Get ready for Convention 2017 — Jacksonville here we come!

Celebrating our rich history — Learning and Planning for Tomorrow

Dear Friends and Members of FCB,

The Florida Council of the Blind, Inc. (FCB) warmly welcomes you to attend our 64th annual convention scheduled from June 1st — June 4th, 2017 in Jacksonville. The convention hotel is the Lexington Hotel & Conference Center Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel 1515 Prudential Drive Jacksonville, Florida 32207

Room rates are $85.00 per night. Reserve your room by calling 904-396-5100 or 877-539-7070. Remember to mention that you are with FCB to insure you receive the convention rate. **THE DEADLINE FOR MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS FOR THIS YEAR'S CONVENTION IS, May 2nd.** Please reserve your room now to guarantee our special rate. The rate includes a voucher for breakfast. The FCB Convention will be exciting and educational, full of varied and informative programs and of course, have time for visiting and fun! There's something for everyone here, don't miss it!

1. On Thursday evening, June 1st, enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner consisting of Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken – Bone In, Grilled Hot Dogs, Southern Style Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Beans, Creamy House made Cole Slaw, Banana Pudding, Unsweetened Iced Tea & Lemonade. After a complementary beer or glass of wine, there will be a cash bar. There will also be some entertainment by our own William Benjamin and Adam Gaffney.

Friday June 2, 2017

Four Concurrent Workshops

2. Guide Dog Users of Florida
During this interesting and innovative meeting, the newly elected GDUF officers will be announced. Then!  It’s all about us and our guides. Come and participate with us as together we discuss some of the most crucially important issues that we face today. Through moderator led discussion, we will ask the questions, answer them, discuss the laws that protect our civil rights as guide dog handlers and provide assistance and insight to one another as we share our own opinions and choices based on what we have learned from others as well as the personal experiences that have led us to make those choices. 

3. Budget and Finance
FCB is your organization. Members from the Budget and Finance committee will be available to answer questions in order to insure a transparency in FCB'S budget process. This session is an attempt to share information about FCB's finances and the proposed budget. This will help expedite approval of the budget on Sunday morning.

4. Employment Committee Workshop
Kevin McDaniel’s with the City of Jacksonville will be speaking on New Approaches to Employment and Education: Each year the City of Jacksonville hosts an annual Employment Symposium and Job Fair intended to promote inclusive hiring practices among human resource professionals and provide employment opportunities to citizens with disabilities. This presentation will include new approaches to education and training associated with the skills needed in today’s job market, including Microsoft Office and database navigation for citizens that are blind or have low vision.  

5. Braille Revival League of Florida
This year, BRAILLEF is proud to present a presentation from the Jacksonville Braille and Talking Book Library. Friday morning, our guest speaker, Chris Eaton will update us on services available to us through the Talking Book Library. Be sure to join us Sunday morning for breakfast for the latest UEB information. We will also be having our regular business meeting at that time which includes election of officers. The mission of BRAILLEF is to strengthen the use of Braille in the State of Florida. Come join us to plan new and innovative ways we can make it a reality.

As always, one of the highlights of convention is our Exhibit Hall that will be open both Friday and Saturday all day. Come browse, purchase goods or learn about new technology to assist you in living a more productive and independent life.

6. Annual FCB Legislative Seminar
Come join us for the 2017 FCB Legislative Seminar.  Once again, the FCB legislative team will bring interesting, informative and insightful thoughts regarding the reception by the Florida Congressional delegation of the 2017 legislative agenda set forth by ACB.  These perceptive thoughts will serve us well as we work through the early days of the new administration and the 115 Congress. 

There will also be a surprise guest bringing a State legislative presence as well.  This is extremely important as we continue our course of building relationships with our local legislators to further our agenda of leveling the playing field here in this state, affording equality of opportunity for Florida’s citizens who are blind and visually impaired.

7. First-timers Workshop
Is this your first time attending an FCB Convention? WELCOME! We have a special workshop just for you, co-hosted by long-time members and FCB experts, Linda Jacobson and Sally Benjamin. This workshop will tell you who we are, what we do and what we have to offer. Come check it out and let us get to know each other. FCB is pleased to offer an affordable 3-meal package deal for your dining pleasure. Purchase tickets for Thursday night BBQ, Friday night Awards Dinner and the Saturday evening FCB Banquet for $95.00 and save $15.00. If you would like to attend only one or two of these meal events, the cost is $35.00 per event.

8. Awards and Scholarship Dinner
Join us on Friday evening to celebrate and recognize FCB leaders and deserving students at a special Dinner hosted in their honor by Sheila Young. Selected advocates and leaders will be recognized with prestigious awards and deserving students will be presented with valuable scholarships. The cost of this year's Awards Dinner is $35.00 or you may purchase the 3-meal package for $95.00. Please note the meal choices and mark your registration form accordingly.

Saturday: June 3rd, 2017

Opening Ceremonies

"Is your cable provider's set top box accessible as required by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act? Or, are you among the many who pay Florida cable companies which do not provide cable accessibility? In our Saturday morning opening session come and learn from ACB'S Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Anthony Stephens and other panel participants, the status of Florida's cable providers and what you can do to advance the issues and requirements of set top box accessibility. Moderator Jim Kracht President"

Four Concurrent Workshops

9. Technology Committee Workshop
Are you a smart phone user who would like to know more about apps that are available for your phone? Would you like to learn how to use some of these apps that could actually make your life a little easier?
Whether you are a new smart phone user, or an experienced one, join us on SATURDAY at the Technology workshop where we will be talking about apps for both Android and IPhone users pertaining to transportation, reading, and other apps that we think you will find interesting and helpful in your daily life.

10. Library Workshop
Talking Book Library Program presented by James Woolyhand will discuss:  library updates, staff updates, talking money identifier, and newsletters.  Mark Lear will discuss downloading books from BARD and BARD Express.

11. OrCam Workshop
Ms. Patti Mena, on behalf of OrCam, will be available to show all of us the OrCam MyEye. The OrCam MyEye is an intuitive, wearable device with a smart camera designed to assist the visually impaired. The device can read printed text in real time. The OrCam device identifies known faces and even helps recognize personal items such as consumer products, currency, and credit cards. All you have to do is point!

12. ZoomText Fusion Workshop
ZoomText Fusion: The Most Powerful ZoomText Yet. Demonstration on how ZoomText Fusion can provide a higher level of productivity for computer users with all levels of magnification needs.

Douglas Gerry has over 20 years of experience in the assistive technology industry. Douglas has worked for both assistive technology manufacturers and assistive technology distributors. He truly enjoys introducing and sharing with people the assistive technology tools that allow people who are vision impaired to succeed and have fun. Douglas is proud to be part of VFO as the Strategic Sales Manager focusing primarily on software such as ZoomText, JAWS, and OpenBook.

13. Saturday Afternoon will feature the FCB Town Hall Meeting
Featured will be a presentation and discussion regarding the current status of the Division of Blind Services (DBS): with Jim Kracht and the Division's Director Robert Doyle.

Special Interest Affiliate Meetings: Saturday, June 3, 2017

14. Coalition for the Concerns of the Totally Blind (CCTB)
This year's CCTB meeting will consist of a multitude of things. Of course we will have our usual raffle ticket drawing, where you can win anything from gift cards, to Dinner for Two, to some nice cash for your pocket. In addition, we will have our, election of officers, along with two guest speakers. One will be from the Braille and Talking Book Library who will take us through the step by step process of recording books, and the other who will demonstrate an innovative device that assists visually impaired people with traveling around the environment.

So as you can see, we have a pretty interesting meeting planned, with a smorgasbord of things going on, and hope that you will join us at what we feel will be an enlightening and informative meeting.

15. The Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision (FCCLV).
Heather Borders is a Registered Dietitian offering programs combining nutrition education with engaging culinary instruction, empowering people to make lifestyle choices that will sustainably improve their health. Guided culinary nutrition tours at grocery stores, label reading workshops, plant-based cooking classes, and private nutrition counseling are some of the services offered. Heather completed her nutrition training at the University of North Florida and her Dietetic Internship was through Wellness Workdays. She has been a Food for Life instructor with PCRM since 2012, completed the Rouxbe professional certification in plant-based nutrition, and completed the plant-based nutrition certification through Cornell and the T. Colin Campbell foundation. 

16. Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of Florida
Offering employment and business opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired and programs that enhance the bottom line for all members to allow them to support their families. RSVF is a volunteer organization composed of blind and visually impaired vendors and those individuals who support the Randolph-Sheppard program.

17. Saturday Silent Auction Annual Banquet
FCB'S Annual Banquet: hosted by FCB President James Kracht. Anthony Stephens current ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs American Council of the Blind

Cecil Edgecumbe’s tunes and more...

Directly following the banquet, don't miss tunes from the vast library of DJ extraordinaire, Cecil Edgecumb. Come dance, socialize, or enjoy while getting supercharged for the suspense and excitement of FCB's annual silent auction and raffle drawing for money and other exciting prizes. You can even learn who the winners of the Silent Auction are! Sleep, after all this? Are you kidding?

Sunday June 4th, 2017

18. Braille Revival League of Florida
"there will be a BRAILLEF breakfast meeting and gathering in one portion of the hotel restaurant Sunday morning at 7 a.m. Attendees must bring their hotel furnished coupon to receive the hotel provided complementary breakfast."

Bright and early on Sunday morning, you can then claim your right and responsibility as a FCB member by participating in the organization's annual business meeting. Hear from leaders about progress made and work yet needing to be done and discover what important role you can play in advocacy.

FCB conventions are famous for having wonderful volunteers and staff at our hotels which is great. However, please be reminded that volunteers and hotel staff are NOT personal care attendants, nor can they serve as full-time personal guides. If you desire or require this level of assistance, please bring someone to assist you.

QUESTIONS — Contact our Project Insight office at (386) 763-3836 or (800) 267-4448. To reserve assistive listening devices, (ALD) please call by May 1st.


REGISTRATION — Pre-convention registration forms and payment as well as online registration and payment must be post marked no later than May 25th to guarantee the Early Bird registration discount. Please indicate which events you expect to attend on the registration form by placing an X next to the number associated with that event. Use the right-hand column to calculate the total payment submitted. Email or call Kati Lear with any questions or requests for assistance regarding convention registration at or (800) 267-4448.

Please make check payable to FCB and mail to:

Sally Benjamin
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308