THE OBSERVER

Spring 2019 edition

Vol. 72, No. 2

Jocelyn DeHaas, Editor

Montana Association for the Blind

PO Box 465

Helena, MT 59624

(406) 442-9411

The mission of the Montana Association for the Blind is to promote the social and economic self-sufficiency of blind and low vision Montanans through the facilitation of quality education, learning, training and employment services and opportunities, and to foster a positive understanding of blindness. Our vision is of a Montana in which blindness is perceived and understood to be an ordinary and respectable part of life, and in which the skills and tools of blindness are readily available to all who may benefit from them. We envision an environment in which blind and low vision Montanans have ample and equal opportunities to learn, to achieve, and to contribute in our homes, communities, state, and nation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section                                                          Page Number

President’s Message                                                         3

Why the MAB Needs an Executive Director                     3

What does an Executive Director Do?                              7

Executive Board    Summary                                             7

Elections                                                                           9

Convention                                                                        9

Membership                                                                      10

Marge Moberly Scholarship                                              10

Nominations for Awards                                                    11

Summer Orientation Program                                           11

Scholarships                                                                     12

Tips N Tricks                                                                     13

Ski for Light                                                                       15

What Do You Think?                                                         16

Bequests                                                                           16

Chapter News                                                                   17

Montana Shares Raffle                                                     20


The MAB is a member of Montana Shares and receives a nice sum of money each year based on donations through workplace giving and other fundraising.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

 

Hello everyone!!! It’s looking like summer, “Yea”!!

The Montana Association for the Blind, Board of Directors is hiring a new Executive Director. The Board is very excited about this move.

It is also time to start thinking about Summer Orientation Program. If you know of an individual who needs this service, please have them call the MAB office to get an application. You can also go directly to the Low Vision Centers in your area.

I would also like to ask that all the chapters try to increase their membership, by telling everyone they know about our program, chapter meetings, and participating in outreach.

The convention plans are going well. Billings is very excited about the convention. Information will be coming out soon.

Have a great spring and be safe

 

Rhonda Cochrane, President

 

 

WHY THE MAB NEEDS AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 

March 23. 2019, is a day that will go down in MAB history. It is a day that the MAB Board realized that in order to survive as a viable organization, the MAB needed to commit to a new governing structure. That new governing form will be in the shape of an executive director.

Not everyone will agree with this decision, but the vote of the Board was unanimous. It is probably the first time in a long time that the Board has agreed on anything this controversial with a unanimous vote. There is a genuine feeling of excitement that the MAB will finally be gaining momentum and moving into the 21st Century.

 

When I was asked to write this article on the need for an executive director, the first thing I did was go back to the Executive Director Exploratory Committee report of 2014. That year there were seven people appointed to determine if an executive director were feasible and wise. They were: Chris Broadhurst, Gordon Ross, Ed Worrell, Doug Somers, Evelyn Poole, and me, Ken McCulloch. Lauriann Stoos was a volunteer and Jocelyn DeHaas was recording secretary. As I read the report it was chilling to realize that nothing had changed since 2014, and we had made the right decision in 2019. I would like to take the liberty of quoting a large portion of that report.

 

This committee had its first meeting in Helena in January of 2014 and was given extensive MAB history, financial reports, and procedures of other non-profits. Our final report reads:

 

Following World War II, hundreds of service organizations, including the Montana Association for the Blind, sprang up around the country, many serving wounded veterans. The MAB, in fact, offered a summer program for visually impaired vets and others that continues today. Now, however, due to changing demographics and social needs, many of these organizations have or are in the process of closing their doors. Sociologists tell us another 40% could fold in the next 10 years. Nevertheless, and in spite of adversarial relationships with other blind organizations and, at times,

leadership, the Montana Association for the Blind and summer program have continued admirably for over 70 years with very little outside funding. This committee was dedicated to the task of helping keep this organization alive and vibrant as well as able to continue its many services to the blind and low vision folks of Montana by delving into the questions of whether an executive director was advisable and feasible for the organization.”

 

“In this general discussion it was found that the MAB has many positives:

1.   It is a 'loved' organization with a proud history.

2.   It runs an effective summer program with a very limited budget.

3.   It has many members that have been active in the organization for years.

4.   It runs an effective convention every year with several traditional activities.

 

It also has some negatives:

1.   Membership has fallen from over 400 to over 200 over the past few years.

2.   The average age of members has increased from the 50s to the 70s.

3.   Chapter projects are often limited to senior citizen luncheons or activities.

4.   The organization has split from a parenting blind organization that provided support for it.

5.   Only a few board members are familiar with non-profit laws, a thorough understanding of club finances, and all the responsibilities of board members.

 

As a follow-up exercise, committee members were asked to interview local non-profits in their area and determine their leadership styles. The committee interviewed everyone from Boys and Girls Clubs to Head Injury Groups, veteran’s groups, to blind organizations in other states. I believe over 20 organizations were contacted in all. What the committee found was sobering. All organizations are concerned about the current demographics, the lack of young people as members, the fight for the donation dollar, and the need for a more educated and active leadership. Some organizations are sitting back and doing nothing. Others are hiring active fundraisers in the form of executive directors or financial directors. Others are becoming much more selective on who can be board members.

 

The gist of these interviews seems to be that organizations need to either sink (do nothing) or swim (restructure with actions that may be out of the comfort zone). Several of the organizations have had to redo by-laws, spend temporarily beyond their means, or provide activates that regular members may not be familiar or comfortable with (i.e. youth activities, the use of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, iPhones, etc.). For MAB that might be a camping trip or a goalball game instead of lunch at the Senior Center.”

 

Although the vote of the Board on the committee’s recommendation to hire an executive director in 2014 was diverse, at least half the members supported the hiring as long as there was a two- to three-year delay to raise funds. Fundraising for the position was never even started. When

the same problems as before were brought up at the board meeting in November of 2018, Chris Broadhurst reminded the group of the research done in 2014. A motion was made to form an Executive Director Search Committee consisting of John Snowberger, Ken McCulloch, and Jerry West. It was received with an enthusiasm not seen in MAB board meetings in years. There was finally a feeling something was being done. The committee created a job description for the Board to vote on in January, and then sought candidates.

This committee's search led to the vote on March 23rd during which a candidate was approved unanimously by the Board. Negotiations are currently underway with the foremost candidate.

 

 

The Board is looking forward to exciting new projects and goals for the MAB. We hope you will join us.

Ken McCulloch Executive Director Search Committee Member

 

 

WHAT DOES AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DO?

 

The executive director works with the Board of Directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. One of the most visible leadership duties of being a non-profit executive director is to energize and engage volunteers, partners, and funders.

Creating excitement about the organization is a strategic part of making progress. Among other duties, the executive director oversees hiring, firing, maintaining records, and compliance. They are also responsible for ensuring sound financial practices. The executive director runs the day-to-

day operation of the organization, while the Board provides the vision and helps with fundraising and awareness as well. The non-profit director reports to a Board of Directors, and is directly accountable to its president. The executive director wears many hats: fundraising, public relations, management, and more. They will make the vision of the Board come alive.

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING SUMMARY

 

The Board of Directors held a conference call meeting on January 24th at 7:00 pm. All Board members attended except Jim McLaughlin and Chris Broadhurst. The executive director search committee presented the final job description which was then approved. Discussion was held as to the type of person who would best fit the needs of the MAB. Someone who understands what MAB is all about and what the mission is and what the MAB can achieve in the long term.

Eric updated the Board regarding the Masonic Temple in Helena that is for sale. It has been for sale for two years and he indicated it has everything the MAB needs for the Summer school program (parking, elevator, etc.) Discussion was held regarding the need for a facility for the SOP.

Mike Mooney reported that the state convention will be September 6th to 8th at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. The costs of rooms will be $89.99 plus tax.

Jocelyn DeHaas reported to the Board she will be unable to hold a Dining in the Dark event this year unless she gets

more help. She indicated she is looking for a “headliner” for the event and is looking to get a sponsor for it as well.

 

 

 

ELECTIONS

 

Elections are coming up again this summer for positions on the Board of Directors. The board of Directors is the governing body of the MAB. Individuals who sit on the Board are responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities.

Board members meet quarterly to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization.

This year we will be electing the President and three Vice Presidents. If you are interested in running, please send a biographical statement to the office by July 18. The ballots will be sent to the membership on August 2nd. All members of the MAB in good standing may run for a board office and vote. The ballots will be counted at the convention in Billings on September 6th.

 

 

ANNUAL CONVENTION

 

What are you going to be doing on September 6-8? Keep those dates open for the MAB Annual Convention. This year it will be in Billings, and the Rimrock Chapter there has been working hard over the last six months on it. We’ll be at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. There will be good sessions including a self- defense session. Between

sessions you can relax at the pool or connect with friends in the lounge over a cocktail. See you by the pool! Chapters – please think of items for the live auction to help the SOP.

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

It is that time of year again to renew your MAB membership. The dues are still only $10. Please pay your dues as soon as you can. If you pay after April 30th, you must pay for two years. There is a membership form at the back of this Observer, or you can contact the main office for one. That number is: 406-442-9411.

 

MARJORY MOBERLY MEMORIAL CONVENTION SCHOLARSHIP

Margery – or Marge – Moberly was a longtime member of the Rimrock (Billings) Chapter who passed away over the summer. She served as their treasurer for a long time as well as their secretary for a while. Marge loved the annual conventions! In her memory the Rimrock Chapter has given $500 toward a special scholarship fund to help members who want to

attend the convention but can’t afford it. The Rimrock Chapter asks all other chapters to donate as well so that the scholarship can help more people. If anyone wants to contribute to the scholarship, please contact the office at 406-442-9411

NOMINATIONS FOR AWARDS

At the convention every year, each chapter will award a local member who has done a lot for that chapter. The MAB gives out two awards in honor of the late Dorothy C. Bridgeman and Keith E. Denton to people who are making significant contributions to the MAB. Chapter presidents should be thinking of who they would like to nominate for these awards. The deadline for getting the awards in is July 1st.

Please contact Rhonda Cochrane at 406-490-2669 with your nominations.

 

 

 

SUMMER ORIENTATION PROGRAM

 

We are very busy now getting ready for the 2019 Summer Orientation Program. It is almost full, but if you or someone you know, wants to attend, please contact me immediately. As I am looking over the student applications, I am reminded once again of the importance of our program. We have some students who are attending for their second time this year, and others for whom this is new. One man, who lives in a small town, completely lost his sight 5 years ago. He has had no training at all. A woman is terribly depressed because she is losing her sight and, again, has not had any help. These students will learn that their lives can be full and happy. They will learn that they are not the only ones facing issues associated with blindness and that it is not the end of their world – only some adjustments have to be made and skills learned. The woman found out about our program through a

friend of a friend, the man found out about it through a neighbor. Help us get the word out about our program so that others who are struggling with vision loss will find us. Please support the SOP in whatever way that you can. It is a truly selfless program that has helped many and we hope will continue to do so for many more years. Thank you.

Jocelyn DeHaas, Director SOP Mab.sop15@yahoo.com

505-818-8721

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

The MAB offers the Emil A. Honka Scholarship in the amount of $1000 annually. Now is the time to apply for this. The applicant must be a resident of Montana with a visual impairment. The application must be received by the MAB office by the end of the business day of May 30th. If you are interested, or know of anyone who would qualify, please contact the MAB office: 406-442-9411.

The Bozeman Chapter also offers two scholarships from the Todd Family Memorial in the amount of $1000 each. They are for visually-impaired students who are or will be attending MSU-Bozeman or who is a graduate of MSU-Bozeman who will be going to graduate school anywhere. The application for this must be in by May 1st. If you are interested, and need more information please contact Benny McCracken at 406- 640-1858 or write to Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 6797, Bozeman, MT 59771.

TIPS AND TRICKS CORNER SPRING 2019

 

After a long cold winter it is time for Spring Cleaning, so in this edition we are going to cover some alternative skills when cleaning and organizing our living spaces.

 

CLEANING TASKS:

1.   SURFACES: Flat surfaces may be cleaned by spraying the cleaner on the cloth and then wiping the surface. Place items sitting on the surface on a tray to keep from knocking them over. Clean the section beside the tray, then move the tray to the next area. This tray can be used as a locating boundary for the surface cleaned. Dusting flat surfaces can be done the same way. Dust each item before placing on the tray, then return item to clean area. Hold lamps and other items with one hand while dusting with the other hand.

 

2.   FLOORS: When vacuuming, sweeping, or mopping floors use boundaries, such as a chair, small carpet, or wall to identify the section where you are working. Keep the vacuum cord behind you to keep from running over it. Change the boundaries to do the next section. A sponge broom or Swiffer mop is good to use when sweeping hard floors. It keeps the dust and dirt from flipping around making it easier to locate and put in the dust pan.

 

3.   WINDOWS, MIRRORS: When washing windows and mirrors use an up and down and back and forth pattern concentrating on the corners as reference points. Spray the cleaner on the surface or towel and then wipe the area.

Touch lightly to check to see if surface is clean.

 

 

4.   CLEANING ITEMS: The containers of treated dusting cloths, window wipes, and disinfected wipes are very handy for spot cleaning.

 

5.   REMEMBER: if you hate cleaning, there is always a cleaning service for hire!

 

I sure hope these tips are helpful!

 

Have a wonderful summer and don’t forget about the MAB Summer Orientation Program, SOP!!! Hopefully you will attend and learn more about dealing with blindness and acquire more skills to handle our lives as blind people.

Sharon Henderson

 

 

TREASURE BOX RECIPE: WACKY CAKE:

1-1/2 cups flour 1 cup sugar

¼ cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt 1/3 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 cup cold water

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes in a 9-inch by 9-inch greased pan. These ingredients can even be mixed in the greased baking pan if desired.

Sharon Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SKI FOR LIGHT - MT

 

The annual regional Ski For Light occurred February 14-18, 2019 in West Yellowstone. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and cross-country skied the rendezvous trails. This event is where you can ski or snowshoe at your level with the support of a sighted guides. 2019 brought 12 Visually Impaired Persons – known as VIPs, and 14 sighted guides. Several VIPs are MAB members including: Brian Tocher, Marjory Gregg, Duane Gregg, Benny McCracken, Vaughn Beck, and Todd Fahlstrom. We all had a great time! The history, applications, pictures and link to donate can be found by going to www.sflmt.org or on Facebook at SFLMT. The added bonus for Ski for Light this year was a PBS program called "Back Roads of Montana" was there interviewing both skiers and guides. The show will air on May 20th.

 

Trek for Light is an annual hiking event just outside of Lewistown. It is similar to Ski for Light except we hike instead of ski. It will be held June 26-30. Applications are due in

May. Please call President Jason Stanley at (406) 366-8639 for more information.

If you missed Ski for Light this year, save the dates of February 15-19 for next year!

Todd Fahlstrom

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

The television channel, the CW, has started a new series called, In the Dark. It is about a young woman who is blind. She is antisocial and drinking her way through life. When her friend is murdered, she tries to solve the murder. The show has been criticized because it is a drinking, smoking, swearing woman who is blind, and because it has cast a sighted woman in the lead role of the blind woman. What do you think about it? Do you think that a blind actress should have been cast as the lead?

 

 

BEQUESTS

 

Have you remembered the Montana Association for the Blind in your will? If so, please let us know so that we can properly thank you. If you haven’t, please think about helping us continue to foster independence and a positive future for the blind and low vision people of Montana.

CHAPTER NEWS

 

Butte Silverbow Chapter

 

February - We met on February 1st at Perkins with 13 in attendance. Mike Hockings reported on calendar sales and Bob Brooks presented the treasurer’s report.

For March, we had 3 feet of snow, so we cancelled the meeting. On April 5th, we had our Easter celebration. We had 12 people in attendance. We had a nice turkey dinner. A man came to play the dulcimer for us. As always, we had door prizes and a lot of fun.

Vicki King, Secretary

 

 

 

Bozeman Chapter

We have had an exciting start to 2019. In January, our program was on emergency preparedness. Our speaker was Patrick Lonergan, chief of emergency services for Gallatin County. He talked about earthquakes, flooding, and wildfires. He covered ways of getting information about current emergencies.

Residents of Gallatin County can register at readygallatin.com to receive information about emergencies in their area.

In February, our program was on traveling with special needs. Kathy Cambridge was our speaker. Kathy has a travel planning business that specializes in travel planning for people with special needs. Her main focus is on cruises, but she can also help plan other kinds of travel.

In March, our program was on the Summer Orientation Program. We had a panel of 2 former teachers and 2 former students. We had a good discussion with lots of group participation.

 

 

On March 23rd we had an event at the Bozeman Public Library. Two ice sculptors from Absolute Zero Ice Designs carved BMAB in a block of ice with the braille letter beside each letter. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had a lot of fun.

Christi Small, Secretary

 

 

 

Great Falls Chapter

 

Great Falls chapter has been meeting every third Monday. This past month we starting planning for summer events to raise awareness for the local chapter and state functions. We are looking at talking with the Downtown Business Association about having a table at all of the summer events and possibly the farmers market every Saturday. We have restarted the penny drive as one fundraiser and are planning for at least two more events this summer. We are focusing on new membership this year and want to bring our total attendance up to 30 by the end of summer and 50 by the end of the year.

 

Jerry West, President

 

 

Rimrock Chapter (Billings)

Rimrock chapter meetings are held first Wednesday of the month. We are holding a raffle to earn money for the convention. Raffle ticket sales will end in May. We have some great prizes including a 55-inch TV and a laptop.

 

Members of other chapters interested in purchasing tickets contact Mike Mooney, President (406-672-5285) or Buddy Long (406-647-2260). Tickets are $10 each.

 

 

No reports from the Anaconda, Capital City (Helena), Polson, Lewistown, Havre, Bitterroot Sapphire, or At-Large Chapters

 

 

 

Please remember that we work hard on the Observer for the members who enjoy reading about what is happening in the chapters. Please submit the chapter reports. The next deadline for chapter reports for the summer issue of the Observer is July 1st.



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