State Convention

 National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey 41st ANNUAL STATE CONVENTION

November 9th through 12th, 2017
Theme: Live The Life You Want; Let’s Make It Happen – Honoring Longtime Member Jerilyn Higgins
Hosts: Central Jersey Chapter and the Braille Division

The 41st Annual State Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey will be held at the:
Holiday Inn Hotel
151 Route 72 East
Manahawkin, New Jersey 08050
Access Link accessible.

Mark your calendars and make every effort to attend the 41st annual state convention of the NFBNJ. Get Involved. Make a Difference!


Please complete the pre-registration form by October 26, 2017. After that point, pre-registration will close.

If paying via a personal PayPal account or a credit/debit card, please complete the online registration form:

If paying via check, please download and complete either the long or short version of the pre-registration form:

Make checks payable to NFBNJ and write 2017 convention in the memo. Please mark what you want as your preferred agenda format. In addition, please mark what you want as your meal choice if attending the banquet on November 11th. Mail checks and completed fill-out section of the form by October 26 to:
Joe Ruffalo, President
254 Spruce Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Food Drive

To all attending the state convention, the Barnegat Food Pantry will be accepting all unexpired
nonperishable food items. In addition, the pantry will accept items such as shampoo, soap, body wash, laundry soap, papertowels, toilet tissue, etc.
The staff will be guests of the NFBNJ and will join us at the banquet where we will present all items collected. Please consider this outreach program.

Salsa Dance Lesson

Please contact Krystle Allen, coordinator of the Friday evening activity! We want to encourage the individuals who are interested to participate in a dress code for that session. Krystle could provide assistance with obtaining a list of some salsa like attire. It adds to the festivity of the session.

Any questions or concerns, please contact:
Krystle Allen

Step Challenge Hosted By The Sports & Recreation Committee

Get healthy and be entered for a drawing to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card by walking or pedaling and tracking your steps for the month of October. You will need to walk or pedal 7,000 steps a day, 49,000 steps a week for a grand total of 217,000 steps from October 1 to October 31, 2017. The winner will be announced at the State Convention Banquet. You do not have to be present to claim your prize although it would be great if you are there.

Steps can be tracked by using the “Health App” on your iPhone or an Activity Tracker if you own one. If you are using your iPhone to track your steps it must be carried on your body in order for the steps to be acknowledge and counted. Weekly or monthly results must be submitted by email to Linda Melendez by November 2, 2017 to verify step activity totals. The email address to submit your step log is If you need assistance setting up the Health App on your iPhone or have any questions please call Linda at 732-421-7063.

NFBNJ Sports & Recreation Committee October Step Challenge Details:

When: October 1 to October 31, 2017
How: Walk or Pedal 7,000 steps a day; 49,000 steps each week for a grand total of 217,000 steps. Walking 7,000 steps per day from October 1, to October 31, 2017 equals approximately 109 miles. Get stepping together and see how many miles we can do as an affiliate! Our total number of miles will be announced at the state convention. So start walking and let’s see how far our virtual miles will take us together!

National Rep

We are honored and excited to have Scott LaBarre, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and the National Association of Blind Lawyers, as our national representative for our state convention. Please read his bio to learn more about Scott prior to meeting him at convention.

Scott C. LaBarre, Esq.
LaBarre Law Offices P.C.
Denver, Colorado

Scott C. LaBarre owns and operates LaBarre Law Offices P.C., (LLO). LLO specializes in employment law, disability rights, Randolph-Sheppard Act cases, and some international policy work particularly in the area of copyright law. Mr. LaBarre has appeared in federal and state courts throughout the United States securing many important victories for his clients such as Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners, 630 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 2011)(securing the right for blind students to use assistive technology as an accommodation on the multistate bar exam) and Cannon v. Palmer College of Chiropractic, 850 N.W.2d 326 (Iowa 2014)(securing the right of a blind student to pursue a doctor of chiropractic degree with his requested accommodations). He is permanently admitted before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and DC Circuits, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the Supreme Court of Colorado, and the Maryland Court of Appeals (Maryland’s highest court). LaBarre has been named one of Colorado’s Super Lawyers, a distinction recognizing the top five percent of Colorado attorneys.

Prior to launching his own firm in July of 1998, Mr. LaBarre acted as general counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Colorado, where he specialized in laws affecting the blind and disabled. Mr. LaBarre served in that capacity for five years. Even after establishing LLO, he remains very active in the NFB through his volunteer service in many leadership roles. In October of 2005, members of the NFB of Colorado elected LaBarre their President. He also serves as Chairman of the Preauthorized Contributions Committee, one of the Federation’s major national fundraisers. Additionally, he is President of the National Association of Blind Lawyers and serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Center for the Blind. The Federation has presented LaBarre with the Raymond W. McGeorge Award in 2010 for his work on behalf of the blind in Colorado and the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award in 2014 for his efforts to achieve successful adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Individuals Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, and Otherwise Print Disabled.

Since 2010, LaBarre has acted as the NFB’s lead delegate to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights to work on an international treaty to create the international exchange of published works in accessible formats for the blind and print disabled leading to the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty in June of 2013. This work has led to his election to the Accessible Books Consortium Board, a body sponsored by WIPO and designed to serve as an entity implementing the Marrakesh Treaty on a practical level, promote cross-border exchange of accessible books for the print disabled, and to encourage inclusive publishing.

As an original and current member of the Steering Committee, LaBarre helped to establish the Federation’s Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium on Disability Rights which gathers leaders from all sectors in the arena of disability rights to discuss the current status of the law and to plan needed reform. LaBarre has presented at the Symposium on several occasions. He is active in national, state and local bar associations through his service in many roles. LaBarre is a founding member of the Disability Rights Bar Association and serves on its Executive Board as Chairman. In September of 2016, LaBarre began a three year term on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors. He has also been a Commissioner on the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights and served as its Chair from 2004-2007. Mr. LaBarre is also active in the ABA’s Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division and reassumed a position on its governing council starting in August of 2013, previously serving on the Division’s Council from 2005 through 2009. In the last decade plus, he has also performed the roles of a Director in the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, Vice Chairman and a member of the ABA-YLD Bar Leadership Team, YLD Liaison to the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, a member of the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors, and Treasurer and a member of the Executive Council of the Denver Bar Association’s Young Lawyers.

Mr. LaBarre received his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota in 1993 and his Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1990. He left Minnesota in 1993 to work at the National Headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind. He moved to Colorado in June of 1994. He is married to a wonderful woman who originally hales from Armenia, Anahit Galechyan. Anahit and Scott have two children, Alexander (born October 2002) and Emily (born December 2004).

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

Left Hand Sidebar

Contact Information

Joseph Ruffalo, President
254 Spruce Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Phone: 973-743-0075

Coming Soon

NFBNJ 41st State Convention

November 9-12, 2017
Holiday Inn Hotel
151 Route 72 East
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Access Link accessible

2018 NFB Washington Seminar

January 29 to February 1, 2018
Holiday Inn Capitol
550 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

PayPal Donations

Please make a donation to the National Federation of the Blind general account, our general scholarship account, the Joe/Rose Ruffalo Memorial Scholarship account, or the Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy. Please indicate which account you wish the donation to go into when making your contribution. You do not need to have a PayPal account to donate, simply use the information from your debit/credit card if you don't have PayPal. All donations are tax deductible. To make a donation to NFBNJ via PayPal, please visit our PayPal Donations page.

White Cane Awareness Day: teach the world about what the white cane means to blind people

White canes help blind people live the lives we want. The white cane does more than tell the sighted that we’re blind; it is a tool for freedom and self-determination because it allows blind people to come and go on our own. Since we can travel safely and independently, we can contribute in the workplace, in our communities, and in society. Celebrate White Cane Awareness Day on October 15 by giving the gift of independence. To learn more, please visit If you wish to make a donation during White Cane Day, please visit