October 1, 2023
Fall Greetings NFADB Members!
With the fall season underway, I wish to share that NFADB is celebrating its 30th anniversary beginning today. It’s amazing to realize that for 30 years, countless families and professionals have been part of this national organization that serves all families with individuals who are deafblind regardless of age, ability, etiology, or cause. It is a milestone to be shared with pride. As our new tagline will say: “Empowering Success for Families of the DeafBlind Community!” This is just the beginning as we look forward to the next 30 years.
NFADB is in the process of a legal name change to remove the hyphen from DeafBlind. The field has evolved and there is now broad consensus for the use of the term “deafblind,” including among deafblind adults and families of children who are deafblind. Individuals who are deafblind have distinct needs that are not represented by linking the terms “deaf” and “blind” with a hyphen. The combination of both results in a highly diverse population with a variety of complex needs who require specialized supports. Removing the hyphen recognizes this unique population.
And just as the colors change during this beautiful fall season, you will begin to see a new color scheme with our updated NFADB logo and branding. The logo has a hand in black ink making an “I Love You” sign in ASL, inside a square of yellow and lime green. Four black dots on top of each finger represent a family, signifying that NFADB is a family organization. In white text on a black background, the logo also says, “National Family Association for DeafBlind” and “Empowering Success for Families of the DeafBlind Community.”
I took advantage of reading about 30-year anniversaries and learned that the 30th is known as the Pearl Anniversary. Pearls are the ultimate symbol for wisdom, valued for their calming effects, and represent serenity. They are long-lasting and solid, signifying a strong bond. I cannot think of a better way to describe our NFADB families and members. As a parent to a child who is deafblind and now an adult, I have learned so much from other parents, family members, and professionals who shared their pearls of wisdom with me. I will forever be grateful to them.
As we begin our 30th year, NFADB welcomes and congratulates four new board of directors. They are Gordon Boe (PA), JC Dollar (MO), Nancy Giurato (NC), and Lissa Elkins (TN). We also wish to thank the following board members who stepped down on September 30, 2023, for their time, volunteer commitment, service, and support to NFADB and its members: Mary Gyori (VT), Melanie Knapp (TX), Sarah Steele (TX), and Rebecca Cowan-Story (GA).
NFADB congratulates our two Steve Perrault Family 2023 Award recipients, Vivecca Hartman (TX) and Sheri Stanger (NY). Each year, through its Steve Perreault Award, NFADB recognizes a family member or professional who has created a lasting and profound impact on quality of life for individuals who are deafblind and their families. Information for our 2024 Steve Perrault Professional Award will be coming soon.
Thank you to the many members who joined our NFADB Ambassador training on September 21. Having NFADB Ambassadors across the country helps to further our mission of empowering and supporting families of individuals who are deafblind to advocate for their unique needs. If you are interested to learn more or become an NFADB Ambassador, contact email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
And speaking of advocacy, our Family Advocacy Training and Education (FATE) program is launching its 3rd year beginning October 5, 2023. The FATE training is open to family members and or family organization representatives who wish to enhance their leadership skills to advocate on issues important to the deafblind field and community. Family members use these skills to educate legislators on the needs of individuals who are deafblind and their families. For more information contact email@example.com.
Lastly, we hope that you will join us for our 4th annual fundraising DeafBlind Awareness Event. It will be held virtually on October 19th, 2023, at 7:30 pm EST. This impactful event will feature the screening of the documentary “Unseen,” focusing on the theme of caregiver fatigue. The event's hashtag, #NFADBCares, reflects our commitment to raising awareness of the challenges faced by families and caregivers of the DeafBlind community, and how NFADB’s mission is to support them. Please register here: https://www.nfadb.org/event-5348736 and view the Unseen Documentary Trailer. If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, allow me to thank every member of NFADB for your ongoing support to this association. Together, we look now to build on the significant momentum of the previous 30 years as we continue to push forward as champions of our beloved deafblind community. We can anticipate better to come, more successes, and more reasons to celebrate.
Patti McGowan, NFADB President