ACB Maine Convention 2022 Registration

ACB of Maine

Convention November 5, 2022

Registration/Membership Form

Return by October 29, 2022



Phone #


Registration: FREE

Membership Dues for 2023: $15

Mail Method for Paying Dues:

Make checks payable to “ACB of Maine”

Mail check to:

ACB of Maine

PO Box 2885

Waterville, Maine 04903

Electronic Method for Paying Dues:

Go to the website and select ACB of Maine Membership link. There you can pay by using PayPal, debit card or credit card.

You must register to receive the Zoom link for the convention. Please send your registration/membership form to Cheryl Peabody and indicate if you are also paying dues. Cheryl’s email is:

Copy and paste this into an email to Cheryl Peabody, or download and print out a copy of the ACB of Maine Conference 2022 Registration Form and send by postal mail.


ACB Maine – A Vision of Hope 2022 Convention Program

Hello members and Friends of ACB Maine,

The officers and board of directors are pleased to present you with the 2022 ACB of Maine virtual convention on Saturday, November 5, 2022. We hope that you find this year’s program offers topics of interest and a worth while experience. With any luck, we will be together for an in-person convention next year.

Below is program information as well as registration/membership instructions.

ACB Maine – A Vision of Hope 2022 Convention Program

9:30 – 10:00 Welcome and Introductions President Leona McKenna

10:00 – 11:00 Keynote Speaker Svetlana Ehlers

Svetlana Ehlers is an 18-year-old from Missouri with a unique story. Due to a premature birth, Svetlana’s eyes did not fully develop, and she was left blind. She was born in Armenia and her parents could not care for her so she was left in an orphanage where she was abused.

At the age of 9, Svetlana was adopted and came to the United States. She is now a senior in high school and was chosen as the student of the month by Freedom Scientific. She is very involved in many groups and activities both at school and in her community. The Civil Air Patrol and the Cane Drivers are two of the groups in which she belongs. Svetlana will speak about adversity and the challenges she has faced in her own life. Time for audience questions and conversation with Svetlana will be included in her presentation.

11:00 – 12:00 Scholarship Applicants Panel Discussion

This will be an opportunity to discuss with our scholarship applicants the challenges they face and what ACB of Maine as an organization can do to assist younger people with their goals.

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB)

FFB will present information regarding research, treatment and innovations for retinal diseases that affect 10 million American’s.

2:00 – 2:15 Break

2:15 – 3:30 Business Meeting

Approval of minutes and Treasurer’s report.


Constitution & Bylaws

Scholarship Winners Announcement Election of Officers and Directors

3:30 Open discussion.

Just kik back and enjoy some time visiting and sharing with old and new friends.

Door prizes: There will be 4 $100 Visa gift cards drawn throughout the day. You must be a member to be eligible to win. In addition, there will be a new member drawing and a renewing member drawing each for a $100 Visa gift card. For all drawings, you must be present to win.


Tech Talk withSteve Sawczyn

Want to learn more about accessible technology? Curious how technology might be able to help you live a more fulfilling life? Do you have questions about technology and just don’t know who to ask?

ACB of Maine is launching a new technology-related program called Tech Talk, hosted by Steve Sawczyn. Tech Talk is a program that will allow ACB of Maine members to join, get technology questions answered, and have an opportunity to learn something new. Tech Talk will take place via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month starting this February. Information for joining the Zoom meeting will be sent out prior to each program.

If you have any questions about Zoom, or how to access the program, please reach out to Steve Sawczyn:

Email: Phone: (207 458-8270

Tech Talk is the second Tuesday of the month from 7-9 PM:

May 9, 2023

June 13, 2023

July 11, 2023

August 8, 2023

September 12, 2023

October 10, 2023

November 14, 2023

December 12. 2023


Maine White Cane Walks 2019

White Cane Walk Dover Maine

October 12,2019
White Cane Walk
Dover – Foxcroft
Start 10 am
The Dover Low Vision Group is holding a “ White Cane Walk” to make all aware of people who are blind and visually impaired using white canes to travel with. All cars must yield to those using a white cane or guide dog. It is the law,failure to do so will result in a fine., of not less than $50 and no more than $1,000.
Meet at Maine Highlands Credit Union parking lot, at 955 West Main St. Walking to Irving’s for refreshments after .
Call – Nancy 564-0036

The Iris Network White Cane Walk for Independence

October 12, 2019 from 9 am to noon, and starts at 189 Park Ave,, Portland, ME. To register or donate, click on the following link: or contact Terri Tomchak at (207) 518-5040 or


Aira Announces Reduced Room Rates for 2019 ACB Convention

Aira Looks Forward to Welcoming You to the 2019 American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention in Rochester!

As you know, the 2019 American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention will be held in Rochester, N.Y. from Friday, July 5th through Friday, July 12th. What you may not know is that this year’s reduced room rates come courtesy of Aira. ACB members attending Conference and Convention can enjoy a reduced hotel rate from $89 to $82 per night. This is applicable for ACB members only. If you have already made your hotel reservation, you will still get the reduced rate if you are an ACB member. ACB will be verifying our members internally with the hotel.

Aira will also be providing free service during the event, meaning you can explore and experience everything the convention has to offer with Aira at no cost to you – from the moment you get to Rochester Airport, to entering your reduced rate hotel, to visiting exhibit booths and reading menus while at dinner with friends.

Aira and ACB look forward to meeting you at this year’s ACB Conference and Convention. Come say “hi” to the Aira Team at their booth and attend their interactive talks. You can find all the details about Aira convention happenings at

To become a member of the American Council of the Blind, visit:


2018 White Cane and Guide Dog Walk Events

2018 State of Maine White Cane walks for Independence

There’s a hint of fall in the air, and that means that the white cane and guide dogs are at the ready to step out and show those impressive independent travel skills of the blind and visually impaired community of Maine. Saturday, October 13th is the date, and throughout the state there will be events held once again to showcase the skills that only those blind and visually impaired travelers can do.

From Presque Isle to Portland, this annual event will once again welcome one and all to the street corners, crosswalks and sidewalks of Maine.

Care to join us? Here’s a list of the events around the state.


Dover Foxcroft White Cane Walk

When: Saturday, October 13, 2018

Where: Dover – Foxcroft

This years walk will start at 10 am, with participants meeting at Maine Highlands Credit Union parking lot, 955 West Main St. Walkers are invited to Irving’s for refreshments after the event.

Note: Orders for white cane walk T-shirts are now being taken.

For t-shirt ordering and walk event information, call Nancy Matulis, 564-0036


Presque Isle White Cane and Guide Dog Walk

Where: Wilders parking lot, Presque Isle

When: Saturday, October 13, 10am,

This year’s annual event will consist of participants walking a few laps of Main Street. All are welcome, rain or shine.

For more information, contact Bruce Archer:

Phone: (207) 764-3360


Portland White Cane Walk for Independence

Where: The Iris Network, 189 Park Avenue, Portland, Maine

When: Saturday, October 13, 2018

Registration starts at 9am

Walk begins at 10am, 1.4 Mile Walk



Augusta White Cane Walk Notice

There will not be a scheduled white cane walk in the city of Augusta this year. This annual event is scheduled to take place once again in October, 2019.


Attention! Attention!

Bangor White Cane Event

Information regarding this event will be posted as soon as possible.


ACB Maine would like to wish the best to all of you who are taking part in this year’s October 13 State of Maine events.

The camaraderie is something to see, and as the annual traditions continue, the commitment grows stronger throughout this great state that we are proud to call home.

Walk tall this fall, and have an ACB day!

2018 ACB Maine State Convention

ACB Maine is proud to host our convention in South Portland this year!

Our organization will also be taking part in the annual White Cane Walk for Independence hosted by The Iris Network in Portland Maine on Saturday morning.

When:  October 13th – 14th

Where:  Iris Network, Portland, and Howard Johnson’s in So. Portland

ACB Maine plans on joining The Iris Network, Portland, in the White Cane Walk.  Registration for the event will be starting at The Iris Network at 9am, with the walk beginning at 10am.  We will reconvene at Howard Johnson’s on 675 Main St in South Portland at 1:00.

This annual convention event continues the long tradition of ACB of Maine to reach out to the blind community to strengthen the bond in and around the blind and visually impaired folks of this great state. We at ACB Maine invite old and new friends to South Portland to help us celebrate the inspirational independence of our time tested group, and encourage young and old to help us continue forging a path towards tomorrow.

Further convention information will be posted to this website as soon as it becomes available.

What say! Add ACB Maine to Your Favorites Today!

Hope to see you this October in South Portland!

ACB Maine


2017 ACB National Convention Commentary

National Convention Commentary

By ACB of Maine President Mary Ellen Frost


Why do I like or want to go to the National ACB Convention? I take this on as a labor of love, sort of a working vacation. I never in the other fifty weeks of the year work so diligently; but at the same time feel so rewarded, excited and part of the whole purpose. Here you meet, converse and discuss the best and the worst of the situations facing blind Americans across the states; and you have the joy of a much larger pool to draw from when seeking answers. Each committee and special interest group all share and are part of the same goal. How to better the rights and liberties’ of their blind community, by offering ideas and practices that have worked for them, sharing with each other how they make it work. This year the convention was held in Nevada, and so my story begins.


When the sparks fly in Sparks, Nevada!


I arrived several days before the opening of the 56th. National American Council of the Blind Annual conference began. First, I wanted to be familiar with the location of the events for the coming week. With two towers and a gamete of meeting rooms, it is nearly a mile walk from the time your feet hit the floor, till you reach your destination. Second, I wanted to lend a hand where it may be needed to put the pieces together that will bring fourth this great event involving over fourteen hundred blind and visually impaired persons, across this United States from sea to shining sea. If you have never been to a national conference, it is a stretch of the imagination to comprehend the many pieces it takes to put together this large of a puzzle. Committees, affiliates, special interest groups, vender’s and so much more require hands on team work to coordinate this great effort.


While wandering around this huge convention center (and casino, sorry not my favorite place) I found much hassle and bustle. The ACB Mini Mall which is based in Louisville Kentucky shipped nearly the entire store of goods to Sparks. Upon arrival, crates and cartons need to be opened, marked in Braille and print, set up and displayed for shoppers. Items include everything from clothing to gadgets that bare the Sparks 2017 logo, which is a huge fireworks display. I worked with the Louisville team and many others from various states for two days setting up a temporary store in the exhibition hall.

The host committee is responsible for preparing the complementary ACB gift bags, which include numerous items such as gift cards, information tickets, trinkets and many other items that have been donated. Each and every person registered receives a bag, numbering well over twelve hundred. There again a good days work, with more than twenty people participating in completing this task.

The communications room is buzzing with Braille printers and large print copy machines, computers preparing articles for the daily newspaper all being checked by readers for accuracy, stapling and transporting to the information desk; which is another hub of wonder and excitement. Everyone wants to know where meetings are being held, how to get there, and many more questions than there are answers. All of this requires an army of volunteers who show up willing to work and make the attendees visit as pleasant as possible.

The huge banquet hall is set up classroom style with rows of tables labeled alphabetically by state names, special interest and affiliates. On opening night, each one is called by the secretary. His announcement is by name and the number of seats required for that group; and generally a little humor, like how many lobsters did you bring from Maine and plan to present the leaders of the body tonight!

I was so pleased to have board members Lindsey Ball and Joel McQuade with me this year in Sparks. This was their first time at a national conference. Lindsey was there to accept a scholarship for her continuing education in blind rehabilitation, and Joel is very interested to see the whole picture of how local, state and national work together to better the lives of blind and visually impaired persons in all areas across urban and rural environments. We all have the same struggles wherever we are located.

As the week progresses, tours are offered to areas of interest in the location of the conference. There is truth in the old adage “all work and no play, makes for a very dull boy”. The sports fans go to a baseball game, and many choose to do the city bus tour. Joel went to a dude ranch for a day trip and met many new friends. He also joined me on the old Western Country tour. I was fortunate to enjoy two very exciting trips. One was a dinner cruise on Lake Tahoe, and another was to Virginia City, which was   the old west town where television shows like Bonanza and Gun Smoke were filmed.

As the days moved on and more attendees arrived, you could start to hear the Sparks buzzing, as old and new friends met once again to laugh and reminisce. Every committee and special interest group that chooses to, has its meeting scheduled time of forty-five minutes, and there is a fifth teen minute slot to transfer to your next spot. Transition is when you just get a glimpse or hear a voice of someone you have not had a chance to catch up with to say hi, and add the statement, “let’s have coffee, do lunch or meet me at the ACB Cafe”.

When we finally get down to the work to be accomplished, it is almost always a difficult decision not to double book yourself. I want to hear what the (C C L V I) Concerned Citizens with Low Vision International is offering, but I really need to gather information from the rehab task force meeting; and so the juggling begins. I always plan to attend one of the leadership seminars, because each time there is new leadership and new ideas presented. Membership is also high on my list, and here you will find out how other affiliates have managed growth, the best way to make new members comfortable without overwhelming them, and the opportunity to gain better communication skills.

Even during this busy time there is an opportunity to socialize. The sister power breakfast sponsored by the Women’s Concern Committee is a must. And also the Alliance on Aging lunch offers shared ideas with your peers. It was here I met an 84 year old gentleman who was attending his 56th consecutive convention, and now in a wheelchair, he still is involved with many committees and activities. As I have heard Marje say, “we are a bond from cradle to grave”. At this convention there are activities organized for every generation of life.

The general session runs four consecutive days from 8 am till noon, and the last day is a full day until all business is satisfied. Sponsors such as Sprint, Google, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Morgan Chase and many more speak to how they are making their companies more accessible, and the benefits they offer. Many reports are given from officers and leaders to keep the attending body informed of how the organization is running, handling business and issues that come into focus. The afternoon schedule consists of meetings, social gatherings, work sessions and rest as needed! This is an exciting, eventful experience and friendships grow from year to year.

All considered I enjoy the pieces of the puzzle I am able to contribute, and will look forward to the 2018 conference in ST. Louis, Missouri. Each person comes with an agenda. You may be a presenter, which I have had the privilege of being, and you may need to attend cretin meetings to gather information pertinent to questions for which your group needs answers. Some come only for the vacation tours offered, others work to come to the aid of persons having a difficulty navigating their way to and fro. Whatever the reason you choose to attend this amazing event, please know there are hundreds of people putting in time and effort to make this an experience you will remember!


Wishing you all the best,

Mary Ellen




2017 Maine White Cane and Guide Dog Awareness Walks

2017 White Cane Walks


On Saturday, the 14th of October, 2017, a group of travelers took to the sidewalks and streets across the great state of Maine to show their independence, their ability and their unwavering camaraderie. These are the times that brave users of mobility canes and guide dogs get the chance to show everyone that there is a place for them, there is a time for them, and the time is right now.


As the communities of Augusta, Dover, Bangor, Presque Isle and Portland carried out their busy day, the annual white cane and guide dog awareness walks took to the streets, and once again the crowds of energetic travelers took to the sidewalks of Maine.


This year’s events gathered in that same excitement as walks of the past have, and as the canes swept and the paws moved forward, 2017 took shape with the same meaning as the years before.


This was my 7th walk, and just like the first, my heart pounded away with exhilaration as the Augusta event got underway.


To all those who sponsored and took part in the planning of these events, thank you from a proud and grateful member of the blind community of Maine. I have made many wonderful friends at these walks, and am already looking forward to next year’s gathering.


Hats off to you all, and ACB Maine is proud to know you.



A Note from the President





Hello everyone!


I would like to take this time to welcome the new officers,board members and current members who have agreed to support the American Council of the Blind of Maine with their time and efforts for the betterment of our blind community. It is our mission to advocate for the blind through education of available services, and keeping the Maine State Legislator’s informed of what is needed to enhance the lives of our blind citizens.


When an opportunity to work in collaboration with others presents itself, our lives stand to be greatly enriched. Through teamwork, we use our skills and share our gifts in service to others. Through collaboration, we find appreciation for the diverse expressions of how a variety of aptitudes and skill sets help meet the needs we all have in life.

Even so, teamwork may not always be easy. So we stay grounded in awareness of our purpose as a grass roots organization growing in consciousness of how best together we are able to promote the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for all the people of Maine who are blind and visually impaired. It is important to remember that each and every person is unique. We have been chosen and elected by our peers to be the team leaders, we each bring our skills to the table and we work together to move forward. When we work toward our mission, we will join in one goal for all.


As the new team leader of this wonderful organization, my hope is that we all walk into the future with respect in an effort of all that we stand for and hope to accomplish together.



Mary Ellen Frost

President, American Council of the Blind of Maine





2017 ACB of Maine State Convention


2017 ACB of Maine State Convention


Once again the ACB of Maine State Convention found itself in the great city of Bangor, and as the members entered the conference room that Saturday morning, a buzz filled the air.


This year’s event had a plethora of informative speakers, as well as an auction that was very entertaining.


This year’s convention also saw a gathering of ACB of Maine, as well as Pine Tree Guide Dog Users. The usual faces were there, joined by new and energetic folks from both near and far. There’s something about a room full of white canes and guide dogs that provides both motivation and inspiration. Hats off to all who joined the camaraderie, and best of luck to you all this upcoming year.


Information spread through the room fast this October, with speaker after speaker presenting their latest news, updates and new innovations that will surely benefit the blind and visually impaired communities of Maine, the United States, and around the world.


ACB of Maine would like to thank all members of the Pine Tree Guide Dog users who attended the meeting, and all of the great speakers who took the time from their busy days to share and inform everyone who attended this year’s event.


Next year’s convention will be held in the Southern Maine city of Westbrook, which has graciously hosted our conference in the past.


There’s new ideas, new assistive technology releases, new ways to do things and new ways to connect with each other. The last several years have seen a blur of activity with new innovations and technologies. Imagine, if you can, where the technology will be just a few short years from now. The future holds the hopes and dreams of those who continue to move forward, and whom never forget to walk along side an incredible family built on friendship, loyalty and inspiration.


ACB of Maine would like to wish you the best with all your endeavors, and invite you to join us as we move ahead towards a tomorrow filled with those special ingredients that makes us one of the best organizations around.


Please feel free to take a look through our website, and while you’re at it, go grab yourself an ACB day!.