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Staff Changes in State Office

Jerry Edwards is the new Contracts and Compliance Manager for our Division.  Jerry brings a wealth of audit and management experience to the position.  The Contracts and Compliance area now reports to Jerry for all things one previously reported to Bill Findley.  Bill Findley has accepted a promotion to the position of Chief of Business Enterprise.  Bill will be working closely with Jerry over the next 2 weeks to help close things out and aid in a smooth transition. 

District 9 News

The Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. has announced the opening of a satellite facility, called the Discovery Center, in downtown Sarasota, to open approximately September 1.  They have graciously offered DBS an opportunity to partner with them in this location.  After an initial meeting it has been determined that DBS will use the location for the following activities:

  1. Promotion of DBS services through the use of promotional materials
  2. Periodically, DBS personnel will meet with SEGD classes to discuss DBS and the services that we provide.
  3. The Discovery Center will serve as an alternative client meeting site in Sarasota.
  4. Occasionally, Vocational evaluations and staffings will be held at the site. Currently, some clients have difficulty coming to the Bradenton office for testing due to public transportation needs which cross counties.
  5. It is planned that the Discovery Center will contain a small retail store. We discussed the possibility of using this as a work experience site for our clients.

We expect that additional uses for this new available space will become apparent as we begin using it.  We are pleased to enter into this partnership as it will give us the opportunity for additional community outreach.

Tampa Lighthouse Growth

The Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind held a ground breaking ceremony for its new 8,000 square feet center in Winter Haven on August 5th.  Joining in breaking ground were the Mayor of Winter Haven, fellow City Commissioners, Polk County Commissioners and John Clarkson, Deputy Director of DBS.  The building is expected to be completed in May of 2011.

IB West transforms the lives of teens in their Summer Program

On June 13th the staff of Independence for the Blind of West Florida traveled north to the Great Smokey Mountains with 10 teens from the Summer Transition program.  The mornings were spent learning real life skills in the kitchen, learning to cook and clean.  In the afternoon, job skills such as interviewing, resume writing, and appropriate business etiquette were discussed on the balconies while the sun set over the mountains.  The setting was picturesque and the teens learned more than they ever would have without the program. 

The challenges before the staff were first recognized when a member of the group, age 17, asked one of the chaperones to cut his pancakes while stopping for breakfast.  It was then that the instructors realized the work before them.  The lessons also included a trip to the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where the teens learned how to travel through a busy airport.  Oh by the way, the teens did have some fun activities which included tubing through the Alpine Village of Helen, White Water Rafting down the Nantahala River, and riding the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad. 

Remember the teen that could not cut his own pancakes?  In the end he was making breakfast for 20 people.  Mission accomplished–Transformation made!

David Crohan will be the Star Shining at the 2010 Lighthouse Central Florida Gala Fundraiser

By anyone’s account, acclaimed pianist David Crohan is a gifted entertainer.  He is one of the most versatile pianists performing today, easily crossing the traditional boundaries between classical and jazz music with an ease and sophistication that is the envy of many of his colleagues.  His performances have aroused admiration across the United States in audiences which have included such distinguished people as President and Mrs. Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Lady Bird Johnson, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Billy Joel and many others.  In 1990, he was privileged to entertain Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

David Crohan's musical talent announced itself early when he began, at age three, to play popular tunes he heard.  Blind from birth, he received his early education at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston where his study of classical music was encouraged.  David has recently embarked on a new phase of his career.  By sharing his story with school children throughout the country, he hopes to inspire an interest in music and provide an important living example of how enormous difficulties can be overcome when reaching for the highest goals.

“He is an inspiration to other visually impaired persons and an excellent example of the level of success people with sight-impairment or blindness can achieve,” said Lee Nasehi, President and CEO of Lighthouse Central Florida.  “Contributions raised from the Gala will help us increase our capacity to offer comprehensive services, including independent living skills, as well as job training and placement, to more Central Floridians who are affected by blindness or low vision, so they can lead healthy, happy and independent lives.” 

For more information about the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Gala, to be held on September 25, 2010, please contact Margaret Henslee 407/898-2483 or

Summer Fun

I, Peter Cerullo, just wanted to note that on Saturday, July31, the Activities Director, Rachael Boltz, and I took several students on a recreation to the Ocean Center down on the beachside to watch a live WWE wrestling event.  The experience was awesome, It's a wonderful thing to see that the lessons they learn here at the OAC, like mobility, enabled the eight students to navigate this large venue, finding their seats in the auditorium, making their way to concession stand to buy a beverage or souvenir using the skills they've learned from their O&M instructors, Steve Perry and Holly Idler.  The wrestling show was terrific but the real stars were the OAC students (Robert Kingett, Brian Jolly, Jodie Dalton, Cleo Philips, Devin Richardson, Levi Ayers, Marcos Gutoerrez and Patria Alverez), as they championed their way through the large crowd, taking another step up to an independent life.

End Zone

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting and enlightening.  Remember, we need your submissions each month.  Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility.  The publication date for the Inside DBS newsletter should be the tenth of each month.  The deadline for submissions is the fifth of each month.  Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

Ashley Evans
Phone:  (850) 245-0310

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

MIS Help Desk:
Phone:  (850) 245-0360

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone:  (850) 245-0395 or 1-866-841-0912

Division of Blind Services Website:

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