It is Said that everyone has a story, but here these stories are unique. Ask yourself just how many times you hear of real-life stories of service from blind people. On our blog, you get to read such stories. From AmeriCorps members, to individuals and groups, you will read about blind people doing many types of service work in different settings using different skills to do seemingly visual tasks. These people aren’t amazing; they are just people who believe that as citizens in this country and people living in the world, they have a right and responsibility to give back to their community.

Learning, Living, and Loving Service

Editor’s Note: Too often our service experience involves proving to others that we can serve in the same capacity as our sighted peers. However, self-advocacy is a powerful tool that can ultimately change someone’s perspective about the abilities of blind people. The following story comes from Kathryn Webster, who serves as president of the North Carolina Association of Blind Students and as a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. Kathryn discusses both international service and the power of self-advocacy.

The 75 Days of Service

The 75 Days of Service is a joint effort of the National Federation of the Blind Community Service Division, the National Federation of the Blind of California Community Service Division, and the National Federation of the Blind of the District of Columbia Community Service Division. The 75 Days of Service is our way of celebrating 75 years of raising expectations of blind people by encouraging and supporting the blind of the nation to serve the communities in which they live. We are holding bi-weekly conference calls where participants can share resources and ideas.

Panhandle Gardening

Editor’s Note: The following piece comes from Community Service Division president Darian Smith of California. He not only discusses his experience participating in a recent gardening project and his feelings about community service, but he also provides valuable insight into some alternative techniques that blind people can use to participate in a similar project in their own community.

In the DreamPower Barn

Editor’s Note: Mary Church serves as secretary/treasurer of the newly-formed National Federation of the Blind of California Community Service Division. In the following piece, Mary writes about her volunteer work with a therapeutic horse ranch and why it is important to her to give back to her community.

2014: A Look Back and the Journey Forward

Fellow Federationists,

As I look back on 2014, I look back on a year filled with excitement, anticipation, hard work, and firsts. The year started with the decision that the time was right to make the Community Service Group the Community Service Division. Much of the thought and planning had been set in motion before the beginning of the year, but after consulting with Dr. Maurer, who was President of the National Federation of the Blind at the time, we knew that it was finally time to see our plans through. It took the collective efforts of Chris Parsons, Kaiti Shelton, Corina Salinas, Michele Mitchell, and many more supportive members outside our leadership group to start planning the activities at our National Convention that would culminate in the organizing meeting of the division. But before we can talk about what happened at the 74th convention of the National Federation of the Blind, we should talk about how we got there.

Throwing a Party for the Homeless Kids!: Part II

Editor’s Note: In October, we asked for articles about service projects chapters were doing. Jonathan Franks, who serves on the board of the NFB of Texas Austin Chapter, wrote about an upcoming Halloween-themed party his chapter would be throwing for the kids at a homeless shelter. The following Is Jonathan’s recap of the event and his thoughts about the importance of other chapters getting involved in similar projects as a way to give back to their communities.

Putting Our Words into Action: Our First Annual Service Project

Editor’s Note: During the 2014 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, held in Orlando, Florida, the Community Service Division organized our first annual off-site service project. This project took place on July 1 at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Charlotte Czarnecki of Minnesota, who now serves as secretary of the Community Service Division, coordinated this effort. The following is her account of the project and its importance to the philosophy of the Community Service Division and the National Federation of the Blind as a whole.

Sharing Hope

Editor’s Note: The following story comes from Christine Duffley of New Hampshire. She writes about her family’s experience helping out after Hurricane Katrina and beyond and why her family believes that serving together is so important.

AmeriCorps VISTA Experience

Editor’s Note: The following article comes from Denyece Roberts of Florida. She writes about her experience serving in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, what she has learned from serving, and what she hopes she has taught others through her service.

The Conversation, the Change, the Charter

Editor’s Note: In the following piece, Darian Smith, who serves as president of the newly-formed National Federation of the Blind of California Community Service Division, discusses the motivation and the process behind creating a state community service division.