Purpose: To help blind youth, and young adults develop the blindness skills and positive attitudes necessary to lead a life of success and accomplishment.
Changing Attitudes Regarding Education, Employment & Rehabilitation (CAREER) Mentoring Program
Thanks to our work with the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services, blind Texans, ages 14-22 have an awesome opportunity to build relationships with blind adults who can challenge and support them as they strive to become successful and independent. Organized team-building and community-based activities will provide valuable experiences. Each program participant will be carefully matched with a mentor who can help them reach their goals. These relationships and opportunities will ensure that these young people don't become a part of the 70 percent of blind people who are unemployed or underemployed.
Employment and education for the blind can be achieved. The CAREER Mentoring Program provides its participants with opportunities to learn nonvisual skills, to participate in conferences designed to provide the latest information about career exploration, employment, access technology and more. Participants are paired with a blind adult who has had success and who will challenge them to take on tasks they aren't sure they can master. However, thanks to the support of their mentor, most participants find they can live the life they want.
Each program participant is invited to attend four large group activities a year. In months without a large group activity, pairs are expected to work together to reach goals they establish after being matched. Each member of the mentoring team is expected to sign a contract that commits them to the program for two years. Pairs are expected to attend at least three of the four scheduled group activities each year, and they are expected to maintain contact with one another every month.
Pairs should plan regular activities with one another, and they may also work with other program pairs to arrange small group activities.
There is no cost to participate in this program, and all costs related to CAREER Mentoring Program activities is covered by our organization.
Who should apply to be a mentor?
Blind and low vision Texans who are willing to support and challenge young people to reach their educational and employment goals should apply. Our program often challenges both our mentors and mentees. So you should be willing to challenge yourself and your own attitudes about blindness. We are looking for people who believe in the potential of other blind people, and we need people who have attained some success in an academic or work environment. You don't have to be the perfect blind person, but you should recognize your own strengths and weaknesses in order to help us match you with a young person who can use your strengths to get where they want to go. This is work, but it is rewarding too. Most of all, we want applicants who want to have fun while teaching serious lessons.
Who should apply as a program participant (mentee)?
In order to qualify for this program, you must be between the ages of 14 and 22 and have an open case with Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services. You must also be a high school, college, or technical school student or someone who is looking for employment. You must be willing to make a two-year commitment to the program and be prepared to develop a set of goals designed to improve your chances of a positive employment outcome. Participants are expected to attend at least three large group activities during each year of their program, and they are also expected to spend time with mentors as planned and agreed. Success comes when you are challenged, and if you participate in this program, we will challenge you to become the best you possible. It requires work, but it is also fun.
Are minors allowed to participate in the program?
Yes. We accept minors as program participants. We will keep parents or guardians in the loop regarding their child's participation in the program. Mentors will want to schedule time with you so that you can get to know them, but they will encourage you to begin allowing them and your child to do activities on their own. This leads to more independence and allows the mentor to get to know your child better so they can help to work on the goals your child will set as a part of CAREER Mentoring. Your child will be asked to attend at least three large group activities each year. There are more large groups scheduled, and they are invited to attend them all, but attendance at three is a minimum requirement. They should also have as much face-to-face contact with their mentor as possible. Sometimes mentors live in different cities than their mentees, and funds are available for the pair to plan for travel to visit one another for their own planned activities.
How can I apply to be a mentor?
How can I apply to participate as a mentee?
If you are not yet 18 years old, you should apply here.
If you are between the ages of 18-22, apply here.
Where can I get additional information about the program?
The BELL Academy affords blind and low-vision children between the ages of 4 and 12 the opportunity to learn Braille in a fun environment, filled with activities designed to improve literacy and foster independence. In most years, the National Federation of the Blind of Texas offers in-state BELL Academies. However, in 2022, we are encouraging families to sign up for the in-home BELL Academy hosted by our national organization. We hope to offer one or more Texas-based academies in 2023. So, stay tuned.
If you wish to participate in the three-week, in-home edition of the program, go to nfb.org/bell.
The Texas Association of Blind Students is an organization made up primarily of blind and low-vision high school and college students. The organization is a division of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas, and it serves as a way for blind students to offer information and support to one another.
Each year, TABS, the CAREER Mentoring Program, and NFB-NEWSLINE(R) Texas host a seminar for students somewhere in the state of Texas. During the pandemic the Student Summit, as the seminar is known, has been held virtually, but we are hoping to host an in-person summit in August of 2022. The Student Summit covers a wide variety of topics and provides students with an opportunity to learn from other students and blind professionals.
Plans are underway for the 2022 NFBTX Student Summit, and you'll find information on our home page as soon those plans are complete.
If you would like additional information about TABS or the Student Summit, go to the TABS page.
Each year, the National Federation of Texas awards scholarships to legally blind Texas residents who are pursuing a post-secondary course of study. The application period opens on June 1 each year and closes on August 15. To apply for the program when applications are being accepted, go to the Scholarship page.
Our national organization also sponsors a scholarship program that opens on December 1 each year and closes on March 31. Information about that program is available on the NFB Scholarship page.
Lara Sowell serves as the chairperson of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas. If you have questions regarding the program in Texas, contact Lara. You can reach her at (936) 622-2450 or by emailing email@example.com.
As a feature of our NFB-NEWSLINE(R) Program, the National Federation of the Blind hosts two annual Silver Bells Senior Training programs. The first is held as a part of our annual convention and is a three-hour-long program that provides participants with a demonstration about the audio newspaper and information service, along with some general information about other blindness skills.
The second Silver Bells Senior Training is hosted in different cities around Texas and is a weekend-long retreat that teaches participants how to use Newsline more effectively while providing more in-depth training about blindness skills. Since the COVID19 pandemic started we have hosted virtual events that have been five days long, with about three hours of programming per day.
In 2022, the virtual program is scheduled for the week of April 25-29. We accept participants who are 50 or older and legally blind. You'll find the application on the Silver Bells page.
On the third Saturday of each month, blind seniors get together to learn about various aspects of living life after vision loss. The meetings are open to anyone who is interested, and they take place between 3:30 and 4:30 PM. Since participants live throughout the state, the meetings are held via the Zoom platform.
NFB-NEWSLINE Texas is one of our flagship programs. It offers blind and print disabled Texans access to nearly 600 newspapers and magazines as well as a local information channel that we are building to keep our community informed about issues of importance to blind Texans.
Each year, the National Federation of the Blind of Texas hosts a conference to provide blind and low vision Texans with the opportunity to gather and discuss topics of interest to blind people of all ages. We use this platform to raise expectations for blind people and their families. Parents of blind children, blind students, seniors, blindness professionals, and working-age blind people engage in seminars to teach them how to lead a more independent life and how to advocate for themselves and others.
The convention takes place in November and is usually an in-person event. Watch this website for information about the upcoming convention and plan to join us.
Are you new to blindness? Do you want to learn how blind people live independent lives, full of love, hope, and determination? Do you need the support of other blind people? If so, join your nearest local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas. To learn how to find your local chapter, go to the Chapter & Division page.
If you look at the page and still aren't sure which chapter is right for you, call our affiliate office to request additional information. You can reach us at (281) 968-7733 or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Federation of the Blind of Texas makes an effort to include as many people as possible in our programs and meetings. With that in mind, we make interpretation services available as often as possible. At present, we have volunteers who provide Spanish-language interpretation in many of our meetings. As we recruit members who use other languages and as we are able to find volunteers, we will make every effort to provide interpreter services in other languages as well. Texas is a diverse place, and it is our intention to grow and welcome people, no matter what language they speak.
National Federation of the Blind of Texas
1600 E Highway 6, Suite 215
Alvin, TX 77511
(281) 968-7733 * (281) 809-4860 (Fax)