By Sue Lichtenfels, President
The holiday season is a busy time for everyone regardless of one’s religious beliefs. It’s an especially busy time for me as President of PCB because I use the final six weeks of the year to review the organization’s goals and accomplishments over the year. I consult with my fellow leaders to determine if we need to redo or revise any of our efforts. And we also renew the goals and objectives of the organization for the coming year. Since we all are so busy, let me get right into the information I have for you at this time.
2017 marked the beginning of a new organization brand, PCB- A Peer Network for All Impacted by Vision Loss. The brand is more than an external marketing strategy. It’s an organizational mind-set and way of being that underlies all that we do and strive for in the future. As part of our peer network we began a new offering, network discussion calls. The Vision Loss Resource Team hosted two calls on family dynamics with Dr. Andre Watson as facilitator. Our Membership Team hosted discussions on apps, tips and tricks for around the house, talking home assistants, the holidays, and more. We held “PCB Perspectives”, a statewide virtual seminar with several presenters. We participated in four youth-specific outreach events with the assistance of local chapters and PCB volunteers. We launched the PCB-chat listserv and an announcement-only email list targeting a variety of stakeholders. We held a successful, informative annual conference with unprecedented levels of sponsorship. We put on a symposium for individuals new to vision loss and partnered with BBVS to offer an employment seminar. On the advocacy front, PCB participated in the ACB legislative seminar; held an informative call on the healthcare bill; scored a victory in our battle against the Civil Service Commission’s discriminatory practices; and repeatedly reached out to our elected officials on a variety of legislative issues. Busy, yes, that would describe our year.
As we move into 2018 and beyond, we will remain focused on growing and strengthening our network. Key to this effort is getting to know our members better and engaging them in meaningful ways. Please take the time to fill out the newly revised membership form, if you haven’t already done so. The form is included at the end of this newsletter. If you prefer, we can do it with you over the phone. The data you share will help us do a better job of involving you in your organization.
In 2018 there will be a new monthly opportunity for members to participate. During the odd-numbered months such as January, March, May, etc., PCB leadership will host an organization-wide open-house call. This will be a forum for discussion, questions, planning, and learning. Alternately, on the even-numbered months: February, April, etc., our advocacy and public policy leaders will host an advocacy for all call. Our goal is to return the advocacy direction and work of PCB to the members. The calls will inform members on a specific advocacy issue via an outside speaker or special presentation; encourage the exchange of advocacy happenings and concerns among individuals and chapters; brainstorm on actionable issues; and when appropriate, form project teams to act. Please mark your calendar for our first open-house call on Monday, January 15 at 7:30 PM.
Speaking of calendars, there are a few other items of note. The Six-month Calendar Raffle project will be run again in 2018. Tickets are currently available. This is a dual fundraiser for chapters and PCB. As in past years, tickets are $20 each, giving 183 chances to win from $30 to $125. Please contact the office or your chapter leader for tickets.
The calendar change to 2018 means it’s time to consider renewing your membership in PCB. We hope the addition of our discussion calls, email lists, revised newsletter content, and future planned offerings will encourage you to renew without hesitation. Chapter members, please renew annual memberships with your chapter treasurers. At-large members may pay annual membership directly through the PCB office. Remember that we need your memberships in by the middle of February in order to keep you on the ACB rolls and receiving The ACB Braille Forum in your preferred format.
With the close of 2017, I extend my heart-felt thanks to Bobby Simmons, Mary Ann Cowfer, Lisa Salinger, and Joe Wassermann for their leadership and service on the PCB Board of Directors. We’ll begin the New Year by welcoming some veteran leaders back to the board: Tony Evancic, George Holliday, and Cathy Long. I am eager to begin a working relationship with the youngest member of our incoming board, Mike Gravitt. I sincerely appreciate the work of our chapter leaders, team leaders, and our dozens of member volunteers. And to all members of the PCB peer network, I wish you a happy, healthy, and engaging New Year.