Fall 2022 President's Message
Fall Greetings NFADB Members,
It is always an honor to send greetings to the NFADB membership in my biannual President’s Message. It is a time to share updates but most importantly to thank you for your support and ongoing involvement with the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind. Because of each of you, we continue to support families with loved ones who are deaf-blind, advocate on behalf of our deaf-blind community, foster family-to family relationships, build stronger partnerships, and provide information, resources, training, and networking opportunities.
October 1 began NFADB’s 29th fiscal year as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving families with individuals who are deaf-blind regardless of etiology, supporting all abilities, and through the entire lifespan. As we begin our new year, our volunteer working board has grown to 17 board members. We welcome four new members: Kim Moritz (OH), Alexis Ramirez (CA), Amanda Schwartz (VT), and Ricky Teed (IA). I would also like to take this time to thank Jacqueline Izaguirre (TX) for her service as NFADB ‘s Treasurer since 2015. As Jacqueline steps back into a general board position, we welcome Brandi Hitzelberger (KY) into an executive position as NFADB’s new treasurer. I hope you will take some time to read and learn more about the hard-working volunteers that comprise the 2022-2023 Board of Directors. I am thrilled to be working with such an exceptional group of leaders in the months and years ahead.
I’d also like to share a few highlights and upcoming events.
Please mark your calendars and register for NFADB’s annual Deaf-Blind Event, “My Family’s Journey: Connection, Advocacy, Empowerment.” This will be a Zoom webinar on Thursday, October 27, at 4:30pm PT / 5:30pm MT / 6:30pm CT / 7:30pm ET. This is NFADB’s annual fundraiser but is free to all families and caregivers. Donations will be used towards continuation of our Family Advocacy Training and Education (FATE) series. Visit the event webpage for more information and to register.
During 2021-22, NFADB conducted a pilot of the Family Advocacy Training and Education (FATE) program, which included family leaders representing eleven organizations from across the United States. The pilot provided six weeks of advocacy training and six weeks of working with a professional facilitator to build a national agenda on behalf of our deaf-blind community (children and adults). Many of the participants are continuing their advocacy efforts to support this national agenda through our newly formed Family Advocacy Coalition Educating (FACE) for Deaf-Blind. We began offering the training for a second time on September 8, 2022. Learn more on the Advocacy page of NFADB’s website.
A special Thank You to the NFADB members who were able to join the NFADB Board of Directors for our annual general membership meeting on July 12, 2022. Without a doubt, this is our favorite board meeting of the year! One of the highlights is the presentation of the Steve Perrault Award. This year two professionals who have made a difference to families in the deaf-blind community received the award—Kathy McNulty (NY) and Faye Manaster (IL). NFADB congratulates Kathy and Faye and all the nominees. The 2023 Steve Perrault Award will recognize a family member. Nomination information will be forthcoming.
Please be watching for email announcements from NFADB as well as our social media platforms to stay up-to-date on all our activities. We are planning an NFADB Ambassador training, state specific socials for members, and family focus chats in the coming months.
As I look ahead to the upcoming year, I would like to share one of my favorite adages: “Many hands make light work.” There is tremendous power in the size of our membership and the talents our members bring to our association. Through our collective action, I am confident we can continue to fulfill NFADB’s mission. Please feel free to reach out to NFADB at any time. We are better together!
Wishing you and your families a wonderful fall and upcoming holiday season!
Patti McGowan, NFADB President