Each year, members of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas come together for a weekend packed with speakers, hands-on workshops, technology demonstrations, networking, love and support. The convention—our organization’s ultimate governing authority—sets the legislative priorities that we’ll pursue together; is where you can meet independent, blind professionals from across the state; and introduces people to a proven philosophy that says blindness does not have to be the characteristic that defines you or your future.
The 2023 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas is set to take place on the weekend of November 3-5, in Houston, Texas. This year’s convention is headquartered at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Houston Hobby Airport, located at 8181 Airport Blvd. It is directly across from Hobby Airport. If you are arriving by air, we recommend choosing a flight that will bring you to Hobby since there will be no cost to travel from the airport to the hotel. The hotel operates a convenient shuttle service throughout the day and evening; other than a tip for your driver, there is no charge to ride. To make a hotel reservation for the convention, call 713-645-3000 and let the hotel know you are part of our group by using group code F B T. You can use the same number to request a shuttle if you are arriving at Hobby Airport.
Room rates for the convention are $92 per night, plus applicable tax. Everyone is responsible for making their own room reservations unless they are participating in one of our special programs. The deadline for reserving your room is October 19, 2023. If you prefer to reserve your room online, you can use the booking link that you will find near the bottom of this document. Please note that the booking link will default to a three-day stay, beginning on November 2 and ending on November 5. You can edit these dates using a computer. We have been told that editing those dates is not working well with smartphones. So, if possible, use a computer if you only want to stay for one or two days. If you cannot manage this, call us at 281-968-7733, and we will do our best to help you.
NOTE: The deadline for making room reservations has now passed, but if you still need a room, we encourage you to contact the hotel to see if rooms are still available. Again, the number to call is 713-645-3000. You may also try the booking link at the bottom of the page.
This year, we will focus on Living The Life You Want At Home, School, and Work. It isn't listed on our agenda because it is a special program item for our CAREER Mentoring Program, but we will work with our students to learn about personal branding and how to make the best first impression at school or work. Even though this workshop is specifically for our mentoring program participants, we wanted everyone to know about this work. We had hoped to put on a fashion show in the afternoon, but our agenda is too packed.
On Friday morning, Vanda Pharmaceuticals will host a special breakout session about the effects of Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder on the blindness community. If you feel as though your sleep cycle is causing you difficulty, this is the session for you. Shauna Jatho will be happy to answer your questions.
On Friday afternoon, our NFB-NEWSLINE(R) TEXAS team will host an interactive session to show new and current users how Newsline can be an important part of a great home life. Whether you are interested in cooking, gardening, decorating your home, technology, or health, Newsline has something to meet your needs, and our team will show you how you can make it work for you.
A number of committee meetings, exhibits, and our affiliate board meeting will also happen on Friday afternoon and evening.
Our general sessions will begin on Saturday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, we will host several interactive breakout sessions that will cover topics like home repair, gardening, home organization, and more. We also plan to discuss topics that include homebuying, and we’ll even show you a new Alexa skill that will help you find your dream home.
On Saturday evening, we will hold our annual banquet, where five of the best and brightest Texas students will receive a total of $11,500.00 in scholarships, and we’ll hear a fabulous address from our national representative, Shawn Callaway. Shawn serves as a member of our national board and as president of the National Federation of the Blind of the District of Columbia. He is kind, articulate, and knowledgeable, and will provide us with the highlight of our convention when he addresses our banquet.
More specific program items will be listed in our formal agenda, which will become available in October.
We are often asked if we provide meals as part of our registration process. The answer is that your registration fee entitles you to one free meal on Friday evening, November 3. If you purchase a banquet ticket, you are entitled to dinner on November 4. Other meals are on your own.
Registration for the convention will be open from now through October 30, 2023. Registration is $30 in advance. Banquet tickets cost $45 per person if you purchase them ahead of time. It will be possible to register and purchase banquet tickets onsite, but the cost for each will be $5 more. So, we encourage you to save money by pre-registering and purchasing your banquet ticket in advance.
If you are not a customer of one of these programs, this message does not apply to you.
The Texas Workforce Commission's Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) generally provides some assistance to individuals wishing to attend conferences sponsored by consumer organizations, and the NFBTX 2023 convention is one of the conferences supported by VRS, and sometimes OIB. The Blind Children’s Program (BCP) also assists families from time-to-time. To receive assistance to attend the convention, you must do the following:
1. Contact your counselor or caseworker before registering or making a hotel reservation to let them know you are interested in attending and are requesting help with the costs. Keep in mind that assistance is generally provided to a limited number of customers. So, make your request right away.
2. Let them know that registering for the convention will cost $75.00 if you pre-register and that a hotel room will cost $92 per night, plus any taxes and fees.
3. Once you and your counselor agree that your registration fees will be covered as a part of whatever assistance they provide, register with the convention. You can find the registration link at the bottom of this page. Tell us that your counselor has agreed to pay these fees as part of the registration process.
4. When you register you will need to include your counselor's full name and email address as a part of the process, so be sure you have their name spelled correctly and a correct email address for them before registering. This will help us as we complete the process mentioned above.
5. Once you complete the registration process, you and your counselor will receive an email confirmation. The confirmation your counselor receives will provide them with information about any next steps they need to take to be sure we receive your registration fees.
6. If your full registration fee of $75 is paid, you will be entitled to two meals. They are a dinner on Friday evening, November 3, and a banquet dinner on November 4. All other meals are your responsibility. If you need additional meal assistance, you should talk to your counselor about that when you are discussing how they can help with the convention.
7. TWC has been working to ensure that the hotel we are using is a vendor that they can pay directly, so you should work with your counselor regarding how to make your hotel reservation. Blind Children’s Program participants should talk to their caseworker to determine how to pay for their hotel rooms. If the caseworker needs to work with us to ensure your reservation is done correctly, feel free to have them contact Norma Crosby at 281-824-4045. Reservations must be made by October 19 to receive the $92 rate. You and your counselor should keep in mind that there will be other taxes and fees in addition to the nightly rate. The hotel will honor our rate from November 2-5. So, you are welcome to arrive on November 2 if you wish to be present for all meetings and seminars.
Exhibits will be available in the Esplanade area of the Doubletree. Hours of operation are 10 AM to 5 PM, on Friday, November 3 and Noon to 4 PM on Saturday, November 4. Exhibitors may register with the convention from now until October 15. The deadline to register as an exhibitor has passed, so the exhibitor form is no longer available to complete.
As you know, the Covid pandemic is seen by some as a thing of the past, and it is true that the numbers have declined significantly. Unfortunately, they are not at zero, and it seems to be true that large gatherings are a breeding ground for the virus. Last year, we requested that people submit a negative test before arriving at the convention. However, we are not making that a requirement this year. We are suggesting, but not requiring, that people wear masks in common areas, and we will make masks and hand sanitizer available upon request. We have plenty of masks, so if you need more than one, let us know. We’ll be happy to share.
None of us enjoys wearing masks, but we have some among us who are medically vulnerable. So, if you make the choice to mask up in honor of your fellow attendees, it will be greatly appreciated. We care about one another, and putting others above yourself is always a good thing to do.
We want to answer your questions about the convention. We are available from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays and will be happy to try and help you with anything convention-related. You can reach us by calling 281-968-7733. You can email our president directly at email@example.com.
National Federation of the Blind of Texas
1600 E Highway 6, Suite 215
Alvin, TX 77511
(281) 968-7733 * (281) 809-4860 (Fax)