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Achievements & Accomplishments

Showing that our members are living the lives they want!

Daniel J. Facchini

Past Affiliate Second Vice President
President, Northeast Chapter
Chair, Guide Dog Committee
Chair, Blind Merchants & Entrepreneurs Committee
Member, Scholarship Committee
Member, Resolutions Committee
Business owner, Danno’s café/ vending services

In 1995, I found the NFB and attended my first state convention when my career as an auto mechanic was coming to an end due to a serious change in my vision.
My achievments and accomplishments have been and will continue to assist myself and others to reach my goals to be the best I can be with the encouragement from my NFB family.

Brian Mackey

Past Affiliate Treasurer
Affiliate Bookkeeper
Affiliate Webmaster

Since 2011, Brian is the proud owner of Mackey Enterprises, LLC. in November 2015, Brian successfully launched his company website, www.mackeyenterprisesllc.com. Since July 2018, Brian maintains six NFB affiliate websites and one national division website! Brian is also an active member of the Middle Atlantic Blind Golf Association since 2010, which holds about 30 to 40 outings a year in Pennsylvania and Southern NJ each year. Brian is the winner of the 2018 MABGA Pro Am Tournament on August 17th, and the winner of the 2018 Putting Contest at Green Valley Country Club during a MABGA outing on August 21st. In 2006, Brian earned his 1st degree black belt in Shotokan karate. Brian graduated from the Louisiana Center for the Blind in 2007. In addition, Brian was a participant of the National Federation of the Blind’s 86th National Leadership Seminar which took place in March 2018. Brian is the recipient of the 2018 NFBNJ Raising Expectations Award in honor of his 15 years of service with the affiliate, awarded at the 42nd NFBNJ State Convention after his move to Pennsylvania earlier that year.

Linda Melendez

Affiliate 1st Vice President
Vice President, At Large Chapter
President, NFBNJ Sports & Recreation Division
Chair, Transit Committee

A major accomplishment of mine was being the Key Note Speaker on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 and sharing my journey of “Getting into the Game of Life” at the 35th Annual Conference for the New Jersey Commission on Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center in Monroe New Jersey for approximately 75 attendees. It was an honor and a privilege to speak about my life and how I have become the woman I am today. I spoke about being the eldest of four daughters of a single mom in the late 60’s; her struggles and triumphs during a time when there was little to no assistance for physically abused women. The same was true for single parents, families living below the poverty level and people with disabilities. I focused on how each person has the power in their own lives to remove barriers and overcome obstacles that prevent us from living the lives we truly want. Highlights of my presentation included sharing my own experiences as a single mom and serving as support for my family; going from sight to blindness and how there really can be a great life after such an experience; the pride and hard work involved the loss of 100 pounds and completing my first half-marathon; coping with the death of my mom, managing my anxiety and depression and of course, describing my leadership role in the National Federation of the Blind of NJ and how its philosophy holds a major role in my life today.

Testimonials

The National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey has positively changed many lives since its founding in 1976. If you wish your testimonial to be included here, please submit to President Joe Ruffalo at nfbnj1@verizon.net for consideration.

Carol Castellano:

We were lucky enough to learn about the NFB when our daughter Serena was a baby. We began attending NFB conventions when she was in first grade and we were desperate for help with her education. We received help and so much more. Our daughter is an adult now and we are still active members of our state NFB and we still attend conventions. What we found that first time is what still inspires and energizes us each time we go–the message that blind people can lead normal lives complete with a job, a family, friendships, fun, and involvement in community life. We learn something new at convention each year that can not only help our child but that we can take back to our home state to help other blind kids and their families. Being part of the NFB and attending NFB conventions is absolutely THE BEST thing you can do for your blind child.

Amo Musharrif:

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the NFBNJ State Convention. This was an excellent event and I learned a lot and gained a lot of insight. I met incredible, knowledgeable, inspirational people – and they left me energized.

Christy Lynch:

It was 21 years ago, when a doctor said to me, “Ms. Lynch, I hate to drop the bomb on you, but you will never be able to see again.” Now I didn’t have much usable vision as it was, but what I had, I relied on so heavily. My life, I thought, was over that day.

Fast forward 2 years later, we were sitting in the office of my occularist waiting for my new eyes to be finished. I’d found a couple braille books on the table. One, was the Braille Monitor. There were articles by many blind individuals and I thought to myself, “These people are all blind?” So I thought, “Maybe I really aught to try this Nfb out. I mean, if they can live independently, then so can I!” I attended a few state conventions in Pennsylvania, my first national convention in Philadelphia in 2001.

It’s now 2017, I am currently working in Human Resources at Td Bank N.A., in Mt. Laurel New Jersey. Just celebrated my 6th year anniversary. I attended my 3rd National convention in Orlando Florida this year, and again, had a wonderful time. Was inspired to keep going. I was fortunate to meet our State President Mr. Joe Ruffalo, along with many others. I currently serve as Secretary of the South Jersey Shore chapter of the National Federation of the blind, as well as Secretary of the National Association of Blind Office Professionals devision. Looking forward to attending my third New Jersey state convention in November 2018 and fourth national convention in July 2018. I’m living the life I want, thanks to a great organization called the National Federation of the blind.

Lydia Keller:

I was introduced to the NFBNJ from a friend in September 2007 and attended my first state convention that fall in Manahawkin. I witnessed throughout the weekend the many skills, techniques and the positive attitude demonstrated at the state convention and I realized that with training and hard work, I will gain my independence that I needed and wanted to achieve. With this knowledge, I would share wit others the gift of the Federation.

By gaining confidence, I have become involved in the NFBNJ by holding multiple positions of leadership in several state divisions. With my involvement in the divisions, I have been able to discuss several opportunities to learn technology to better my life.

I am proud to be a member of the largest blind organization in the country and in the state, The National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey as we raise expectations to live the life we want!

Chris Franz

My name is Christine Franz. I am vision Impaired and have Cerebral Palsy. When I was going to school most of my teachers gave me coloring books and crayons and M&M’s to keep me quiet because they kept telling me I couldn’t learn anything. I met a wonderful lady named Jane in 2006 who introduced me to her brother Joe. They encouraged me to learn other techniques so I could do more by myself. After that, I went to the Joseph Kohn Rehabilitation Center (JKRC) to learn activities of daily living skills so I can learn how to live on my own. With Jane and Joe’s excitement and encouragement I moved out of a group home into my first apartment alone over 10 years ago. I went to my first state convention in 2009. I believed in the NFB philosophy and became more and more independent as the years went by. I learned a lot from different people in the Federation, Such as how to act on a conference call, and each one can teach one . I became more confident with so many friends of mine in the federation.

I joined the Senior Division since it started in 2011, the Technology Division in 2013, and the At Large Chapter since it was established in 2009. I am grateful for all of you in the NFB that continue to assist me to be the best I can be. Many of you have made me more confident and this makes me much happier. I want to say to those new members that there are people that believe in you here in our NFB family, just like I found and it has helped me to live the life I want and need, and you can be the best you can be here with our NFB family too.

Beatrice Oliveti:

In 2008, I called David DeNotaris, a leader in the Federation, with questions pertaining to the skills and techniques of blindness. David provided information about the Northeast Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey. The Federation changed my life by raising my expectations to believe that I was the one who could transform my dreams into reality. They wanted to know how they could assist me to live the life I want! Throughout my years in the NFBNJ, I’ve met many members that have become my friends. I’ve learned life-altering skills, such as how to take New Jersey Transit’s Access Link paratransit system, and how to use an iPhone with voiceover. I love attending events such as the national and state conventions, the chapter and the affiliate holiday parties, our Northeast Chapter meetings, and the educational, motivational and inspirational fundraising activities.
I had the honor of serving as state secretary of the New Jersey Affiliate for several years. Not only did this opportunity help strengthen my interpersonal and computer skills, but, as a result, I was able to participate in a leadership/membership engagement weekend conference at the National Office in Baltimore. During my time as secretary, I also served as program director for ThruOurEyes, an internet radio show featuring the affiliate president as host. This experience enabled me to interact with many national leaders within the Federation.
Another life-altering experience as a result of joining the NFB is that I met a wonderful woman by the name of Jane and her family. Jane imparted to me useful technology skills such as how to use an iPod touch and the NLS (National Library Service) talking book player. I’m blessed to know Jane and the members throughout the country and state. We are a Federation family.
Another awesome thing that happened in my life as a result of making the acquaintance of my Federation family is that, as a result of attending events with me, my family was able to see how other blind people, in addition to myself, can become successful through training. I’m forever grateful to my Federation family for unlocking my potential, which now allows me to share the gift of the Federation and to live the life I want through training and advocacy.
The members believed in me before I believed in myself. My advice is to attend national and state conventions, locate a chapter, attend the meetings, get and stay involved, and share the gift of the Federation with others.

Daniel J. Facchini

My long history with the national federation of the blind started way back in late 1995. I found the NFB when my career as an auto mechanic was coming to an end due to a serious change in my vision. That same year, I attended my first state convention. I walked in not knowing what to expect, but then I saw and heard all these amazing blind people! I said to myself, “Dan this is for you!” The truth be told, I have not stopped. I needed and wanted to learn the proper skills and techniques to assist with my personal growth as a businessman with goals, purposes and objectives to live the life I want.

In January of 2003, I was eager to start my new business at a small snack bar, and 15 years later, I accomplished building the business to a large vending route. Proud of my successes, I decided to reward myself and purchased my first home in July 2014, where I currently reside. I love having friends, family, and chapter members over to share great moments together.

Through my career as a member and leader in the national federation of the blind, I have had the privilege of receiving and sharing the gift of the Federation to raise expectations to transform dreams into reality. My successes are the successes for all, “When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.” The ability to help others see that they too are capable of achieving many accomplishments makes all the difference. By joining, getting and staying involved provides the opportunity to believe it can be done.

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