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It's the "Name that Newsletter" Contest!

DBS is renaming the newsletter and we need your help! Please send us your ideas.

First prize wins an article of recognition in July's newsletter, the right to brag and a small token of our appreciation. Please send all submissions to by Friday, June 29, 2012, or contact Aimee Mallini at (850) 245-0320.

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit the DBS website: Is the newsletter sent to all DBS employees or do they have to subscribe? No need to subscribe if they get it anyway.

Personnel Actions

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

The 14th Annual Family Café Conference

The Family Café is pleased to announce that the 14th Annual Family Café Conference scheduled for June 15-17, 2012, in Orlando. The annual event provides a venue where individuals with all types of disabilities and their families from throughout Florida can gather information about available services and how to best access them. It connects families to policy-making officials, provides opportunities to support networks with other families, and exposure to a range of public and private resources.

This year's Café will be held at the Hilton Orlando located at 6001 Destination Parkway in Orlando. This facility offers some of the best facilities for persons with disabilities in the Orlando area. A block of rooms has been reserved at a special conference rate of $109 per night.

As always, there is no registration fee for persons with a disability or a family member. However, ALL professionals must pay a $100 registration fee.

You can register at, mail your completed registration form to 1332 N. Duval Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303, or fax to (850) 224-4674 at any time.

The Family Café is also proud to offer families limited financial assistance which may provide for complimentary accommodations at the Hilton Orlando.

Dedication Pays Off

By Linda Clark

Rose Guillaume, successful Bureau of Business Enterprise graduate and cafeteria managerThe Division of Blind Services district office in Ft. Lauderdale is excited to share the success of former client, Rose Guillaume. Ms. Guillaume is now a successful Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) graduate and cafeteria manager. After becoming legally blind, she was unable to obtain employment in her previous field. But, with determination and dedication, Rose completed the BBE program.

Rose has been awarded a cafeteria and vending facility at the Governmental Center in Ft. Lauderdale. She enjoys providing a service to her customers and taking an active part in the community. She comments, "When I arrive early in the morning, people are already lined up waiting for me to open."

Although Rose is in the early stages of building her business, she already has increased sales as well as an increased customer base. She comments that her motivation, enthusiasm, efforts and perseverance have paid off as she continues to build a local successful business.

A Summary of the Canon Copier Project

By Elly du Pré and Peter King

The Lighthouse of Broward in partnership with Wood Business Systems initiated the successful development, production and sales of a fully accessible copying machine by Canon, Inc., that would allow a person with disabilities to utilize the equipment. The U.S. government has already purchased 97 units for the Internal Revenue Service, which has a strong program of employing the blind and visually impaired.

For the first time, a totally blind person can be completely independent in the operation of all the features of a high quality, multi-function copier/scanner/printer because it has speech-output and a simple button array for input. One of the first totally blind persons to use the copier, Kathy Martinez, the U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, said it was the first time in her life she ever operated a copier independently.

Recent legislation requiring all federal contractors to have higher standards of compliance for information technology (ADA 508 regulations), opened an opportunity for the blind that can be realized in part by this new copier/scanner/ printer.

The next stage of our efforts is to implement a pilot project with an employer so that successful placements can be part of outreach to agencies serving the blind. The pilot project will show how a person who is blind or visually impaired can use the Canon copier to perform successfully either in an entry level or advanced employment position.

Ultimately the goal for this project is to sell this copier to other government agencies and procure it for employers of the blind throughout America and to increase long-term employment with advancement opportunities for the blind.

For this achievement, the Lighthouse of Broward recently was honored as 2012 Non-Profit Organization of the Year for Advocacy by BankAtlantic and the Wasie Foundation. Wood Business Systems shared in the honor.

Rehabilitation Center Students and Buccaneers Invade Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine

By Deb Dirmeir, M.Ed.

Students boarding sailing vessel bound for Fort MatanzasOn April 20, the students at the Rehabilitation Center in Daytona Beach traveled to St. Augustine, boarded a Man-O-War sailing vessel, gave a heave ho and took over Fort Matanzas at approximately 9:30AM that morning. While there was little success in retrieving doubloons, pieces of eight, or other bounty, during this trip, some students revealed many talents they possessed and in some cases, discovered talents they did not know they had. One student discussed with the group his knowledge and understanding of the water siphoning system at the fort that gathered rain as drinking water and served as a purification system when the Fort was in full operation. Another student was able to overcome his fear of heights as he climbed up a ladder through a small hole to the highest level of the fort - shiver me timbers! Students getting lunch at Washington Oaks State ParkThis same individual, who has at times considered himself a "landlubber," soon realized he was able to overcome his fear of sailing as he traveled across the river with the group to get to the Fort.

Once the Fort was secured, students then weighed anchor and hoisted the mizzen, traveling on to Washington Oaks State Park to set up camp for lunch. This portion of the trip was entirely planned by the students with the assistance of instructional staff. This included set-up of camp, arrangement of the meal to include grilling burgers and franks and serving up grub. Another group of students were responsible for clean-up duty and ensuring the area was "shipshape." Overall, the trip was a huge success and students hope to plan another invasion of St. Augustine in the near future. Avast ye matey's, savvy.

State Board of Education Adopts Recommendations on Inclusion and Accountability

On May 10, 2012, the Florida State Board of Education approved adoption of inclusion and accountability policy recommendations made by Commissioner of Education Gerard Robinson. During the State Board of Education meeting on Feb. 28, 2012, the board voted to create the Commissioner's Taskforce on Inclusion and Accountability to develop an implementation plan to include students with disabilities, students who are learning the English language, and students enrolled in exceptional student education centers in Florida's school accountability system.

The State Board adopted five recommendations developed during a taskforce meeting in Orlando on March 22 and 23. Details of the adopted measures are found below.

For more information about the Commissioner's Taskforce on Inclusion and Accountability, please visit For State Board of Education agendas and meeting materials, visit

DBS Regional Meeting Wrap-Up

By Robin Frydenborg

The Division of Blind Services (DBS) has held six regional meetings, serving more than 200 DBS staff. These meetings were held in four geographic regions throughout the state. The first meeting was held in Tallahassee in early March, and most recently Ft. Lauderdale. On June 27, 2012, the final meeting will take place in Tallahassee.

We have received some great feedback regarding the common sense definition of the DBS Strategic Plan, indicating that every employee has the opportunity to contribute to one or more of our four strategic goals. The Division's current strategic goals can be found on our internet site at

Some common themes are emerging from these meetings and include suggestions for strategic activities such as

The input we received from these meetings will further shape the future direction of our Division. So, look for additional summary reports comprised of all group suggestions for either continuing or initiating new activities to get to the core of the Division's business.

So, what's next? On July 12 and 13, the Expanded Leadership Team will meet in Tallahassee to discuss and prioritize all the submitted activities correlated to each of the strategic goals to determine what can be implemented at either the district, regional, or state level.

Whether you enjoyed learning about the history of DBS, meeting new colleagues, or felt that you got to know your state office staff a bit more, we encourage you to stay involved with the Division's growth.

Rehabilitation Services Administration Announces Communication Changes

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is pleased to announce that the United States Department of Education (ED) is providing a new communication tool to enhance the delivery of information. This new tool enables RSA to provide more timely, transparent information that will increase your knowledge and awareness of RSA and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

What Is It?

GovDelivery is an email communication tool that ED has acquired that allows for user account management of content topics. It permits users to subscribe to topics most relevant to their interests and provides only the information selected.

What Do I Have To Do?

RSA will continue to provide the same open communication you now receive via the new GovDelivery system. Information and announcements regarding vocational rehabilitation services, data, fiscal, independent living and technical assistance will be sent directly to you as before. However, staff, stakeholders, state officials, legislators and consumers will soon be able to select and subscribe to various topics about RSA of direct interest to them. RSA will be communicating subscription instructions in the near future and we encourage you to subscribe to those topics of interest.

To subscribe to information and communications from RSA, please visit:


To learn more about the GovDelivery system please visit:

Sieboldt Book Signing

By Bryan McKernan

Margaret Sieboldt at her book signing

On May 18, 2012, the DBS District 1 office sponsored a book signing for Margaret Sieboldt "Sound Talks." Margaret has been a client for approximately four years and has always loved writing. She decided to write her own series of books describing her life and how she has dealt with being visually disabled. The book signing was a huge success and all of Margaret's fans left happy with their signed copies of her first book of this series.

A Cat's Tale

By James Carper

Fireman rescues catAfter returning to work from the Memorial Day holiday, you can imagine my surprise when I was told the sound of a meowing kitten was coming from the state vehicle. With many concerned employees and some investigation, the kitten was found to be hiding in the engine of the Division's Ford Freestyle.

We opened the hood and there tucked tightly against the engine was a tiny gray and white kitten. We tried unsuccessfully to lure him out. He was out of reach but we decided to try some food. Which happened to be my lunch, I didn't mind sharing. He quickly grabbed the goodies and retreated to the engine. After 2 hours and 12 employees trying every way imaginable to reach the kitten, it was decided to call the local Fire Station, since after all, most children's books feature a fireman retrieving a stranded kitten.

Shortly after the call, Fire Rescue Station #53 arrived on the scene with a can of tuna fish, protective gloves and a lot of patience. Within 30 minutes the kitty was safely retrieved without injury. I am happy to report the kitten now has a home with the woman who initially discovered him.

Take your Sons and Daughter to Work Day 2012

By Shelanda Shaw

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, the Division of Blind Services State Office participated in the Department of Education's "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day". This day serves as an excellent learning opportunity for students in grades three through five to gain first-hand knowledge as to what their parents do each and every day.

Showcasing what DBS does was Adam Gaffney, Keith Flowers and his guide dog, Eagle. Adam showed the various technology items that a Blind or visually impaired person uses in order to do his work and Keith demonstrated how a Guide Dog helps a blind or visually impaired person in the run of a day.

All persons who participated were impressed.

It's Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

By Florida Division of Emergency Management

A disaster can strike at any time - sometimes without warning! It is important for every Floridian, especially citizens with disabilities and other special needs, to plan ahead for an emergency situation and know what to do in the event of an emergency.

The best time to prepare for an emergency is well ahead of time. When you prepare from a position of safety and calm, you and your caregivers can better cope with an emergency or disaster situation when it happens. An emergency or disaster may present unique challenges for people with disabilities and special needs. If you or someone you care for has a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to prepare yourself and your family.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management recommends you have a minimum two-week supply of all your prescription medications. According to Florida law, you can obtain a 30-day refill of your prescription medication - even if you have just refilled it - but only if you reside in a county that

For more information, visit the Emergency Preparedness page and download the Are You Prepared and Getting Your Prescription Medication During a Disaster fact sheets.

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 week 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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