretary: Sharon Giovinazzo
Treasurer: Debbie Cayton
1st Member at Large: Ron Merritt

Amy Bean serves 1 more year as the 2nd member at large.

Greetings from VP Patrick Vellia

Greetings to all NCDBA Conference Goers:

Second Vice President Patrick Vellia here.  I would bid you all welcome this year; unfortunately, I will not be in attendance as I will be on a Mission Trip with my group from Gardner-Webb University to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to their Happy Hands School for the Deaf.  This school is a mission project of the New Life Deaf Ministry.  I do hope you do not miss me, too much!

I plan to run for either the Second Vice President or Member-At-Large positions during the election section of the business meeting on Saturday.  As some of you may know, I have served on the NCDBA Board of Directors since 2009 in capacities of the Second Vice President and a Member-At-Large.  Some activities I have helped get done include, but are not limited to:

  • Fundraising on the western half of NC
  • Deaf-Blind Outings to Carowinds, the National Whitewater Center, and other on the western half
  • Translation of the NCDBA Bylaws to ASL (on YouTube).
  • Introducing Zumba to the deaf-blind community of NC
  • Modernizing the NCDBA for the 21st Century.

I also serve on the John C. Washington Endowment Fund committee in the capacity as a representative of the Board of Directors in accordance to the NCDBA Bylaws.

I have also served, for the past two years, on the Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Committee in various capacities including the Teen Program Chairperson.

I would like to continue with this work, as well as encouraging the membership of the NCDBA to become more active in making the NCDBA a shining jewel of our community.  We cannot depend completely on our SSPs for the planning and execution of our activities–we, the Deaf-blind citizens, must empower ourselves to begin to do the work ourselves, as is the Mission of the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates.

If you would nominate me for either the Second Vice President or Member-At-Large position, I will accept either one.  Please be aware that I will depart from Charlotte International Airport on Saturday at 6am and will arrive in Honduras approximately 2pm.

One last thing.  If you would like to contribute your experiences at the conference so that we may create a news article for our website, you can post your contributions, photos, and videos, on our Facebook page.

Thank you very much, and have an enjoyable weekend at the Clam Digger Inn, Atlantic Beach, despite the weather forecast.

With warm regards,

Patrick G. Vellia

2nd Vice President

PS: To our SSPs at the conference.  A friendly reminder that you have a VOICE in our Assembly as long as you are members of the NCDBA as Associates.  This means, on Saturday, you have the authority to VOTE if you paid for your membership.  If you have not done so already, please see Ronald Merritt, NCDBA Treasurer, to pay for your membership dues before the General Assembly business meeting Saturday.  Thank you.

Upcoming Events for the Month of December

DEAF-BLIND HOLIDAY PARTY!

With ORNAMENT EXCHANGE!
WHAT:    NCDBA Holiday Party – where all you need to bring is yourself and a Holiday ornament to exchange with someone else.  FOOD, FUN, & FELLOWSHIP and a VARIETY SHOW!!!

WHEN:   
Friday, December 13, 2013 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
WHERE:   Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind, Inc. – Lions Room, 3200 Bush Street, Raleigh, NC 27609
WHO:     All individuals who are Deaf-Blind and family that live in the Eastern part of North Carolina and SSPs!!!

NOTE:   
If you want to participate in the Variety Show, please contact Cheryl Whitley at (919) 709-5974 (text or voice)

NCDBA Zumba Shirts Styling Survey

The NCDBA hosts a Funky Fitness Day, which employs Zumba as an attraction to bring the public out in order to spread awareness of deafblindness. At our first Funky Fitness event back in February, our new Zumba shirt was very popular.

We only have a few of them left, and before I make the next batch, I’d like the opinion of the Zumba community to see whether or not I need to change the fabric used as well as the style of the shirt. At the moment, these shirts are made from Gildan Ultra 100% preshrunk cotton, but I would like them to be usable during Zumba and regular gym workouts as well. Please take a moment to take the survey below to help me get a better idea of what you Zumba goers would like for our Zumba shirts. Thanks.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J9W3WL3

Example of what Gildan Ultra 100% preshrunk cotton is:
http://www.customink.com/styles/gildan-ultra-cotton-t-shirt/04600

And here is the current design of the shirts–the design is on the back of the shirt in puffy ink.

ncdba-black-sleeveless-shirtsncdba-back-print-on-saftey-green-sleeveless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should NCDBA HOST “Lake Windfalls”? Survey

This film is in ASL, but is captioned and in full sound, so is not restricted to just the Deaf community, especially when it portrays how effective communication between Deaf and hearing people is needed to survive in the story’s setting. Please help spread the word to your local areas of NC.

There is a fundraising opportunity for the NCDBA that we would like to gauge interest of attending to see if it is worth hosting it.

Rustic Lantern Films’ feature film, “Lake Windfalls” is a 110 minute that is written by Tony Kitko and Roger Vass, Jr. It is a portrait of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people interacting. In this tale of awareness and survival in a post-apocalyptic setting, both hearing and Deaf characters realize how effective communication is the key to collective survival.
http://www.rusticlanternfilms.com/films.html

The NCDBA would like to know if you would like for us to bring this film to a theater near you in North Carolina. As we would need at least 100 patrons in order to make this an effective fundraiser, we would like you to complete a short survey that would help us gauge interest.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NM9V6XX

2013 Conference Keynote: “Each Journey Begins With Just One Step” by Sharon Giovinazzo

It is a great honor to have been asked to be here today and be able to join my friends, colleagues, and partners here at the NCDBA conference. Thank you Bud for asking me here tonight.   My name is Sharon Giovinazzo  and I am the Vice President of Programs and Services at RLCB (Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind).

I’ve had the honor of addressing many audiences, with my keynote speech named “Each journey begins with just one step”, but I came to realize that this one would be very different.   First, my audience is different and that’s because you are better. But second, my focus is different.

See my previous keynotes have always focused on just my vision loss, I would touch on a hearing loss, but never go into detail. In fact it was not until very recently that I have came to realize that I have entered into a realm like no other.

I was no longer just Sharon Giovinazzo a person who was lost her vision because of multiple sclerosis, but I am now a person, who after loosing all of her vision, also began to loose hearing, and now the person that now has joined the ranks of people who are Deaf-Blind.

So truly my journey is beginning all over again, and this will be the first step of that journey, but hopefully i can tell you that story, and i hope that you can relate to that story in some way and maybe get to know me a little better.  I’m in the process of learning and writing this new chapter and I am asking that you join me.

I noticed the theme of the conference this year is technology.  I have came to realize that technology has allowed me to transition from a sighted hearing person to someone very different.

Today I am hopeful that I can share my journey and show you how technology not only helped me begin my journey, but how it in fact gives me the roadmap for that journey.

So please join me for, “Each Journey Begins with Just one Step”

“Hello darkness my old friend”. This is a familiar line from a Simon and Garfunkel song that I never thought would become my life’s song.

I was never able to imagine a world filled with darkness, totally void of light. When I was a child I would sleep with a nightlight that would give a warm amber glow; or I would have a flashlight tucked under my mattress, just in case the lights went out.

I did not view darkness as my friend; there were things that went bump in the night, things that I could not see.

As an adult, I lived in Alaska, where the summers are filled with light twenty four hours a day, and the winters were cold and dark. But never completely dark, the sky glows almost like a twilight. Then the northern lights would light up the sky, dancing around like the dancers in a Broadway musical, adorned with beautifully colored costumes, flowing like drapes in a gentle breeze.

Who would have thought that my worst nightmare would come true? In May 2001, I had not been feeling like myself; something was very different. I had been suffering from the worst pain that I had ever felt. It feels as if someone had my head in a trash compactor and would not release the button. The pressure grew in my head and it felt as if it was going to blow up. I knew that I had to do something, so I made my way to the phone and called the doctor’s office.I tell the nurse about my headache and explain that my vision is also being affected. They make an appointment for that day. I guess that was good but now I had to drag myself out of bed and get ready to go.

I forced myself into the shower and the water that was pounding on my head was like baseball size hail on an old tin roof. I proceeded to find the biggest, baggiest pants and shirt that is in my closet and adorned them. I bent over to pull on my socks and shoes and it felt as if my head was going to fall off and roll across the floor. I found myself fumbling to find the car keys, and finally I found them. On the way out the door I ran into the door frame. Ouch!

This was the beginning of what would end up being about 15 doctors appointments which would end with the diagnosis and four words that would forever change my life, “you have multiple sclerosis.”

Each day my eyesight and self esteem diminished, the minutes turned into hours and hours turned into days. I was enduring a constant emotional roller coaster ride.  I was unable to accept the thought of being unable to see normally and still being able to live. After all, I was the first blind person I met.

Finally I told myself, that I really needed to get out of bed and get on with my life.  So that is exactly what I did. One of the first things I did was move my computer to the attic. After all I could not see it, so I obviously could not use it.  Although I did not know it at the time, it was that first phone call that I made that would put me on the road to success and introduce me to a whole new world.

I was introduced to the local agency for the blind that provided rehabilitation services. When I took a tour of the agency there were people who were blind using a computer. This fascinated me.  How?  Who would have thought?  I was an avid windows user and was intrigued by the fact that I could make an adaptation to my computer and still be able to use it.  Suddenly, I began to realize that I could do almost anything that I wanted. I asked about my options about employment and college.

As an Army veteran and at thirty one years of age, I knew that if I was going to continue to live an independent and fulfilling life that I would need to pursue higher education, because one thing that I learned was I would need alternative ways of doing things. At that time I only had a high school diploma. So I visited the local community college. I decided to pursue my Associates in Human Services, after all I knew that I would be able to do paperwork with the technology that was available to people with vision loss.  So I was more confident, but still questioning my abilities.

As one success built on another, my confidence grew by leaps and bounds. The same month that I began college, January 2002, I also began working at the local agency for  people who are blind packaging gloves.  Although I had a lifetime of experience in the medical field and was getting ready to go back to college and secure my masters degree as an RN, I had absolutely no marketable skills as a person who was blind. I had to start somewhere. I never viewed the job in manufacturing as the only job that I could do, I viewed it as a stepping stone.

So I continued with my studies. In three and a half years, moved from a manufacturing position to a management position to serve as the Public Policy and Consumer Relations Associate.

By this time I had acquired an entire backpack full of technology. I would carry my dell laptop, with two extra batteries, a thermal printer, a flatbed scanner, a color identifier, a talking dictionary, a cell phone with talks on it, a 4 track cassette player, tapes, books on tape, and all the cords and a surge protector and power cord to provide power to all this technology. I am sure there were other things in that bag because it weighed a ton.

And the importance of bringing that up is that if I wanted to do something that required sight, I obviously wasn’t able to see, but I also did not have the sense to know that just because I couldn’t see that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I started to find solutions.

At this point I was confident enough in my abilities, to just say, where there is a will there is a way. So I found the way. I didn’t just sit around a feel sorry for myself and say poor blind Sharon you can’t see so you obviously can’t do. When I was in the army, I served as a combat medic. Our training often included the phrase “drive on!”

When you are dealing with a person who has been injured on the battlefield, you don’t have all the high tech equipment that you would in a hospital environment, but does that mean you are not going to treat that soldier that was just wounded? NO!  It means that you are going to treat and then use a different kind of technology to move him out of harms way.  That may be two branches from a near by tree and a couple of rain ponchos to use as a litter to carry him out of there. But the point is you find what you need or you make what you need with what is available to you. You don’t sit there and whine that I can’t do that because…….

So back to the journey…

Three years after loosing all remaining sight, I was in my new position as the public policy and consumer relations associate, and I had finished my associates degree and transferred I to a four year degree program to secure my bachelors in human services management. I was also in the Business Management Training (BMT) working on a certificate of management with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration, an upward mobility program offered by National Industries for the Blind.

Not to mention I was working full time. But technology played a huge role in that. By this time, I was receiving my books electronically from the publisher. Prior I was cutting them apart, scanning them and then using OCR programs to translate into text so jaws could read it. I was taking 21.5 credit hours, pursuing my certificate of management, and working full time. So everything was rainbows and roses; that is until i began to realize that I was not hearing everything. There were times that I felt like I was in a wind tunnel while in a meeting in a large room, or if I was in a banquet hall at a conference, I could no longer hear the fourteen different conversations around me, now it just sounded like noise.

So I made an appointment with my neurologist, who sent me from a MRI and referred me to an E N T (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) for further examination. He found that the first lesion that was discovered from the ms (multiple sclerosis), had gotten bigger and was interrupting my auditory pathways (nerves). So I was sent for an in depth hearing test, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. But I fell back on the philosophy I learned in the Army of DRIVE ON.

So I got my first set of hearing aids. Another piece of technology.  I continued on, going about my day to day routine. Work and school. I watched technology continue to advance. If my computer and stuff wouldn’t do something I needed, do you think I just curled up and said poor me…..No. I would find a way. That determination began to translate into my scripting and building macros to fill in the gaps that was there.

So now with work, on-line classes, and a household to maintain, my days were full, as well as, most of my nights.  I discovered you could live on very little sleep. By 2006 I had finished my management certificate and my bachelors of science in human services management and immediately started in a graduate program. I decided that it was time for me to look for a new and exciting challenge. I felt as if I had reached the glass ceiling at the agency I was working at, so I began interviewing.  I looked outside of the program I was working in, but realized that my heart and my story maybe could help the next person who came along, experiencing a life changing experience such as mine.

I found that National Industries for the Blind (NIB) had a legislative affairs specialist position opened in Washington DC, so I applied, interviewed and was hired. My husband and I packed up and moved to Washington DC in February of 2008.  I was living and working in Washington DC. I would make frequent visits to Capitol Hill. I would sit in hearings and in policy committee meetings.

In October I heard of a position in Raleigh for a vice-president’s position. The President of the agency,  Janet Griffey, had watched me  grow up in this program, and she noticed me one day at a conference, and said that she wanted me to join her team.  Well, I knew I was in no way qualified for such a title, so I blew it off.  But it continued to weigh on me. I never want to look back on life and see nothing but regrets, so I called Janet and scheduled an interview, for the primary purpose of eliminating the position. But you see where I am today.

So we packed up again, and moved to Raleigh, I began my position as Vice President at Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind in January of 2009. Now remember I was still in school. By this time I was working on two masters degrees. in August of 2009, I finished my MSW (Master of Social Work) and my MBA (Master of Business Administration) both summa cum laude (with highest honors).

Today, I not only use, but oversee our technology services department. My day to day focus was not about my blindness or hearing loss, but about moving the company forward. About sharing my experiences and knowledge with others to improve their lives.

In 2011 I had a slight health set back that caused my ms (multiple sclerosis) to continue to attack me. This caused yet another decline in my hearing. This continued into 2012 until I got to the point that with the hearing aids and the technology I was using to supplement them was no longer strong enough, so with much apprehension, I decided to seek help. I of course had a great example, John Sherwood, because he just happens to work for me. But I was scared to death. After all wasn’t being blind enough! What would happen if I could no longer hear?

So I began to enter a new path on my journey. My new hearing test revealed I had a greater than 80 decibel loss in both ears. So I was fitted for a new set of hearing aids. I was still working of course, and trying my best not to let it affect me, but it was. I was struggling.  I felt a little sorry for myself, for about five minutes and decided that I will just find a way. My new hearing aids came In and I left the office and wow I came to know quickly that hearing aids amplify everything! But I continued to work, thinking it would just take some time to adjust to this new technology. But what I had to realize was that hearing aids was not a cure to a hearing impairment, just another supplemental technology.

It wasn’t until this last fall that I finally admitted that I was having problems, so I decided to jump in and get involved in N C D B A. I still wasn’t ready to admit that with a combined hearing a vision loss, that I was not just a person who was blind with a hearing loss, but in fact now a person who is Deaf-Blind.

So John and I heard if an opportunity to receive training at Helen Keller National Center in New York to become trainer for equipment to assist people who were deaf blind. And i knew this was a perfect opportunity for John, but when i told my boss of this, she asked why I wasn’t going to go too?  She said it would be Perfect for me! To have the opportunity to see Helen Keller national center, and actually get to get to be a part. Little did I know that she had seen through that tough exterior that I presented to the world. So I went. And wow, what an experience. By that is another story for another day.

But it’s rather funny to look back at the evolution of the technology just in the last 12 years. I have went from an entire backpack full of equipment to only needing to travel with an iPhone and a refreshable braille display. All weighing less than a pound and being able to accomplish all my duties for work, reading, keeping track of my calendar, email, and the list goes on.

Probably the most important lesson I learned was that a lack of sight does not have to mean a lack of vision. A lack of hearing does not mean a lack of understanding.  It is vital that you Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.

It is vital that you find that person in your life. It may be a family member, it may be the person sitting beside you right now. But you have the responsibility to be that person to someone as well. You also have the responsibility to get out there and make it happen. You are truly at a cross roads of what it means to be a person who is deaf blind.  The technology that is available does truly level the playing field. That is if you have the motivation to go out and arm yourself with the knowledge and the skills to use it.

Technology now allows face to face communication between a sighted hearing person and a person who is deaf blind, without the need of scheduling an interpreter, but you have to go out there and be willing give up something, in order to put those tools in your tool box. If your tool box is full of excuses, there will never be any room for the tools that you really need.

A construction worker cannot build a home without the proper tools and for people who are Deaf- Blind, the professionals and agencies represented here this evening you must be equipped or equip those that you are working to assist, with the tools necessary to build a solid foundation of skills to be able to live life, work, go to school and play and having that be the forefront of their life rather then their combined vision and hearing loss.

We in North Carolina are lucky to have available to us the services and support that we have. We are lucky to have NCDSDHH, DSB, NCDBA, and a great advocate who represents North Carolina for Helen Keller national center, and that is Marilyn Trader.  But even with all of these great services and the people behind them, it is going to take you to realize that you have a stake in this game, and it is time to plant that stake and claim what is rightfully yours and that is the freedom to a wonderful quality of life, to be able to communicate with who you want, when you want.

Many of you have faced a life of stereotypes and misconceptions, a life of people lowering the bar for you. But because of the help and support of agencies and professional, and because of the technology available to us, there is no more room for excuses.

A well known American educator, Booker T. Washington, partially captured what I am trying to say:  “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life… but by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

I know each of you in this room have overcome many obstacles and only you know what the meaning of success is in your life, but you can no longer use the excuse ruler to measure your success.

So forever in darkness, and in a world where music isn’t what it once was, I have come to realize that the warm amber glow of that nightlight or the bright shining sun will never be seen again.

But I can feel the warmth from the sun, I can smell the roses as they begin to bloom, I can taste the salt in the air as we enjoy this weekend by the ocean and I feel the laughter of my friend as we talk about the good old days.I missed all of these things before because I was always too busy looking around.  But now I can appreciate everything around, I have learned to use everything available to me, I still have vivid memories of what things look like, but now I “see” more than ever before.

I still can hear those favorite songs as they were sung even though I may not be able to make out the tune if it comes on the radio.  But yet I hear so much more, things i never heard before, such as the needs of those in this room.

Even in darkness, I’ve come to accept that there are still things that go bump in the night, or that there may be a monster just lurking around the corner, but I am no longer going to spend my life worrying what they are, because I am no longer afraid.

So in closing i thought it would be appropriate to quote Helen Keller. She stated that:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at the 2013 NCDBA Technology Conference.

Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend News

Hello everyone, this is a quick note to let you know a bit about the plans for our Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend 2013.   Camp will be September 12-15th, 2013.  We are excited about our theme this year.  It will be about motorcycle riding and the biker culture.  Get ready to have some “bad boy” fun for once in your life!

I learned that NC has many motorcycle clubs and they each have their own name.   So I think we need to have our own name too.   What do you all think about the “Dogwood Bikers?”  The committee is working hard to plan a fun filled weekend of motorcycle riding, water sports, fake tattoos, rock and roll partying, games and much more.

Camp registration forms will go out the first week in April.   Remember, we can only accept 50 campers, so be sure to send in your registration as soon as possible.  It’s first come, first serve.  We will be selling “Dogwood Bikers” T-shirts and will include the order forms with Camp registration.

One more thing, we are now on Facebook!   Check it out:  NCDBA/CDW Deaf-Blind Weekend.  We will be posting updates there for all to see.  You are welcome to chat with others on our page as well, but let’s try to keep our comments only about plans for Camp.   Please feel free to share your excitement/comments about Camp, and ask questions on this page.   That’s all for now, but I will see you all at the conference.  If you would like to help with the Camp planning committee, please send me an email at ncdba.cdw.director@gmail.com

Let’s RIDE!

Ashley Benton, Director

NCDBA/CDW Deaf-Blind Weekend

Editor’s Note: Tell us what you think in the comments below.  You’ll need to log into Facebook in order to comment.

NCDBA/CDW Funky Family Fitness Fun Day

On Saturday, February 9th, 2013, the NCDBA and the Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend hosted a fundraiser at the Eastern NC School for the Deaf.   We called it Funky Family Fitness Fun Day.  Patrick Vellia and I co-coordinated the event with our committee: Laura Kelly, Marilyn Trader, Leah Connor, Tanya Jackson, Susan Runyon, and others.

We offered a schedule of Zumba and Yoga classes in the gym.  All of the instructors volunteered their time.  We had five Zumba instructors:  Sam Collins, who ended up teaching four classes in a row, was our main point of contact for the group.  She helped us put together the schedule and lined up all the teachers.   Sam did an awesome job and we are so grateful she was a part of our event.  We were supposed to have a Martial Arts group come, but when they did not show up, Sam stepped in and taught another Zumba classes instead.  We owe Sam a big THANK YOU!  Sam has been teaching Zumba and many of the Zumba specialties such as Zumbatonics for kids, since June 2011.  She taught two classes for our kids and the kids were having a BLAST!   Sam also taught a turbo kickboxing class.

Sue O’Lear led our Zumba Gold class, which is a chair class targeted for seniors and those who are wheelchair bound.  This was a popular class and even though folks were sitting, you could tell, they were getting quite a work out.

Sarah Nagel, led a Zumba Fitness class.   I took this class and I was shimmying and shaking to the beat.  Fun!

We were also fortunate to have two instructors who sign.  Teleasha Edwards  taught the early morning class in Zumba.  During that class, I saw Lea Moynihan shaking her booty.

Valerie McMillan, was by far our most popular teacher.  She led the biggest Zumba class and from what we heard, she wore everyone out.  We saw people limping away after her class.

We also had a yoga class at the end of the day, taught by Brianna.  Many people were looking forward to this class and got what they hoped for.   Relaxation and stretching after a long day of working out.

All of our instructors did a great job!  We could not ask for a better team of fitness teachers.  It was so awesome to see everyone participating in exercise classes, getting a good work out and having FUN.

In the auditorium next door, we had vendors selling their products and sharing information about their programs.  The vendors included: Blended Fellowship, a deaf ministry out of Pikeville.  ASL Mia Bella, who sold candles and skin care products.  We also had RelayNC who donated all of the water bottles for our event.  The Wilson Regional Resource Center provided a booth about their services and included DB simulators and activities for the public to learn more about Deafblindness.  We had three Deaf-Blind artists selling their crafts and artwork: Becca Webb, Cristin Skinner, and Stacy Marx.  They each donated one special item for our Silent Auction.  The Silent Auction winners were Archie Rivenbark, Marilyn Trader and Laura Kelly.

We shared two slide shows:  pictures from Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind weekend 2012.  You can view this slideshow on our Facebook site as well.  We also had a slideshow of famous Deaf-Blind athletes and their amazing feats.

I would also like to recognize a group of very special women who are close to the hearts of our NC Deaf-Blind community.  Please join me in thanking Jackie Pope, Sue Etheridge, Llewellyn Jones, Andree Stanford and Barbara Berry.  They donated and provided a soup and sandwich lunch for the event.

Last, but definitely not least, I want to recognize and thank our volunteers.   It was so heartwarming to see the number of volunteers who showed up.   The volunteers helped with ticket sales, assisting with classes, directing people to parking, helped with set up and clean up and much more.    We also had plenty of Support Service Providers (SSPs) helping the Deaf-Blind participants participate in the fitness classes and other activities.   We are so fortunate to have these special people who volunteer their time and energy to help out the Deaf-Blind community.   Thank you for all you do!

Overall, the event was a great opportunity for fellowship, fitness, family time and fun.   It was clear that people were having a great time being together.  We hope to do it again.  Thank you all for your support to NCDBA and the Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind weekend!

At your service,

Ashley Benton, Director

NCDBA/CDW Deaf-Blind Weekend

Editor’s Note: Tell us what you thought about NCDBA/CDW Funky Family Fitness Fun Day in the comments below.  You’ll need to login to Facebook in order to comment.

2013 Conference Agenda Now Available

The 2013 NCDBA Conference Agenda is now available on the website by going to the Conference menu below the site logo and clicking on Agenda.

This year, the NCDBA will be going green. As such, we will not be making print copies of the agenda.  There will be large print versions of the agenda put up in strategic locations of the conference room.  We will attempt to make several Braille copies for those that need it.

On the website, the agenda is available in Word, and PDF.  A web version is also available for easy viewing.

NCDBA/CDW Funky Family Fitness Fun Day Fundraiser February 9, 2013 at ENCSD Press Release — Part II

UPDATED: Removed Bouncy House and updated schedule

For Immediate Release

It has been a month since the initial announcement went out on our website and Facebook.  Now, we are ready to give you all more information about the event itself.

Let’s recap on what this event is.  The NCDBA/CDW Funky Family Fitness Day is a Zumba-themed fundraiser to support both the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates and Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend to meet the goals of the NCDBA mission. Held at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf (ENCSD) at 1311 US Highway 301, Wilson, NC 27894 on Saturday, February 9th, 2013.  Doors will open at 9am and close at 4pm.  This fundraiser is open to the public and is a fun day for families to get together in order for them to meet some of the most common New Year’s resolutions–to start working out, to lose weight, or to become more active in the community.

We will have Zumba Fitness, Zumbatonic, and Zumba Gold classes.  Zumba Fitness is a Zumba class for general attendees.  Zumbatonic is geared towards our youngsters ages 4-12.  Zumba Gold is geared toward those in wheelchairs and the elderly.  In addition, we will also be having classes in yoga, TurboKick (cardio kickboxing), and basic martial arts.  These events will be offered throughout the day, as shown in the tentative schedule below.

Tickets
Tickets for the event will become available online at EventBrite.com soon.  To cover the processing costs of offering the tickets online, the online prices will be slightly different compared to the prices offered at the door.

So, here is the ticket pricing:
Ticket Type          At the Door    Online
1 Ticket                $5.00             $6.54
3 Tickets              $12.00           $13.88
6 Tickets              $20.00           $22.27

There are group rates for the first six tickets, after which, any additional ticket purchased by an individual would be #2.  Each class will be worth one ticket per person.  One ticket per person will get you some lunch as well.

Lunch
You can purchase a lunch ticket at the door for $5, or as part of your grouping of tickets.  We will be offering sandwiches and soup.

Tentative Schedule
9:00 AM                  Doors Open/Ticket sales
9:30AM-10:30AM    Concurrent classes:
Gym A: Zumbatomic – (Zumba for Kids ages 4-12) Samantha Collins
Gym B: Zumba Fitness – Teleasha Woodard Edwards

10:45-11:45             Concurrent classes
Gym A: Zumba Gold – Chair Class – Sue O’Lear
Gym B: Zumba Fitness – Valerie McMillan

12:00                          Drop-in Lunch opens

12:00-1:00                  Concurrent Classes:
Gym A: Zumba Fitness – Sarah Nagel
Gym B: Zumbatomic – (Zumba for Kids ages 4-12) Samantha Collins

1:15                              Martial Arts Performance
King Tiger Martial Arts

1:30-2:00                       Basic Martial Arts (Ages 5-12)

2:00-2:30                      Basic Martial Arts (Ages 13 and up)

2:00                               Lunch closes

2:45-3:45                       Concurrent Classes:
Gym A: Yoga – Brianna Renner
Gym B: TurboKick- Samantha Collins

3:45-4:00                       Silent Auction Announcement
Goodbye and Thanks for Coming!

 

Introducing the Zumba Instructors
Samantha Collins has been teaching Zumba Fitness and many of the Zumba specialties since June, 2011. She is part of Trio Fitness, a group that teaches Zumba, TurboKick and Hip Hop Hustle in various locations throughout Wilson County, including The Wilson Family YMCA, The Regency, and Toe2Toe Dance.

Sue O’Lear has been teaching Zumba since June, 2011. She runs the Trio Fitness lunchtime workout program downtown at The Kai Thai Academy of Martial arts, as well as teaching full-length classes at Megan’s Academy of Dance, The YMCA, and Cardio X-Press.

Teleasha Edwards was licensed to teach Zumba in February, 2011. She also holds classes in Zumba Toning, which incorporates light hand weights, and Hip Hop. She currently teaches at The Wilson Family YMCA, Cardio X-Press, and Unity Salon.

Valerie McMillan is an established Line Dancing instructor, and joined the Zumba family in 2012. Her Zumba classes are held at The Wilson Family YMCA, Cardio X-Press, and Unity Salon.

Introducing the Yoga Instructor
A native of Nashua, NH Brianna moved to Wilson in 2006. From an early age Brianna has had a passion for movement. At age 6 she began studying ballet, and continued dancing until joining the Marines at the age of 18. During her time in the military Brianna continued to dance as well as teach ballet and study martial arts and self defense. In 2005 Brianna began her yoga practice as a way to help her through the pregnancy of her first child. In 2010, the Wilson YMCA hired Brianna as a yoga instructor and is now a certified Kirpalu instructor. Brianna has a passion for learning and is dedicated to sharing her love of life and yoga.

King Tiger of Wilson
King Tiger of Wilson has agreed to provide a martial arts demonstration (free)  as well as a basic martial arts class in Tae Kwan Do.  There will be one class for children ages 5-12 and another one ages 13 and up.  Each class will last 30 minutes while the demonstration should take only 10 minutes.

Deaf-Blind Athletics
“Who’s Who in the Deaf-Blind Athletic Arena” will be shown on a loop throughout the day in the auditorium.

Deaf-Blind Simulations
The NC Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will be providing deaf-blind simulations where the community can get a taste of being deaf-blind by participating in several activities.

RelayNC
Thank you to RelayNC for donating water bottles for the day.

ASL Mia Bella/Skin Care
ASL Mia Bella/Skin Care, a company that sells Mia Bella candles and other skin care products, coming to sell their products and we will gain a portion of the proceeds afterwards.

Deaf-Blind Artists
Three of our wonderful deaf-blind artists from the Raleigh area will be selling their artwork at the event.  They will also donate one item to be auctioned off at the Silent Auction.

Door Prizes
Door prizes will be awarded at the end of each activity.

Silent Auction
The three deaf-blind artists will be donating one artwork for the Silent Auction.  At the end of the day, we will announce the Silent Auction winners.

Letter sent to NCPUC by NCDBA

On November 16th, 2012, the North Carolina Department of Health Human Services filed a petition with the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission to increase the telecommunications surcharge for relay services from $0.11 to $0.14.

The NCDBA has sent in a letter to the NCPUC with comments as requested by the NCPUC.  All comments are due December 21, 2012.

If you would like to send comments as an individual, you may do so by one of these methods below:

  1. By sending a letter via snail mail to:
    NC Utilities Commission
    4325 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-4325, or
  2. By sending an email to statements@ncuc.net

To read the petition filed by DSDHH, click here.

To read NCPUC’s order seeking comments, click here.

To read NCDBA’s letter to NCPUC, click here.

NCDBA/CDW Funky Family Fitness Fun Day Fundraiser February 9, 2013 at ENCSD

For Immediate Release

CHARLOTTE, NC — We hope that you are all getting ready for the holiday season and making New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Eve!

To kick off the new year’s, and to help with some of the common New Year’s resolutions–to get into shape, to lose weight, or to become more active in your community, the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates (NCDBA) and its committee, the Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend (CDW), will be hosting a Funky Family Fitness Fun Day Fundraiser at Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf (ENCSD) in Wilson, NC on Saturday, February 9th, 2013 from 9AM — 4PM.

Funky Family Fitness Fun Day Fundraiser is a time of excellent workout and even having fun for all ages and groups.  We will be offering three different types of Zumba® classes–Zumba Fitness®, Zumba Gold®, and Zumbatonic®.  We will also be offering other activities, such as yoga, a martial arts performance, and a teen boot camp.  Tickets will be sold for $5 per class, and there is a discount for three classes for $12.  At the end of the day, there will be a door prize drawing.

This event is a fundraising effort by both the NCDBA and the Camp Dogwood Committee to raise funds for both our annual conference and camp.  Every spring, the NCDBA hosts a wellness and awareness conference.  This year, it will be held March 7-10, 2013 and the theme is “Technology and Awareness.”  On the other hand, in the fall, we offer an annual camp on beautiful Lake Norman at the NC Lion’s Foundation, Inc.’s Camp Dogwood campsite.  The camp this year will be September 12-15, 2013 and the theme is “Harley Davidson.”

The mission of the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates is to advocate for the needs and rights of individuals who are Deaf-Blind and to enable individuals who are Deaf-Blind to achieve their maximum potential by being independent and productive in the mainstream as citizens of the state of North Carolina.

Stay tuned for our weekly update.  You can also follow the NCDBA, Camp Dogwood, and NCDBA/CDW Funky Fitness Day on Facebook.