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Media inquiries:
    Ximena Ojopi
    617-266-6160 ext. 412
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What's New at NBP

Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation Award Ceremony

Boy using Braille Writer Tutor prototype

Boy using Braille Writer Tutor prototype

We are pleased to announce the 2014 Touch of Genius Prize winners!

The 2014 Touch of Genius Prize is being awarded to Braille Tutor, an automated braille writing tutor which addresses challenges associated with learning to use a slate and stylus.

An honorary mention is being presented to Intuitive STEM Accessibility System, an interactive platform to make complex STEM material accessible using a hyperbraille device.

Read more about these honorees.

You are cordially invited to the 2014 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation Award Ceremony.

Microsoft NER&D Center
1 Memorial Dr #1
Cambridge, MA 02142
12 pm, April 2, 2015

To attend, contact Ximena Ojopi at xojopi@nbp.org
or at 617-425-2412.


Special thanks to The Gibney Family Foundation.
The Gibney Family Foundation logo.


Posted 3/13/2014

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Promotions and New Staff at NBP

Elizabeth Kent

Elizabeth Kent

Join us as we welcome Keith Bretney, Production/Finishing Support, to NBP. Congratulations are also in order for Joseph Quintanilla and Elizabeth Kent who received much deserved promotions to Vice President of Development and Events and Volunteer Manager, respectively.

Joseph Quintanilla

Joseph Quintanilla



Keith Bretney

Keith Bretney

Posted 2/27/2015

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Helen Kobek wins Otsuki Prize in the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest in the North America/Caribbean region

Photo of Helen Kobek The National Federation of the Blind, administrators of the Onkyo Braille Literacy Essay Contest on behalf of the North American/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union, recently announced the 2014 winners and NBP supporter and braille advocate, Helen Kobek took the top award. The essay contest, sponsored by Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, and the Braille Mainichi, part of the Mainichi Newspaper Company in Japan, was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and visually impaired persons.

The essays were required to be written in Braille and to pertain either to how the individual gains knowledge or independence through Braille or to an individual concept about world peace from the viewpoint of persons with disabilities. There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons age twenty-six or over. Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation.

Read Helen's essay here.

Posted 12/19/2014

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Bill Raeder Visits School for the Blind in India

Bill Raeder and Jeanne Flannery help with award presentation to students at School for the Blind in India.

Bill Raeder and Jeanne Flannery help with award presentation to students at School for the Blind in India.

On November 14, in Delhi, former NBP president, Bill Raeder, accompanied by Jeanne Flannery, visited the school for the blind, The Blind Relief Association, in Delhi to meet with the Executive Secretary K. C. Pande. Mr. Pande gave Bill and Jeanne a tour of the facility and in addition to academic studies from grades 1 through 12, the school has vocational training in computer operated call center work, candle making, message, chair caning, machine operation and, for post-college graduates, training for teachers of the visually impaired.

The date of their visit, November 14th, happened to be the birthday of Nehru, the founding Prime Minister of India, and is now designated as Children's Day, an all India holiday. The school had prepared a considerable celebration put on primarily by the students with much band music, poetry readings, dance, song and speeches. There were government dignitaries and the Director of Education for the State of Delhi gave the key address. Bill and Jeanne were accorded front row seats with these dignitaries and at the end of the performances, awards were given out to the students. Bill was invited to speak to the assemblage of 200+ students, teachers, staff, and government officials where he gave greetings from America and encouragement to learn and use Braille
Posted 12/5/2014

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Syndicated Columnists Weekly in UEB for the New Year!

What better way to learn the Unified English Braille Code (UEB) than by reading short opinion pieces by America's top journalists? Starting the first week in January 2015, National Braille Press will begin using UEB to translate their weekly editorial magazine, Syndicated Columnists Weekly (SCW). This 36-page braille weekly contains the best editorials of the week from diverse papers such as The Washington Post, Salon, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc. It's a great commuter paper, and now, an easy way to introduce braille readers to UEB. Each issue will include a short symbols chart highlighting new or unusual changes to the code - but not all changes, which should be easy to decipher in context. Those readers interested in understanding more about the code can send for a FREE braille copy of The UEB Reader from BANA by emailing Kim Charlson at kim.charlson@perkins.org with your name and address for mailing purposes. You can leave the same information on the UEB Information Line at 617-972-7248.

If you do not already subscribe to SCW, a yearly subscription is $24 ($45 for two years) which is only 46 cents per week. Subscribe online here, or call toll-free 800-548-7323.
Posted 12/5/2014

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NBP's Children's Braille Book Club Celebrates its 30 year anniversary

Logo for CBBC 30th anniversary, shows a number 30 coming out of an open book

National Braille Press is celebrating 30 years of the Children's Braille Book Club, the only one of its kind in the world. The Children's Braille Book Club features a new book every month that is printed with braille and regular text so that blind children are able to read story books with sighted parents or blind parents with sighted children. The Children's Braille Book Club was championed by Kate Crohan, a blind mother who wanted to be able to read to her three sighted children the same way that sighted parents read to their children. At the time, Kate created her own braille overlays for the children's books that she was reading to her kids and knew that there were other parents and kids who need these books. She worked with National Braille Press to create the Children's Braille Book club that has published over 100,000 books over the past 30 years.

"When I was a young mom, I wanted to read picture books to my children like any other parent. Reading had always been a big part of my childhood and I wanted to have that same experience with my children," said Kate Crohan. "Children's braille books were usually not available for purchase, and if they were, they were too expensive for families to afford. So I was thrilled to learn that my conversations about this with NBP Publisher, Diane Croft, helped establish the Children's Braille Book Club so that more families could have access to reading together."

Kate's son Tom Crohan is a supporter of the National Braille Press, recently serving as co-chair of the NBP's annual gala, "A Million Laughs for Literacy."

Read more about Kate and Tom.

Posted 11/21/2014

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Blindness and the Brain

Photo of Lotfi Merabet giving an eye exam to a patient.

NBP Trustee Lotfi Merabet is an optometrist and scientist and recently did a TEDx Cambridge talk, Blindness is Just Another Way of Seeing. Watch Lotfi's talk on how blind people use the visual cortex of the brain for non-visual tasks.
Posted 11/7/2014

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NBP Announces New Leadership

Clifford Watkin, Board Chair

Photo of Cliff Watkin

As Managing Partner of Ipswich Bay Advisors, Clifford has over 25 years of human resources and employee benefits experience. Throughout his career, Clifford has built a reputation for effective leadership, critical communication and detail oriented administrative skills. He has served on the Board of Trustees of NBP since 2010, where he has shown those skills to help improve NBP's culture, navigate our latest strategic planning process, and help exercise his leaderships skills on committees. Clifford has been a regular speaker at the Northeast Human Resources Association and New England Employee Benefits Council meetings. Both the Employee Benefit News and the Boston Business Journal sought Clifford's expertise for his compliance commentary for various human resources legislation and is an adjunct instructor for Human Resources at Salem State University. Clifford holds a Bachelor's Degree from Boston University and a Masters of Business Administration from Northeastern University.

Nicholas Racheotes, Vice-Chair

Photo of Nicholas Racheotes Dr. Racheotes, who is blind and a braille reader, served on the NBP Board of Trustees for six years starting in 2008 and we're happy to welcome him back on this year as our Vice Chair. Nick is a historian and recently retired professor from Framingham State University. A braille reader since age 11, Dr. Racheotes reads braille in English, French, Modern Greek, and Russian and employs it to deliver lectures, in his research and writing, and his foreign language studies. Nick has an extensive background in advocating for the blind, and in addition to the NBP Board, he served on The Boston-Cambridge Unit of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic's Board of Directors from 1997-2005; serving as their Chairman during 2001-2003. In 2006, he was awarded the National Braille Press' Volunteer Award for contributing to Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius exhibition and book, and he was honored by the Carroll Society "for outstanding achievement as an employee and a positive influence to others," in 2001.

Welcome Cliff and Nick!

Posted 7/7/2014

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A Tribute to Irma Goldberg

All of us at National Braille Press wish to express our sincere grief at the death of Irma Goldberg of Westbury, New York. Irma lovingly and perceptively crafted the tactile illustrations for such classics as Goodnight Moon to Touch, Humpty Dumpty and Other Touching Rhymes, Let's Learn Shapes with Shapely-CAL, Touch and Learn Tactile Activities, Touch the Stars, and her endearing ABC Illustrated Flashcards. Our finest art-by-touch products from Creative Adaptations for Learning were crafted by her hands.

Irma cared deeply about precision in her work. Her genius drawings were rendered with just enough detail, but not too much, to take in the essence of the image or composition. She succeeded brilliantly. We will miss her magic touch.

Goodnight moon. Goodnight stars. Goodnight, dear friend.

Joe Quintanilla and Brian Grillo of the Boston Renegades beep ball team


Posted 7/24/2014

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Announcing Gala Co-Chairs

Photo of Tom Sullivan Photo of Tom Crohan
Co-chairs Tom Crohan, left, and Tom Sullivan

National Braille Press is proud to announce the leadership of Co-Chairs Tom Sullivan, Chairman and Founder of Lumber Liquidators and Tom Crohan, AVP & Counsel of John Hancock at our fall gala, A Million Laughs for Literacy. Tom Sullivan has been co-chairing our event since 2006 and has been a terrific supporter of braille literacy, raising over $1.3 million for NBP. Tom Crohan's parents, both braille readers, read to him from our Children's Braille Book Club and John Hancock has been a steadfast supporter of our work, underwriting books, volunteering and providing NBP with Boston Marathon numbers. We are thrilled to have their leadership and support. Please join us on October 17, 2014. Read more about the Million Laughs for Literacy Gala.

Posted 7/17/2014

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Great Expectations for Blind Kids

Young girl reading a braille book

Did you know that if a child isn't proficient in reading by 3rd grade, their high school dropout rate is 4x higher? NBP and Bridge MultiMedia are working together to develop a program called Great Expectations to enrich the reading experience for blind children. Featuring songs, play activities, audio picture descriptions, and more, this program will bring selected titles to life for the whole family. Learn more and help make Great Expectations a reality.
Posted 6/2/2014

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NBP in the Boston Globe

NBP employee Matt Witterschein at the riveting machine.
NBP employee Matt Witterschein at the riveting machine

Heralded as a top publisher for the blind, NBP was featured in The Boston Globe. Some highlights in the story include the recent production of the Bible for the Xavier Society which totaled over 8,000 braille pages and 45 volumes per copy. Read the full Globe article.

Posted 5/2/2014

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Congratulations, Runners!

Congratulations to all the runners who supported NBP through the Boston Marathon and the B.A.A. 5K during Marathon weekend and raised over $15,000 to support braille literacy and access to information. Braille reader Ted Lennox, was so inspired h by our two Marathon runners, Bridget Brooke and Erin Connors, who, undeterred by the terrible acts at last year's Marathon, ran again and completed the 26.2 miles. Along with his check to support this great effort, Ted sent along this poem:

    Tribute to Bridget and Erin:
    You both did an exciting run.
    My hope is that it was really fun.
    Your time was about equal to mine.
    Please feel you did fine!
    Next year try to beat your speed.
    That would be fun indeed!
The runners in the B.A.A. 5K competed in the Blindfold Challenge and ran in solidarity with blind and visually impaired athletes to show the world that fear is the only disability. Well done, runners, and thank you!

Posted 5/1/2014

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Remembering Bob O'Brien

Photo of Bob O'Brien

Obituary for Robert E. O'Brien

Robert "Bob" O'Brien died on April 8, 2014 as a result of a fall-related head injury. He was 82 years old. He leaves his wife Caroline, his sister Margaret and a large family of 7 children and step-children and 17 grandchildren.

Bob grew up in Providence, RI, attended Manhattan College and later Harvard Business School, and also served as an artillery officer in the US Army.

Bob had wide-ranging pursuits and accomplishments throughout his career. He was a successful entrepreneur in the 1960's with pioneering ventures including the first company to market corporate fitness programs and an early cable-TV venture that linked surgeons to rural low income hospitals in Puerto Rico. He advised both Massachusetts and Puerto Rico governments on the development of commercial fisheries and he launched a company that consulted with the Federal government on bio-dynamic and ocean-related research. He worked for many years as a management consultant for a broad range of corporate and pro-bono clients, ranging from several Fortune 500 companies to St. Joseph's Abbey in Massachusetts. He was a longtime Board Director for the Carroll Center for the Blind and also for the National Braille Press. He tutored and mentored many students at the School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Florida.

Bob loved his hobbies as well. He was an avid reader, a beautiful writer, an accomplished amateur historian and a lover of classical and jazz music. He spent thousands of hours restoring, tinkering with and showing off his collection of old cars. He loved sailing, from his boyhood summers on Narragansett Bay to later summers on Cape Cod and Boston Harbor. In recent years he took up soaring and greatly enjoyed his time both in the air and on the ground with his fellow glider pilots. He was a regular visitor to St. Joseph's Abbey, and his time spent there with his "brothers" and in retreat helped him to reinforce his faith and to maintain a sense of peace with changes in his life.

More than any of these interests and accomplishments, though, Bob loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. While juggling the pressures of his career, he took time each night to read to his children while they were growing up and also shared many special projects and activities. As the grandchildren arrived and grew, he similarly built and cherished a special connection with each of them. He wrote and called regularly, sent thoughtful gifts, found special projects to share, and sought to spend time with each person individually during family get-togethers. He and Caroline traveled regularly across the country and to Europe to visit their children and grandchildren. Bob and Caroline's homes in Maine and Florida hosted many boisterous family get-togethers over the past decades, gatherings that reinforced family bonds and created many happy memories. His long devotion to his family created his most memorable and lasting legacy - a close-knit, loving and thriving extended family that misses him greatly.

A memorial service will be held at St. Joseph's Abbey in May. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to either St. Joseph's Abbey (167 N Spencer Rd, Spencer, MA 01562) or to National Braille Press (88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115).
Posted 4/10/2014

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AmazonSmile logo.

We are excited to be part of AmazonSmile! Now when you shop at Amazon, they will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to National Braille Press. AmazonSmile is simple and automatic. It's the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Remember, if you want Amazon to donate to the charity you've selected, you need to start each shopping session at http://smile.amazon.com. You can type smile.amazon.com into your browser's address bar or bookmark it. When you start at smile.amazon.com Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Learn more about AmazonSmile - use this "one click" sign-up link to start supporting NBP while you shop!

Posted 12/1/2013

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