compiled by Ardis Bazyn
In our focus call on “How to Include Everyone in Your Affiliate,” speakers enlightened us on what actions would help members feel included and willing to be more involved. Minh Ha from ACB Students admitted younger members are often persuaded to let more seasoned members handle what is necessary. As younger members have less experience, they may not volunteer. They would feel more comfortable if older members mentor and/or assist them when filling a new role.
Jeff Thom from the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss said older members are the largest segment of newly blind individuals and suggested offering topics of interest for newly blind individuals and inviting people in the community. When they become hard of hearing, it might hamper their involvement. Seniors can become mentors for younger members.
Linda Porelle from ACB Women explained how some women are less confident than men. Although traditional expectations have evolved over time, women may still find it challenging to be assertive in group situations. She also thought many women feel comfortable collaborating as a team. Gabriel Lopez Kafati from Blind Pride International shared how important inclusive language is. BPI invites anyone to attend any of their meetings and events. They have taken advantage of the community calls to publicize their calls and events.
Steven Salas and Greg Lindberg from Next Generation said they encourage anyone to attend their events whether they are in the younger age group or if they are older and wish to network. They invite prospective members to share their interests and skills in their application. They also ask how applicants might like to be involved. All opportunities are a way to get to know new attendees.
Publicizing your affiliate events and calls on the various ACB email lists will reach more members not currently involved to attend your functions. The next ACB Membership Focus call will show members “How to Expand Membership to Minority Communities.” The following call in January will give affiliates information about starting chapters. Remember to listen to membership focus call recordings if you didn’t get the opportunity to listen on the day of the call. All are on acbradio.org and on podcasts