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The Fall Report from the President

01-Oct-2020 1:00 AM | Jacqueline (Administrator)

Fall Greetings NFADB Members,

I am so proud of the strength and character of our deaf-blind community.  Like other organizations, NFADB is encouraged by and thankful for the support we have received from our members and partners during the pandemic, to ensure that our families with individuals who are deaf-blind are doing okay.  There has been so much change in a such a short period of time to the world around us—our families, friends, neighborhoods, gathering places, workplaces, and homes.  Life during COVID-19 has sparked fear, frustration, and anxiety.  It’s easy for distractions, criticism, and stress to creep in and overwhelm us.  We have had to make hard decisions, especially for our loved ones who experience deaf-blindness.  But if there is one thing I can say about families with individuals who are deaf-blind, it’s this—WE ARE RESILIENT!   We are a network, we support one another, and we will get through this.

October 1, 2020 is the beginning of the new fiscal year for NFADB and in this letter I’ll update you about some changes and exciting opportunities for the coming year. First, I’m thrilled to announce that we will have the following four new members on our board of directors beginning October 1:  

  • John Butterflies from Kansas City,  Missouri
  • Janet Murray from Weymouth, Massachusetts 
  • Donia Shirley from Miami, Florida 
  • Sarah Steele from Austin, Texas

Please take a few minutes to visit to learn more about these and other board members.  We want to hear from you, so feel free to reach out to any of us at any time.

I wish to extend a special thank you to Edgenie Bellah, who will remain on the NFADB board, but is stepping out of her position as Affiliate Coordinator, which she has held for six years.  We as a board commend her efforts and leadership as the affiliate network has grown.  We encourage deaf-blind state and family-driven organizations to become affiliates of NFADB.  To learn more, go to our NFADB Affiliate Network web page

On October 22, we will hold our annual Deaf-Blind Awareness Event.  This event is typically held in person at the People’s United Bank in Manhattan but will be virtual this year.  People’s United Bank has once again graciously agreed to sponsor it.  The theme is “My Family’s Journey: Advocacy, Self-Care, and Resilience.”  A virtual version will be a first for NFADB.  Much credit goes to our Development Committee for boldly stepping up to the challenge and planning and implementing what we hope will be a successful event that you can attend from the safety of your home.  For more information and to register or donate, visit our NFADB Deaf-Blind Experience web page (  

In late October, NFADB will announce the Steve Perrault Annual Award in honor and memory of our dear friend.  Steve was instrumental in the conception of NFADB and never stopped his support and advocacy for and with the NFADB board until his passing in October 2019.  We greatly miss Steve and have established this award to honor him on behalf of NFADB.  More information will be available soon.

As 2021 draws near, we are looking forward to a collaboration and partnership with the Texas Deafblind Outreach Project and Deafblind International (DbI) to conduct the March 2021 Texas Education Symposium.  

NFADB’s Policy, Information, and Education (PIE) committee is planning to lead family organizations and partner with the Deafblind Coalition on an advocacy training effort called the Family Advocacy Project.  Its purpose is to train family members who hold leadership skills to advocate on issues important to the field of deaf-blindness.  Participants will work together to develop actions and an agenda to advocate at both state and national levels.  NFADB’s mission is to empower the voices of families.  Our mission will strengthen as we unite on advocacy efforts.

I always wish to encourage our members to become involved in NFADB activities.  I invite you to join a committee, share your family story, invite friends to become members, and donate to our organization.  We are up and running with an active Facebook page and Instagram and Twitter accounts.  These and our membership email blasts continue to promote and foster family-to-family relationships, provide information and resources, and invite members to take advantage of deaf-blind opportunities (both educational and social).

In closing, I wish all of you a beautiful and colorful fall season that rolls right into an extended time of holiday cheer.  Thank you again for your ongoing support of NFADB.


Patti McGowan

NFADB President

OUR MISSION:  NFADB exists to empower the voices of families with individuals who are DeafBlind and advocate for their unique needs.


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