The BISM Grapevine July-August 2006 Harry Potter Author pens BISM by Rob Ennamorato When Harry Potter author JK Rowling complained publicly that she couldn’t find lined writing paper to finish the seventh and final Potter book in her hometown of Edinburgh Scotland, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland had the solution. After contacting Rowling’s agent this past April, BISM sent a personalized party pack of lined paper produced by our Associates. Included in the package were 12 pads each of 8½ x 11 and 5 x 8 paper. The pads were imprinted with a special header strip featuring JK Rowling’s name, and presented in a variety of colors. Much to our surprise, the world’s most famous author took the time to write BISM a personal thank you for the paper. In early June, we received a signed thank you letter from Rowling. The following is the transcript of her very gracious note: Dear Frederick, Thank you so much for the magnificent writing tablets you sent me, and please pass on my appreciation to those who made them! Since confessing that I found myself paper-less while writing in a cafe in the middle of Edinburgh I have, as you might imagine, been inundated with paper by anxious Harry Potter fans. However, I can state without fear of contradiction that yours were the most handsome by far! With very best wishes, JK Rowling Associate accepted for prestigious management program Congratulations to BISM Associate James Carr, who has been selected by National Industries for the Blind (NIB) to participate in its 2007 Business Management Training Program (BMT). BMT targets qualified employees of NIB and NIB associated agencies who are blind, motivated to succeed and have demonstrated leadership potential. The program provides business skill development through a certificate program developed by the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. Over a two year period, participants attend five intensive week-long sessions focusing on management, finance, marketing, production, human resources and leadership. Participants build business insight and acquire critical leadership and business management skills necessary for greater career growth, along with leadership opportunities within the network of NIB associated agencies and the business community. Our Goal is Perfection: A message from BISM President Frederick J. Puente We have talked about expectations in the past and recently I read something that really drove home the point. Zero defects, now that is great expectations! There are those that will say "that’s good enough", "close enough for government work", etc. What really got my attention was the following information regarding the potential negative impact of being only 99.9 percent accurate: 811,000 rolls of faulty 35mm film would be loaded this year and all the memories lost. 1314 phone calls would be misplaced every minute. 12 newborn babies would be given to the wrong parents each day. 268,500 defective tires would be shipped this year. Two unsafe plane landings would occur daily at O’Hare Airport. 18,322 pieces of mail would be misplaced in the next hour. 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly in the next year. 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written this year. 761,900 dollars would be spent on tapes and compact discs that didn’t play. 107 incorrect medical procedures would be performed every day. 315 entries in Webster’s Third New International Edition would be misspelled. It is staggering that one tenth of one percent could cause all those errors! We are the only ones who can control our performance, we are the ones who make the decisions and we are the ones who are responsible for zero defects in all we do! Henry Ford said it best: "Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right!" I know we can! SECU Credit Union donates to WINGS Program by Rob Ennamorato On June 1, SECU Credit Union of Maryland surprised BISM's Youth Services department with a donation of $540 for the Winning Independence Now Guarantees Success (WINGS) program. The money was raised through an employee raffle fundraiser at the 14 local SECU branches. SECU Community Outreach Coordinator Sandy Hoffman was on hand at the BISM Baltimore facility to present the check to the Youth Services department. SECU Financial Educator Julie Bernick was also in attendance, and provided an informative "Lunch and Learn" seminar on money management before the check presentation. Ms. Bernick was invited to speak by the BISM Human Resources department and was responsible for informing Ms. Hoffman about our organization. After being referred to BISM, Ms. Hoffman researched our website and was intrigued by WINGS, an intensive five-week residential summer program for transitional blind youth ages 15-21. WINGS takes place from July 16 to August 18, 2006. KIDS camp roars onto Eastern Shore by Jenn Fagan KIDS Camp rumbled into Camp Pecometh, located in Centreville, on June 19 with 10 tweens and four elementary students. The ‘tweens roughed it by living in four tents that were generously donated by SAM’S CLUB of Annapolis, while the elementary students resided with bunk beds in the Tally House cabin. Due to thunderstorms, the tweens crashed the Tally House on two occasions and we all had a giant slumber party. Highlights from the week-long camp included swimming, nature walks, canoeing, Kit Bloom’s scary campfire stories, a visit from the Maryland Zoo’s Zoomobile and an energetic drum circle led by Andy Kugler. The tweens concentrated on learning First Aid skills during the week and took a quiz to test their new knowledge. They built a first aid kit and practiced their techniques on various first aid emergencies that were simulated by the staff. Congratulations to Davon Price and Mark Gary for achieving a perfect score on their quiz! The campers all got a chance to cook over a campfire or on a stove. The elementary kids made banana pudding and brownies, while the ‘tweens made omelets in a bag and meat and vegetable foil dinners over a campfire. On one fun filled afternoon, we worked as a large group to make ice cream in a bag. The Zoomobile brought a Kookaburra bird, hissing cockroaches from Madagascar, a giant rabbit and a five-foot long Boa Constrictor. The campers were allowed to touch the animals and the Zoo staff introduced other tactile objects for the campers to experience. The drum circle provided an opportunity for the campers to work together to create a rhythm using instruments such as drums, tambourines, and shakers. The campers truly had a great time and made some fantastic music!!! The success of this week would not have been possible without our highly skilled and tireless staff. Many thanks to each and every one of you, as well as to our guests, and everyone that attended the closing ceremony on June 23. Office Eagle Update by Rene Alonso Customer Appreciation Days Are Big Success Office Eagle was fortunate to have been graced with clear skies and warm weather at all five of the Customer Appreciation events this year. Each event was a success with plenty of customers, solid vendor presence and enough food to fill the fancy of all in attendance. We introduced new products and generated interest from customers, which in turn resulted in sales. Others were lucky enough to get a call back from the store Associates to pick up their door prizes. Each appreciation day was unique in its own way—Aberdeen had many happy customers returning to pick up something from the large selection of door prizes; Dover showcased the Super Eagle Supply sponsored race car; Bolling had a successful turnout that generated over 200 customers; Fort Knox escaped the rain and Edgewood had Fred Puente and Jack Grizzel join in on the festivities! Office Eagle in the News Office Eagle was in the media spotlight during the month of June. An article in the APG News featured Aberdeen Associate Brian Murray. Brian discusses his experience with Office Eagle and the positive influence that it has had on his life. The Ft. Knox branch also made the news with an exciting, well-written article in The Turret. The article focuses on Office Eagle Associates and provides background on BISM. Fort Knox Office Eagle on a roll! Ft. Knox reached yet another milestone in the month of June by surpassing the two million dollar mark in sales. The branch, which opened last August, surpassed one million dollars for the first time this past February. Congrats to all of the Ft. Knox Associates! Hats Off To Training Program Grads! It has been a busy past few months in the eight month training program, as several dedicated students successfully completed the challenging life skills training requirements. The following eight month training students recently graduated: Mike Lee on May 5; Greg Miller on May 10, Brian Blevins on May 11, Linwood Boyd on June 16, Edwin Jackson on June 26 and Denise Llorens on June 28. The entire BISM organization is proud of this memorable group of graduates and wishes them much success and happiness in all future endeavors! Catching Up BISM, Super Eagle Supply team up with Maryland Retailers Association We’re very pleased to announce that Maryland Retailers Association (MRA) and Blind Industries and Services of Maryland have entered into an agreement for the purchase of essential office supplies and furnishings through the www.supereaglesupply.com e- commerce site. MRA’s decision to partner with BISM was based on several factors, with the most significant being that purchases made through Super Eagle Supply help create employment and training opportunities for Maryland citizens who are blind. Descriptive Video Cassette Program Proposal BISM is proposing a program that would provide Descriptive Videos (DV) in audio form on cassette to Associates. The DV cassette recordings would be stored in Baltimore and available on a rental basis (free of charge). If you are interested in this program, call Rob Ennamorato at (410) 737-2615. Wedding bells ring in Cumberland Congratulations to Michele Faith, a sewing Associate in Cumberland, who got married on June 13. Cumberland Senior Retreat Flourishes by Joy Brode and Shirley Riffle The Senior Services team in Baltimore, Cumberland, and Salisbury recently concluded a 10-month specialized program for blind and visually impaired senior citizens with a well- attended, very successful Senior Independent Living Vision; Education & Readjustment (SILVER) Retreat held at the Cumberland facility from May 23-26. The program’s main goals were to target the underserved, older blind senior citizens living in rural and suburban areas; provide training that enables blind seniors to regain independence and maintain an active, safe, self-sufficient lifestyle; and to provide intensive group instruction designed to introduce and heighten skills training while building a foundation of peer support and social acceptance. Rosemary, Shirley, Jenn, Roger, Jennifer, Page, Annette, Ruth and Anita put a lot of time and hard work into making it a worthwhile and wonderful experience for the seniors! SAIL Program Celebrates Graduates by Shirley Riffle The Seniors Achieving Independent Living (SAIL) program would like to congratulate recent graduates Mary Brown (April 20), Norman Seward (May 2), Geraldine Weaver (June 13) and Lawrence Sewell (June 29). Mary mastered skills in computer technology with speech software, and prepared a lovely luncheon as a farewell gift for all her SAIL friends; Norman returns regularly to SAIL to volunteer his time as a Peer Teacher assisting new SAIL seniors learn the non-visual skills of blindness; Geraldine plans to volunteer in the community and participate in the SAIL alumni group; and Lawrence takes with him the braided rag rug he proudly made by hand in SAIL, and will stay in close touch with his many SAIL friends. Tween Olympians Go For Gold by Johnna Harrison BISM held its first Tween Olympic Games on May 19-21. On Friday, the 10 participants learned about the countries that they would be representing: Japan, Italy and Greece. Each Olympian had to apply for a passport for two of the countries and received a passport with their picture on it and a t-shirt with their country flag on the back. The Olympic torch was carried around the BISM building and received many cheers and applause. For a "taste of something different", each meal served consisted of food from all of the countries represented. The first day of competition was cycling and curling, followed by team building activities in the evening. The second day of competition was packed full of events with track and field in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, and basketball and an obstacle course in the evening. The fun filled competition concluded with gymnastics, and the top three finishers in each event were presented with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Both the Olympians and the BISM staff had a memorable experience and lots of fun! Upcoming Events WINGS: July 16 to August 18 at BISM and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. National Federation of the Blind of Maryland’s Annual Crab Feast: The all you can eat feast takes place on August 4 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. and benefits the John T. McGraw Scholarship Fund. The cost is $40 per person or $45 after July 28. For more information, go to www.nfbmd.org or call (410) 715-9596. 2006 BISM Golf Classic: The inaugural event takes place on September 15 at 12 p.m. and will be held at Caroline Country Club in Denton, a beautifully maintained private golf course that sits along the Eastern Shore’s Choptank River. It will be a great opportunity for BISM Associates, students, partners and customers to celebrate our unique organization. For more information, contact Christina Davis at (410) 737-2638. Fall ‘Tween Retreat: Survivor: Hiking the Appalachian Trail September 29 to October 1. Distinguished Guests Visit BISM Maryland State Senator Kathy Klausmeier learned about all of the various products that BISM produces for the State of Maryland when she toured our Baltimore office on June 29. Maryland Comptroller and former Governor William Donald Schaefer greeted Associates, students and staff during his tour of the Baltimore facility on May 19. Maryland Secretary of Budget & Management Cecelia Januszkiewicz took some time out from her May 18 tour of BISM to meet Alfred Gordon, BISM’s 2006 Associate of the Year. Maryland State Senator Richard Colburn had a lively question and answer session with Salisbury’s senior VIP members at BISM’s Salisbury location on May 22.
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