FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
The Shores Resort and Spa
2637 South Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118
Thursday October 20, 2016
Chairman Robert Kelly called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. with roll call.
Council Members Present: 9
Robert Kelly, Mikey Wiseman, Patricia Lipovsky, Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle, Sandra Burke, Paul Edwards, Jesus Garcia, Lenora Marten
Council Members Absent: 3
Charles Brooks, Gloria Mills, Howard Bell
DBS Staff: 4
Ana Saint-Fort, Megan Martin, Ed Hudson, Phyllis Heath
Council Staff: 1
Consumers Present Via Phone: 0
Consumers in attendance: 4
Chairman Robert Kelly welcomed audience members to the Public Forum. Mr. Kelly stated the FRCB is a group of volunteers appointed by the Governor to serve in an advisory role to the Division of Blind Services. Mr. Kelly stated the council members have the task of assisting the Division of Blind Services with the development of its state plan and evaluating the effectiveness of its services.
First Consumer Comment
- Asked who to contact about getting her visual tech equipment repaired or replaced.
- She stated that the light wasn’t working.
- Asked for an updated contact list of staff within DBS.
- Asked who to contact at the library about getting movies.
- Phyllis Heath stated she had given the consumer her name and phone number as well as contact information for Mary Grant.
- Ed Hudson stated Greg Luther lives in the area and might be available to assist. Mr. Hudson stated he would follow up.
Second Consumer Comment
- Asked if funding provided to DBS was being utilized fully to serve consumers.
- Director Doyle stated that DBS continues to look closely at how they are spending funds. Mr. Doyle stated that sources of funding come from Federal, State and local levels and did not cover all programs for all consumers. Mr. Doyle stated that many contractors supplement their budgets by organizing fundraisers. Director Doyle stated that DBS strives to spend all dollars allotted so the funds are not lost.
Third Consumer Comment
- Asked if DBS will make accommodations to consumers who need help with filing out schoolwork and reading material.
- Asked if DBS will help with relocation expenses for housing.
- Ana Saint-Fort responded the first action would be to work with counselor on developing a plan for services. Ms. Saint- Fort stated that DBS does help pay for in state tuition and books, however funding should come from the institution first.
- Chairman Kelly recommended speaking to the instructional staff at Rehab Center regarding enrolling in a college program.
- Paul Edwards stated that colleges have a responsibility under the law to provide accommodations for services, and he recommended to consider the reputation of the college when applying for those types of services.
Fourth Consumer Comment:
- Asked about which avenue to pursue when trying to get her Braille Note repaired, Division of Blind Services or Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
- Chairman Robert Kelly recommended looking to the National Deaf -Blind Equipment Distribution Program.
- Director Robert Doyle stated the options of going through DBS or the ADA.
Third Consumer Comment again:
- Asked if DBS would make accommodations to students working part time while attending school.
- Robert Doyle stated that the current program requires you to be in either employment or training. He also stated due to the new Federal guidelines, those requirements might change at some point in the future.
- Ana Saint-Fort stated that DBS prefers consumers be a full time student in order to complete training more quickly.
First Consumer Comment again:
- Asked if DBS allowed students to volunteer at the same time while attending classes.
- Paul Edwards stated the importance of being competitive while attending college in order to be competitive when applying for jobs and when working in the job market.
Third Consumer Comment again:
- Asked if DBS would help repair or replace broken equipment being used for school.
- Director Doyle stated that DBS would probably take care of it if the equipment was for school. Mr. Doyle stated that DBS not only wanted to help consumers accomplish their goals, but also help them become independent.
- Mikey Wiseman stated to use the available resources such as Florida Council for the Blind to begin a dialogue and gather information that will help guide important decisions effecting their future.
- Jesus Garcia stated looking to consumer organizations for guidance.
The council had a discussion regarding access to create equal voting rights for persons with visual disabilities. The council discussed one of the main challenges was having to use antiquated voting machines. Paul Edwards encouraged members to participate in an online survey sponsored by The Florida Council for the Blind in their effort to gather information regarding consumer voting experiences.
The meeting adjourned at 6:01p.m.