NFB Project STRIVE is dedicated in providing quality programs to help meet the unique needs of blind and visually impaired youth throughout Utah. Project STRIVE instructors are positive, educated, blind adults who are fully dedicated to model, mentor, encourage and teach life, education, and employment readiness skills. These skills, along with a positive attitude towards blindness is absolutely critical for blind and visually impaired youth to transition successfully as adults.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2011 NFB Youth Slam: A STEM Leadership Academy

The third biennial NFB Youth Slam is slated to take place in the summer of 2011.

Registration is now open! Click here to apply.

Whether or not science or technology is “your thing,” there’s sure to be something for everyone. Learn the science behind building apps for your iPod, use cutting edge equipment and technology to determine chemical reactions in chemistry labs, build robots, or learn how to use nonvisual techniques to perform a real dissection! We guarantee this summer program will be like no other you’ve ever been to before!

One hundred and fifty blind and low vision students from all across the country will be selected to attend this five-day adventure that will engage, inspire, and encourage the next generation of blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be impossible for the blind.

Due to logistical constraints, we have not yet been able to lock in dates for the event. However, it will take place between the window of the last two weeks of July or first week of August. As soon as this information is available, we will post it on this site and notify all those who have applied to that point. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The program will be held on a university campus in the greater-Baltimore, Maryland, area yet to be determined.

One hundred fifty blind high school students will be selected to participate in this program. Students who would like to be considered must complete the online application and submit it to the Jernigan Institute by March 1, 2011. Students need not have a strong interest in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) in order to participate, enjoy, and benefit from this academy. Students will be randomly selected from those eligible to participate. This means that the student must be able to perform basic self-care skills; have some degree of independent travel skills; be able to read Braille, print, or both; and should, at a minimum, be able to understand content appropriate for students entering the ninth grade.

This five-day academy will engage and inspire the next generation of blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be impossible for the blind and bring a unified voice to the next generation of blind professionals. While staying on a college campus, students will be mentored by blind role models during fun and challenging activities meant to build confidence and increase science literacy. Activities will take place with help from instructional supporters such as institutions and corporations working in STEM-related fields. The NFB Youth Slam will culminate with an exciting closing event in our nation’s capital.

There is no cost to apply for the program. Please note however, students who apply and are accepted to the Youth Slam will be expected to pay a $250 registration fee by May 1, 2011. The total value of the program is estimated at approximately $3,000 per student, including transportation, room and board, materials, and cost of staff and mentors. The NFB and other Youth Slam partners will cover the balance of the program cost. Additionally, local members of the NFB will be available to assist students in raising the registration fee if necessary.

How to Apply
Please complete the 2011 NFB Youth Slam Student Application online before March 1, 2011. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by the first part of April. Accepted participants will then need to complete a more thorough registration process. Please note, it may take approximately 25 minutes to complete this application and information will not be saved until submitted.
Student Application

Notification of Acceptance
Selected student and volunteer participants will be notified by e-mail and regular mail of their acceptance status by April 1, 2011. Selections of participants will not be made until after the deadline of March 1, so as to give all who are interested in applying an opportunity to do so.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October Recap-iPad Opportunities Galore

Hello Club STRIVE Members & Parents!!


We had a fantastic time together in October and accomplished a lot in a short amount of time!! Wow, 21 club STRIVE members were in attendance! The theme of the month was, "Using Resources" which included:

1) Adam & Kirt providing a thorough introduction & instruction on the Victor Stream. We understand this was an introductory lesson, if you are interested in more instruction, please make this request by replying to this email.

2) Barbie's instruction & guidance resulted in Club Strive members cooking over 12 dozen cookies for the families living in the Road Home Shelter.

3) Cheralyn worked hand in hand with Club STRIVE members who cut & tied a couple dozen fleece blankets for the Roadhome families for the Winter months.

4) Club STRIVE members brought over 100 gently used or new blankets to donate to the Roadhome Shelter. Many iPad points were awarded!

**FYI. When your Club STRIVE instructor checks in this month, please let them know how many blankets you donated. Once we receive this information we will send out iPad point totals. (You can also email this information to Marla)

5) DSBVI Training Center & Vocational Rehab staff gave an important & informative presentation about Vocational Rehabilitation now & the future. Club STRIVE members were given applications to bring home and were encouraged to complete & set up an appointment to take advantage of this resource. Email will follow with detailed instructions.

Mark you calendars NOW for November 13th program. The theme for this month is: "Beliefs about Blindness"

Adam will be instructing Club STRIVE members on how to use JAWS to navigate the internet & download books from BARD.
**See instructions under the October/November iPad points title on how to sign up for BARD (Braille & Audio Reading Download).**

Cheralyn, Barbie, and Brook have surprises up their sleeves that will challenge Club STRIVE members in the areas of Orientation & Mobility, Active Daily Living & Social Skills.

Are you one of the few that have not heard about the iPad incentive program? No worries, contact Marla at 801-599-3164 or to make sure you are signed up.

You can sign up at any time between now & April 1, 2010. Requirements: Must be a member of Club STRIVE. It is helpful, but it is not required to attend the monthly programs to participate in the iPad incentive program.

October/November iPad Points

Resume’ Builder. Volunteer at least 1 hour in the community between October 9 through November 13. Take a picture or write a paragraph about your experience (5 points).
*For those that attended the Roadhome Shelter, this counts

ADL. Make a dozen cookies at home by yourself from start to finish. (3 points).
2 bonus points if you take a picture with you and your cookies and email to Marla by November 9th

Technology. Adam will be teaching students how to use the internet with Jaws and download a book from the NLS website. In preparation for this, we need 100% to sign up for BARD (Braille & Audio Reading Download). In order to do this you must be a patron of the Utah State Library for the Blind & fill out a BARD application found here

You can contact the Library for the Blind at 800-662-5540 to help you through this process. (5 points) Bonus Points: (3 extra for signing up before November 13)

Resume’ Builder. Share A Talent or Achievement. Contact Cheralyn Creer before November 6th to share a talent, achievement, or positive experience with the Club STRIVE group. Examples can be: Music, Art, Drama, Public Speaking (Positive Experiences that have helped you grow), Technology, Sports, Personal Achievements, etc. (5 points) Bonus Points: (3 extra if you submit paragraph before November 13. 2 extra before December 11. 1 extra before January 8)

Independent. Dr. Kenneth Jernigan defined independent travel as “the ability to go where you want when you want, without inconvenience to yourself or others.” Read Cheralyn Creer’s article, “Faking it No Longer” & write what a paragraph on what you learned after reading it. (5 points). Bonus Points: (3 extra if you submit paragraph before November 13. 2 extra before December 11. 1 extra before January 8)

Technology. Club STRIVE members respond to this email by November 13 from your personal email account. Address the email to Mrs. Marla Palmer. Subject Line: Club Strive Rox. Email Content: Tell Marla how often you check your email. (3 points).
Bonus Points: (2 bonus points) Write at least 3 sentences what you like about Club STRIVE and/or what you would like to learn more about in the future). In the cc: section include Adam Rushforth's email address:

Ongoing or Future iPad Point Opportunities

*Read Braille, 1 point per 30+ minutes a day. I KNOW there are Club STRIVE members that read Braille every day for leisure.. I'm not getting your weekly emails. These minutes could mean a free iPAD baby! Remember to Include: Date, Minutes read, Title of Book, and Number of Pages read.

*Attend Club STRIVE, 5 points

*Fill out a vocational rehabilitation application & make an appointment with DSBVI, 5 Points. Extra 5 points if completed application, appointment and approved by February 1, 2011

*Visit a college campus and visit their Disability Resource Center. Ask and record the person’s name over those student’s with visual impairment. Send proof to Marla Palmer (brochure, picture, signature of parent). 5 points per college

Recruitment. Do you have a blind or visually impaired friend that hasn't participated in Club STRIVE? Bring them with you to an activity and you will earn 5 points. (Only 1 club STRIVE member per new recruit)

Share A Talent, Resume & "Faking it No Longer" Article (5 points)

Technology. Follow us on Facebook
for random & surprise points!

Friday, September 24, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Blind Youth Provide Service to those in Need at Road Home Shelter

Too often disability groups are portrayed as needing handouts. The National Federation of the Blind of Utah (NFBU), specifically Project STRIVE, is holding a service project to show that the blind “GIVE BACK”. On Saturday, October 9, 2010, Project STRIVE is offering donated blankets and providing dinner at the Road Home Shelter (210 S. Rio Grande Street SLC).

Project STRIVE stands for “Successful Transition Requires Independence, Vocation and Education.” The NFBU holds “Giving Back” as an essential element of success in their mentoring and youth programs. Ron Gardner, President of NFBU says, “It is vital that blind youth and young adults demonstrate the value of giving back. They do this by being an active and contributing member of the organized blind movement, and also in his or her local community.”

Leading up to the event, NFBU and Project STRIVE members are collecting new and gently used blankets that will be donated. Donations can be dropped off to Everette Bacon, at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DSBVI), 250 N. 1950 W. SLC.

Early in the day of October 9th, NFBU Club STRIVE 13-18 year olds will prepare dessert for the evening’s meal. They will also tie blankets to donate. That evening, NFBU STRIVE Forward members (18-26 year olds) will meet at DSBVI. At 5:30 PM the caravan will head to the Road Home Shelter where they will serve dinner to individuals and families.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Club STRIVE Volunteer Day- UPBC Family Farm Fun

This past Saturday some our our amazing Club STRIVE members spent their afternoon volunteering at the Utah Parents of Blind Children Family Farm Day! Club Strive members arrived early and helped prepare individual buckets for each children which included their name in Large Print & Braille. The buckets were used to collect surprises and awards along the way.

Photo Description: Austin recently broke both his wrists long boarding. Didn't stop him from showing up and participating. Here he is taping a name on one of the children's buckets.

Each Club STRIVE member lead a fun activity that children and their parents rotated through. These activities included: Cow Patty Throw, Money Find in Saw Dust, Cow Feeding, O&M Scavengar Hunt, and Unlimited Pony Rides.

Photo Description: Caroline lead all the pony rides with a smile on her face!

Club STRIVE members that participated had a great time taking a leadership role, mentoring younger blind children, receiving valuable volunteer experience, and bonus.. each earned 5 iPad points!

Photo Description: Austin & Megan mentoring future Club STRIVE members Adam & Kortnee.

Thank you to Denise Colton, UPBC President & Bill Gibson, Director of the Utah Division of Services for Blind & Visually Impaired for inviting Project STRIVE mentors to help with this fun day!

Photo Description: A picture of Katie & Kristie Colton near the Gibson's white fence

Next Volunteer Opportunities: October 9th: Club STRIVE Cooking Without Looking: Cookies for the Road Home Shelter; UPBC Family Lagoon Day/Braille Book Exchange

Monday, September 13, 2010

iPad Challenge

Project STRIVE is excited to announce the Club STRIVE iPad Challenge. Club STRIVE members will have the chance to “earn” points through attending Club STRIVE programs, and completing and recording daily & weekly challenges. A drawing for a 16 gb iPad plus technology training by Adam Rushforth, will be held at the NFB of Utah’s State Convention in Spring 2011 (TBD). A Club STRIVE’s member’s name will be entered into the drawing one time for every point they earn during the challenge timeframe (September 11, 2010 and end in Spring 2011. For example: if a member earns 125 points, their name will be entered in 125 times. It only takes one point to win, but the more points a member earns, the higher chances of winning.


5 points each for every Club STRIVE pin earned.

Club STRIVE pins will be awarded at each Club STRIVE activity. Pins are given to members for their attendance & active participation. They are also given as recognition when members show strong leadership, positive attitude, advocacy, problem solving, and social skills.

1 point for every 30 minutes of Braille reading each day.

Statistics show that 70% of blind or visually impaired are unemployed. Of the 30% that are employed, 90% know Braille. No matter what level of Braille reader you are, 30 minutes, every day will be a guarantee way to improve this skill. Conditions: Minutes must be leisure reading outside of school instruction or classroom work. Reading more than 30 minutes a day is encouraged, however with this challenge, 1 point per day is the maximum you can earn. Your name, date, description of what you read, pages, and daily minutes must be emailed to in order to earn your points. In the subject line write: Braille Minutes. Must receive emails no later than Saturday at 11:00 p.m. each week! Easy way to earn up to 30 points per month. Please do not cheat, we will have random checks.

Bonus points- Weekly & Monthly Challenges

Club STRIVE instructors will give individual challenges to Club STRIVE members to work on throughout the month until the next monthly program. These challenges will focus on improving technology, active daily living skills, social skills, independent cane travel, advocacy, recruiting friends, and job/college preparation skills. Points will be determined based on the difficulty of the challenge. These challenges will be communicated at the Monthly Club STRIVE meetings, posted on the blog & Project STRIVE Facebook page.

Smaller bonus online & email weekly challenges will also be posted on Project Strive’s blog ( , Facebook page (search Project STRIVE), AND individual email accounts. These online/email challenges will have a 24 hour deadline to encourage youth to check their individual email accounts or browse the web on a daily basis. Parents, please encourage your teenager to make sure their emails are correct and up to date in the Project STRIVE data base.

Project STRIVE will email a monthly reminder of how many points each member has earned. If a member disagrees with the total point amount, they must contact Marla Palmer at 801-599-3164 or within 48 hours of the monthly reminder.

Those members that are unable to attend the monthly Club STRIVE activities due to distance or schedule conflicts, are welcome and encouraged to participate in the monthly and weekly assignments or challenges!

Why an iPad?

Computers and other technology for the blind can be an effective tool to meet individual, education and employment needs. Apple has many products on the market that are accessible for the blind and visually impaired.

The iPad includes an amazing screen reader (VoiceOver) and other innovative accessibility features for individuals to access built in applications such as Mail, iTunes, Calendar, Notes and the App Store. You can surf the web, email your friends, manage your calendar, download new apps, read books, manage or budget your money and more.

The iPad also includes “Zoom” which allows you to zoom in and out specific elements or magnify the entire screen up to 500 percent. If you prefer a higher contrast, you can also change the display on your iPad to white on black.

*iPad Challenge Conditions*

Must be Club Strive Member (application & registration fee paid) before iPad points become valid. If you have graduated from high school, and received permission to attend Club STRIVE you are eligible for this contest.

Must have your own email account. This will encourage youth to become proficient in checking, receiving, and sending emails on a regular basis.

Must be present at the drawing to win. *Unusual circumstances, death, or illness will be reviewed and considered on a case by case basis.*

What is Club STRIVE?

Club Strive is a program developed for blind and visually impaired youth who are currently in 7th-12 grade. Club STRIVE will meet one Saturday a month beginning August 2010 and continue through June 2011. The program will provide practical experiences, information, and life skills training through activities, mentoring and interaction with peers. Training will be instructed by competent blind adult mentors who will focus on areas such as: technology, braille literacy, orientation & mobility, job readiness, active daily living, and social skills. The goal of this program is to create a positive and fun learning environment where youth feel comfortable about their blindness, gain confidence, leadership qualities, and learn necessary techniques and skills to transition successfully into adulthood.

Marla Palmer
Project STRIVE, Program Director or 801-599-3164

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Project Strive Blog Contest

I have friends that are big bloggers. BIG, like spending hours journaling their day to day happenings, post a kajillion pictures of their kids, their pet guinea pig and their new haircut. Well friends, the two main purposes of this blog is to provide information about Project Strive AND educate others about the misconceptions of blindness.

Currently, we have 2 followers. Hmmm.. should I take that personally? Obviously I haven't done a very good job at spreading the word about our new blog. I had a friend of a friend of a friend who recently made up a contest to draw the community to her blog and become followers.

We will take any follower!

But let's be honest, folks. I am VERY interested in having blind youth ages 13-26 (Project Strive aged), the parents of these youth (especially parents who have kids under 18), and professionals in the field (TVIs, O&M) visit. Why? Youth and parents can visit and find out the fun and unique activities that are happening each month. Professionals have a point of reference when sharing Project Strive with their families

So, here's the contest. It's going to take a little action, but I believe the reward in the end is worth it. Recently at the NFB National Convention, Dr. Timothy Cordes, a practicing blind physician spoke during the general session. I didn't have the opportunity to attend the convention this year, but just finished listening to his speech. This is one of the most inspirational speeches I have heard and I encourage EVERYONE to listen to it. I believe with the proper attitude, skills, education, and training a blind person can succeed at whatever dream they want to accomplish.

Rules and Condition to the Contest (limited to current Utah residents):

1) Must Be one of the following (sorry mom and dad)

a) a blind or visually impaired individual between the ages of 13-26 (PROJECT STRIVE AGE) as of August 1, 2010 (or)
b) a parent of a blind or visually impaired child between the ages of 13-26 (or)
c) a teacher of the visually impaired in Utah (or)
d) an orientation and mobility instructor in Utah (or)
e) rehabilitation counselor working for the Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

2) Must listen to the complete speech (appx 15 minutes) of Dr. Cordes found here: link

3) Email with 3 things you learned from listening to this speech. In the subject line write: Cordes Contest

4) If you sign up as a "follower" of this blog before September 11, 2010. Your name will be put in twice to the drawing, doubling your chances of winning.

The Reward? Let's face it, everyone's a winner if you listened to the speech. BUT as an added bonus 1 lucky winner will be awarded a $25 gift card of your choice. This could include a card to your favorite restaurant, favorite spa, movie theatre, or itunes.
Description of Picture: Doctor Cordes in his white coat. Handsome son of a gun.

The drawing will be held September 11, 2010 at our first Club Strive Activity!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kick Off, Pre-Registration & Incentive Teaser

We are excited to officially announce that Project Strive is up and running.

We started the summer out with a bang! On June 11th NFB Project Strive teamed up with the Utah Association of Blind Students, UWIN, and the Bountiful Lions Club for a day of “Guns & Fun”. The Bountiful Lions Club provided ammo, equipment, and lunch for all that participated. Everyone had a great time!

From June 14-25th, the NFB BELL (Braille Enrichment Literacy & Learning) was held at the USDB Salt Lake Campus. Caroline Blair, Austin Fowler, Yesenia Olivia, and Maddy Stafford were selected as Project Strive Jr. BELL Mentors during this 2 week day camp for children ages 5-12. Drew Harris, Heidi Mills, Megan Palmer, and Kristie Colton also helped throughout the week as a part time help. Each Jr. Mentor submitted a cover letter and resume, went through a formal interview process, attended a mandatory training, and were responsible for specific children and/or activities each day. Jr. Mentors were also assessed daily in the areas of: Listening & Following directions; Taking the Initiative; Appropriate Social skills; Dependability; Working with Others; and Appearance. NFB Project Strive provided competitive stipends for services rendered.

What’s NEXT? On August 21, 2010 please join us at the Draper Boondocks for the PROJECT STRIVE KICK OFF. From 9:00-10:00 a.m. there will be a presentation on upcoming activities, Club Strive, introduction of Project Strive Instructors, awesome door prizes, and a time for Q&As. Parents of youth who will be in 7-12th grade are highly encouraged to come during this time! There will be unlimited play from 10:00-2:00p with a lunch break at noon. PLEASE RSVP and submit any transportation no later than August 16th to Marla Palmer by email or phone: or 801-797-9760.

Incentive Alert: Participants who submit (email or mail) their pre-registration forms, send payment (if applicable) by August 16th AND attend the August Kick Off will receive a FREE hydration pack! Limited to the first 50! Check the Project Strive blog or facebook for pictures of these awesome packs!

Pre-Registration Forms: Email completed forms to (if no fees included) or mail to: Marla Palmer, 1062 East Fairway Drive, No. Salt Lake, Utah 84054

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


What is Project Strive?

Successful (Having a favorable outcome)
Transition (The act of passing from one state to another. Giant step from High school to Adulthood)
Requires (Imperative, Must, No Excuses)
Independence (Competent, Free, Contributing)
Vocation (and) (Employment, A Job)
Education (Continual Learning, College)

NFB Project Strive creates programs that will meet the unique needs of blind and visually impaired youth in Utah. These programs will model, mentor, encourage and teach skills necessary to successfully transition into adult life.

Program Descriptions

Jr. Blind Mentor Employment. Project Strive provided four summer stipends to blind or visually impaired students (age 14-24) to assist in the NFB BELL (Braille Enrichment Literacy & Learning) Program as Jr. Mentors. These Jr. Mentors worked with blind children ages 5-12 to promote and increase Braille literacy. Jr. Mentors were required to submit a resume, letter of application, go through an interview process, attend mandatory trainings, were assessed daily on their job, and and received daily job coaching. Jr. Blind Mentors also networked with successful, employed, blind adults throughout the 2 week program The goal of this program was to provide employment opportunities and on job training to increase job readiness skills and develop leadership skills.

Club Strive. Club Strive is a program developed for blind and visually impaired youth who are currently in 7th-12 grade. Club Strive will meet the 2nd Saturday a month beginning in September 2010. There will be an exciting KICK OFF EVENT on August 21, 2010 at the Draper Boondocks from 9am-2pm. Club Strive will provide practical experiences, information, and life skills training through activities, mentoring and interaction with peers. Training will be instructed by competent blind adult mentors who will focus on areas such as: technology, braille literacy, orientation & mobility, job readiness, active daily living, and social skills. The goal of this program is to create a positive and fun learning environment where youth feel comfortable about their blindness, gain confidence, leadership qualities, and learn necessary techniques and skills to transition successfully into adulthood.

Project Strive Student/Employment Programs. Project Strive will support existing programs, and will develop and implement unique opportunities, training, and support for youth 10th grade through 26 years of age. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for youth to address specific college and employment readiness skills which include, but not limited to: writing and building a resume’, mock interviews, college expectations and support, advocacy training, volunteer opportunities, recreation and social events. Programs will be held quarterly and lead and implemented by competent blind or visually impaired adult role models who have graduated from college and/or currently gainfully employed.

College Scholarships. During the recent 2010 NFB State Convention, Project Strive presented a $200 award to each scholarship applicant (18 in total). 7 finalists were recognized and awarded scholarships that ranged from $500-$2,000 to support the educational goals of these blind and visually impaired students. Tri-Phase, a local company matched and donated $1,000 toward the top scholarship of the evening. Project Strive will be seeking local business support and additional funding for 2011. More details to come.

We hope you come here often to visit and chime in.