ORLANDO, Fla., July 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today presented $50,000 in cash awards to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. The sixth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored five innovators who are changing the lives of blind people at the National Federation of the Blind annual convention in Orlando.
James Kubel was awarded $5,000 for his innovative contribution to diabetics, the PumpMate, which is the first product ever developed that allows diabetics who are blind or have low vision to safely and independently control all functions of an insulin pump. The NFB of Utah and the Utah Department of Workforce Services were jointly recognized for their groundbreaking partnership Project STRIVE, which connects blind students with blind mentors to better prepare them for college and employment, with a cash award of $10,000 made to the NFB of Utah. The NFB of Texas and Texas Workforce Commission were also jointly recognized for a similarly innovative program called Project CHANGE, a workforce readiness program for blind youth aged 14 to 24, with a cash award of $10,000 given to the NFB of Texas. A $10,000 award was given to Desire2Learn for its industry-leading example in consistently adhering to accessibility standards for its learning management system. Emily Wharton was awarded $15,000 in recognition of her groundbreaking Code Master system, which she developed to better teach Braille to adults.
Dr. Jacob Bolotin, the namesake of the award program, was a blind physician who lived and practiced in Chicago in the early twentieth century. He was widely known and respected in Chicago and throughout the Midwest during his career, which spanned the period from 1912 until his untimely death at the age of thirty-six in 1924. He was particularly recognized for his expertise on diseases of the heart and lungs. Bolotin used his many public speaking engagements to advocate for the employment of the blind and their full integration into society.Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "Dr. Jacob Bolotin was a pioneer who overcame low expectations and discrimination to become a renowned member of the medical profession without the benefit of the support services and civil rights protections available to blind people today. The National Federation of the Blind is proud to honor the memory and spirit of Dr. Bolotin by recognizing and financially supporting those individuals and organizations, both from within the blindness field and outside of it, who are doing exceptional work to help achieve the shared dream of Dr. Bolotin and the National Federation of the Blind—a society where the blind are treated as productive, independent, and equal citizens."