Table of Contents


Personnel Actions

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone


Employer Recognition

By Alise Fields

The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind presented an Employer Recognition Award to the Tomlinson Adult Learning Center for creating employment opportunities for the visually impaired April 24 in Tampa. Debby VanderWoude, director of the center, accepted the award presented by Division of Blind Services (DBS) District 7 Administrator Mireya Hernandez.

Robert Doyle, Mireya Hernandez, Debbie VanderWoude and Bruce Mills

Personnel Actions

Congratulations to Walter Blackmon on his promotion to program consultant in Tallahassee.

Best wishes to Dara Woodard on her retirement from the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona Beach.

Success Stories

Bureau of Business Enterprise Ambassador

By Janet Chernoff

Too often people are quick to complain and slow to compliment. But when someone goes the extra mile to share a good experience, it is worth noting. In April, a traveler on I-95 stopped at a rest area near St. Augustine. She was drawn to the vending area by the smell of coffee and to the blind vendor servicing the machines. That vendor was Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) Program Operator John Klindtworth. The traveler was so impressed that she wrote the coffee company, Seattle’s Best, to share that John raved about the quality of the coffee and that they have an excellent ambassador in Florida.

John Klindworth and his wife

John Klindtworth is not only an excellent ambassador for Seattle’s Best, but also for BBE. He has more than 20 years working in the BBE program and has operated vending businesses in a number of locations, including post offices in Jacksonville and Gainesville, and rest areas on I-10 and I-95. John is also vice chairman of the Florida Committee of Vendors, which represents all BBE operators.

Originally from Staten Island, N.Y., he has worked for a printing house, American Express, a Wall Street firm and owned a deli and catering service. As his vision worsened, he decided he needed help adjusting to blindness. He moved to Florida in 1989 and entered the BBE program. He loves servicing his rest area and conversing with happy customers.

Around the State

Fearless Caregiver Conference

By Herbert Mejia

Mercedez Johnson participated in the Fearless Caregiver Conference hosted by the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast at the West Palm Beach Marriott April 10. Other professionals from the fields of disability, Social Security, elder law, homecare and support provided information to family and professional caregivers.

La’verne Scott at DBS display

Health and Wellness

By La’verne Scott

I attended the 2014 Health and Wellness Fair at the Phillips Center in Dowling Park, March 28. Exhibits included information about health, wellness, financial services, medical screenings and personal development as well as many others. The fair benefited older adults and their families. I donated a door-prize to this event and consider this a successful outreach activity.

La’verne Scott at DBS display

Transition Swap

By Joe Greene

The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired hosted the annual Transition Swap April 8 and 9. The swap highlights collaboration between DBS and Community Resource Providers (CRPs) throughout the state and provides an opportunity for the CRPs to share information about their various programs. Transition refers to a program for children age 14-22 that have a disability and an Individual Education Plan through the school system. In the transition program, students receive instruction in daily living, job readiness, personal management and other skills needed to live independently and successfully as adults.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired logo

During the swap, Wayne Jennings spoke about DBS goals and expectations for transition services. The Lighthouse of Central Florida shared information about
the upcoming summer work experience and the community partnerships they have developed. The work experience will allow students to work in prearranged settings where they will complete a resume, interview for a job and comply with job requirements. DBS will provide a stipend for students who participate in the work experience.

The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind highlighted a community service project by students who collected clothing and set up a shop for children from the Chapman Partnership. The Chapman Partnership provides housing and clothing for homeless families. Students learned about advertising, organizing and daily living skills. They also helped others in need. In addition to these presentations, swap participants had opportunities to share ideas that enhance all programs.

5th Annual Summer Camp

By Kathleen Peck


2013 campers at the beach


Lighthouse of Collier is pleased to announce the 5th Annual Summer Camp for blind and visually impaired children at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. The camp is scheduled Mondays through Thursdays, July 7-31. Campers will enjoy many activities including day trips, tennis lessons, music, crafts, large print cards and board games. They will also have the opportunity to make new friends and learn about magnifiers, closed circuit televisions, talking pedometers, talking watches, braille and equipment that assist people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, contact Kaitie Schlehr at 239-430-3934.

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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