Table of Contents

Personnel Actions

Spotlight

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone

Personnel Actions

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family.

Congratulations to employees who received a promotion.

Farewell to those employees who are retiring.

Spotlight

District 2 Employer Highlight

Rashad Morgan, Rehabilitation Counselor

For the past few years, Georgia Industries for the Blind (GIB) has committed to offering employment opportunities to individuals from Tallahassee and throughout the state of Florida. Michael Lane and Grayson Peddieare are witnesses to the diverse employment opportunities GIB offers.

Michael Lane

Michael Lane is an administrative service clerk at the GIB Bainbridge Plant and is on his way to success in his new role. He graduated in 2013 from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in business. Michael has more than 30 years of customer service experience. Most recently, he served 18 years in the DBS Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) program. Michael’s job duties at GIB include data entry, filing and word processing. Enrolled in GIB’s supervisor training program, he is also gaining practical experience and knowledge to become a supervisor. 

Grayson Peddie

Grayson Peddie is a file folder assembler at the GIB Bainbridge Plant. Grayson is a graduate of Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and received a certificate in Web development from Lively Technical Center. Grayson’s passion and determination to gain employment has inspired those around him to continue to strive for success. While in school and searching for employment, Grayson had to overcome being both hearing and visually impaired. When first introduced to GIB, Grayson saw an excellent opportunity to gain valuable work experience and to work toward promotion within the company. 

We appreciate and thank GIB for offering employment opportunities and playing a major role in changing the lives of persons who are blind and visually impaired.

Success Stories

Operator is a Solid Success

By Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant

Patti FuldaThe Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) program was not Patti Fulda’s first choice for a career. She learned about the vending machine business while in high school and thought that it was not for her. She wanted to be a veterinarian. However, when circumstances made it necessary for her to find a job, she agreed to train in a BBE facility so that she could fill in for another operator. Patti began training in the fall of 1998 and received her license in May 1999. As part of her training, she would take over locations that needed a temporary manager.

In July 1999, Patti signed into her first facility as a licensed operator, the Larson Building cafeteria in Tallahassee. The building management was happy with her work, as evidenced in a letter they wrote to DBS. Management applauded the improvements in the menu, customer service and ambiance of the facility. In November 2000, Patti moved to Jacksonville to manage the facility in the U.S. Postal Service bulk mail center. When she started in the facility, it was a full service cafeteria with vending machines, but the population diminished and in 2007, the cafeteria closed. Patti stayed with the facility as it transitioned to vending only.

Recently other vendors in her district voted for Patti to represent them on the State Committee of Vendors. Patti is an example of the type of steady solid operator that is the backbone of the Florida BBE program.

Around the State

Outreach with the Veteran’s Affairs (VA)

By Steve Perry, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

On January 28 DBS staff met the Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) at the Eisenhower Recreational Center in The Villages for the 21st Annual Vision Awareness Day Open House. DBS staff participating in the event included Eileen Lindley, Corie Allen, Mike Watson and Steve Perry.

Participants visiting DBS display

DBS Staff provided potential clients with information about services and discussed the referral process. Participant questions regarded visual disabilities such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and retinitis pigmentosa. Mike Watson brought DBS brochures and some of the more commonly used appliances for the visually impaired. Many of the participants enjoyed learning more about the talking clock, magnifiers, games and check and signature-writing guides.

The staff that attended the open house was able to network and meet with the VIST coordinator, and other vendors, such as the Hadley School for the Blind and Eschenbach. This was a great outreach opportunity with other organizations that provide services to Floridians who are blind or visually impaired.

Fort Myers, Palmetto, and Tampa’s Excellent North Pole Adventure!

By Amanda Honingford, Rehabilitation Specialist

Children on Santa’s Lap

Children’s program participants and their families in Districts 7 and 9 went to the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish to visit the North Pole Express. We traveled by rail to the North Pole, a beautifully decorated winter wonderland complete with twinkling lights and Christmas music. On the way we were serenaded by Christmas carolers, and District 7 Ana Garcia sang “Feliz Navidad!”

Children standing by train

There were fire pits, hot chocolate, s’mores, cookies and assorted crafts and activities for the families, including a full-scale model train set in the brightly lit wonderland. The children even had a chance to meet and take pictures with Santa Claus. After a long evening of fun and frolicking, everyone rode the train back to Florida from the North Pole. The families were so grateful for the chance to spend quality time together and network with other families.

Children Take a Sensory Tour

By Tiffany Conrad, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and certified orientation and mobility specialist

Fodder and Shine, a local restaurant in Seminole Heights, recently opened its doors to the public. Just three weeks later, they invited two groups of students with visual impairments from Hillsborough County Public Schools for interactive fieldtrips. Students ages 6-11, with varying degrees of vision, arrived by bus at the new restaurant and were greeted by co-owners Greg and Michelle Baker. Wearing aprons and feeling like tiny chefs, the children toured the restaurant and learned about all the inner workings of a busy kitchen. Who makes the food? Who is in charge of the kitchen? How do you make your recipes? Where do the ingredients come from? What is a farm co-op? What type of meat comes from a pig? A small sampling of things these students learned about this special farm-to-table concept restaurant.

Children working with various food products  Children dipping hands in various substances

The students participated in sensory activities, which involved dipping their hands in various grains, shelling raw peanuts, identifying several of Florida’s citrus fruits and tasting homemade pickles. They shivered with the cold and excitement of walking into a giant refrigerator and giggled when learning of the history behind the chef’s hat. After working up an appetite in the kitchen, students sat down for a meal specially prepared for them. Hamburger lima bean stew with cornmeal dumplings, breaded quail wings, tomato gravy and rice, blueberry cobbler and caramel cake filled the tummies of these adventurous children.

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Washington Seminar

By Rashad Morgan, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Rashad MorganAttending the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Washington Seminar was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The seminar is an annual event to inform Congress of issues affecting the lives of persons who are blind and visually impaired. This year the three legislative initiatives included fair wages for persons with disabilities, college and university accessibility and accessibility for international publications. 

Attendees met lawyers, governmental affairs workers and other local and national leaders. New attendees practiced asking questions and speaking to members of congress. After learning about the legislative initiatives, we had the privilege of meeting with representatives and their legislative aids from districts 1-5. A highlight of this experience was meeting representatives who had relatives or close friends who were blind or visually impaired. It was an honor to discuss issues regarding blindness in general. Before this experience, I thought Congress was unreachable, untouchable and not interested in issues that affect blind and visually impaired persons. Today, I am proud to say that our Congress is truly vested in learning about blindness and issues related to employment and accessibility. Overall, this was a life-changing experience and I am looking forward to encouraging others to reach out to local and national officials. 

Miami Lighthouse Accredited

By Virginia A. Jacko, President and Chief Executive Officer

Miami Lighthouse LogoMiami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is pleased to announce that it has received its reaccreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). Accreditation is a significant milestone in Miami Lighthouse’s ongoing process of seeking to employ best practices and deliver services that focus on positive outcomes for consumers of blind and low vision services. Miami Lighthouse first sought and received accreditation from NAC in 1978 and is among five other agencies that has consistently achieved NAC accreditation to the present time.

The NAC is the only accrediting body that focuses solely on organizations serving blind and low vision consumers. What is accreditation? Accreditation involves a recognized process of assessing organizational structure, process and outcome. Structure encompasses the setting in which services are delivered. Process encompasses the delivery of services.

Transportation in the Big Bend

By Wanda Stokley, Rehabilitation Technician

The Tallahassee Council of the Blind (TCB) Chapter of the Florida Council of the Blind met Feb. 12 with Ivan Maldonado, director and Andrea L. Rosser, mobility and special transportation coordinator with the City of Tallahassee Star Metro System. They gave an update on Dial-A-Ride transportation system and steps being taken to improve services. TCB has made a commitment not only to support improvement in services for people in Tallahassee who are blind and visually impaired, but all citizens who use paratransit services. Additionally, the TCB transportation committee met with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum regarding pick up and arrival route planning, which are serious time management issues and has a direct impact on commuters being on time for their jobs, making medical appointments and other commitments.

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:  Communications@dbs.fldoe.org

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of the Visionary contact the Braille and Talking Book Library: linda.hill@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 866-841-0912
Email: Aware.support@dbs.fldoe.org

Division of Blind Services website (external): dbs.myflorida.com.


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