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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

U of U & USU

Below are photos from our U of U activity in January
Ice Skating like a bunch of professionals!
Touring campus
Adam, Mac, Barbie, Brandon, Ashley, Becky, Ulvia, Elijah, Jacob, Megan, &Heidi
David, Jonothan, Quinn, & Mathew.
Asia, Caroline, Elli, Kirt, Tina, Brooke, Marybai, Maddy, Kendyl, & Melody.

Below are photos from our USU activity in March

Aggie Ice Cream!
Headed to the admissions office.
Playing a game with "boom whackers"
Maddy & Cheralyn
Playing games.

Sizzlin' with UABS

Come join us!

Please join the members and friends of The Utah Association of Blind Students (UABS) for an opportunity to make new friends, and catch up with old friends at the Sizzler in Salt Lake. Food will be provided, but you MUST RSVP to President Mac Biggers no later than Sunday, April 15 to guarantee yourself a seat.

What: UABS meet and greet

When: Friday, April 20, 2012

Where: Sizzler. 371 E. 400 S. SLC

Time: 6:00pm

RSVP: Mac Biggers 801-916-9753

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some color for the blog.

(Photo taken at USU in March. Massage train!)

At Project STRIVE, we get more done than just tour college campuses!

A to Z Braille Course: Uncontracted Braille for Reading Partners

Adults! This is information on a weeklong braille course being offered through the U.

Who: Parents, adults, siblings, family, and other community members!
What: Weeklong course focusing on uncontracted braille and braille literacy
Where: At the UofU, St. George, Moab, Ogden, Logan.
When: June 18-21st (8am- 12pm)
Cost: $60 (Stipends are available)
Contact: Patty Davis (, 801-581-4764); or Chris Bischke (, 801-585-3925)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Project STRIVE Career Fair

When: Saturday, April 14, 2011
Where: Division of Services for Blind & Visually Impaired
250 N. 1950 W. Salt Lake City
Time: 10 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (Lunch included)
Who: Blind & Visually Impaired Youth/Young adults ages (12-26)
What: Dress for success & bring your resume (for extra Apple a Day points)

Workshop topics
  • Employability Skills
  • How to Present Your Blindness
  • Job Exploration for 12-16 year olds
  • Interview Prep for high school age to 26 years
  • DVS w/ pull-out for
    • Mock Interviews
    • BELL Jr. Mentor Interviews
    • Project STRIVE video interviews (for the NFBU state convention presentation-you could be a star)
  • Ongoing throughout the day- Resume Tutoring- bring your resume or create one
Questions or Transportation Assistance
Contact Cheralyn Creer @ /801-651-55o4

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Save The Date.

SAVE THE DATENational Federation of the Blind of Utah


Red Lion Hotel

161 W. 600 S.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Thursday, May 17th – Saturday, May 19th, 2012

It is Respectable to Be Blind, NFB of Utah Leading the Way

Win An iPad 3!

Convention Highlights:

· Utah Parents of Blind Children Meet, Greet & Eat Family Event (child care will be provided)

· Parents can get a free white cane for their child

· Information for parents of blind children

· National Speaker, Mr. Jim Gashel, known nationwide for his leadership in innovative technology for the blind

· Demonstrations of latest technology for the blind

· New info for blind seniors

· Learn how to download and use electronic books for school and pleasure

· Activities for Blind or Visually Impaired students

· Lots of information for adults, students and parents

· Exciting changes at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DSBVI)

· Tips from blind individuals in the workplace

HOTEL: The NFB of Utah is subsidizing the cost of meals and hotel rooms during the convention. These steeply discounted rates are noted on the registration form for those who register by May 15. Meals start at $5 per person.

Watch for more information coming soon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

BELL Program

Project STRIVE is again pleased to announce the 2012 Summer BELL (Braille Enrichment Literacy & Learning) Junior Mentor employment opportunity. If you have any interest, ACT NOW!!!

This is a fantastic opportunity to receive excellent job readiness skills and be compensated at a competitive level. If you are interested in this position, start NOW by preparing a sharp resume' and brushing up on your Braille skills. If you need extra help or direction with your resume or preparing for an interview, get help at the Project STRIVE Career Fair April 14th and/or contact Cheralyn Creer to be matched with an employed Blind mentor who can help with this process.


for Blind/Visually Impaired Youth (ages 14-24)

Title: Project STRIVE, Junior Blind Mentor for NFB of Utah BELL

(Braille Enrichment Literacy & Learning) Program

Dates: June 11-22, 2012 (Monday-Friday both weeks)

Location: 1655 E. 3300 S. Salt Lake City

Time: 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Stipend: $500* for 10 days, plus opportunity to earn up to a $100 bonus* for perfect attendance, program planning & implementation, & high scores on assessments. If needed, possible housing options available for those living in rural Utah.

Purpose: The 2010 Project Strive Youth and Parent survey results showed that 61% were seeking summer employment opportunities, 57% requested employment skills training, and 47% reported they did not know a blind or visually impaired adult or teen who was employed. This opportunity is a summer employment opportunity, provides employment skills training and participants will network with successful blind and visually impaired adults who are currently employed.


*Possess good leadership abilities and responsibility skills

*Demonstrate appropriate behavior at all times

*Demonstrates patience, enthusiasm, self control and dependability

*Has the ability to work with others and follow directions

*Excellent Orientation & Mobility skills, comfortable using a white cane in the community for safety and identification.

*Has good Braille skills. Preference given to those that are proficient in Braille reading and writing.

*Available all 10 working days plus 1 day of mandatory training date

Responsibilities and Duties

Assist the BELL program directors with daily activities which include but are not limited to:

1) Braille reading and writing activities

2) Arts & Crafts

3) Games/Activities

4) Field Trip Supervision

5) Positive Examples

6) Help with lesson preparations

Junior blind mentors will be supervised and receive daily feedback on their performance. They will also be trained throughout the week by blind mentors on employability and job readiness skills.

If you are interested in this employment opportunity, please send a resume with a letter of application that describes additional information on your skills and experience and why you are qualified for this job.

You may email your resume and letter of application via email to Cheralyn Creer or mail to: 83 Belmont Dr. Farmington, Utah 84025

Closing Date: April 12, 2012

Interviews will be conducted at the Project STRIVE Career Fair April 14th at DSBVI from 10:00-4:00. We are aware of other activities for the blind going on that day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another great opportunity...Youth Leadership Academy!!

(Baltimore, MD)

On March 23-25, we are hosting the NFB Youth Leadership Academy for high school students and we need your help in spreading the word! The NFB Youth Leadership Academy provides participants an opportunity to meet successful blind mentors, to connect with other blind students, and to acquire new skills. There is no cost to the student and the weekend will be a lot of fun. The application can be completed and submitted by visiting:

These weekends help build a lot of excitement about the Federation. I encourage each of you to help us get lots of students to this event. If you have any questions, please contact Rosy Carranza via email at or by giving her a call at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2283.

Thanks for your help in developing the next generation of leaders!


Joanne Wilson
Executive Director of Affiliate Action
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
410.659.9314 x 2335
(F) 410.659.6893

Project STRIVE Internships

When: Monday, June 4–Friday, August 3

General Info: This is a paid 8-week internship. The goal of our internship program is to provide our interns with valuable work experience that will benefit them in the pursuit of their careers. As part of the internship program, we will help with training and job coaching to help make this a positive and successful experience. We will do our best to match our interns with their desired career interest area (e.g., journalism, marketing, business management, etc.).

Requirements: Must be legally blind and have a résumé, a cover letter, and an application

How to apply: Applications will be available March 1 and will be due by 11:45 p.m. April 15.

Any questions? Contact Adam Rushforth:


Thursday, January 26, 2012

An article written about one of Project STRIVE's mentors ... Barbie Elliot!!

Blindness doesn’t hold Layton mother back
By April Hale
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 7:02pm

LAYTON — Barbie Elliott, 42, has never seen the keys on a piano, words on a page, or the smile on a child’s face.

Despite these visual limitations, Elliott plays the piano expertly — by ear.

She has a bachelor’s degree in music composition, is a leader in the blind community, and a stay-at-home mom of four children, all with their sight.

“Everything I’ve wanted to do, I’ve found a way to accomplish it,” said Elliott, who was born blind.

She believes that blind people can do just about anything, given the right training and tools.

For example, Elliott’s 12-year-old daughter sings in her seventh-grade choir and wanted her mother to serve as an accompanist.

“I wondered how that was going to work,” said Lisa Miner, choir teacher at Fairfield Junior High in Kaysville. “But, if she says she can do it, she can.”

Miner played the song once for Elliott, who could then immediately play back everything she heard — including, to Miner’s chagrin, the mistakes.

“She played that thing after one hearing. It’s just amazing,” said Miner.

Elliott said her love for music began at an early age. When her siblings watched cartoons she would concentrate on the music from them.

“I paid attention to what (the cartoons) did with music to cause emotion,” she said.

She would then imitate the sounds she heard on the piano.

Her love for music was apparent at such an early age that her grandfather passed on his piano to her when she was 3 years old. She still uses that piano in her home today.

She began composing her own music because others would correct her mistakes, thinking she was making them simply because she was blind.

“I started writing my own songs because nobody could fix that. I still do it that way to this day,” she said.

A few years ago she cut her own CD, complete with her own compositions and arrangements.

Elliott is a firm believer that blind people can be independent, employable, and productive members of society.

She was the second completely blind person to graduate from a mainstream school in Utah. At the time, most blind children attended a boarding school in Ogden, she said.

While her parents thought the school offered a good education, they did not approve of the boarding school format. They wanted their daughter to learn how to function in a family, and she couldn’t do that if she didn’t live with one.

As a child, Elliott said, her mother taught her many basic life skills, such as, how to cook on a gas stove, change diapers and clean the house.

“My mother believed I could do it, and then made me do it,” Elliott said. “My mom was very patient. She recognized that my failure wasn’t always her fault or that I should quit.”

As the Weber/Davis Chapter President of the National Federation of the Blind of Utah, Elliott offers services to blind youth ages 13 to 26 to help them learn these same life skills. She works with them on a monthly basis through a program called Project STRIVE (Successful Transition Requires Independence, Vocation, and Education.)

The unique program, offered just in Utah, provides blind youth with blind adult mentors who teach life, education, and employment readiness skills.

This month, the group is taking the youth to tour the University of Utah and then taking them ice skating.

“We can teach sighted people that (the blind) can do a lot more than some people think,” Elliott said. “We want to change the perception that has been there for a long time that blind people should not have to work as hard.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weeks 2 & 3 of the "Apple a Day" challenge.

Have you heard of the Project STRIVE "Apple a Day" challenge yet?

Whether you are a blind teenager/young adult yourself, or a teacher, family member, or friend of a blind teenager/young adult, keep reading to see a fraction of the 121-Day challenge.

Week 2-

Monday January, 9th (Day 9): Ride a bus, Frontrunner, or TRAX. Two stops minimum. Write a paragraph about how your experience went.
Tuesday January, 10th (Day 10): Sign up for NLS or Bookshare.
Wednesday January, 11th (Day 11): Have your TVI time your braille typing. Have him/her write us an email telling us how fast you typed.
Thursday January, 12th (Day 12): Participate in a service project. Write a paragraph about what you did.
Friday January, 13th (Day 13): Friday the 13th!!! Clean a toilet nonvisually.
Saturday January, 14th (Day 14): Attend Project STRIVE

Week 3:

Monday January, 16th (Day 16): How are TRAX lines color-coated? Visit
Tuesday January, 17th (Day 17): Create an account on
Wednesday January 18th (Day 18): Sign up for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) by calling 800-284-1823 and ask for Diana Yoder.
Thursday January 19th (Day 19): Go to to listen to Dr. Cordes speech, "A Practicing Blind Physician" and email 5 things you learned from the speech/article.
Friday January 20th (Day 20): Invite a sighted friend to our February sledding/movie activity. Email the name of your friend.
Saturday January 21st (Day 21): Bake cookies then use them to spell a word in braille. Take a picture and email it.

Some small reminders:
  • Be sure to keep track of points as you complete daily challenges. (We suggest an excel document)
  • It does not matter the order in which each challenge is completed (or even how many are completed per day:), so long as each challenge is recorded and the appropriate proof is emailed.

Good luck!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project STRIVE December activity

(Above) A collage of Project STRIVE's December activity. Photos include: Adam giving tips and tricks of VoiceOver, Cheralyn and Chase Creer, Megan with her white-elephant extra-large rubber duck, playing board games, and project STRIVE participants and mentors playing and singing near the piano.

Last month Project STRIVE joined the Salt Lake Chapter of the NFB as well as the Parents of Blind Children division for an annual Christmas party.

Some other festivities from last month's activity include:
  • Participating in a discussion led by Brook
  • Learning to assemble (non-edible) gingerbread houses
  • Being treated to a delicious holiday lunch
  • Bringing and exchanging white-elephant gifts
  • Playing accessible board games
  • and receiving one-on-one technology tutoring
Entertainment during lunch was provided by some very talented Project STRIVE participants and mentors. (Barbie Elliot, Tara Briggs, and Jonothan Nolan, just to name a few) Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their unique talents!

If you missed out on the activity, here are some clips to catch you up::

Ms. Caroline Blair playing the piano.

Tara Briggs playing the flute.

A speck of the white elephant gift exchange.

If you missed the December activity, the next Project STRIVE activity will be next Saturday, January the 14th at the University of Utah.

See you there :)