Table of Contents


Personnel Actions

Tech Tip

Around the State

End Zone


Exceptional Employer Awards

Taken in part from press release

Robert Doyle, Amanda Owens, Gov. Scott, Geraldine Kressin, Fran Harrington Owens and Aleisa McKinlayGov. Rick Scott recognized seven businesses for their commitment to employing people with disabilities Oct. 9, 2013, at the eighth annual Exceptional Employer Awards. The awards ceremony was held in celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Gov. Scott said, "These businesses have done an incredible job in providing jobs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. We have to support families’ efforts to find jobs for their loved ones, and that is why my Florida Families First Budget invested $500,000 to provide job training skills for individuals with disabilities.”

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) assisted in presenting the awards to this year’s winners listed below.

Robert Doyle and Aleisa McKinlay announcing door prize winners

Geraldine Kressin and Mireya Hernandez, DBS District 7, nominated Sykes Enterprises, Inc. Sykes began including people with disabilities in its workforce more than 10 years ago. Sykes sought to hire individuals with disabilities and reached out to DBS to begin the process. Since then, Sykes has employed many individuals with all types of disabilities at its Lakeland call center. This company provides technical support to fortune 1000 companies throughout the world.

All employers nominated by the DBS district offices will receive a plaque signed by DBS Director Robert Doyle.

Personnel Actions

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family.

Dorothy Minor Retires

By Susan Roberts

Dorothy Minor pictured with certificate of retirement while staff look onDorothy Minor, librarian with the Braille and Talking Books Library for more than 30 years, retired at the end of September. Minor has seen a huge change over the years in the library facility and in the services that are available to customers. When she began her work, there were no computers, all patron and circulation records were maintained by hand, and the primary medium for reading materials was the long playing record. Dorothy has worked in every area of the library over her career and given her talents to many aspects of the library.

Tech Tip

New Microsoft Cloud-Based Email Server at DBS

By Adam Gaffney

There are several upgrade projects now in progress in the DBS management information section, including Windows 7 desktop upgrades, a new AWARE version soon to be implemented and a new email server. Did you know that Microsoft has been replaced with a new web-based email system called In fact, this is what the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is now using for email. You can check your email from any computer connected to the Internet by entering the following web address into your browser:

Screen shot of email login page

Enter the same login name and password that you use to sign onto your computer in the office and you will have access to your email and personal outlook calendar. You can also use this same webmail application in the office as a backup if you are having trouble with the outlook program on your desktop.

Around the State

Corporate Cup Challenge

By Robert Doyle

Cheering squad Kaleb Shaw, Shaw, Walter Blackmon, Robert Doyle, John Doyle, Benjamin Doyle and Leah SkinnerI want to take the time to give a big thanks to Wayne Jennings, Walter Blackmon and staff who participated in and supported the Corporate Cup Challenge in Tallahassee Oct. 12, 2013. As the team engaged in the challenge, they demonstrated key concepts of teamwork, accommodation, independence and innovation. Our dedication and support for each other within the DBS helps further our objectives to excel in all that we do. Whether your role involves working with children or adults, participating in a workgroup or a special project, or it involves competition in an event like the Corporate Cup Challenge, our successes are linked to our abilities to work together to get the job done.

Team “No Vision Required” members competed in the following:

White Cane Safety Day

By Keith Flowers

Ft. Lauderdale staff some modeling white cane logo T-shirts coordinated by Bernita Plowden. Photo: Sherline Fontus, LaVerne Spencer, Ian Campbell, Linda Clark, Laura Pizzurro, Monica Vasquez, Ayse Torres, Bernita Plowden and Patrick Regalado

Florida’s white cane law says you must come to a full stop when a person is crossing the street with a white cane or guide dog. October is White Cane Safety Awareness Month and Oct. 15 is White Cane Awareness Day. See pictures from White Cane Safety Day events held around the state at

Bureau of Business Enterprise Training Program

By Janet Chernoff

Jamal Delifus at cash registerArnold Eco left a position he held for 12 years. Veda Griffin wanted to operate her own food truck. Jamal Delifus is 20 years old, has an interest in business and math and would like to run his own business. Carmen Lorenzo, Raiza Miranda and Michelle Morris are all from South Florida and are looking for new careers. These are some of the trainees in the 2013 Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) food service and vending machine training program.

Diverse in age, experience, background and city of residence, they all share the belief that being a licensed BBE vendor will make their life better. Knowing it will not be easy and may require relocation, they will spend six months training in the classroom and food-service facility. Following the formalized training, much hard work will go into establishing, operating and growing their businesses to support themselves and their families. Look for an update on their success in future editions of The Visionary.

Numerous opportunities are available for those who complete the training and become licensed vendors. Over the next few months there will be opportunities in food service in the Tallahassee area and in vending in the Panhandle area. The BBE staff is working hard to expand opportunities.

Information on the requirements to apply to the Business Enterprise Program along with the 2014 class schedule is available on the website at

Disability History Awareness Weeks

By JoAnn Carrin

Oct. 1 through Oct. 11, 2013, Disability History and Awareness Weeks as designated by section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, signed into law in 2008. The law requires school districts to designate the first two weeks of October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks. It promotes providing instruction for students in all public schools to expand student knowledge, understanding and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history and the disability rights movement.

The FDOE, DBS, DVR, Career and Adult Education, Florida Colleges, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS), the State University System, and community partners held a variety of activities during Disability History and Awareness Weeks. DBS Director Robert Doyle spoke during the opening ceremony along with BEESS Bureau Chief Monica Verra-Tirado and others. Attendees enjoyed a performance by Chautauqua Learn and Service Charter School singers and refreshments.

Gov. Scott issued a proclamation recognizing the efforts and important contributions and achievements of persons with disabilities. Events honoring Disability History and Awareness Weeks also included a Lunch and Learn and the closing ceremony.

Library Renovation

By Susan Roberts

Renovated reception areaThe Braille and Talking Books Library in Daytona Beach is in the midst of a major renovation project. Phase I was completed recently and has allowed all of the administrative functions to be moved into a newly renovated space. The overall project is scheduled to be completed in early 2014. Until then, here will be a reduction of the overall space from more than 82,000 square feet to around 45,000 square feet. The newly renovated space will contain ample room for the library’s digital and braille collections and will provide a much more environmentally sound facility. The facility is more staff friendly with areas being closely aligned to allow for easier travel to and from individual spaces.

See What a Little Creative Thinking Can Do

By Tiffany Baylor

Tiffany Baylor on Cyco CycleI am an active person and have been this way since before my progressive vision loss. I run, skate, clog, hike and bike. Well, I used to bike, but had to stop when my vision loss increased and made it unsafe to continue. My family knew how much I enjoyed cycling, and tried to find ways to modify the sport so that it could still be enjoyable. Some of their attempts included tandem bikes and audio cues, which proved unsuccessful and problematic. Tandem bikes placed me at the mercy of the person steering, and it still made me feel like a passenger in a car, rather than the director of my own destiny. Later, we tried activating an audio cue (like a bicycle bell) for me to stay in line behind another biker. Unfortunately, my guide would get distracted, or stop ringing the bell, which left me with no cue to follow, and resulting in a tangled mishap. We eventually surrendered and gave up on my joy of cycling.

Until . . .
One day my family heard an advertisement for The Cyco Cycle and decided to research it. The enticement about this bike was that it would allow me to maintain my independence, because there would be no need to convince someone else to take me on a bike ride when I wanted to go. It also permitted me to be the navigator of my route by using my cane, (an extra-long one) to facilitate safe travel. This bike has no handlebars and is steered by adjusting upper body weight to direct turns and balance.

Now . . .
I ride my Cyco Cycle just about everywhere!  I have ridden it to the store, to the bus stop and even to work. It is not as fast as my speed bike, but it allows me to maintain my independence. All it takes is a little creative thinking, and commitment to find a way to make things possible.

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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