2024 printable scholarship form for NFB of Nebraska

Note: The deadline for this scholarship program has passed.


Are you a legally blind college student living in Nebraska? Do you know a Nebraskan who is legally blind and is on the journey of fulfilling their academic dreams? Have you or this person you might know ever wished to interact with others who are simply living the lives they want as blind Nebraskan’s? If the answer to any or all of these is yes, then the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska (NFBN) annual scholarship program might be for you or them! Eligible students from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2024 up through graduate students working on their PhD, and who are legally blind are encouraged to apply. The scholarships are merit based and consider academic excellence, community service, and leadership.

The first-place winner will be awarded a scholarship in the amount of $1,500 from the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska.  The Omaha and Lincoln chapters of the NFBN, along with the Nebraska Association of Blind Students, will award two additional scholarships to the remaining finalists. 

In order to be considered for any of the scholarships, finalists are REQUIRED to attend an all-expense paid trip to the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska State Convention to be held in Gering, NE April 11-14, 2024.  Anyone who has ever attended an NFBN convention will be proud to attest to its ability to be a positive, life changing experience.

This is  what the 2020 top scholarship winner, Dannielle Schutz, had to say following her attendance: “As a scholarship recipient I was given the opportunity to attend the NFB of Nebraska convention. It was very eye-opening to be around so many other successful blind individuals. I was also connected with the NABS Nebraska division, which continues to support me as a blind student in my career path and connect me with fellow blind students.”

To apply, read the rules and the submission checklist, complete the official 2024 Scholarship Application Form or apply online, supply all required documents, and request and complete an interview with the NFBN affiliate president or the NFBN Scholarship Chair. Applications must be submitted by March 1, 2024.


Print Online Application

WHEREAS, The Structure for the Nebraska White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals was rigidly imposed upon the delegates to that conference; AND,

WHEREAS, Suggestions by the delegates for more consumer input into the structure of the conference were looked upon as rebellion rather that as constructive criticism; AND,

WHEREAS, Most of the resolutions drafted by the individuals at the conference were not only poorly written, nonsensical in content, but also contrary to the binding policy held by the National Federation of the Blind; AND,

The Next NFB of Nebraska Board meeting will be April 16, 2021 @ 7 PM Date: Friday, April 16, 2021

Greetings Colleagues,


I wanted to share a few notes and updates with you.


I hope this message finds you doing well. It feels like 2020 is moving faster than any other year I can remember. A number of things are happening so here is the latest.


Concerning the Coronavirus: to stay up to date on breaking news items, we have created a section under “Breaking News” on NFB-NEWSLINE® so users can keep up on the latest happenings. You likely already know that we postponed the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium scheduled for later this month to March 2021. We have had a series of other events planned for our national headquarters postponed as well. At this writing, we are still planning for the leadership seminar scheduled for April 17-19 at Calvin Crest in Fremont. I will re-evaluate this around April 6th.

We have a few other things to discuss so I will be calling for a board meeting soon. Stay tuned.


I know that some states have been actively working on policy issues around equal access to drive up COVID-19 testing. Please share with me if you or other blind individuals you know of have experienced difficulty in this regard. President Riccobono and John Pare are interested to learn any what solutions we come up with or if their help is needed. The national office is interested to track the innovative approaches we develop. We have also raised this issue with our Federal legislators so that it is part of the discussion at the federal level. Things continue to develop quickly so it is as important as always to coordinate our work.


Finally, a  note from President Riccobono:


You already know about the action of the board of directors to shut down all public meetings through Easter. Our national office remains open at the moment, although we have shifted at-risk staff to remote work and reduced walk-in traffic and meetings at the building to minimize the risks. We have also increased our already-detailed cleaning procedures. I do not know about you, but I think the bones in my hands are starting to absorb hand sanitizer.

Our training centers are closely monitoring the situation. The Colorado Center has already altered its operation based on local circumstances (offering trainings via Zoom and sent out to the NFBNET list), and I expect our other centers will make similar modifications at some point.


Many of you have asked about the national convention. It is just too far away for us to make a realistic decision about our annual family reunion. We are putting plans in place for the convention and for an alternative plan, but it is too early to know anything. As you know, on an unrelated note, our convention registration system experienced some issues in the first couple days of implementation. That system is now being retested. We hope that it will be back online soon.


As previously distributed to chapter and division presidents and posted to social media, attached are guidelines concerning the Covid-19 virus and a note from President Riccobono. This has been sent out on the NFBnet lists and chapters should share with their membership and make arrangements to utilize the affiliate Zoom for meetings. Contact Mike Hansen to arrange this.


Critical Actions:

Coronavirus COVID-19 Public Event Policy:
The public event policy that was updated late last week is available on our website at https://www.nfb.org/about-us/press-room/national-federation-blind-covid-19-policy-relating-public-events. We are continuing to monitor best practices from the CDC and will update you all as the situation changes with respect to the National Federation of the Blind.



Legislative Update:
As the excitement of Washington Seminar fades into the distance, our legislative priorities are still experiencing a tremendous amount of momentum from our time on Capitol Hill. The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) now has 83 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 2086) and 22 cosponsors in the Senate (S. 815). That's nearly one quarter of each chamber. Just last week we gained seven new cosponsors in the House: David Schweikert (AZ), John Rutherford (FL), Lance Gooden (TX), Dwight Evans (PA), Ann Kuster (NH), Madeleine Dean (PA), and Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO). Special thanks to Arizona, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Missouri. It may not seem like much, but those numbers are actually quite impressive and show significant support for our legislation. 


This legislation may be more relevant now than ever. With the tragic outbreak of the coronavirus, we may see job loss in the very near future, and the ATAA would significantly improve employment opportunities for blind people when companies begin hiring again. Call or email your senators and representative and ask them to cosponsor the Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) (H.R. 2086/S. 815). A legislative alert on this topic will follow soon. 


Virtual Instruction for Students During COVID-19 School Closures - #AccessibleNOW:

The threat of COVID-19 has prompted many schools to close their physical locations and shift to virtual instruction. This sudden transition raises concern about the accessibility of web-based educational technology. The NFB has issued a blog that highlights how, regardless of COVID-19-driven closures, schools must continue to provide equal access for blind students to programs, benefits, and services. There are steps you can take now to help your school prevent access barriers for blind students and to help the NFB monitor barriers that do occur:

  • Share the NFB’s blog and listed resources
  • Complete the NFB’s education technology survey
  • Connect with us in our #AccessibleNOW #InEducation Twitter chat on Friday, March 20, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. eastern.


Furthermore, if you or your child or student has been discriminated against by their school, we urge you to file a complaint with the US Department of Education through the Office for Civil Rights. If you have questions or concerns, please email AccessibleNow@nfb.org.


Parental Rights Foundation Podcast:
Recently President Riccobono recorded a podcast with the Parental Rights Foundation. You can listen to the recording on their website at https://parentalrightsfoundation.org/podcast/.


Hit Submit: Complete Scholarship Applications Today!:
Hundreds of applications get started for the National Federation of the Blind scholarship program, and many lose the opportunity to be a winner simply by not completely submitting the application. This annual scholarship program is an investment in the future of blind people who demonstrate scholastic aptitude, leadership, and service. Encourage every blind college student to apply. Share the secret to winning with blind students and urge them to complete their applications. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.

Time to Be Counted - Census 2020:
The 2020 Census is making its way into all mailboxes between now and the end of March in order to be completed April 1. Rather than filling out the paper questionnaire that will be sent to every home, we can, for the first time, fill it out online or over the telephone. Learn about the importance, the accessibility, and how to participate in the recent Voice of the Nation’s Blind Blog article.

National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (NFB EQ) Program - June 21-27 - Science Museum of Minnesota:
While there is uncertainty as to what the summer holds this year, it is worth considering the options. NFB EQ is a weeklong adventure into engineering and problem-solving. No specific level of engineering experience required. Engage in activities designed to stre knowledge and grow interests. Connect with the twenty-nine other high school teen participants. Enriched experiences. New friendships. More independence. The deadline to apply is March 29. Apply now at www.nfb.org/eq.


Free Audiobook Resource for Learning the Zoom Platform:
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Jonathan Mosen has made his audiobook Meet Me in the Cloud freely available. This tutorial, which takes approximately three hours, walks through all aspects of the popular conferencing platform, from joining your first meeting, to hosting a meeting, to the differences between Basic and Pro accounts. Mosen’s book is thorough and accessible to all, regardless of technical background or proficiency. Note that at the time these recordings were made, several instances of accessibility glitches needed to be pointed out, however with current operating systems, and the latest versions of the Zoom conferencing software, most bugs have been resolved. In addition, Zoom has kept the labeling of commands and options, as well as their keyboard conventions consistent, meaning that none of the substance has altered from the time these recordings were produced. We believe this will be a useful resource, especially in this time of social distancing and greater adoption of teleconferencing. The book can be obtained free of charge at https://mosen.org/zoom/.

The National Federation of the Blind and two blind individuals, Lisa Irving and Amy Bonano, have resolved their 2017 lawsuit against the Social Security Administration and entered into a settlement agreement designed to ensure that SSA’s visitor-intake-processing kiosks are accessible to blind users by December 31, 2021. Per the agreement, SSA will work with a third-party, kiosk-accessibility expert to redesign the agency’s kiosks so that blind users can enter required intake information, including their Social Security number, privately and independently. Read the press release.

Dates to Keep in Mind:

·         Spring Conventions (including new dates for postponed conventions)

·         March 31: Deadline for scholarship applications

·         April 15: Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award application deadline

·         April 17-18 Nebraska Leadership Seminar at Calvin Crest

·         May 1: Distinguished Educator Award nomination deadline

·         June 21-27: NFB EQ; St. Paul, Minnesota

July 14-19: NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas


Please give immediate attention to the below policy directive from the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind related to the immediate postponement of public meetings of the organization. In addition to this statement, you can hear an emergency Presidential Release related to this matter at https://www.nfb.org/about-us/press-room/national-federation-blind-covid-19-policy-relating-public-events.


National Federation of the Blind COVID-19 Policy Relating to Public Events


The National Federation of the Blind is closely following the rapidly evolving situation with respect to the novel coronavirus and its associated illness known as COVID-19. Since we issued our initial guidance on this situation on March 11, public officials across the nation have escalated their response to the virus and issued new and more aggressive directives. Generally, while specific directives as to the size of permitted public gatherings vary across states and local jurisdictions, public health officials agree that it is advisable to engage in “social distancing” in order to prevent or mitigate the spread of the virus, and people are being directed to minimize proximity and/or physical contact with others outside the home as much as possible. As a result, the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors met on March 13 and developed this policy directive related to public meetings of the organization.

The National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people, with affiliates in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; hundreds of local chapters; as well as statewide and national special-interest divisions. Together these are comprised of some fifty thousand members and countless volunteers and supporters who conduct various public meetings and events. The health and safety of our members and friends is our top priority, and we are also mindful of our obligation to follow public health directives and to engage responsibly with the general public. We also recognize the need for consistent guidance across our organization as our affiliates, chapters, and divisions consider or plan meetings and public events.

To that end, the President and Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind hereby direct that all meetings, events, or public gatherings that are currently planned by affiliates, chapters, and divisions to take place within thirty days from today, March 13, 2020, are to be canceled or postponed until sometime after April 12, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to, statewide conventions or meetings, local chapter meetings, and statewide or local division meetings. Of course, where practicable, meetings to conduct the ongoing business of the Federation may be held via phone call or videoconference. Furthermore, the outreach and advocacy priorities of the organized blind movement can and should continue despite the disruption to public meetings, including monitoring unique barriers that blind individuals encounter due to the extreme circumstances. However, no official business of the organization should be conducted via in-person gatherings during this period. The national leadership will re-evaluate the situation on or shortly after April 12, 2020, and issue additional guidance if needed.

We are issuing this directive to align with the best available public health advice as well as with multiple state and local directives, and to carry out our general obligation to protect the health and safety of everyone in our Federation family. We wish everyone the best as together we meet the challenges and make the sacrifices required by this public health emergency.


Mark A. Riccobono, President

200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

(410) 659-9314 | officeofthepresident@nfb.org

Fellow Federationists and Friends,


January 1st not only kicked off the start of a new year but also the 50th anniversary year of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. It has been a lot of fun this last month or so digging through our Affiliate’s history and we look forward to sharing pieces of it with you Over the course of the coming year. celebrating some of our Triumphs and successes of the last 50 years as we look forward to the next 50 years.

We are currently working on plans that will peak during our 50 th State Convention in October to be held in Omaha where it all started back in 1971. We hope that all of you celebrate with us throughout the year and join us in Omaha in October.

I thought that at this time it would be appropriate to share with everyone the following 2 articles from the Braille Monitor. The first was written by Mary Ellen Anderson (now Mary Ellen Jernigan) and was published in the April 1971 edition of the Braille Monitor. The second was written by our first Affiliate President Dick Parker and appeared in the February 1972 edition of the Braille Monitor. We hope that you enjoy these memories of our beginnings and celebrate with us throughout this year.



by Mary Ellen Anderson

Prominent signs all over Nebraska display with pride the words, WE ARE NUMBER ONE. The reference, of course, is to Nebraska University's recent victorious football season. These signs have come to symbolize something entirely different to the blind of the State, who on January 30, 1971, established the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska, thereby earning the number one position on the 1971 NFB scoreboard of organizational victory.

Late in 1970 President Jernigan had met with Jack Swager, president of our Nebraska affiliate, the Omaha Association of the Blind, and with other blind Nebraskans, exploring plans for statewide expansion.

Following that preliminary planning, Arlene Gashel (wife of NFB Student Division president, James Gashel) and I drove to Omaha on January 8, to finalize arrangements for a full-fledged organizational drive later in the month. Our host, Jack Swager, treated us to a delightful dinner that evening and later arranged for us to meet with other leaders of the Omaha Association of the Blind.

Soon we had established the framework for the expansion. The goal: a vigorous, effective, statewide affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. The vehicle: a constitutional convention to be held in Omaha, January 30, 1971, and to be conducted by NFB President, Kenneth Jernigan. The team: members of the Omaha Association of the Blind, other interested blind Nebraskans, Mrs. Melvon Ireland of Lincoln, Susan and John Ford of Montana, Jim Omvig and Mark Hieftje of Des Moines, Arlene Gashel, and myself. The scope: new chapters in Lincoln, Grand Island, North Platte, and the Omaha metropolitan area, members at large throughout the State.

The following morning Arlene and I negotiated convention arrangements with the Hotel Fontenelle, deposited a trunkload of Braille and talking book Federation literature into Jack Swager's safekeeping, and headed west for Lincoln. Before leaving Nebraska on Tuesday, January 12, we had collected a long list of Monitor additions, many commitments for the January 30 meeting, and several members at large.

On January 19, Arlene and I returned to Nebraska, soon to be joined by the rest of the team. Beginning in Lincoln, I worked my way west to Grand Island, while Arlene established headquarters at the Fontenelle in Omaha. Mr. and Mrs. Jim Omvig arrived in Omaha Friday night and worked through the weekend. On Sunday, John Ford, president of the Montana Association of the Blind, and his wife Susan arrived, as did Mark Heiftje of Des Moines.

Early Monday morning the team dispersed throughout the State. Susan and John set off to North Platte. Arlene and Mark journeyed to Fremont, while I manned the Omaha headquarters. The middle of the week found Susan, John, and me in Lincoln, with Arlene and Mark back at headquarters. It was about this time also, that I began paying close attention to my speedometer, having some fear of renewing my acquaintance with the radar officer I had met while driving from Grand Island to Omaha.

Everywhere we went the story was the same. Blind Nebraskans stood ready, willing and able to accept the responsibility and the challenge of joining the organized blind movement. Soon a host of them were actively involved in the effort. Commitments to attend the organizational meeting mounted steadily.

Leaders from Lincoln, Grand Island, North Platte, and Omaha were on hand at the Fontenelle to meet with President Jernigan when he arrived on Friday evening. Incidentally, you'll be happy to learn that the President arrived without being required to make his customary stop for replacement of burned-out tires.

Early Saturday morning contingents of blind persons began gathering for an eventful and productive day. Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Dr. Jernigan called the convention to order. Broad discussion throughout the morning session brought the purposes and goals of the Federation into sharp focus. In a spirited debate prior to the luncheon break, the group elected to call itself the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska.

During the action-packed afternoon session, two local chapters (Lincoln and Tri-County) were established, a constitution adopted, and officers and board members elected.

Dick Parker of Omaha was elected president. A barber before losing his sight about five years ago as a result of diabetes, Dick has since been employed as a machinist and is currently seeking employment in that area. A true Federationist who hadn't yet heard of the Federation is the best way I know how to describe his overall philosophy. A lovely wife, three children, ages eight, six, and six months, wood working, and citizen's band radio fill Dick's spare time.

First vice president is John Smith of Lincoln. John, a Monitor reader for many years, is a Rehabilitation Services Consultant with Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired. A graduate of Louisiana State University, John has done graduate work at Southern Illinois University and at the University of Minnesota.

Second vice president, Jack Swager, veteran President of the Omaha Association of the Blind needs little introduction. Jack is self employed as the operator of Nebraska Blind Products.

Mrs. Melvon Ireland of Lincoln was elected secretary. The only sighted member of the board, Mrs. Ireland is by no means new to the Federation. As a matter of fact, three members of her family are currently officers in other State affiliates: son, Curtis Willoughby, first vice president of the Iowa Association of the Blind; son-in-law John Ford, president of the Montana Association of the Blind; and son-in-law. Chuck Walhof, first vice president Gem State Blind, Idaho. Additionally, daughter Ramona Walhof is past chairman of the NFB Teacher's Division and a former officer of the Student Division. Mrs. Ireland's husband, Melvon, is a minister in the United Methodist Church.

Treasurer, Dick Gulizia, of Omaha is a teacher of modern problems at Holy Name High School and is completing residence requirements for his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska. Dick and his wife have two sons and a daughter, age eight, seven, and four.

Board member Dick Zlab of Omaha is an assembler for Western Electric, and a former member of the Colorado Federation of the Blind. Stan Yank of Omaha was elected to fill the second board position Stan is employed as Personnel Director for Douglas County Social Services. A graduate of the University of Nebraska with graduate work m sociology, Stan is vice chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Hiring the Handicapped, a board member of the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and a Chapter One board member of the Nebraska Welfare Association. Third board member is Ralph Doud of Grand Island, president of the NFB of Nebraska's new Central Chapter. Before retirement, Ralph was employed by the Omaha World Herald. Larry Wallace, president of the North Platte Chapter, was elected to the final board position. Larry is a vending stand operator and an active Jaycee.

The National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska begins its existence with one hundred ninety-eight members and five chapters. Immediate attention will be given to removal of the lien law, passage of the Model White Cane Law, and enactment of a little Randolph-Sheppard bill. A big undertaking for a new affiliate, but then, this is a big new affiliate. And remember, these guys have all those NUMBER ONE signs to live up to. My bet is that they'll do it!




By Dick Parker

Where does one begin to describe himself? I guess the best place is at the beginning. I was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa (one of six children). We moved to Hastings, Iowa when I was five. I attended school there through the eighth grade. We moved back to Council Bluffs in 1959 after the death of my father. I attended high school in Council Bluffs. After graduating from barber school in Omaha, I worked as a barber until at age twenty-two I lost my sight due to diabetes.

I worked as a machine operator for a local company until it went bankrupt in 1970. I am now the president of my own small manufacturing company which makes pet products. I have a lovely wife, who is also a staunch Federationist, and three children. What more can I say except that I have never been happier or prouder than I am now since becoming an NFB member last January.

We the blind in Nebraska have just awakened from a long nap. Since reorganizing in January, 1971, we have thus far been able to secure passage of the Model White Cane Bill and also remove the lien law against not only the blind but the disabled and elderly. We hope in the near future to introduce and secure passage of the little Randolph-Sheppard Act.

We started our new existence in January with a rousing attendance of one hundred. Our State-wide membership is approaching the neighborhood of two hundred sixty. We have local affiliates in North Platte, Grand Island, Lincoln, and two in the Omaha metropolitan area. All five locals worked on a fundraising drive which took place in October. Each local affiliate determined for itself the manner in which it wished to raise funds. All affiliates participated at the same time, contributing fifty percent of the profits to the State treasury and retaining the other half.

We in the NFB of Nebraska are proud to have joined with you and President Jernigan on the barricades. We have just begun but begun we have. President Jernigan on the first occasion I met him asked me a very embarrassing question. I feel it might not only be appropriate for us in Nebraska but for every blind person to ask himself the same question, "Why haven't you joined the blind movement before now?"