Xavier Society for the Blind March 2017 Newsletter 

March 2017 Newsletter
Here in New York, March seems to be going out as it came in - like a lion! We have had a busy month here nonetheless, between library and fundraising conferences, and an exciting survey we conducted for our patrons. In addition, our website has undergone a face lift, and is now mobile friendly! If you haven't seen it yet please click here. All of us at Xavier Society for the Blind wish our patrons, donors and friends a very Blessed Easter and a joyous start to Spring. Thank you for your continued support!
Message from the Executive Director 

A s we begin spring and look forward to Easter and this season of hope and renewal, we are looking to the future at Xavier Society for the Blind.  Prior to our recent Board of Directors meeting, several of our Board members met to discuss our strategy for the future. This included a discussion of some of the opportunities for, and threats to our organization.  I'm happy to report that we identified many more opportunities than threats, and we'll be developing plans to take advantage of those opportunities in the near and long term.  We plan on remaining true to our mission which includes making our materials available to our patrons 'in whatever format best meets their needs' and 'to make that material more accessible and available to the widest possible audience of those in need.'  With this in mind, we recently concluded a phone survey of clients to solicit their feedback on how we can best accomplish this.  I'd like to thank all who participated.

Again, looking to the future, I'm pleased to welcome our newest Board member, Dan Morrison, who was elected to our Board of Directors at our March 23 Board meeting.  Dan is partner with Jones Morrison, LLP, a full-service law firm with offices in New York City, Scarsdale, NY, and Stamford, CT.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, Haverford College, and Fordham Prep, Dan has been happily married to his wife, Catherine, for thirty years.  They have two sons - Daniel and Peter.  

Passionate about our mission and enthusiastic about serving our organization, Dan is a most welcome addition to XSB.

Malachy Fallon
Executive Director

Client Survey

Last week, many of our patrons were chosen at random to participate in a survey conducted in conjunction with graduate students from Fordham University. The purpose of the survey was to determine how we could serve our patrons better. Selected patrons were asked a series of short questions about current and potential services. Thank you to our clients who took the time to participate. If you missed the survey and would like to participate or would just like to give us some feedback, please call us at 212-473-7800. It is a pleasure to serve you!

KLAS Users Conference

In mid-March our Director of Technology Donald Salvato tagged along with our Client Services Coordinator Christine Moore, to the annual KLAS Users Conference in Atlanta. KLAS stands for Keystone Library Automation System. Keystone Systems provides library automation software to libraries, businesses, and institutions with complex demands (e.g. serving the blind and visually impaired). We use KLAS to check in and check out our braille and audio materials on a daily basis. Christine was presenter at two workshops and Donald brought his expertise along in support. Here is a report on their exciting week:

Caption: Christine presented at 2 workshops on how we use the KLAS library system to serve our clients.

Though we are by far the smallest library using KLAS, we are treated as equals, even as we were included in the planning committee for this year's event. The conference included one day of pre-conference, hands-on activities and three days of workshops and which focused on how to best utilize the tools offered by the KLAS system to reach our clients and help them get the books they want in the formats they desire. 

Caption: Donald Salvato posed for a picture with Nancy from Keystone.

Just as with any such gathering, part of the benefit to our clients is the information we gain from the conference itself, the other part is through networking with colleagues.  While we were there, a representative from another library came up to us in surprise (she's from Colorado) saying her boss asked her what she knew about Xavier Society for the Blind. Needless to say, we filled her in. 

Caption: Christine caught up with our friend Vanessa from Georgia Library for Accessible Statewide Services.

The AMAC facility on the Georgia Tech campus provided the setting and we toured their sustainable living facilities complete with braille capabilities, 3D printing, their "try it before you buy it" technology and much more. It was a full and fulfilling week.

Caption: Danny Housley from AMAC gave the attendees a guided tour of the facilities. 

Caption: Danny was a great tour guide! 

Patron Stories - Antonio

Caption: Our young patron Antonio is now fluent in braille and reads his braille Mass Propers each Sunday at Mass. 

We received a lovely note from the mother of Antonio, one of our ne w est a nd  youngest braille patrons. The picture shows Antonio reading from his braille Mass Propers during Mass in his parish . His  mother Michelle wrote "I wanted to share a picture of Antoni o foll owing along in braille...We are ver thankful that he is now included in every aspect of Mass! Antonio even showed it to Fr. Jim from our church and he was so impressed  that he can read braille fluently! Thank you again!" We are so happy to be able to provide the materials for Antonio and our other clients. Antonio epitomizes the heart of our mission, as Xavier Society for the Blind was founded in 1900 to provide learning materials for blind children. 
Board Member Profile:   Rick Kenney

This month, we highlight our Board of Directors' Treasurer Rick Kenney:                      
Caption: Rick Kenney is the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Xavier Society for the Blind.
Rick joined the XSB Board in June of 2013 and was elected Treasurer 
in March of 2015. Previously he served as a consultant, conducting 
management reviews of XSB operations and planning special 
pro jects and eve nts. This provided him with a unique perspective on 
XSB and its goals and relationships with other non-profits serving the blind. During that time, he 
represented XSB on the  Department of Defense Recovering Warrior Task Force and with the Veterans Administration.

A retired federal civil service employee, having split a 34-year career between the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, Rick began his career at the Brooklyn Army Terminal with the Military Sealift Command, assigning merchant mariners to civilian-manned Navy ships. At the Bayonne Army Terminal, he joined the Admiral's staff as Public Affairs Officer and Recruiter. Returning to the personnel field at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Rick was responsible for 1,000 civilian employees in 21 Navy activities in the New York Metropolitan Area. Later, moving to Governors Island, he was Chief of Staffing for 4,000 Coast Guard civilian positions on the East Coast.

With a unique background in the merchant marine and public relations Rick became a Maritime Relations Officer, promoting and recruiting ships for the Coast Guard's voluntary search and rescue program to assist merchant ships at sea. In this capacity he traveled worldwide, attending maritime trade shows, presenting awards at U.S. embassies and consulates, and at events attended by several Heads of State. He has appeared on radio and television at home and abroad, and has spoken to many government and industry audiences and at the UN-sponsored International Maritime Organization in London.

After retiring, Rick joined the New York Council of the Navy League as Executive Director, arranging speakers, receptions and fund-raising dinners. These included a conference on terrorism, and centennial photo exhibition and symposium on the Navy's Great White Fleet, where he spoke on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy. He has been a member of the NYC Fleet Week and OpSail planning staffs, Treasurer for the commissioning of USS New York, and the Advisory Committee for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum.

Rick was drawn to the work of Xavier Society in part because his father suffered from glaucoma. In addition to planning several fund-raising events (theatrical shows, golf outings and silent auctions), he has assisted at the annual St. Lucy Masses for the blind at St. Patrick's Cathedral and has come to know many of the clients of Xavier Society (and their guide dogs!). His knowledge of program management, event planning and his solid foundation of life skills learned at the hands of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Jesuits at the former Brooklyn Prep High School, and the Marine Corps, are all invaluable in ensuring XSB clients receive the best possible service and support.
NYN FundCon

Caption: Malachy and Aisling attended the NYN Media Fundraising Convention

On Friday March 24, 2017 our Executive Director Malachy Fallon along with our Coordinator of Communications and Fundraising Aisling Redican attended a Fundraising Convention hosted by the New York Nonprofit Media (NYN Media). The conference provided an opportunity for fundraising and development executives of non-profits to network and discuss fundraising techniques. Malachy and Aisling were delighted to catch up with our friend Nancy Miller, CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired here in New York City, who was also in attendance. Panels conducted by professionals from non-profits large and small from across the city and state offered advice and examples of their own fundraising practices. The conference also featured many vendors who exhibited services for non-profit organizations. Thank you to NYN Media for hosting a very informative conference!

Lent Appeal

Caption: Our young braille client Mara pictured with her priest Fr. Agustin. She credits our
Guideline for Altar Servers for helping her become a great server.
Our Lent appeal was recently mailed out emphasizing the importance of braille manuals such as our Guideline for Altar Servers and Handbook for Lectors that we produced for our clients looking to get involved with the services in their parishes. If you are a client and would like to learn more information about the manuals we provide for Mass please get in touch with us at (212) 473-7800 or (800) 637-9193. If you would like to receive our appeals highlighting the important work we do please feel free to get in touch.  You can also contribute to our mission securely online by visiting our website . All the important work we do is made  possible due to your generosity.
Selected New Titles Added to Our Library

The Xavier Review, our braille magazine listing all of our new titles, is in the mail and our clients should expect to receive their copies in the coming days. In the meantime here are some of our new additions to the library to keep you busy:

-The Way of the Cross by Barton Cotton (B1540, 1 volume): Stations of the Cross with Meditations from Scripture

  -Exiles-A Novel  by Ron Hansen (B1541, 3 volumes):  The story weaves the story of deaths of five nuns in sinking of the steamship Deutschland in 1875 with the life of Gerard Manley Hopkins into a riveting novel.

-The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those in Between  by Mitch Finley (B1542, 2 volumes):  An upbeat and easy to read book that includes a brief and accurate history of the rosary, explains why it is a Christ-centered prayer, and provides background on the individual prayers of the rosary and a short commentary on each of the twenty mysteries.

-Upwelling: Poems b y Ann Chiappetta (B1543, 1 volume):  In this collection of 23 of her short, accessible poems from several decades, Ann Chiappetta explores an enormous range of emotions and topics.

-Letters From an Understanding Friend: Jesus on the Way to Jerusalem
by Isaias Powers (B1544, 2 volumes):  Father Isaias Powers offers creative ways to reflect and meditate on the message of the Gospel, by creating inspiring letters from Jesus.

 - Swear to God:The Promise and Power of the Sacraments by Scott Hahn (D1137):  Each sacrament was established by Jesus for the sake of salvation. When Jesus spoke of the sacraments, He made clear that they were essential. Cardinal Dolan wrote that, "Scott believes the sacraments really do work."

- A Friar's Tale: Remembering Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR
by John Collins (D1138): An inspiring, moving, and sometimes humorous biography that invites readers to immerse themselves in the fascinating details of a remarkable life, one animated by faith and devoted to love.

-Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper  by Brant Pitre and Scott Hahn (D1139):  Inspiring and informative, a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus? presence in "the breaking of the bread."

-God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) (D1140): A collection of numerous homilies given by Pope Benedict XVI when he was Archbishop of Freising and Munich, addressing various questions, problems and issues related to the origin, meaning and practice of the Eucharist in the life of Christians.

-St. Teresa of Calcutta: Missionary, Mother, Mystic by Kerry Walters (D1141): Stirring biography follows St. Teresa's life from Macedonia to the cloister in India, to the streets of Calcutta, to worldwide fame and the company of the saints.
Assorted Items

Masses may be said at your request not only when someone dies but also to celebrate a special event. And the stipend for the Mass card helps support the work of the Xavier Society for the Blind. If you are a client or would like to send one to someone who reads braille, we can also do a braille overlay on the Mass card. Call us at (212) 473-7800 or email us at info@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org for more information.

To make a secure donation through our website, please click here, or you can always call our office and donate over the phone at (212) 473-7800 or (800) 637-9193.

If you use Amazon.com for any of your purchases, help out Xavier Society for the Blind at the same time. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and sign up. Or use the direct link  http://smile.amazon.com/ch/13-5563026

There is no charge to you, and when they ask you what charity you wish to support, type in Xavier Society for the Blind. Any time after that, if you go to Amazon through the smile entry, a percentage of whatever you spend comes to us.

Follow Us!

To keep up to date on all that is new and going on with Xavier Society for the Blind, please follow us on twitter @XavierSociety and like our Facebook page by clicking here or searching Xavier Society for the Blind. Help us to spread the word about our mission!

Calendar of Upcoming Events

April 09, 2017 -  Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

April 13, 2017 -  Holy Thursday (XSB offices close at 2:00 p.m. ET)

April 14, 2017 -  Good Friday of the Lord's Passion (XSB offices closed)

April 15, 2017 -  Holy Saturday

April 16, 2017 -  Easter Sunday

April 17, 2017 -  Easter Monday (XSB offices closed)

April 23, 2017 -  Sunday of Divine Mercy

April 25, 2017 -  Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

April 29, 2017 -  Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Xavier Society for the Blind | info@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org 
 xaviersocietyfortheblind.org  |  (212) 473-7800 or (800) 637-9193