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Holly Idler Presented With Hadley Dean W. Tuttle Professional Education Award

By Shelanda Shaw

Holly Idler at graduationHolly Idler is a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist at the Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona Beach, Fla.  She graduated Cum Laude from Florida State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Disabilities with a certificate in Orientation and Mobility.

Holly has been involved with Hadley since 1999, and has taken 22 classes to date.  She is currently enrolled in three classes.  She is a big supporter of Hadley because she uses much of what she learns in her personal and professional life, and says that the parenting courses have helped her with raising her son.  Holly shares what she has learned with clients and students, encourages them to take Hadley’s courses, and discusses the course material with them when they do.

“The award coming from Hadley means more to me than any college graduation or certification because I had to prepare for them, but Hadley’s instructors saw certain characteristics set forth by me, and nominated me for the award,” said Holly.  “I am honored to have been chosen for this award.”

“I have had many instructors who have answered emails, returned phone calls, and provided assistance when needed,” she says.  “If I am struggling in class, the instructor is there to give positive encouragement through a written letter, email, or phone call anytime, day or night.”  Holly’s first love is mobility instruction and her other interests include learning new crafts, reading, swimming, computers, and math.  Congratulations Holly.

Michaels appointed to Workforce Board

By JoAnn Carrin

Brian Michaels, DBS District 6 AdministratorGovernor Scott appointed Brian Michaels, DBS District 6 Administrator to the Workforce Central Florida Board of Trustees.  In his letter of recommendation, Commissioner Gerard Robinson stated: “I am pleased to recommend the appointment of Mr. Brian Michaels to the Workforce Central Florida Board of Trustees.  Mr. Michaels has been employed with the Division of Blind Services since September 2010 and is the District Administrator for the Orlando office and surrounding counties.  His previous experience is in the area of rehabilitation with a focus on employment.  In his current position, Mr. Michaels is responsible for approving vocational rehabilitation services, working with local community providers in job development, and improving community relations.  His instructional vocational skills and his job development experience make him a good candidate for this appointment.”

Workforce Central Florida (WCF) is the region’s workforce expert, an authority for workforce planning, programs, and the labor market. The primary goal of WCF is to connect employers to the largest pool of talent in the area and provides worker resources and training, and aims to prepare our community's residents for careers that meet local businesses' demands for today and into the future.  Congratulations Brian.

Personnel Actions

Congratulations to our Retiree

We wish Marilyn Milsap, Senior Rehabilitation Specialist in the Miami Office well as she embarks on her retirement journey! We will miss you.

We would like to welcome our newest employees to the DBS family:

Congratulations to the following employee who received a promotion:

Employer Recognized by the Rehabilitation Council for the Blind

By Jim Woolyhand

Joyce Hildreth (Director of DBS), Will Ryan (Production Supervisor at LC Industries), Marisa Chrismon (VP of Human Resources for LC), Paul Edwards (Rehab Council Chairperson), and Jim Woolyhand.On October 28, LC Industries was recognized by the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind during its quarterly meeting in Daytona Beach.  LC Industries is the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States.  This 74 year old company provides full-time career and advancement opportunities for blind individuals. 

Recently, in June, the company opened a manufacturing plant   in Daytona Beach.  At this time, approximately 20 to 25 individuals are employed in tactile equipment manufacturing and in warehouse positions.  LC expects to grow, and anticipates additional openings in the future.

The company has worked cooperatively with DBS and with clients who live in this area, including those individuals who have moved to Daytona from other parts of the state.  Their staff has been very helpful in assisting clients with their adjustment to work, and in the community.  DBS is grateful for their continued professional efforts, and wishes to continue the development of this positive working relationship as the company continues to grow and provide opportunities for our clients in the years to come. 

It is my pleasure to have this company and their team of dedicated individuals to be recognized for their outstanding efforts in providing the opportunities for the individuals DBS serves. 

Disability Employer of the Month Recognition

By Shelanda Shaw

Diane Thomas Marriott Global Call Center, Miami, with Ellen McCarron and othersSome of Florida’s businesses were recognized on October 27 in Tallahassee for being exceptional employers of people with disabilities. The celebration was held at the Tallahassee City Hall, as part of recognizing October as Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Two employers nominated by DBS were recognized during the ceremony.

DBS District 2 staff members Sarah Whiddon and Lisa MooreFirst, the Marriott Global Reservations and Customer Care Center of South Florida was honored. The call center has hired 17 employees with disabilities including 14 with visual disabilities. Marriott lengthened its training course to ensure those with disabilities received adequate training.  Accommodations such as adding Braille to the snack machines and microwaves, creating an area for motorized scooters and wheelchairs, among others, were made for employees. Additionally, some employees are allowed to work from home.

The Florida Department of Revenue was the second organization recognized during the event. This state agency has gone above and beyond ensuring employees with disabilities are welcomed and accommodated.  This past year, the agency approved and made 48 accommodation requests.  Additionally, the agency has partnered with Blind Services for an on-the-job training program where 16 individuals have benefitted. Participants with visual disabilities convert paper documents into electronic documents for the department.

Ginsberg Runs New York City Marathon

By Aimee Mallini

Dr. Barrett Ginsberg, a Naples area ophthalmologist will be participating in his second New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, 2011.  For this year’s marathon Dr. Ginsberg has chosen to use his participation as an opportunity to raise funds for the Lighthouse of Collier, and to bring awareness of visual impairments and the blind to others. 

When asked what inspired him to run 26.2 miles, he stated, “After having run the marathon in 2002, I have wanted to do it again.  It really is a great race because of the participation of the fans and the energy surrounding it.  One way to make this day even better, I thought, was to combine the running with a fundraiser for a wonderful local organization committed to helping those with blindness and vision loss.  As an ophthalmologist in Naples that knows the commitment level of the Lighthouse of Collier, I can assure you that any donation will be put to fantastic use.” 

Dr. Ginsberg has a goal of raising $3,000 and he will be accepting donations until November 10.  You can find more information on the following website:

The Rehabilitation Center’s Golden Ladder Recognition

By Ginger Lancaster

Bulletin board with black background and gold letters and along the border reads, Welcome to the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Where our mission is the Independence and Employment of those we serve.Along with the many renovations at the Rehabilitation Center in Daytona comes the introduction of the Golden Ladder Recognition. All staff at the center are encouraged to notice and nominate the unique contributions of their peers.  Four nominees are chosen each month and are awarded a golden ladder trophy which they will pass to next month’s recipient.  

In the lobby of the Center, a new bulletin board with black background and gold letters and along the border reads, “Welcome to the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Where our mission is the Independence and Employment of those we serve.” Below the statement is a Golden Ladder – representing the rails and rungs of a ladder that provide lift and support as does the staff of the center who contribute their gifts and talents to the mission of the center.  The rungs are labeled with the recipients’ names, along with a summary of how they make a difference.  The rungs of the ladder come off each month and the recipient will keep it as a name plate token for their desk.

Montas and Lionel Join District 5

By Jim Woolyhand

Carlos Montas joined the Daytona District 5 VR staff in August of 2011.  He and his guide dog, Lionel, are from the city of Miami.  Carlos graduated from Florida State University, and is seeking to further his graduate studies.  He is involved with the NFB (National Federation of the Blind), and enjoys playing goal ball.  He looks forward to serving the blind and visually impaired individuals in District 5 and is committed to conveying the message to each client that it is perfectly acceptable to be blind.  He has a desire to ensure that every client has the training and skills to succeed in meeting their individual goals. 

Low Vision Technology Workshop

By Bertha Hyche

The Division of Blind Services staff attended a Low Vision Technology workshop on October 14 presented by the American Foundation for the Blind. The workshop was presented in an accessible format for sighted people, as well as low vision attendees.  Project Manager at the American Foundation for the Blind Ike Presley covered various topics including video magnifiers, E-Book readers, non-optical devices, screen magnification technologies, auditory tools, writing tools, cell phones and GPS. 

The workshop was instrumental in helping to lay the foundation for the available Level of Assistive Technology training at the Manderfield Technical Training Lab in Daytona.

White Cane Safety Day in District 10

By Herbert Mejia

Vision awareness bannerOn October 4, County Commissioner Karen Marcus presented a proclamation to Cathy-Alice Koyanagi and Gwen Myers declaring October 15 “White Cane Safety Day” in Palm Beach County.

A folding white caneAdditionally, on Oct. 15, members of the Division of Blind Services of West Palm Beach participated in an event to mark the White Cane Safety Day in the City of Riviera Beach.  Blind residents crossed Blue Heron Boulevard with white canes; their goal was to educate drivers and bring awareness to the Florida White Cane Law, which requires vehicles to come to a complete stop when a person with a white cane or guide dog is crossing a street, regardless of the color of the light.

White Cane Day in District 9

By Barbara Cutrera

In Manatee County, the rainy day did not deter participation in the White Cane Day activities on October 13.  Approximately 35 people, some with white canes in hand or guide dogs at their sides, took to the streets in Bradenton.  They made their way through construction hazards and traffic until they reached City Hall where dignitaries shared and read proclamations recognizing White Cane Day in the city of Bradenton and Manatee County. Afterwards, 28 individuals walked to the nearby Pier 22 restaurant for lunch. 

Excellent collaboration between the five agencies made the event a success.  These agencies included DBS, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Lighthouse of Manasota, the Florida Council of the Blind, and the local Lions Club.  Bay News 9 provided media coverage of the event and two days prior, representatives from the organizations gathered at the meeting of the Manatee Board of County Commissioners to accept the proclamation, which was read and televised on the local public service channel.

In Lee County, the eighth annual White Cane Walk took place at Lake Park on October 15.  There was a cane demonstration, and a cane walk across a busy street.  Participants walked back inside the park for coffee, donuts, and live entertainment.  Lee County Commissioner, Ray Judah officially kicked off the walk.  Everyone walked the trail around the lake and hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled in the park for lunch. 

Agencies participating included DBS, Cape Coral Lions Club, Fort Myers Beach Lions Club, VIP Center of Southwest Florida, Blind Veterans, Radio Reading Services, and the Southwest Guide Dog Association.


By Ginger Lancaster

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually ImpairedThe Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is undergoing exciting changes, not only externally with the construction of the new Dormitory and Technology building but in service delivery. The Center is located on 30 acres in Daytona Beach.  Clients are able to receive a very thorough comprehensive functional assessment and training for skills of daily living, orientation and mobility as well as access technology.  Around the clock access to vision rehabilitation adjustment tools is also available.  The Center will also assist the client in addressing barriers to employment arrange, job shadowing and work experience opportunities.

NO LINES, NO WAITING! There is currently no waiting list and individuals receive an arrival date within the same week the General Medical Evaluation is received and cleared at the Rehab Center.  We serve all clients over the age of 18 who are Vocational Rehabilitation clients of the Division of Blind Services.  Dorms are available to clients who live outside of the Daytona Beach area and have many recreational opportunities available that support employment and adjustment skills. For more information on the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired please call 1(800) 741-3826 or visit the new DBS website at:

Hadley School Update

By Randy Morgan

Hadley school logoI am happy to report that the Florida Division of Blind Services has renewed their contract with Hadley through September 2012!  On behalf of Chuck Young and the rest of the staff of Hadley, I would like to thank Joyce Hildreth and the leadership of the Division for another year of this unique and successful partnership. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to give a very big thanks to Susan Roberts, Chief of the Talking Books Library, and all of the staff at the Library.  It was no easy task for the Library to take on the project of developing and mailing out notices to 20,000 Talking Books Library subscribers in Florida, advising them of the free courses offered by Hadley.  Many calls have been received as a result of those notices.  All Hadley courses remain free for Floridians.  I am also happy to announce that and we plan to add to our Finding Employment course, additional courses and archived seminars that are pre-approved for Continuing Education through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.  In result, CRCs will have more opportunities to earn free continuing education hours.

Although there is not room in this article to provide detailed information about our newest program, I hope you will logon to and read about our new Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship.  The goal of this new initiative is to provide individuals who are blind or visually impaired with the knowledge, resources and networking opportunities to enable them to advance in their careers or to successfully launch and grow their own businesses.  The Center will also be having online seminars and discussion related to running a business.

End Zone

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting.  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 is the first of each month.  The deadline for submissions is the 24th of each month.  Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

Ashley Evans
Phone:  850-245-0310

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of Inside DBS may contact the Braille and Talking Book Library at or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone:  850-245-0360

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

DBS Division of Blind Services (external):

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