Braille Revival League of Missouri

The Braille Revival League is an special interest affiliate of Missouri Council of the Blind. It is a non-profit organization that fosters the use, production, and instruction of braille. The Braille Revival League encourages people who are blind to read and write in braille and advocates for mandatory braille instruction in educational facilities for individuals who are blind.

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Affiliate News

Braille Revival League of Missouri at a Glance :: September 2015

By Marvelena Quesada, First Vice-President

I would like to give all of you a quick overview of what has and still is happening with BRLM. We have had a busy, productive and exciting year so far and still have more events to come. We began the year by hosting a commemorative gathering at the MCB office in honor of Louis Braille's birthday. Sometimes, it can be nice to get together and remember what a great achievement braille is and how important it is in all our lives.

For fundraisers, we held two Game Day events at the MCB office. There were roughly 25 people who attended each and the fundraisers were a success! We played Pass the Trash, and all enjoyed themselves.

Don't forget to pick up Raffle tickets for the 50/50 Raffle which will be held at this year's convention in Kansas City. Tickets are $1 each, or six for $5. Also, you don't want to miss our convention raffle. For $5 per ticket, you have a chance to win a free, two-night stay at the 2016 convention in St. Louis. Contact a BRLM member for more details.

As we did last year, we gave $100 to Missouri's participant in the National Braille Challenge earlier this year. Our candidate was Richard Tyraner and he did Missouri proud.

We also held an essay contest for children from grades seven through twelve. The theme is how braille has made a positive impact on their lives. We are expecting many participants and consider this a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the possible future leadership of BRLM. The winner will be invited to the BRLM luncheon at this year's upcoming convention. Speaking of our luncheon, it will be on Saturday October 3 and we look forward to seeing you all then. You don't want to miss John Weidlich and Jack Lenk doing their hilarious and spirited performance of "who's on first". If it is half as funny as last year, you will be in stitches! We will have tickets for the 50-50 drawing and a grand prize raffle for two nights paid at the 2016 convention at the luncheon as well.

In closing, BRLM has had a busy first half of 2015. We look forward to more of the same and invite you to share our activities at convention in Kansas City.

Alma Murphy Braille Essay Contest :: June 2015

In order to promote the use of Braille, the Missouri Council of the Blind is sponsoring an essay contest in conjunction with the Braille Revival League of Missouri, a special interest affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind. The essay topic will be How Braille has Affected the Writer’s Life.

The essay shall be a minimum of 400 words to a maximum of 500 words. The essay will be judged on 1) content, 2) originality, 3) formatting, and 4) grammar and punctuation.

The essay may be written in contracted or uncontracted Braille and shall be written with either a slate and stylus or a Perkins Brailler.

The essay shall in some way contain a reference to the Missouri Council of the Blind.

Missouri Council of the Blind will award $500 to the winner of the essay contest. The winner will also be invited to attend the MCB convention to read their winning essay in October with all expenses paid. Any blind or visually impaired student, who is a resident of Missouri, enrolled in a Missouri school and who is in grades 7-12 is eligible to enter. Entries shall be postmarked no later than July 31, 2015 and should be mailed to the MCB office as follows:

Alma Murphy Braille Essay
Missouri Council of the Blind
5453 Chippewa, St. Louis, MO 63109

The 2015 MCB convention will be held in Kansas City at the Country Club Plaza Holiday Inn. For more information call the MCB office at 314-832-7172 or email Chris@MoBlind.Org.

The Alma Murphy essay contest is sponsored by The Braille Revival League of Missouri, MCB Special Interest Affiliate

Braille Revival League :: December 2014

By Judy Burch

Members and guests enjoyed the Alma Murphey Braille Revival League luncheon which was held at the 2014 convention of the MCB on October 4. ACB president, Kim Charlson spoke at this year’s meeting.

Elections for officers were held with the following results: Judy Burch, President; Marvelena Gray, Vice-President; Anna Schell, Secretary; and Peggy Smith, Treasurer. Patti Schonlau took Peggy Smith’s place as member-at-large and Sue Tussey has another year to serve as member-at-large.

We have 29 members right now and I encourage those of you who have an interest in Braille to consider joining BRL of Missouri. We continue to move forward and the upcoming year promises to be even more productive.

By the time you read this, BRL of Missouri will have participated in the Alliance for Braille Literacy conference held on November 1-2 at the MCB office.

Until next time, all have a safe remainder of the fall and a joyous holiday season.

Braille Revival League of Missouri :: March 2014

By Judy Burch

I am excited to report to you that the Braille Revival League of Missouri is growing! We now have thirty members! At the MCB convention in October, elections were conducted with the following results: Judy Burch, President; Marvelena Quesada Gray, Vice-President; Anna Schell, Secretary; and Patti Schonlau continues on as treasurer. Sue Tussey was elected to another member-at-large term, and Peggy Smith also was elected to a member-at-large position this year. We are very excited about the Board and are in the process of planning a number of activities for this upcoming year.

On January 25, several members of BRL of Missouri participated in a workshop presented by Chris Gray on the Nemeth Unified Braille System Code. Those of us who participated and learned more about this code are very excited as it unifies Braille in a very logical fashion. Want to learn more? Join us on our next conference call or call any member to learn more about BRL of Missouri and the activities in which we are becoming involved.

Braille Revival League :: September 2013

By Marie Thompson, BRL of Missouri Chronicle Reporter

Hello from the BRL of Missouri Special Interest Affiliate, it is getting closer to the time to make plans to come to the 2013 MCB Convention. If you are not a BRL member, we hope you will consider joining us at our BRL meeting. Dues are $15.00 per year. You may send your check or money orders made to BRL of Missouri and mail to our treasurer, Mrs. Patricia Schonlau at 5521 Sutherland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63109. You may send dues now. We welcome sighted as well as visually impaired members.

The BRL luncheon scheduled to be held at the MCB State Convention is $15.00 for members and non-members will pay $22.00. The lunch will be a plated, sit-down luncheon. We will be selling Uno cards for $10.00 per deck. As always, we will have our fifty-fifty drawing. One dollar per ticket or six tickets for $5.00; increase your chances for winning! The BRL‘s President’s position is up for grabs. So, be thinking about whom you would like to fill the office of BRL’s new President. See you at the MCB State Convention in October.

Missouri Braille Revival League :: December 2012

By Judy Burch

Hello to all from the Missouri Braille Revival League.  If you think the name looks a little different, it is.  Our affiliate voted at this year’s Alma Murphey BRL Luncheon, at the MCB convention meeting in October, to change our name from the Braille Revival League of Missouri to the Missouri Braille Revival League.  We also have a new set of bylaws and new officers were elected; Sabrina Fowler, President; Nick Whitney, Vice President; Judy Burch, Secretary; Patti Schonlau, Treasurer; and Marilyn Tuso and Sue Tussey, Members-at-Large.

We were honored to have our Executive Director, Chris Gray, speak to us at our luncheon and we are excited to have some new members joining us.  We are looking forward to a productive year in MBRL!

Braille Revival League :: September 2012

By Judy Burch

The Braille Revival League will hold its annual Alma Murphy BRL luncheon on Saturday, October 6. At this year’s meeting, we will be revising our bylaws, as well as having elections for board positions. Lunch tickets will be sold for $13.00.

We look forward to seeing you at the luncheon this year.

Braille Revival League :: December 2011

By Judy Burch, BRL Secretary

Greetings to all from the Braille Revival League. The members of BRL hope you’re all enjoying a pleasant autumn season, and also want you to know that exciting plans are in the making for the upcoming year for the Braille Revival League. We want you to be part of our special interest affiliate which is growing, and participate in these upcoming happenings and encourage you to join! If you believe in Braille and want to help us to promote its use, BRL is definitely the “place” to b! You can send your $15 dues to treasurer, Susan Pearce at 4914 Smart Ave., Kansas City, MO 64124.

At the convention in October, members of BRL enjoyed a nice luncheon. We honor our beloved Alma Murphey every year at this luncheon, appropriately called the BRL Alma Murphey Luncheon. This year we were honored to have member Marie Thompson speak to us about what Braille means to her and how she uses it in her everyday life.

Elections were held at the luncheon meeting, with the following officers now serving terms: Laura De Vries, president; Sabrina Fowler, first vice-president; Rhonda Dycus, second vice-president; and two members-at-large, Bessie Reece and Marilyn Tusso. Secretary Judy Burch and Treasurer Susan Pearce are serving their last year of their second terms in their positions.

We will have more news for you in upcoming issues of the Chronicle.

Braille Revival League :: September 2011

By Judy Burch

The members of the Braille Revival League once again are looking forward to this year’s annual Alma Murphey BRL Luncheon, which will be held on Oct. 15 at the MCB convention in Joplin. Last year’s luncheon was well attended and very much enjoyed by members and guests alike. Besides another great luncheon this year, we’re looking forward to some fundraising activities that we hope you’ll enjoy. See you all in Joplin, and keep on reading that Braille!

Braille Revival League of Missouri :: March 2010

By Judy Burch, Secretary

This year promises to be a busy one for BRL of Missouri.  Plans are under way to develop a resource list which will include various free and pay-for sources where Braille books of many genres and for all ages can be obtained.  We are making presentations to a number of

schools about the use of Braille and its importance.  We also will be including seniors in various presentations and in articles by demonstrating and writing about various ways that Braille can be used:  i.e., reading elevator buttons and identifying floor and room numbers, labeling medicine bottles, etc.

Later this year we plan to begin fundraising.  In order to carry on with some future projects which we have discussed, we will need to bring in some money so that we can begin to implement them.  You'll be hearing more about our fundraising activities later this year.

If you haven't already done so, do consider joining BRL.  We need as many dedicated members as possible to get out there and promote and support the use of Braille!

Braille Revival League of Missouri :: December 2009

By Judy Burch, Secretary

This year has proved to be a good one for the Missouri Braille Revival League.  The year started out on a positive note with the celebration of Louis Braille's 200th birthday with a party held at the St. Louis Society for the Blind.  BRL also participated in a program at the Missouri School for the Blind, in which Louis Braille was honored. 

A raffle was conducted later in the year, and the prizes for the raffle were drawn at the MCB convention in October.  The third place winner received $25; the second place winner received $50 and the first place winner won  an electric Braille writer.  In addition, we were pleased to work with the MCB to select Kendra Haun, a 19-year-old high school student from

Kansas City, who was presented with a new Perkins Brailler.  Kendra attended the MCB convention in Independence and read her essay to the conventioneers at the Saturday afternoon session.  It was a wonderful essay and she read it with heartfelt enthusiasm.  Congratulations, Kendra!

Elections were held at the BRL meeting in October with the following results:  Bessie Reece is now president.  Ida Scotti is first vice-president and Elizabeth Moore is second vice-president.  Judy Burch has one year to serve in her position as secretary and Susan Pearce also has a year to serve as treasurer.

We in the Braille Revival League look forward to another great year and we invite those of you who have not joined us to do so.  We are eager for new members who share our view of the importance of Braille.  Our dues are $15 per year.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3, New International Version

Braille Revival League of Missouri :: September 2009

By Judy Burch, Secretary

It’s getting close to convention time again, and the members of the Braille Revival League invite you to attend this year’s BRL meeting, which will take place at the convention on Friday, October 9, at 8:30 p.m. in the Independence A Room.  We also invite you to join!  Our membership is growing, and we are pleased to report that this year we became members of the ACB’s Braille Revival League affiliate. 

We’re excited about promoting the use of Braille here in Missouri, and in keeping with that spirit we decided to have a raffle.  We are selling tickets, and the prizes are as follows:  third prize, $25.00 cash; second prize, $50.00 cash; and first prize, an electric Perkins Brailler which is in excellent condition.  The lucky first prize winner will be able to Braille up a storm!  You may purchase six tickets for $5.00, or one ticket for $1.00.  Talk with any BRL member to get the tickets.  They are available now and through convention time, and the drawing will be held at the convention.

We look forward to seeing you all in Independence in October!


Louis Braille Essay Contest :: March 2009

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the Missouri Council of the Blind will sponsor an essay contest.  The essay topic will be how Braille has affected the writer’s life.

Essays shall be 500 words or less, and will be judged on:

  1. Content
  2. Originality
  3. Formatting
  4. Grammar and punctuation

The essay may be written in contracted or uncontracted Braille and shall be written with either a slate and stylus or a Perkins Brailler.

The essay shall in some way contain a reference to the Missouri Council of the Blind.

Winner of the essay contest will receive the new Perkins Brailler valued at over $600.00. Any blind or visually impaired resident of Missouri 21 years of age and younger is eligible to enter. Entries shall be postmarked no later than July 31, 2009. The winner will be announced at the MCB 2009 annual convention. The winner will be invited to attend the convention and read their winning entry to the entire convention.  All expenses will be paid for the winner to attend. Entries should be mailed to the MCB office to the attention of:

Louis Braille Essay
Missouri Council of the Blind
5453 Chippewa
St. Louis, MO  63109

All decisions of the judges are final.

For more information please call the MCB office at:
Or email, MoBlind@MoBlind.Org

The Louis Braille essay contest is sponsored by:  The Braille Revival League of Missouri special interest affiliate, Library Users of Missouri special interest affiliate and the MCB Youth Services Committee.

Braille Revival League :: March 2009

Judy Burch - BRL Secretary

These past few months have been exciting ones for the Braille Revival League.  Since our meeting in October at the state convention, we have been discussing and planning several events in 2009 to commemorate the 200th birthday of Louis Braille. 

On January 4, Louis's actual birthday, we held a program at the St. Louis Society for the Blind commemorating this event.  Bessie Reece introduced the mistress of ceremonies, Ida Scotti, who presided.  President Elizabeth Moore and Judy Burch spoke giving a history of Louis Braille's life, enumerating the importance of Braille both past and present, and inviting those who wished to do so to join and further the work of the Braille Revival League.  We heard testimonials by Gennie Eachus and Theresa Moore of Braille's importance to them personally and to everyone.  The
program was interspersed with wonderful musical selections given by John Weidlich, June Lenk and Steve Schnelle.  The program ended with cake, punch and snacks which were enjoyed by all, and people mingled, getting to know one another.  We looked at the various pieces of equipment used today and in the past to read and write Braille such as a very old German Braille writer, a book of Moon type, slates, styluses, and a Braille Note.  A
similar program is planned for the folks who reside on the western side of Missouri later this year.  We wish to thank our executive director, Bev Armstrong, and her husband, Tom, for helping out with the program and
presentation, those volunteers who assisted with snacks and other things, and the St. Louis Society for the Blind for the use of their facility.   

On January 7, Elizabeth Moore and I represented the Braille Revival League as they participated in an event held at the Missouri School for the Blind.  The program was a celebration of Louis's birthday and was also a success!  The children were enthusiastic as they presented Louis's story with a great play.  One of the most fun activities was the presentation of the human Braille cell.

The members of the Braille Revival League are excited to be working with the MCB on the Braille essay contest.  At the October, 2009 state MCB
Convention some lucky person will win a new Perkins Brailler.  The participants must be 21 years of age or younger, and must submit their essays about the importance of Braille to them in grade 1 or grade 2 Braille.  The essays should be sent to the MCB office.    

One thing which was decided at our October meeting was that we would hold monthly phone conference calls to discuss BRL business and activities.

As of the end of January, we will have held three such calls, with several calls in between by committees to discuss the finer points of participation in such events as the January 4 event discussed above.

We invite you to become a member of our special interest group as we continue to promote the use of Braille throughout our great state.  To join please send your name and address, along with your payment of $15.00, to Susan Pearce, BRL treasurer, at the following address:

4914 Smart Ave.
Kansas City, MO  64124
Phone:  (816) 231-4914. 

You are also invited to join our monthly conference calls to learn more about who we are and what we do.  We will announce dates and times for these calls before they occur.