National Federation of the Blind of Northwest Arkansas

Today’s date is Wednesday, January 17th 2018.

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National Federation of the Blind of Northwest Arkansas (NFB of NWA) Chapter History

The National Federation of the Blind of Northwest Arkansas (NFB of NWA), was started by Eddie Bell, Jerry White, and Denna Lambert. The chapter did well in this area, and attracted many new members. The chapter was very active until the 1990s, during which time it became dormant. In 2005, a young man named Matthew Daniels felt the chapter needed to be restarted to provide blindness awareness, philosophy, and methodology to the residents of Northwest Arkansas.

The chapter was restarted with only two officers, Matthew Daniels, President, and Amber Hunt, Vice President. The chapter met once a month in Springdale Arkansas. Since the chapter was very small at that time, they did not have funding to host many events or sponsor members to attend the state convention for the NFB of Arkansas. In 2005, the group did manage to host a few events at the Jones Center for Families, and at the Springdale Public Library. They hoped these events would raise blindness awareness, as well as help reach out to other blind and visually impaired persons and their families. These events also provided opportunities to attract new members.

In September of 2006, Brian Dulude, a University of Arkansas student from Ruston Louisiana joined the chapter. He became the secretary and treasurer. Brian also held a position on the state NFB board, and relayed information regarding the states plans.

In 2007 some chapter members attended Washington Seminar in Washington, D.C., to speak to Congress, both the House and the Senate, about the Disability Act, Quiet Car Act, and the Education Act. The chapter also held blindness awareness events, presentations, and fundraising events. The chapter welcomed the Scott family in 2007, increasing its total membership to 8.

In January 2008, the chapter welcomed several new families, bringing the membership total up to 17. With the help of these new members, the chapter was able to hold many fundraising events, selling locally made lollipops. In late 2008, many new members joined the group, increasing the membership total to 28. With the chapter's very successful fundraising efforts, the NFB of NWA chapter was able to sponsor several members to attend the state NFB convention.

With the continued growth of the chapter, a student division was created. The student division, the National Association of Blind Students of Northwest Arkansas (NABS of NWA) is a local division of the NFB NABS and is for any student high school aged and younger. The student division actively assists and participates with the main chapter in fundraising efforts, as well as hosting their own activities. NABS of NWA also helps provide information and support to other students, sharing stories about blindness and the daily challenges it brings. Students offer advice and support to one another, exchanging ideas and offering solutions on dealing with everyday problems.

The chapter holds officer elections each January. The current officers are listed on the National Federation of the Blind Chapter Officers page of this website. Even with these yearly changes, we as a chapter consider ourselves a close-knit family. The chapter continues to grow, and we now count 31 members. We still meet once a month at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, and have a themed potluck at each meeting. Visitors are always welcome to attend our meetings and other events. For information on our upcoming events please Click here for the National Federation of the Blind of Northwest Arkansas Upcoming Events Page.

The chapter has successful fundraising efforts selling llipops at major local events held throughout the year. A few of these events include the Tontitown Grape Festival, the Rogers Frisco Festival, and the Jones Center for Families Fall Craft Fair. The increase in fundraising has allowed the chapter to sponsor more members who wish to attend the state convention. The chapter also hosts several recreational events over the course of the year, including a picnic on Memorial Day.

The NFB of NWA plans to continue with our fundraising efforts, as well as spread awareness of our group and the services we provide to the residents of Northwest Arkansas.

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