Table of Contents


Personnel Actions

Tech Tip

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone


Hernandez and Davis Named District Administrators

By JoAnn Carrin

Julius J. Davis, Jr.July 22, 2013, Julius J. Davis, Jr., joined the Division of Blind Services (DBS) as the district administrator of the Division 12 Office in Miami. Prior to his appointment with DBS he served as an educator, a career and job development specialist, and director of rehabilitation at Goodwill Industries in Cleveland, Ohio. Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in social work administration.

August 2, 2013, Mireya Hernandez was promoted to district administrator of the District 7 Office in Tampa. Prior to her appointment as district administrator, she has been employed with DBS since 2007, first as a rehabilitation specialist and then as a rehabilitation supervisor. Hernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in exceptional student education.

Personnel Actions

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family

Congratulations to employees who received a promotion

We wish our retirees the best in their future endeavors

Tech Tip

Cannot Find What You Are Looking For?

By Kendra Jahnke

The keyboard shortcut: CTRL + F will open the “Find” window in most programs (i.e., Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, AWARE, etc.). In the “Find” window, you can type the word or phrase you are looking for on the page or document. The results for your search will typically be highlighted on the page. If there are multiple results, you can press the “Next” button in the “Find” window to move to each highlighted result. In most programs, you can also select the “Edit” menu and then select “Find” to open the “Find” window. For Microsoft programs using the “Ribbon,” you can select “Find” from the “Home” tab.

Image of the “Find” window in Internet Explorer

Success Stories

Cake Talk: Making Creating Music, a Piece of Cake

By Mary Ann Hastings

Having grown up with music as the son of a gifted musician, Kim Fitzhugh describes making music as who he is, as opposed to what he does for a living as the owner of the telecommunications company, Envoy Solutions.

Fitzhugh playing guitar

He studied music therapy in college hoping to incorporate his love of playing the guitar, piano and singing into a way of helping people while making a living. When life events intervened, he instead founded Envoy Solutions to support his family with more steady income than producing music would provide.

Since DBS has assisted him in getting his business back on track with JAWS training and access technology to address his worsened vision, Kim has been able to once again turn his attention to making music his avocation. Always seeking ways to be the most independent, Kim has turned to Kickstarter as a way of raising the funds to purchase the software, CakeTalking, to provide the JAWS screen reading capability he needs to turn the best of the some 250 songs he has enjoyed writing during the years into a professionally produced CD.

Exceeding the Vision

By Janet Chernoff

Bernie Kaiserian and Tom SpiliotisMore than 100 licensed Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) operators and staff attended the 2013 Biennial BBE Seminar “Exceeding the Vision” at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando August 9-11. The seminar focused on successful business practices.

The first evening operators were regaled by the BBE All Star Classic Players featuring Bill Findley and Maureen Fink’s version of “Who’s on First,” Alan Risk’s take on “Football Versus Baseball” and Janet Chernoff’s twist on “Casey at the Bat.”

Bill Findley, BBE, provided a program update and introduced DBS Division Director Robert Doyle, III. Terry Smith, National Federation of the Blind, gave a keynote speech “Blind Entrepreneurship: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Breakout sessions were provided by Michael Fratti, American Red Cross; Jeff Chernoff, Insurance and Trust; and Debbie Lundberg, Presenting Powerfully. BBE regional consultants provided hands-on vending machine repair training. Adam Gaffney, DBS, talked about iPhone technology and a variety of technical issues.

Tom Spiliotis and John Klindtworth were voted in as chairman and vice chairman of the State Committee of Vendors (SCV). Vendors who have been in the program for 15, 20 and 30 plus years were presented service awards. The SCV presented special awards for their many years of outstanding and dedicated service to Bernie Kaiserian and Don Gerschick. Everyone agreed the seminar was a success.

Around the State

Summer Camp

By Kathleen Peck

Students at Lego LandLighthouse of Collier held its fourth annual summer camp for children who are visually impaired, Seeing through Sounds. The camp was held Monday through Thursday, July 8 through August 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program ended with a camp picnic award ceremony August 3. The camp was held at Naples Beach Hotel and activities included tennis lessons, music, crafts, large-print cards and board games. The children learned about assistive equipment for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. They also learned how to make new friends and had the opportunity to play.

The fourth Annual Manatee-Sarasota summer camp, VISTA, was held June 17 through 21. The idea for the name came from one of the participants who said it stood for Visually Impaired Students Taking Action. The children used iPads to help plan their activities. Campers attended the Dolphin Manatee Cruise where they saw dolphins and learned about interesting wildlife. They attended a performance by Mad Science of Tampa, which put on a demonstration called The Dry Ice Apdes. The campers also took a day trip to Legoland.

While not involved in field trips, the participants learned about microwave cooking, money management and the importance of socialization. They made scrapbooks of their activities and the girls made bows. Bethani Shilladay, a vision teacher, worked with counselor Angela Duaghtry to facilitate the camp. Bethani brought in a guide dog she is raising and a former student brought her guide dog as well. There was a back-to-school outing at Sunsplash in Cape Coral August 14.


By Libba Van Eepoel

Students floating in wind tunnelLighthouse of Central Florida’s Transition Program is dedicated to providing a variety of opportunities to students; whether it is work experience in professional environments, or life experiences from in-state activities to out-of-state trips. However, a visit during the summer program to Orlando’s iFly, an indoor skydiving facility, stands out in particular. Transition students experience what it is like to fly. iFly is home to a 20-foot tall wind tunnel powered by a behemoth fan. This gives the occupants a feeling of weightlessness. Every student, including those in wheelchairs, was able to fly.

Suited up in the special gear provided, the students waited outside of the transparent wind tunnel for their turn. As the instructors got into place and the colossal fan below the grated floor roared to life, the students came, one by one, to the edge of the chamber. The first steps inside took many by surprise as they were immediately lifted from the floor. With the instructors help the students got the hang of how to float and permanent grins settled on their faces. It was amazing to witness the joy the students were feeling as they were flying. It was incredible to watch the students face something foreign and unknown.

The importance of the transition students stepping into the wind chamber has deeper meaning than one instance of overcoming fear of the unknown. It is moments like these that enforce strong self-confidence and help them overcome obstacles. That is the primary goal of the transition program; to provide vocational skills, foster and improve skills that enable independence and provide students with the opportunity to succeed.

Wakulla County Senior Center Health Fair

By Laverne Scott

Scott at display tableI attended the Wakulla County Senior Center’s Annual Health Fair June 26, 2013. The event was a huge success! There were approximately 30 vendors from the surrounding counties who participated in the health fair and informed seniors about the types of services their agencies provide. A large number of seniors attended and took advantage of this opportunity to obtain useful information from the participating vendors.

Lunch was provided and there were many door prizes that were made available by the attending vendors. Everyone was given tickets at the beginning of the session and anxiously awaited to see who would win a prize toward the end of the health fair. This health fair was enjoyable and beneficial to seniors and vendors alike. I think everyone probably left there with a little bit more knowledge about one agency or another than when they arrived!

Technical Support Help Desk

By Ed Hudson

The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona Beach, Fla., has established a technical support help desk to assist field specialists with questions concerning computers, adaptive equipment and software, and questions related to assistive technology. The technical support help desk is intended to provide an accessible resource for specialists who have questions concerning the use of technology that is being used, or considered for use, by their clients.

Chris Masal is available to offer support in the following areas.

Chris Masal can be reached at 386-254-3849 or by email at

Dell quote information and the list of vendors are available on the “O” drive under the Rehab Center forms and info/technical support folder.

If you have questions related to assistive technology policies contact Lynn Ritter and if related to the vocational rehabilitation engineering services contract contact Donna Waller. The help desk is not designed to assist with equipment purchase or provide rehab engineering assessments for clients.

End Zone

Publication and Submission Information

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 Visionary newsletter is the first week of each month. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of each month. Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

DBS Communications:

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of the Visionary contact the Braille and Talking Book Library: or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0360

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

Division of Blind Services website (external):

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