Autumn has arrived, ushering in the captivating spectacle of changing tree foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. This season also marks the conclusion of my tenure as President of the National Braille Association, as well as the culmination of the 2023 National Braille Association Professional Development Conference. I’ve had the privilege and honor of to serve as president for this esteemed organization from 2021 to 2023. I am deeply moved by the affection and sentiments expressed for the collaborative efforts that have brought positive impacts to transcribers, braille media producers, educators, paraprofessionals, and administrators through the educational opportunities provided by the National Braille Association. Numerous friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, even those who couldn't attend, have expressed their interest in hearing my farewell remarks during my address to the membership and Board of Directors. I am more than delighted to oblige their request.
The past two years have swiftly flown by, and I am amazed at the whirlwind of experiences we have shared. Time has a way of slipping through our fingers when we are fully dedicated to meaningful endeavors. I am overcome with a deep sense of gratitude and contemplation. Leading this exceptional organization has been a truly fulfilling and impactful journey.
Each one of us has our own unique story that has led us to embark on a unique journey through braille. Mine began about 35 years ago in a preschool classroom and little did I know it would lead me to where I am today.
We all share a common passion for braille and the individuals whose lives we touch. Our pathways to braille are diverse, yet here we are, walking side by side. Remember the profound significance of your work. The impact you have on the lives of others is immeasurable, for in the lives we touch, we sow the seeds of inspiration and possibility.
First, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation and admiration for the unwavering dedication and hard work exhibited by each and every one of you. Your commitment to our mission of providing continuing education for those involved in braille and braille materials preparation, and your passion for promoting Braille literacy, have been the driving forces behind the Association's success and positive influence on our membership.
Next, as the saying goes, "It takes a village," and together, we have championed the cause of Braille literacy, ensuring that individuals with visual impairments have equal access to information, education, and opportunities. Through our collective efforts, we have created a world where Braille is not merely a skill, but a gateway to independence and empowerment. Countless lives have been touched and transformed by our endeavors, and the stories of triumph and personal growth fuel our determination to do even more in the future.
The achievements of this great organization would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our volunteers, educators, members, and partners. Each one of you has contributed to the rich tapestry of the National Braille Association, weaving hope and possibility for so many deserving individuals.
As we move forward, let us extend a warm welcome to Patrick Janson, our incoming president and newest leader. While passing the torch, we acknowledge that there are still challenges ahead and many lives waiting to be positively impacted by our work. Together, let us continue standing united by compassion and a shared vision, breaking new ground, and forging paths towards a more inclusive and empathetic society. We have planned the work, and now it is time to work the plan.
It has been an incredible privilege to be part of this extraordinary team and an honor to serve as the President of the National Braille Association. As I transition into the role of Immediate Past President, I carry with me a profound sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from being associated with such an exceptional organization and its members.
In closing, I extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment. The impact of the National Braille Association will undoubtedly continue to grow and thrive, driven by the love and care you pour into your work every single day.
As a nationally recognized braille transcriber & trainer, Jana Hertz shares her experiences, insights and upcoming events with you here.