Logo of the National Federation of the Blind with no tag line.


The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Convention 2021

The National Federation of the Blind of Florida State Convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the State of Florida. It is the premier event for training, support, and information for the blind community. It also serves as a governing body, democratically electing our leadership and establishing each year's organizational priorities. Although the convention is open to all, our constitution states that only members of the NFB have the right to participate in decision making when it comes to organizational policy.

Date and Location

October 1 to October 3, 2021

Embassy Suites by Hilton USF
3705 Spectrum Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612


You can register for convention and select your banquet choice using our online site at Brown Paper Tickets .
Also, you can call the hotel or use the hotel online booking at Hotel Reservation Online usingbooking code: FBD

2021 Chapter Registration Form - Please download this form to register a member or groups of members that need assistance using the online version of the registration process.

Welcoming Announcement

The hosting chapters welcome our members, family, and friends to our 2021 State Conventtion.

Please stay tune for further information as it becomes available in the upcoming days. The website will be updated periodically.


As an attendee at our convention, you not only represent yourself but also represent our organization. We want you to enjoy our time together and to make new friends and renew old acquaintances. Although we encourage members to socialize and have fun, the convention also provides a valuable opportunity to come together to continue the work of our organization, to learn about the important initiatives that we are involved with on local and national levels, and to plan our work for the future.

The National Federation of the Blind of Florida seeks to provide a convention environment in which diverse participants, including members, speakers, exhibitors, staff, and volunteers, may learn, network, and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues in an environment of mutual respect. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and uphold that atmosphere for the benefit of all. Some behaviors are therefore specifically prohibited:

  • Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, physical appearance, or other group identity.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact.
  • Public drunkenness and associated behaviors (e.g., belligerence, yelling, hostility, destruction of property).

Participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all convention venues, including online arenas, social media, and convention social events. Participants who are asked to stop a behavior that the recipient considers hostile or harassing are expected to comply immediately.

We are committed to diversity, equity, and the free expression of ideas. These principles have been delineated in our recently adopted code of conduct found at https://nfb.org/code-conduct.


Russel Davis,Coordinator

Hours of operation:

To be announced.


Hours of operation:

To be announced.


To Be Announced

Appointments to meet with President Valkema may be made by sending an email to info@nfbflorida.org.

Meet and Greet

Tobe announced.

Friday, October 1, 2021 General Session


7:00 PM to 7:50 PM - NFB of Florida Resolutions Committee
Camille Tate, Chair, NFB of Florida Resolutions Committee

Come and hear the 2021 resolutions that we will be voting on during general session Sunday, October 4, 2020.

Open Board Meeting

8:00 PM to 9:00 PM - NFB of Florida Open Board Meeting

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

Come and learn what the state affiliate has been doing, meet the 2020 student scholarship finalists, hear the Roll Call of chapters, learn more about our comedian fundraiser, get an update on our PAC status, and so much more.


10:00 PM to 11:00 PM - NFB of Florida FABS

Jorge Hernandez, coordinator

Come and learn what the students are doing in Florida.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

8:00 AM - Communities of Faith

Marilyn Baldwin Co Chairman Communities of Faith Committee
Pastor Russel Zimmerman, LCMS Pastor
Bay City, Michigan

8:30 AM - Tailgate

Join early and hear different interviews and commentary from our members.

General Session

9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

9:00 AM - Call to Order

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

9:05 AM - Invocation

Pastor Kenneth Dew
Every Nation Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida

9:10 AM - NFB Pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance

Donald Christie, Treasurer, Tallahassee Chapter

9:15 AM - Greeting from Mayor’s Office

9:20 AM - Opening Ceremony

9:30 AM - Report from our National Movement

National Rep, Ever Lee Hairston, NFB Board of Directors

9:50 AM - Honoring Congressman Darren Soto, Florida District 9

10:00 AM - Transplants Save Lives

Ashley Moore, Life Link

10:10 AM - Staying Fit During the Pandemic

Jessica Beachem, President, NFB Sports and Rec Division

10:20 AM - The Joys of owning your own business

Gloria Mills Hicks, Board Member, Tampa Chapter

10:30 AM - Rehabilitation Center Update

Ed Hudson, Bureau Chief, Florida Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

10:40 AM - Veterans Administration Services

Bruce Davis, Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator, Gainesville VA Medical Services

10:55 AM - What’s new with Spectrum

Petr Kucheryavyy, Senior Manager, Accessibility Center of excellence

11:10 AM - The Evolution of the Guide Dog Movement

John Byfield, Guide Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

11:20 AM - Andrew Warren

Building Bridges Through Collaboration

11:30 AM - Carlton Walker, president NFBF Parents of Blind Children

11:40 AM - Announcements & Adjournment

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM - Lunch Break – On your own

Saturday General Interest Seminars

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

1:00 PM to 2:50 PM - NFB of Florida Deaf-Blind Division Meeting

We will introduce and listen to Mark Armstrong, Senior Adult Specialist at the Helen Keller National Center. He will discuss free services, equipment assistance and other services available to deaf blind Floridians from the Helen Keller Institute. There will be time for Mark Armstrong to answer relevant questions. NFBF Deaf Blind Division will conduct a business meeting and elect new officers.

1:00 PM to 1:50 PM - Technology Seminar

Rafael Fernandez, NFB of Florida Board of Directors

Want to learn how to make your home smart? Join us at our seminar to learn about the awesome new technology available to make your life a little easier.

1:00 PM to 2:50 PM - Health Seminar

Yolanda Candelaria, TTS, Outreach Coordinator of Big Bend Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Tallahassee, Florida

Come hear how you can live a healthy and fit life. Ms. Candelaria will share with us about diabetes, high blood pressure and much more.

2:00 PM to 2:50 PM - Blind Parents’ Group

Nicole Finchan-Shehan, Chair

We invite and encourage all blind parents, grandparents or any blind individual who care for children or perspective blind parents to join us for this exciting hour for sharing tips and tricks to navigating life as a blind caregiver. Lisa Maria Martinez, Coordinator of the NFB Blind Parents Connect Group and a mother of three children will join us. We will discuss relevant topics for our members and what we will focus on next year. Please invite anyone who would like to learn and share information. I look forward to seeing you all at our Blind Parents Connect meeting!!!

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM - FLAGDU Seminar and Business Meeting

Merry Schoch, President

Meet the new president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users. Come hear from the most experienced guide dog trainer in the world, John Byfield. Blind people can raise puppies to become guide dogs. General health information for your guide dog during a pandemic. Hear from guide dog training programs and how they work with the needs of seniors and other disabilities for those who are blind.

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM - Book Club

Camille Tate Chair, NFB of Florida Board of Directors

We will be discussing Building the Lives We Want, a comprehensive history of the National Federation of the Blind. Debra Kent-Stein chiefly edited this work, along with contributions from members of the National Federation of the Blind, including past President, Dr. Marc Maurer. We will talk about the first three chapters of this book, but feel free to read it in its entirety!

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM - NFB of Florida Seniors Group

Gloria Mills-Hicks, Chair

We will have a panel discussion on crime prevention including scam calls and how to look like you know where you are going.

Dinner - On your own

Saturday Evening

8:00 PM to 10:00 PM - Comedy Show with Moody McCarthyComedy Show with Moody McCarthy

By Reservation Only

Link to purchase tickets: Comedian Moody McCarthy Fundraiser

Moody is an American stand-up comedian who has made multiple network TV appearances. Come and laugh out loud.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

8:00 AM - Nomination committee - Delegates only

Miranda Kilby, Nominating Committee Chair

8:00 Devotional by Community of Faith Group

Marilyn Baldwin, Chair
Peggy Fleischer, Co Chairman Pastor Doug Hansard, Jacksonville, Florida

8:30 AM - Tailgate

Join early and hear different interviews and commentary from our members.

General Session

9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

9:00 AM - Call to Order

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

9:03 AM - Invocation

Cantor Tanya Greenblatt
Cantor of Congregation Beth Am of Tampa

9:08 AM - NFB Pledge

Yvonne Rosenelli, Board member, Tampa Bay Chapter

9:10 AM - Talking Book Library

James Woolyhand, Bureau Chief
Florida Braille and Talking Book Library

9:20 AM - Celebrating 30 years of the Americans Disability Act

Raquel Pancho, ADA Coordinator
Office of the Chief of Staff, City of Tampa

9:30 AM - Legislation update

Camille Tate and Russel Davis, Legislative Committee Co-Chairs

9:40 AM - NFB-Newsline® Report

Russ Davis, Newsline® Chair

9:45 AM - Division of Blind Services Report

Robert Doyle, Director, Florida Division of Blind Services

10:00 AM - President’s Report

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

10:20 AM - Treasurer’s Report

Sylvia Young, Treasurer, NFB of Florida

10:25 AM - Resolutions

Camille Tate, Chair, NFB of Florida Board of Directors

10:55 AM - Nominating Committee Report

Miranda Kilby, Committee Chair, First Vice President, NFB of Florida

11:00 AM - Elections

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

12:00 PM - Announcements & Adjournment

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM - Lunch Break – On your own

Sunday General Interest Seminars

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

1:00 PM to 2:50 PM - Shine Workshop (Medicare)

Learn a little more about Medicare with Jean Burkin from Shine This organization can aid all of those who have Medicare.

1:00 PM to 2:50 PM - Parents of Blind Children

NFB of Florida Parents of Blind Children Cherice Togun, President, FPOBC
Transition Journeys
Join us as we discuss appropriate transition services for blind children in Florida. Special guest Carol Castellano, former president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and a leader in the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey will explore the basic services your local and state agencies should offer and provide tips on how to fill in any possible gaps in services. Ms. Castellano is the author of a multitude of books on the education of blind children and a proud mother. We will close with a parent panel available to answer participants’ questions or concerns regarding their transition journeys.

3:00 PM to 4:00 PM - Technology

Jorge Hernandez, NFB of Florida Board of Directors
Learn what braille and a tablet can become when merged! The Braille Note Touch Plus is the most innovative and powerful note taker in the Assistive Technology spectrum. Designed to be used in the classroom, at home or at work, the ground-breaking Braille Note Touch Plus will be your guide through your journey using braille, text-to-speech and gestures to manipulate each application you install. Braille Note Touch Plus combines the simplicity and accessibility of a note taker with the power and efficiency of a computer, a modern smartphone or tablet creating an out-of-the-world learning experience. Come and learn what you can accomplish with today’s most exciting technological combination of braille, speech and touch gestures.

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM - NFB of Florida Diversity and Inclusion

Marilyn Baldwin, Group Chair

Two presentations by blind businessmen about Cultural Diversity and Race Relationships In their everyday life. Mr. Enrique Oliu is an immigrant from Nicaragua, who is a motivational speaker, and a language interpreter for the Public Defender’s Office. He is also a Broadcast Color Analysts. Mr. Shawn Callaway is a member of our National NFB Board of Directors and Co Chairman of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the National Federation of the Blind. All are welcome to attend.

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM - NFB of Florida Legislation Committee

Russel Davis and Camille Tate, Co-Chairs, NFB of Florida Board of Directorsr

Come and join our Legislative Committee to learn about the legislative efforts of the National Federation of the blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Florida. We will talk about the happenings on a national front and the work we are doing in Florida.

8:30 PM - Tailgate

Join early and hear different interviews and commentarys with from our members.

Sunday, October 4, 2020 Banquet

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

7:00 PM - Call to Order and Remarks

Denise Valkema, President, NFB of Florida

7:05 PM - Welcome and Introductions

Jorge Hernandez, Master of Ceremony

7:10 PM - Invocation

James E. Young, Tallahassee Chapter Board of Directors

7:15 PM - Keynote Address

Ever Lee Hairston, Board of Directors, National Federation of the Blind,

8:10 PM - Presentation of 2020 Scholarship Winners

Jorge Hernandez, Chair, NFB of Florida 2020 Scholarship Committee Chair

8:40 PM - Awards

Doug Imgram, Committee Chair

9:00 PM - Announcements & Adjournment


The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind - It is the blind speaking for ourselves.