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Bureau of Business Enterprises Adds Marketing Site Development Consultant to Program

By Bill Findley

Mr. Donald Meloy has been hired to serve as Marketing-Site Development Coordinator for the Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE). Meloy will serve the entire state helping BBE develop new facilities, strengthen existing facilities, and explore new and exciting opportunities. Or: Meloy will help BBE develop new facilities, strengthen existing facilities, and explore new and exciting opportunities throughout Florida.

Meloy brings a wealth of experience in both over-the-counter food service and vending. He has worked with Aramark and Canteen Services as well as owning a vending company in Maryland for 13 years prior to relocating to Florida in 2009.

Meloy will work in close conjunction with our regional business consultants and Maureen Fink, BBE? Operations Manager, to strengthen and improve existing facilities to ensure that BBE vendors are successful. He will follow up on leads and take the time needed to make contact with decision makers and explore other opportunities in each respective region. The Bureau plans to more aggressively seek city, county and private locations for vending as well as adding any new state and federal locations. The ultimate result is the creation of more jobs for blind men and women in Florida.

Welcome aboard Don!

Personnel Actions

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

Congratulations to the following employees who received a promotion:

Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind

By Shelanda Shaw

The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind will conduct its next quarterly meeting in Orlando at the Embassy Suites, 8978 International Drive. Meeting dates and times are as follows:

April 19, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Council Meeting
April 20, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Council Meeting

For a copy of the agenda, contact Phyllis Dill at (850) 245-0392 or email Phyllis.Dill@dbs.fldoe.org.

The Council will also hold a Public Forum for consumer input in Orlando at the Lighthouse Central Florida, 421 E. Robinson Street.  Meeting dates and times are as follows:
April 19, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Public Forum

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons needing a special accommodation to participate in these meetings should contact the local DBS office, no later than five (5) working days prior to the meeting, (407) 245-0700 or toll free (866) 841-0928, or through the Florida Telephone Relay system 711.

Gainesville Beeping Egg Hunt

By David Linn and Teresa Donaldson Thomas

Child picking up Easter eggVisually impaired children and their families from Northeast Florida had a great time at the Annual Beeping Egg Hunt held on Sunday March 18. The event was sponsored by the University of Florida Delta Gamma Sorority and was held at Northeast Park in Gainesville. This annual event was founded eight years ago by former Division of Blind Services (DBS) Counselor Peggy Bowie and Teacher of the Visually Impaired Susie Brier, and is offered to families located in the surrounding eight counties.

The Beeping Eggs were provided by the Telephone Pioneers and the event was coordinated by Haley Sasser of the Delta Gamma Sorority. DBS Children's Counselor David Linn and DBS Supervisor Madeline Davidson were also in attendance, as were the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind Parent Advisors and Teachers of the Visually Impaired who provide home and school based services to these children and families.

Mother, child, and Easter bunnyChild talking to Easter bunny

Everyone enjoyed games, arts and crafts, snacks, drinks, and participating in several beeping egg hunts. The Easter Bunny visited the children and gave away goodie bags at the end of the day.

Annual Ambassadors for Aging Day

By La' Verne B. Scott

On March 8, 2012, Bertha Hyche, District 2 Supervisor and La' Verne B. Scott, Independent Living Counselor, attended the Annual Ambassadors for Aging Day event held in the Capitol courtyard in Tallahassee.

DBS staff La'Verne Scott and Bertha HycheSeniors being entertained at Annual Ambassadors for Aging DayElder Floridians, their caregivers, and members of the aging services network were invited to showcase the many ways seniors contribute to Florida's communities. This exciting and fun filled event featured several senior performing groups, demonstrations, exhibitors, health screeners, self-led tours of the old state Capitol and a chance to meet with Florida legislators. During the festivities, participants were treated to a complimentary luncheon in the Capitol courtyard.

Each year seniors come from throughout the state to mingle and socialize while gaining access to the various resources and useful information that are available to them. Many of them remarked that they look forward to this event each year! The event appears to be getting larger each year, with more and more seniors participating. This was another successful year for the Ambassadors for Aging!

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day

DBS Booth - David Hand and Tiffany WilsonBy David Hand and Tiffany Wilson

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day was held on March 20, 2012, at the Florida Capitol. The Division of Blind Services (DBS) was in attendance as well as many other agencies that serve persons with disabilities.

The goal of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day is to bring awareness to both the public and lawmakers and demonstrate the need for continued funding so that Floridians with developmental disabilities can have a better quality of life.

A few clients who had successful ventures with employment this year were showcased and DBS hosted a booth where information on services was available.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi introduced the resolution honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day. Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Mike Hansen also spoke about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Entertainment for the public was provided by the Pyramid Studio Singers and Dancers, the Sunshine City Rock Band and Controlled Chaos. Pizza was served and the event was enjoyed by many.

MindSight Art Experience

By Madeline Davidson

Young people at MindSight Art ExperienceThe annual MindSight Program was held in Gainesville on March 17, 2012. It is an initiative of the Gator Lions Club in partnership with the Harn Museum of Art with the goal of helping blind and visually impaired individuals experience art through senses other than sight.

Local artists and University of Florida students provided works of art that could be examined through touch, with verbal descriptions given by the guides and the artists. The various art media included sculpture, jewelry, glass creations and ceramic plaques as well as plants.

The event was open to the public. People in attendance included blind and visually impaired persons as well as sighted people. Sighted people were encouraged to wear blindfolds to experience the art through their other senses.

The ideas, energy and vision all participants had in creating this expansion of art is greatly valued and appreciated.

Read Across America for Everyone

By Dorothy Minor

Mary Ellen Ottman reading to children

On March 2, 2012, in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, three visually impaired Division of Blind Services staff members celebrated the love of reading and its importance with the kindergarten classes at Westside Elementary School in Daytona Beach. Mary Ellen Ottman read "Green Eggs and Ham," David Jollymore read "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back," and Jane Pikula read "Hop on Pop." Each of these books by Dr. Seuss were in the Print/Braille or Twin Vision format so the books could be read in both Braille and print and the illustrations were enjoyed by everyone.

Sports Education Camp

By Walter Blackmon

The Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Ala., along with the United States Association of Blind Athletes will host the annual Sports Education Camp for blind or visually impaired children ages 8-18 June 6 - 10, 2012.

The foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes independence for persons with physically disabling conditions and provides opportunities to pursue active, healthy lifestyles. The annual Sports Education Camp is designed to introduce students with visual impairments to sports and recreational activities and to provide training to those demonstrating athletic potential.

Although the camp is located in Birmingham, Ala., out- of-state students are still encouraged to apply. Tuition is $150 for the session which includes four nights of lodging, meals, and three full days of activities, t-shirts and awards. Campers will be divided into two groups, Junior Camp and Senior Camp. Juniors are ages 8-12 and seniors are 13-18. Junior camp activities include introductory running, throwing, jumping, swimming, exercise, rock climbing, judo and goal ball. Senior camp activities include track and field (athletics), swimming, goal ball, judo, cycling, kayaking, water skiing and rock climbing.

Please note applications must be received by May 4, 2012. For more information you may contact Cliff Cook, at the Lakeshore Foundation by phone at (205) 313-7426 or by e-mail at cliffc@lakeshore.org.

Vision Loss only Motivates Daytona Beach UCF Grad

By Deborah Circelli

Alicia Betancourt knows firsthand the challenges associated with blindness. The 25 year old was born legally blind with Optic Nerve Atrophy, damage of the nerve that carries images from the eye to the brain. She has been interning since October through a work experience program at the Center for the Visually Impaired. She holds an associate's degree, bachelor's degree and a Master's of Social work. Her duties include assessing new clients and facilitating support groups, including one for students 14 to 22 who are transitioning from high school to work or college.

Betancourt lets clients know that getting her degrees was no easy feat; she would travel by Greyhound bus twice a week to Orlando then maneuver through city transportation with her white can to reach the university where she studied for her Master's degree. She tells clients that with determination it is possible to accomplish anything. She believes she gets her determination from "wanting to be on the same footing as sighted people." She also adds that "it can be done if you want it bad enough."

Leader Dog Summer Experience

By David Andrews

Do you know a teenager who could use a week of fun, outdoor activity and friendship this summer? Would that teen enjoy the challenge of developing new travel skills and stretching their independence? If so, the Leader Dog Summer Experience (LDSE) was designed with him or her in mind.

The LDSE combines outdoor camp activities such as kayaking, rock wall climbing and tandem biking with things exclusively for the Leader Dog-Audible Pedestrian GPS Training with the opportunity to try-out the guide dog lifestyle. The combination helps teenagers increase the skills they need to live independently.

The LDSE is for boys and girls ages 16 and 17 who are legally blind. The program is completely free including airfare and everyone receives a free Kapten plus audible pedestrian GPS device to keep.

Please forward this information to anyone that may be interested in attending this great program. The LDSE is scheduled for June 22- 29, 2012, so time is of the essence. For more information and to start the application process, visit http://www.leaderdog.org/programs/youth or call the Client Services department at (888) 777-5332.

The Community Connect Variety Show

By Deb Dirmeir

The Community Connect Group is the newest addition to the programming at The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Students in Daytona Beach meet daily with residential and instructional staff to focus upon job readiness and community integration activities. Each Friday morning a special event is sponsored by the students.

Variety show entertainmentOn March 2, 2012, the group sponsored a variety show that included musical acts along with comedy routines performed by students with the added participation of staff members as musicians. The audience consisted of approximately 37 students and staff from around the campus.

Throughout the planning and performance process, students are able to sharpen their skills in the areas of teamwork, organization, planning, conflict resolution and mobility as well as build upon overall leadership skills. The performance process also required students to plan for a Master of Ceremonies intermission with drinks and snacks, along with short group activities conducted by students between performances. The students instrumental in coordinating this activity are Ronasita Meadows, Joshua Price and Marita Winston. The show went off without a hitch and was a great success. Bravissimo!

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind Equals Success Stories

By Maryanne West

Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross. Then having facilitated the crossing, joyfully approve and encourage students to create bridges of their own. It is my privilege to share three recent success stories of clients served at our facility.

Derrick CulverDerrick Culver received his GED last year and is now the owner of a successful business that sells clothing merchandise. He is currently in the process of obtaining a patent for his logo for his polo knit shirts. What an exciting entrepreneur and successful graduate of our program! We are proud to have contributed to Derrick's successful career and wish him the best in the future!
Berline MercyBerline Mercy formally worked in a neo-intensive care unit as a Registered Nurse until she lost her vision. She was determined to pursue a career in the medical field and is now working in Haiti in the mission field with children at a medical facility located there.
Michelle LammMichelle Lamm received training in the areas of Independent Living Skills and Access Technology. She then began her two year journey to learn the skills of piano tuning. At the age of 20, Michelle is the only woman and the youngest student to complete the School of Piano Technology for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington.

Many people in this world dream of success, but there are those like these students that strive to achieve and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones on their path to accomplish their goal of SUCCESS! Congratulations to these and many other blind Floridians who are served through the efforts of the Division of Blind Services.

New Facilities for the Bureau of Business Enterprise

By Janet Chernoff and John Ahler

The Bureau of Business Enterprise welcomed three new facility managers to the Tallahassee area. Each facility sponsored an open house to thank regular customers for patronizing them and to encourage new business.

Kim Morris, owner of Meal Pond cafeOn Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, Kim Morris and her family members, along with the employees of Fort Knox office Complex, celebrated the grand opening of Meal Pond Café located in Building 3 at 2727 Mahan Drive. The family served over 150 people a variety of sweets, including homemade peanut butter and key lime pies, freshly baked cookies, bread pudding and a selection of cakes.

Lacy Corker, owner operator of Eatery GreeteryOn Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012, Lacy Corker hosted an Open House at his facility, The Eatery Greetery located in the Bob Martinez Center at 2600 Blairstone Road. Over 140 Department of Environmental Protection Agency employees were treated to a selection of goodies.

On Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012, Richard Stevens hosted an open house at the Daily Wrap located in the Claude Pepper Building at 111 West Madison Street. Richard served over 75 people a variety of sandwiches, freshly baked goodies including brownies and cookies, and beverages. Guests filled out a survey that asked what products they would like to see on the menu and in the vending machine

Staff from the Bureau of Business Enterprise attended the events. Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Region 1 Business Consultant and Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant, were all there to lend their support.

Congratulations and best wishes in your successful ventures!

Bureau of Business Enterprise Vendor Experiences Cash Mob

By Randall Crosby

I'm still flying high with emotions since I came home from an extra busy day at our snack bar "Crosby Snacks" at the Kennedy Space Center. It was a seemingly normal day until I received a phone call from a customer asking me to explain what kind of event was taking place at our snack bar today. I told him there is no event today. He began to read an e-mail about a "cash mob" today at my snack bar. I was puzzled and confused and told him that it must be a mistake. Within minutes customers began coming in groups and individually, there was much more activity than usual and this continued throughout the day.

My wife Patty and I slowly learned what a "cash mob" was. A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business and all buy items from that business. The purpose of these mobs is to support both a local business and the overall community. The side effect of this action is so powerful. It was and is an overwhelming feeling of appreciation from our customers. The message was one of genuine caring and love to a fellow person. I simply want to celebrate this great moment of humans helping humans and cutting through the red tape.
I had the opportunity to thank NASA employees Anna Henderson and Maggie Cunningham who organized this and to tell them it was a great success. Now that I've read the original stream of e-mails, I realize they had to cancel the event due to the emergency of the local fires and smoke that we experienced two weeks earlier, so I appreciate everyone's patience and persistence to make this happen. We tend to say that one person can't make a difference but I think this is proof that one person can make a difference.

Hadley Low Vision and School-Age Children

By Randall Morgan

The Hadley School for the Blind has just launched a new course in the Professional Development and Family Program. The Low Vision Class for School Age Children offers an overview of the fundamentals of low vision in students from preschool to high school. It is designed to familiarize parents, school teachers, para-educators and classroom aides, and medical professionals with what a student with low vision may need to be successful in school.

The information needed to register for this class is:

Course: VIS-121

Media: OL

Lessons: 7

For additional information, please visit the Hadley School for the Blind website at http://www.hadley.edu.

Hadley offers CRCC Clock Hours

By Randy Morgan

The Hadley School for the Blind offers a variety of free courses for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Topics range from Braille and academic studies to independent living, technology, business and employment skills and recreation. As of Jan. 1 2012, Hadley added five courses that are pre-approved for continuing education units (CEUs) by Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). These courses are offered tuition free to Florida Professionals through Sept 2012. In addition, we have recently added 14 archived seminars that each offer one clock hour of CRCC approved credit. Together, they offer 54 clock hours of tuition free Continuing Education Units.

Below is a list of the CRCC approved courses and seminars, which can be accessed at http://www.Hadley.edu:

One hour seminars listed below can be accessed at any time via the website:

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
Email:  Ashley.Evans@dbs.fldoe.org
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 al.peterson@dbs.fldoe.org or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone:  850-245-0360
Email:  DBS.HelpDesk@dbs.fldoe.org

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone:  850-245-0395 or 1-866-841-0912
Email:  Aware.support@dbs.fldoe.org

DBS Division of Blind Services (external):  http://dbs.myflorida.com.

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