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State Convention

 National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey 43rd ANNUAL STATE CONVENTION

November 7th through 10th, 2019
Theme: Live The Life You Want; We Got This

The 43rd Annual State Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey will be held at the:
DELTA Hotel by Marriott (formerly Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel)
515 US Highway 1 South
Iselin, New Jersey 08830
Access Link accessible
Cross street: Gill Lane

For those arriving via Access Link, please reserve your trip with the hotel located in Woodbridge. Access Link won’t be able to find the hotel if you use Iselin.

If traveling via train, the station nearest the hotel is the Metro Park Station. The hotel provides a shuttle from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.

The address to use for those driving is 4 Gill Lane. It is a bank that is across the street from the hotel.

The National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey is proud to have its Northern Chapter, Seniors Division, and Technology Division as hosts of this year’s convention.

We are proud to announce that national board member and President of the Washington D.C. affiliate, Shawn Callaway, has been assigned as the national representative. His biography is provided below.

Mark your calendars and make every effort to attend the 43rd annual state convention of the NFBNJ. Get Involved. Make a Difference!

Room Reservations

The DELTA Hotel by Marriott, formerly Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, is now accepting room reservations for the state convention. To make your reservation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please dial 732-634-3600 and use the group code of NFB. The best time to call is during regular business hours, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2019 room rates is $115 a night. Hotel room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes, which at present is 14.625% and will be in effect at the time of check-out. Breakfast Buffet included in rate for up to two guests per room for each night of lodging.

For early arrivals, there are a number of rooms reserved for Wednesday, November 6th. Don’t hesitate, please make your room reservations as soon as possible. Currently 110 rooms in our block have been reserved! Our block of rooms are available until October 18th, then they are released to the general public. In years past, the block sells out prior to the deadline, so please don’t hesitate!

When making hotel room reservations,you need to secure via credit card. There will be no charge to your card until you arrive at the hotel. Refrigerators will be available in all sleeping rooms this year. In addition, there are a limited number of wheelchair accessible rooms and if needed, don’t hesitate, make it known when you are making your room reservation.

With this said, if you are thinking about attending, if you are somewhat positive that you will attend, not quite sure you will attend and to those that know that they will attend, PLEASE make your hotel reservations as soon as possible.

Note: if you can not attend and you have made hotel reservations, don’t call the hotel to cancel. Please call Joe Ruffalo at 973-743-0075. Joe usually has a waiting list to review as many learn about the state convention after the date of October 18th. if the block is not sold out, the remainder of rooms will be released to the public. In years past, the block sells out prior to the deadline and therefore, Please, don’t hesitate!

Registration Form

NFB Code of Conduct

The National Federation of the Blind Code of Conduct will apply during our gatherings at the convention.

National Rep Biography

Shawn Callaway

Shawn Callaway was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. When he was a sophomore at South Carolina State University, a classmate was playing with a gun and accidentally shot Shawn in the temple. The accident resulted in the detachment of his optic nerves, which caused total blindness. Shawn returned to the DC area and received blindness training at the Workforce Technology Center in Baltimore. He credits a blind man named Lou Smith with providing his training and being an early mentor. He also credits his parents for encouraging him throughout his transition to life as a successful blind person.

After his rehabilitation training, Shawn earned his associate’s degree in psychology from Essex Community College in 1995, his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1997, and then his master’s in social work from Catholic University of America in 2000. He began his professional career working with the homeless at Catholic Charities, and then went on to counsel children in the Washington, DC public schools system for the city’s Department of Behavioral Health. He now works as a program specialist for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, specifically in programs of the Administration on Community Living and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In 2005, he married Latonya Rollins of Cleveland, Ohio.

Shawn had heard of the National Federation of the Blind in the mid-1990s but was initially convinced by a friend that the organization was too radical for him. In retrospect, he believes he was given bad information and wishes that he had become a Federationist earlier. After being invited to a chapter meeting by Linda Black-White, Shawn finally joined in the spring of 2009. He found himself leading the Washington, DC affiliate when longtime leader Don Galloway died in 2011.

Shawn already had confidence in most of his blindness skills when he joined the National Federation of the Blind, but he says that he was still apprehensive about becoming a parent. The opportunity to observe and talk to blind parents like Mark and Melissa Riccobono and Tracy Soforenco, as well as a DC Federationist named Vicky Smith, gave him confidence that he could be a successful blind parent. He is now the proud father of his daughter Camille who was born in 2014.

Shawn also credits participation in the NFB with opening up other leadership and community involvement opportunities for him. He has served on the boards of the DC Center for Independent Living and the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and has chaired the DC rehabilitation council. He currently co-hosts a community radio program called Open Our Eyes on two local stations. In addition, Shawn serves as the President of the DC Friends of the Talking Book and Braille Library and is a member of the DC Blind Bowlers Association. Shawn says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the NFB Board of Directors, both to give back to the organization as a whole and because so many past and present board members like Fred Schroeder, Anil Lewis, Dr. Joanne Wilson, Sam Gleese, Pam Allen, and Ever Lee Hairston have inspired and mentored me.

Videos from Previous State Convention

Videos from a previous year’s state convention can be viewed on our YouTube channel, NFBNJTransformDreams.

Here are the direct links to the playlist for previous state conventions.

NFBNJ Presidential Reports

Here are the NFBNJ Presidential Reports given by affiliate president Joe Ruffalo during our state conventions.

Additional Information

If you have questions and need additional information, please contact:
Joseph Ruffalo, President
254 Spruce Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Phone: 973-743-0075

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