FCB 71st Annual Convention

Download MS Word Convention Call and Registration.
Go to the Exhibitor information and registration.

When: Thursday May 16 through Sunday at noon on May 19, 2024.
Where: Southbank Hotel, 1515 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, FL  32207
Room rates: $109 per night plus tax. See hotel reservation information below.



"The River City" extends to the FCB members an array of opportunities to experience culture, entertainment and luscious beaches. Caravan along with us, as we travel to the city of seven bridges for our Annual FCB Convention.

As we prepare to make our way to the "First Coast", that city on the move called Jacksonville because it's “2024 and there's so much more” for us to pursue, participate and pave the way for a more thriving community. More beautiful landscape to tread with our canes and guides to accomplish something greater. Like the intersecting of Interstates 10 and 95 we will travel from near and far with anticipation and excitement. Building upon the foundation of our evolving membership, advocating efforts and legislative initiatives as their success continues to carry on. Gathering together in unity to set the course to all of the magnificent things to come. Enhancing the confidence of every member to continue to strive in confidence. Educating and supporting them along the way to a more accessible society. Empowering our communities, chapters and special interests to be viable resources for living a fulfilled life as a Blind or Visually Impaired person who has much more to offer. 
Dear Friends and Members of FCB,

The Florida Council of the Blind, Inc. (FCB) warmly welcomes you to our 71st annual convention scheduled May 16 – May 19, 2024 in Jacksonville. The convention hotel is the Southbank Riverwalk; 1515 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32207.

Room rates are $109.00 per night plus tax. Call 904-396-5100 or to reserve online at Book your group rate for Florida Council of the Blind

Self-parking is $8.00 per day.  At check-in, each person will be given a $15 breakfast coupon which must be used in the hotel’s restaurant.  If you spend $15 or more, pay for and use this coupon. Please reserve your room now to guarantee our special convention rate.

The FCB Convention will be exciting and educational, full of varied and informative programs and of course, time for visiting and fun! There's something for everyone here, don't miss it!

This year our convention will be a hybrid convention.  This means that you can attend in person at the hotel or participate on Zoom.  ACB Media will be streaming some of our convention workshops and FCB will use its Zoom platform to present other workshops.  The Zoom information will be sent out a few days before the convention starts.  Our thanks and deep appreciation are extended to Rick Morin and ACB Media for streaming our convention because we will be heard nationwide and around the world.  

The registration cost for the hybrid convention is thirty dollars.  After you register, your name will be added to the list for door prize winners.  

Convention Schedule

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024

7:00 – 10:00 PM

Come and enjoy a pizza party evening in the Southbank Hotel in the FCB hospitality room.  Plan to enjoy several varieties of pizza and play darts using an accessible dart board.  A cash bar will be set up for our convenience. The preregistration cost is a ten-dollar donation.

FRIDAY, May 17, 2024

8:30 – 9:30 AM    
FCB Employment Committee

The Florida Council of the Blind’s Employment Committee’s program will be a panel discussion highlighting Skills Needed for Mastering Job Interviewing Techniques.

The discussion will focus on the employer and the job applicant during the process.

Discussion Topics will include:

  1. Preparing For A Job Interview: such as researching the business before the interview, so that the applicant is prepared to engage in conversation about the business.
  2. During the interview: know that the applicant is qualified for the job.
  3. Listen And Not Interrupt:
    Allow interviewer to complete statements and ask questions.
  4. Grooming And Posture:
    “Dress to impress,” “Be Your Best!”
  5. Why do you feel that you will do well in this business?
  6. DISCLOSURE RIGHTS: will be discussed.

Come and be prepared with questions about interviewing.

9:30 - 10:30 AM    
Guide Dog Users of Florida (GDUF)
What is involved in the breeding, matching and training of guide dogs?

Are you currently working with a guide dog or have you thought about using this form of independent mobility? Christie Bane, the Assistant Director of Puppy raising Services at Southeastern Guide Dogs, as well as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI), Certified orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), and published author writing Forward Together, with more than 30 years of experience, will share her knowledge and opinions about what makes an effective guide dog team. Join Guide Dog Users of Florida (GDUF) to learn about the breeding, raising, training, matching and instruction process. We’re honored to have Christie speak to us via Zoom.  

9:45 - 10:45 AM    
Show Me The Money – Chapter Tips And Tricks For Fundraising And Budgeting

Hosted By: Greater Orlando Council Of The Blind (GOCB) And The FCB Fundraising Committee

Are you struggling to make money for your local FCB chapter? Is the thought of planning a chapter budget feeling sometimes overwhelming or beyond your expertise? The Greater Orlando Council Of The Blind (GOCB) Chapter was feeling this way 10 years ago. We would like to have an open discussion on how things are going for your chapter and GOCB would be happy to share the steps we took to create an environment for understanding the budget process and how fundraising projects have brought our chapter closer together. Please bring your chapter’s fundraising experiences and let’s exchange ideas. Fundraising can be a whole lot of fun!

Panel Participants:
Moderator: Dan Spoone
Panelists: Marsha Bukala, Leslie Spoone, Janeen Lea, and Kolby Garrison, ACB Development Officer

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Coalitions for the Concerns of the Totally Blind (CCTB)
This year The CCTB Program will focus on travel.  

Katie White is a travel agent with her own business, Magical Moments Vacations. She specializes in planning Disney vacations of all kinds, trips to Universal Resort, cruises, and all-inclusive vacations for blind or visually impaired people, as well as wheelchair users and those with sensory sensitivity.

If you are interested in travel, you won't want to miss this presentation, so join us for what I think will be a very informative presentation, and be prepared with questions about any travel plans you may be considering.

11:00 AM -12:00
PM Braille Revival League of Florida (BRLF)

Join braille revival league of Florida as we elect new board members during the first part of our session.  After that is taken care of, we’ll be exploring the fascinating world of 3d printing and how it is being used by our guest Caroline Karbowski from see3d who will be joining us on zoom. Caroline provides all types of models for the visually impaired to explore the world around them.


As always, one of the highlights of convention is our Exhibit Hall that will be open both Friday and Saturday all day. Come browse, purchase goods or learn about new technology to assist you in living a more productive and independent life.

1:00 - 1:30 PM
FCB’s New and Improved Website

Come meet Annette Carter, Master Website Developer, our new website administrator, who will tell you all about the changes she has made to our website.  She will also answer any questions from the participants.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    
FCB Annual Legislative Seminar

Come join us as we highlight the necessary journey that we take to Capitol Hill each year, this time, returning to our practice of meeting face to face with legislative assistants from the offices of every member of the Florida Congressional Delegation. You will hear from our advocates who faithfully visit the Hill each year. You will have the privilege of hearing from FCB members who paid their first visit to Capitol Hill with us this year as they share their fresh vision of this experience.

You will hear from those who traveled to Tallahassee representing FCB with NFB of Florida, DBS and agencies serving the blind, for the purpose of formally re-introducing ourselves to the Florida Legislature as the first step in establishing a more collaborative and meaningful presence in the State Capitol.

Claire Stanley, who recently returned to ACB as its Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, will advise us about publicizing and gaining support for local, state and national issues that are pivotal to our full participation in the life of our community, State and country.

A member of the Florida legislator will speak with us about the reality of political service in 2024 Florida and will recommend the best avenues to take to ensure that we are heard in the Legislature.

Please join us and support those members of FCB who have bravely represented all of Florida's citizens who are blind and visually impaired with courage, commitment and heart.

2:45 – 3:15 PM   
Credentials Workshop (Not on Zoom)

Register your onsite delegates for the convention.  Each chapter or affiliate must be represented in person by an FCB member to receive your credentials.

3:00 - 4:00 PM
Democracy Live
Bridging Perspectives: Advocating for Electronic Ballot Return

In this thought-provoking session, we'll delve into the crucial topic of electronic ballot return and its significance for individuals facing print challenges. As the forefront leaders in election technology, we're excited to engage with you on how to effectively communicate the importance of accessible at-home voting to other advocacy groups.

Have you ever wondered why some advocacy groups oppose electronic ballot return without understanding its full potential? Join us as we explore the underlying concerns and misconceptions surrounding this technology.
Throughout the session, we'll discuss strategies for initiating dialogue and collaboration with these groups, fostering understanding, and promoting inclusive voting practices for all.

Don't miss this opportunity to be part of a dynamic conversation that aims to drive positive change in electoral accessibility! Mark your calendars and join us in shaping the future of voting rights for every individual. See you there

3:30 – 4:15 PM    
First-timers Workshop (Not on Zoom)

Is this your first time attending an FCB Convention? WELCOME! We have a special workshop just for you, co-hosted by long-time members and FCB experts: Sally Benjamin, Mark Lear and Cassandra Jessie. This workshop will tell you who we are, what we do and what we have to offer. Come check it out and let us get to know each other.

4:30 – 4:50 PM
Executive Committee Meeting

4:50 – 5:15 PM
Pre-Convention Board Meeting

7:00 PM
Awards and Scholarship Banquet

Join us on Friday evening to celebrate and recognize FCB leaders and deserving students at a special Dinner hosted in their honor by Julien Clement and Gabriel Lopez Kafati, the committee chairs of the Awards and Education, Leadership and Scholarship Committees. Select advocates and leaders will be recognized with prestigious awards and deserving students will be presented with valuable scholarships. The cost of this year's Awards Banquet is $50.00. If you are attending the FCB Banquet and Live Auction, the cost for both banquets is $95.00.  Select your meal choices and mark your registration form accordingly.

SATURDAY, May 18, 2024

8:00 - 10:00 AM
FCB 2024 Convention Opening Ceremony
The theme of this year's opening session is: Keys to Effective, Meaningful and Relevant Communication.

Included in the panel of experts in communicating effectively who will join us to share their knowledge, experience and insight are:
Paul Edwards, Past President of ACB and FCB;
Penny Reeder, Chair of the ACB Board of Publications;
and Pam Shaw, Certified Life Coach Joy Restoration Specialist.  

Some of the topics that will be brought to us by our amazing panelists are:

  • Bringing clarity and purpose to a communication;
  • Determining how best to ensure that the words truly express the intent of the communication;
  • Responding to those to whom the communication is addressed that provides an opportunity for all to hear and to be heard;
  • Achieving an outcome that is positive and inclusive while never violating the foundational principles on which the cause is built.

Please join us so that as FCB family and friends, we can come together to learn and to grow in our ability to respectfully and relevantly communicate.


10:15 - 11:05 AM
Resource development at the American Council of the Blind

(ACB) operates through a strategic and multifaceted approach aimed at fostering relationships, understanding donor interests, and maximizing fundraising opportunities in support of ACB’s mission and its programs and services. At its core, development involves identifying and engaging with the "right" prospects, cultivating relationships, and making targeted funding requests which are aligned with donors' capacity and interests.

Presenters Kolby Garrison, ACB Development Officer; Jo Lynn Bailey-Page, Associate Director of Development; and Bill Reeder, ACB Interim Director of Development, will help you understand the approaches ACB uses to raise funds and answer your fundraising-related questions. They look forward to your participation in this fun and interactive session.

10:15 - 11:05 AM
Join Petr Kucheryavyy, Sr. Manager with Spectrum’s Accessibility team.  

He will present an informative look at all of Spectrum’s Accessibility offerings. Find out what’s new with the Spectrum Access app, Spectrum TV App, accessible Self-Support and more. Additionally, learn about the all new Xumo Stream Box with a voice control remote, available now.


11:15 AM - 12:05 PM
FCB Technology Committee Program

Have you ever taken a picture in an unfamiliar environment and instantly received a written or spoken description of the entire scene, replete with wall art, furniture, people and the clothing they are wearing? Or, have you wondered if your kids (or you) could feed a couple facts to an electronic device and get BACK a full-blown essay or short story in response? What about music? Would you like to write a song for your parents’ anniversary that has tiny personal details about them and their years together right there in the chorus? And HAVE you taken full advantage of the power available right there in your Amazon Echo (Alexa), who could tell you everything from how to fold a fitted sheet or preserve fresh basil, TO ways to teach your cat a new trick, or tune your ukulele? These are the kinds of worlds that will be explored in the realm of Artificial Intelligence, “AI and You”, hosted by the FCB Technology Committee. Come learn and laugh with us as we explore what AI can do for people who are blind and visually impaired.

11:15 AM - 12:05 PM
Audio Description
Advocating for Live Audio Description in the Arts

Attending local arts and cultural events — such as plays, musicals, dance, family theatre and the like — is part of living in great communities. But how do you best advocate for audio description when many performing arts organizations have never heard of it? Join Stasha Boyd, Brian Smith and Marsha Bukala of Central Florida’s Audio Description Initiative as we share the action steps we took to go from no theatres providing audio description at the start of 2022 to over ten different theatres and more than 45 audio described performances by the end of 2023.

12:00 – 6:00 PM
FCB Blood Drive

The One Drive Blood Mobile will be at the Southbank Hotel on Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18 from noon until
6:00 PM.  This is a community event.  If you are interested
in donating blood, visit the CALM booth in the exhibit hall on Friday to make an appointment.  Meet volunteers in the hotel lobby for assistance to the blood mobile.  Service dogs are welcome in the blood mobile but space is very tight.  For the comfort and safety of your service dog, you might want to consider leaving your dog in the hotel.

1:30 - 2:45 PM
FCB Annual Town Hall Meeting

Plan to attend this exciting and informative meeting moderated by President Sheila Young.  You will hear from the Director of the Division of Blind Services, (DBS) Robert Doyle, regarding the current status of the goals and mission of the agency including specific news that he wishes to bring to us.  Nicole Sanders, Bureau Chief of the Braille and Talking Book Library, will also provide us with information.  After their presentations, questions will be entertained from the audience.


3:00 - 4:00 PM
Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision
Join Mary Ann Grignon from Accessible Pharmacy

The purpose of this session is to enlighten attendees about Accessible Pharmacy for the Blind and all of the opportunities available to patients and those who are blind and visually impaired in general.

We will focus on what puts the Accessible in Accessible Pharmacy, what products/medications are available in our pharmacy, new programs that are now available and the many informational webinars previously presented and those to come.  Finally, we will leave plenty of time for Q&A.

3:00 - 4:00 PM    Not on Zoom  
Easy Chair Yoga with Leslie Spoone Certified Aerobic and personal Trainer

Come and enjoy easy chair yoga. Leslie will teach you some easy moves for yoga and get your body stretched giving you relaxation from your busy schedule. You will even be able to do some of these moves when you go back home. Yoga is a wonderful way to elongate your muscles and keep your mind stress free from all of the world’s problems. So, I hope you stop by at convention to get some mind and body experiences!

7:00 PM
FCB Annual Banquet and Live Auction

Attend FCB'S Annual Banquet: hosted by FCB President, Sheila Young. FCB’s Banquet speaker is Kolby Garrison who is the ACB Development Officer for fundraising.
Kolby is from North Carolina and has been working for ACB for three years. She is passionate about advocating for accessibility and improving life for people with disabilities. Outside of work, she loves NASCAR, reading, and singing.

The cost of this year's FCB Banquet is $50. If you are planning to attend the Awards and Scholarships Banquet, then the cost for both banquets is $95.  Choose your meal choices and mark your registration form accordingly.

John Richards’ tunes and more... Directly following the banquet, don't miss tunes from the vast library of DJ extraordinaire, John Richards. Come dance, sing, socialize, or enjoy yourself while getting supercharged for the suspense and excitement of FCB's annual live auction, the drawing of the winning tickets from the Chapter Revenue Program, and door prizes.

SUNDAY, May 19, 2024

8:30 AM: Convention Business Meeting

Bright and early on Sunday morning, you can then claim your right and responsibility as an FCB member by participating in the organization's annual business meeting. Hear from leaders about progress made and work yet needing to be done and discover what important role you can play in advocacy. This year we will have elections of all state officers.


Forms and payment as well as online registration and payment must be post marked no later than Thursday, May 9, 2024 to guarantee the Early Bird registration discount of $30.00 for attendees who will be in the hotel meeting rooms and those attending on Zoom.  Registration at the door will be $35 paying with cash or check only.

Contact Kati Lear at our Project Insight Office with any questions or requests for assistance regarding convention registration at:
(800) 267-4448 or
(386) 763-3836 or
email floridacouncil@comcast.net.

To reserve assistive listening devices, (ALD) please call by May 9.

If you are paying by check, your choices will not be honored until Sally receives your check.  Please do not staple your check to your registration form. Please make check payable to FCB and mail to:   

Sally Benjamin
1009 Concord Road Apt. 116      
Tallahassee, FL 32308

Registration Information
Choose your media preference. *
(Optional) Personal Donations for the FCB Convention
I plan to attend the convention: *
Zoom Pre-Registration Payment (Please check box)
Meal Choices
Meal Choice for Awards Banquet
Meal Choice for FCB Banquet
Choose all payments that apply: