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					                       THE VISIONARY
                        (Blind Services Newsletter)
                               Summer 2009

From the Editors

Welcome to the summer 2009 issue of The Visionary, the newsletter of the
Department of Rehabilitation‟s Blind Services unit. We trust that it
continues to be informative and provides what you seek from such a
publication. As with past issues, this one will cover a wide variety of topics.
We thank all who have helped us to bring this issue to “press”, especially
those of you who contributed articles.

We encourage you to send us articles, your impressions, and useful
resource ideas. If you do not wish to write, send the “raw material” and
we‟ll do the work! Your submissions are essential to the continued vitality of
The Visionary. We try to publish everything we receive, editing only for
clarity, brevity, and to make sure articles are in accordance with our
editorial policies.

***
EDITORIAL BOARD

Editor, Mary Calloway - e-mail mcallowa@dor.ca.gov
Tony Candela
Catharine Bailes
Veronica Graff
Janie Kryski
***
Deputy Director’s Message

I‟ve always been a philosophical fellow, but since coming to California from
my native New York almost 10 years ago, I‟ve allowed some of the Asian
influences out here to permeate my way of looking at the world. Not that
there aren‟t plenty of people of Asian origin in Gotham City, but their world
outlook does not seem to have influenced the average New Yorker the
same as it has Californians.

This brings me to the ying and the yang, two apparently opposing aspects
of the same phenomenon. The fact that things often have more than one
aspect shouldn‟t surprise anyone, but in everyday practice, we often act as
if things are either black or white, good or bad, beneficial or harmful, and so
on. Unfortunately, we sometimes adopt a way of life and make decisions
on these deep-seeded beliefs.

In the 4 years in my current position with DOR, I have never felt more
challenged and accelerated, yet more troubled and worried than now.
Perhaps we all experience our working lives this way, not to mention
personally and financially. As State employees, we are affected by the so-
called “Great Recession of 2009 by furlough and a salary reduction, fewer
employees due to increasing numbers of people opting to retire and a
hiring freeze, shouldering the burden of extra work, and relentless system
demands with little respite in sight. On the other hand, we know in our
hearts that either things will get better one day or, in order to accommodate
to the worsening situation, we will settle for doing less work and at a slower
pace. This form of accommodation troubles me for I‟d rather be doing
more work at a faster pace.

Grim as the situation appears, it provides opportunity to revamp how we do
business. What if we adopted a different approach to providing service to
our consumers? What if we pare down the number of things we do in order
to perform at an optimum if not excellent level in those things onto which
we hang? What if we insist on higher performance or at least less poor
performance in our work force? Suppose the “average” productivity was
“higher” than it is now, despite the limitations we face? What if we figure
out a way to live with the privations of the “Great Recession” and still
manage to excel? Is this not the ying and yang of which I spoke at the
beginning of this essay? Yes it is, but it is also the only way to remain
hopeful under trying conditions.

***
2009 Transition Summit – A Successful Collaboration

By Richard Rueda, Department of Rehabilitation

Editor‟s Note: This article also appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of
AerialView, the newsletter of the Northern California chapter of AER, the
blindness professional organization. We Thank Richard Rueda, BFS
Transition Coordinator, for his steadfast pursuit of excellence in transition
services.

The third annual Transition Summit took place at Enchanted Hills Camp in
Napa from April 24th through April 26th, 2009. The Transition Summit team
took 20 blind and visually impaired teens and young adults to the
campgrounds. Enchanted Hills is operated by the Lighthouse for the Blind
and Visually Impaired of San Francisco.

The third annual Summit was a direct result of exceptional collaboration
among the Department of Rehabilitation‟s Blind Field Services unit and
community partners including the Lighthouse, Society for the Blind in
Sacramento and the California School for the Blind in Fremont.

Participants went through 2-1/2 days of extensive team building activities
that included learning how to debate, self-presentation in public speaking
venues, and learning the art of resume writing as well as how to “ham up”
during interviews.

This was the third Blind Field Services sponsored Transition summit; the
first was in 2007. Transition age blind young adults traveled from as far as
Los Angeles, with the majority residing in the San Francisco and
Sacramento areas. They came from a variety of backgrounds and ethnic
groups, with several students speaking up to three languages. Many will
be the first in their families to attend college.

Nineteen of the 20 participants are presently consumers of Blind Field
Services and their Dept. of Rehabilitation counselor sponsored their
registration for this enriching workshop retreat. Each year‟ summit has its
own theme. This year‟s focus was not only employment but also Health
and Wellness. We decided to tackle the widespread problems of
adolescent and young adult obesity and poor physical fitness. We hoped
to help ameliorate these problems, due mainly to sedentary lifestyle and
poor eating habits, by providing discussions and a keynote presentation on
the topic of making healthy choices, participation in sports and recreation
activities and forming good nutrition and eating habits. We had a brief
demonstration on Yoga and Rowing and some hiking was included among
our several sessions.

To kick off the weekend, we had a keynote presentation Friday evening at
the campfire where we heard from Joseph Hamilton, a former Paralympic
athlete, who has played Goal ball around the world and has won several
medals and awards. Aerial Gilbert from Guide Dogs for the Blind and a
world-class rower, who is blind, was also on hand to talk about Guide Dogs
as well as her sport. Finally, Meggie Rempe from the Hatlen Center
(formerly the Living Skills Center) in San Pablo joined us on Sunday
morning to talk to the youths about the Center‟s post high school program.

As you might imagine, the 48-hour experience in Napa was an exhausting
one for staff and students. But it was well worth the funds, staff preparation
time, and personal commitment from everyone involved. Students took
their participation seriously in all of the activities throughout the
weekend. Friendships were forged and a great deal of proactive social
skills development and future career planning was facilitated. Some of the
students even brought their business attire in preparation for the three-hour
mock interview session we held Saturday night. It also helped that we
were out of reach of cell phone coverage!

I bring this brief summary to your desktops so that you know that your
student truly invested their time in the Transition Summit and are healthier
and enlightened from it. We are already gearing up for the 2010 Transition
Summit, which will be held in late April. Again, thanks to the Blind Field
Services counselors and community providers for their support.

Note: Our gratitude goes to the following staff and volunteer
representatives who participated in the 2009 Transition Summit.

Tony Fletcher and VI Huynh of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually
Impaired;
Michelle Bruns of the Society for the Blind in Sacramento;
Ann Linville of the California School for the Blind;
Joseph Hamilton of Sacramento;
Nancy Yates of San Francisco;
Aerial Gilbert of Guide Dogs for the Blind;
Meggie Rempe of the Hatlen Center for the Blind.

***
Product Evaluation
Navigating by Phone: A Review of Wayfinder Access GPS
and Mobile Geo, Part 2

Darren Burton and Tara Annis
(Excerpted from AFB ACCESSWORLD ®, July 2009 Issue Volume 10
Number 4)

Editor‟s Note: The complete article can be found at
http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw100402

This article is the second in a two-part series evaluating accessible cell
phone-based GPS navigation systems that can be used in conjunction with
cell phone screen- reading software. The first article, which appeared in the
May 2009 issue of AccessWorld, focused on Wayfinder Access, and this
one focuses on Mobile Geo. This article also includes a comparison of the
two products' features and functions, as well as descriptions of our
experiences with Mobile Geo.

What Do These GPS Products Do?
For readers who did not have a chance to read our initial article, we present
some basic information about these products here. These cell phone-based
GPS software products do much of the same things as their notetaker-PDA
(personal digital assistant) predecessors have done, but in a smaller, more
convenient package. To access the many features of these products, you
must also have a screen reader installed on your cell phone. The features
include providing

*Directions and planning routes
*Your current location
*Pedestrian and automobile directions
*A spoken itinerary and Alerts of upcoming turns
*An announcement of, and directions to, points of interest, such as
restaurants, hotels, banks, gas stations, churches, and dozens of other
categories of places
*Settings to configure how you want the information presented
*Compatibility with cell phone screen-reading software

Priced at $399, Wayfinder Access is manufactured by Wayfinder Systems
AB, a Swedish company. It is compatible with both the TALKS and Mobile
Speak screen readers and works on cell phones that run the Symbian
operating system. Symbian phones run on the GSM cellular network, so
you need to be a customer of a service provider that uses this network,
such as AT&T or T-Mobile, to use Wayfinder Access.

Priced at $895, Mobile Geo is a Code Factory product powered by Sendero
GPS, the GPS software from the Sendero Group that is used on
Humanware's BrailleNote line of products, GW Micro's Braille Sense, and
soon on Freedom Scientific's PAC Mate. It is compatible with Code
Factory's Mobile Speak screen reader and runs on Windows Mobile-based
Smartphones, Pocket PC phones, and PDAs. Windows Mobile phones run
on both the GSM and CDMA cellular networks, so Mobile Geo users are
not limited to specific service providers.

The interface for both products uses your screen reader's voice to convey
information and your phone's keys for input, but the latest version of Mobile
Geo also has a voice-command feature for input. Some of the phones with
which Mobile Geo and Wayfinder Access are compatible have their own
built-in GPS receivers, but others require that you purchase a wireless
Bluetooth receiver. One of the main differences between Wayfinder Access
and Mobile Geo is the way they access data from maps. With Mobile Geo,
you load maps onto your phone's memory or its memory card and may
need to purchase and install new maps if you travel abroad. Wayfinder gets
its maps over the air via your cellular connection, so you do not need to
install any maps. However, Wayfinder's functions are limited if you are in an
area with no cellular service, and you need to have a data plan as part of
your cellular service. One of us pays an extra $15 per month for an AT&T
data plan, and T-Mobile charges $19.99 per month. You also need to
establish an Internet Access Point on your phone. Since we published this
information on maps in our initial article, we learned that Wayfinder has a
map-downloader tool on its web site, allowing you to download and store
maps on your phone and avoid the data plan charges. However, the map-
downloader tool is not accessible to users of screen readers.

Both products allow for a free trial period to test the products, and you can
access user manuals and learn more about the products, including the
compatibility of phones and PDA devices, at their web sites. For Mobile
Geo, go to www.codefactory.es or www.senderogroup.com. For Wayfinder,
go to www.wayfinder.com.

Low Vision Access
In addition to working with Mobile Speak, Mobile Geo is also compatible
with Mobile Magnifier, responding properly to all Mobile Magnifier's screen-
manipulation commands. However, using Mobile Magnifier outside in the
sunlight can cause significant screen washout on nearly all cell phones, so
people with low vision may have to rely on Mobile Speak when using
Mobile Geo outside. Also, the button labels on most Smartphones are too
small for most people with low vision, so tactile techniques are necessary
to use Mobile Geo.

***
The White House - Blog Post - "Still Thriving and Excelling
Long After Helen Keller"

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Still-Thriving-and-Excelling-Long-After-
Helen-Keller/

MONDAY, JUNE 29TH, 2009 AT 3:32 PM

Posted by Kareem Dale

Another day at the White House, another chance for President Obama to
make history for people with disabilities. And, he did just that.

On Friday, June 26, 2009, President Barack Obama became one of the
very few sitting American Presidents to personally greet and welcome
persons who are deaf-blind to the White House Oval Office.
Celebrating Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week.
The group featured five young adults (Crystal Morales, Kelvin Crosby,
Virginia Jordan, Divya Goel, and Jason Corning) affiliated with the Helen
Keller National Center ("HKNC") including a musician with two CDs to her
credit, a surfer and aspiring field goal kicker, a Cum Laude graduate who
wants to start a school, an aspiring restaurant manager, and a winner of
the Wisconsin Council for Exceptional children "Yes I Can" award for
Advocacy and Independent Living.

Two staff members and 3 volunteers from the HKNC also joined the young
adults. They were in D.C. to celebrate Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness
Week. This year‟s theme for the week was Deaf- blindness Didn‟t Stop with
Helen Keller.

The focus of the week was to demonstrate that successful deaf-blind
persons are still thriving and excelling long after Helen Keller. The week
culminated with their visit to the White House. They visited the White
House in the morning, where they received a tour of the public residence.
From hanging out in the First Lady‟s East Reception Room, to playing the
same piano played by Stevie Wonder, to visiting the China Room, the tour
was a major hit with the young adults. They returned in the afternoon for
the icing on the already incredibly rich cake to take a photo with the
President in the Oval Office. The President congratulated the young adults
on their accomplishments and reminded them that we remain committed to
improving the lives of people with disabilities.

This visit was not and should not be viewed as a sympathetic thing for the
President to do. Rather, it reflects this President‟s commitment to, and
understanding of, the desire for all people with disabilities to be fully
integrated into society. These young adults are proof that if provided with
the necessary supports and services, people with disabilities can and will
achieve anything they desire. Recognizing Deaf-Blind Awareness Week by
inviting these young adults to the White House further solidifies the
extraordinary commitment of this entire administration to all people with
disabilities.

Kareem Dale is Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.

Editor‟s Note: Kelvin Crosby, one of the consumers mentioned in this article
is a consumer of BFS counselor Joy Guerrero-Reyes.
***
Visit to Berkeley

By Tony Candela

Editor‟s Note: This article appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of
AERialView, the newsletter of the Northern California chapter of AER, the
blindness professional organization.

Helen Dornbush, the matriarch of low vision services in Berkeley, and
Kathleen Anderson, one of the Lighthouse‟s most experienced O&M
instructors run what can be described as an adjustment counseling and
self-help group for around a dozen people with low vision. Most of the
participants are experienced in life and new to visual impairment. They
bring an interesting mix to the table, something I learned directly when I
traveled from Sacramento to the U.C. Berkeley campus to spend an hour
with them in March, 2009.

I sat at a long conference table, two types of cookies passing from member
to member, seemingly lingering at each set of hands including mine. A half
dozen cookies, a glass of water, and 60 very fast minutes later, I stood to
leave wondering how I‟d managed to answer so many quickly rendered and
intelligently piercing questions In so short a period of time.

The group consisted of Mildred, Jimmi, Pat, Mark, Jerome, Fred, Ruth,
Anita, Jim, Dolores, Evelyn, and Katherine. Six had macular degeneration,
two had diabetic retinopathy, one had Stargardt's, three had glaucoma, and
the newest member‟s condition was unknown to us at the time. Two
participants were African American and two were of Asian heritage.

The event was billed as a discussion with Tony Candela on the Department
of Rehabilitation for which I work as head of the blindness and deafness
division. The first question from a former attorney was, “Which legislative
committee do you answer to?” Even though I am a deputy director, I didn‟t
know the answer for it is usually not the case that field deputies talk to the
Assembly or Senate, so the best I could do was answer that those
committees concerned with health and human services would most likely
be the ones interested in what the DOR does.
With an auspicious beginning under my belt, I held my breath as the next
question rocketed from the other end of the table. “What is your annual
budget?” My fingers and toes sprung into action as I added the sums
comprising my 10 or so administrative budgets to the case services dollars
allocated my field rehabilitation counselors. “More than $30 million for
sure,” I said, but it really makes more sense to talk about the budgets
allotted to each of my units, the ones you would be most interested in being
the Blind Field Services (BFS) unit and the Older Individuals who are Blind
(OIB) unit. They, respectively, have $18 million and $3.25 million allocated
to them annually to provide services to vocational rehabilitation and
independent living consumers.”

“Suffice it to say,” I summarized, “if you have a connection to one of my
counselors or to one of the agencies in town that has an OIB grant, you will
receive low-vision services if you need them.”

Then it was my turn to engage the group. “Do you know what we mean by
the term „low vision services?‟” Much to my surprise, despite the fact they
were at the campus for that very reason, no one answered. Helen
Dornbush jumped in. “Of course you do,” she chided. “It is the special
optometry services you are receiving here.” While I leaned back and
chomped on an oatmeal raisin cookie, deluding myself into thinking I was
being healthy, Helen explained the difference between regular and low-
vision optometry. I jumped into the conversation to describe some of the
more amazing devices I‟d seen including prism lenses for eccentric
viewing. “Of course,” I added (and the group agreed), “some of these
devices are so hard to learn that most people end up putting them in the
drawer.” This is a long-standing problem in specialty areas like low-vision
optometry and explains why over the past 20 years the discipline of Low
Vision therapist has emerged on the scene. LVTs specialize in training
consumers in how to use and flourish with complex low-vision devices.

I was glad that I was among a group of amiable people who appreciated
the effort I‟d made to be there. Unlike other experiences in different venues,
this group did not barrage me with specific case complaints most of which I
end up having to refer to the individual‟s counselor or supervisor anyway.
When I receive these complaints, I always try to help the consumer
understand what it might be about our system that is causing the problem
and educate them to be a good self-advocate. Woe unto my staff that faces
a consumer whom I‟ve trained thus!
Thinking to expand the lesson of self-advocacy, I urged the group,
“Remember, most sighted people you will encounter in the world have no
clue about blindness and even less about low-vision. They will not
perceive you have a visual impairment and, if you tell them you do, they
may not believe you.” The group nodded vigorously.

“What do you recommend?” asked the attorney, “Should we sue them?”

Chuckling, I said, “No. You would spend the rest of your life in a fruitless
effort that you could not afford financially or emotionally.” “No,” I
continued, “It is better to find the right words to say – words that people can
understand, such as “I can‟t see well.‟ And hope they will stop and give you
a hand.”

“Most people simply ignore me,” one of the women said.

Taking a deep breath, I plunged into dangerous territory. “That‟s because,
at heart, most non-disabled people would like us to go away.”

Kathleen whispered loud enough for all to hear, “They are nodding in
agreement and it appears they are breathing a sigh of relief.”

Indeed, although sad and disheartening when you first hear it, there is
nothing more validating and uplifting than to know that you are not alone in
your experience of the world. The fact that someone in a position of
authority who also has a disability uncovered the elephant in the room
seemed to liberate the group. They became more animated and, to my
delight, turned away from me and toward each other. Pats on the back
were given, words of recognition spoken, and solidarity in their mission to
adjust to the new world in which they find themselves, enhanced.

My work was done and I made a graceful if not speedy exit before I
accidentally said anything to undo whatever good I‟d accomplished that
day!

***
It's All About Focus

Sam McManis
Excerpted from Sep 10, 2009 (The Sacramento Bee)

For the complete article, go to
http://www.individual.com/story.php? story=106633229

Splashing in the tepid shallows of Lake Natoma, 8-year-old Lindsey Hunter
wore her father's race number belt like a family heirloom necklace or some
prized medallion.

"My dad finished a triathlon!" she squealed to no one in particular and
everyone within earshot.

Such displays of familial pride drive Richard Hunter. No ordinary triathlete,
the 42-year-old Folsom man is legally blind, which presents a host of
obstacles that others in this challenging three-pronged sport could barely
fathom.

Sure, he no longer drives and can no longer work at a job he loved as a
school psychologist in Winters. But he can swim, bike and run -- aided by a
guide and a tandem bike -- right next to athletes with 20/20 vision. On Sept.
27, he and guide Justin Waller will attempt his most noteworthy feat yet --
the Augusta (Ga.) 70.3 Ironman, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile
cycle and a 13.1-mile run.

He will do it in part to benefit the C Different Foundation, a nonprofit
dedicated to changing people's perceptions of the blind. He also will do it
alongside other vision-impaired veterans -- Hunter was a Marine officer
when first diagnosed with the genetic eye disease retinitis pigmentosa -- as
head of the support group Operation Refocus.

But mostly he will do it for his children, Kirsten, 12, Lindsey, 8, and
MaKenna, 3.

"I'm trying to be a role model to them about setting goals in the face of
adversity," Hunter said.

Getting started
…He started training for the marathon in earnest and, in 2008, ran the
California International Marathon in 3 hours 18 minutes, qualifying him for
the Boston Marathon.

On that April morning when he ran in the prestigious Boston race, Lindsey's
first-grade class monitored his progress mile-by-mile via the Internet. When
he crossed the finish line, her class gave Lindsey a standing ovation.

…Hunter has always been upbeat and positive, a disposition that served
him well as a straight-A student and football star at Pendleton (Ore.) High
School, an ROTC scholarship student at Oregon State and a second
lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

Career-killing diagnosis

Even after doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland gave him the
diagnosis, abruptly ending his military career at age 23, Hunter put the
same positive energy into returning to college at California State University,
Sacramento, for an education degree.

By this time, he and Heidi were married and had started a family, and
Richard thrived in his job as a psychologist for the Winters Joint Unified
School District.

But in late 2004, his eyesight deteriorated rapidly. All the accommodations
he used -- talking software, computer magnification devices -- couldn't help
him. He needed to see to perform educational assessments for students.

In early 2005, he was forced (and that is the operative word) to file for
disability. It was a dark time for Hunter, a time when his spirits sagged and
hopes diminished.

"He was really down for a while," Heidi Hunter said. "When you're filling out
all these (disability) forms saying, 'I can't do that, and I can't do it,' he really
started to ask himself, 'What can I do?'

"That was when he started focusing on his running and now this triathlon
thing. I think it's great because a lot of people get job satisfaction from job
growth, career accomplishment, and Rich doesn't have that. This gives him
a focus to have a goal and achieve it."
Training in tandem

When the subject changes to triathlon training, he positively beams.

People often ask him how, being blind, he competes in the sport. Answer:
Just like everybody else, only with certain accommodations.

He and Waller, an Ironman triathlete, train one day a week swimming in
open water, each man tied to a tether, and one day a week riding on a
tandem bike. They run together once a week, as well, but Hunter often runs
by himself on what has become a familiar path for him, the American River
Parkway.

One unusual and unnerving phenomenon is that "things just pop out at me.
I can't see them coming into my field of vision, and when they do, they are
already in front of me, like bicyclists and pedestrians."

For that, Waller helps. Though Waller says he has trouble keeping up with
Hunter on the run, he is invaluable in the other two disciplines. Hunter trails
about a body length behind Waller via tether. At last month's Folsom race,
a competitor inadvertently swam over the line.

"I feel a little like a fullback out there just blocking, and that's a little
challenging for me," said Waller, aware of the irony. "On the run, I'll be
behind him and point things like an oncoming bike or traffic passing or low
branches. But he's the cheerleader out there. He's cheering me on to keep
going. That's Rich."

***
Employment and Career Corner

Veronica Graff

Even though, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are about
six unemployed people for every job opening, there are some bright spots.
Jobs are being added in some sectors, as companies seek more health
care and technology workers. Educational services comprise another
growth area.
About one-third of both manufacturing and service sector companies report
that they hope to add jobs in September. IBM is hiring or retraining up to
4,000 people to work on data analysis projects.

The federal government is expected to hire nearly 273,000 new workers
over the next three years. The agency posting the largest increase is the
Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other government hiring will be for security and protection workers,
compliance and enforcement officers, legal, and administrative positions.
Federal government Civil Engineers, Computer Software Engineers and
Electrical Engineers are reportedly three of the most stable jobs according
to CareerBuilder.com.

BFS Bright Spots

According to the information we have to date, Teri Hershberg‟s consumer,
Hector E., was the sole DOR consumer, of many referrals, hired as a result
of the Social Security Administration Ticket to Work hiring initiative that took
place back in April. Hector began work as a Service Representative in a
local SSA office on June 22nd.

Also, at the end of June, three of Carol Adkison‟s consumers were hired as
Customer Service Clerks at the Camp Pendelton Base Store through LC
Institute. Kudos to Virginia Griffin who took the phone message from LC
Institute and quickly passed it along. And to Sonia Peterson and Carol who
jumped right on the job lead.

Seven Stable Jobs

1.    Civil Engineers (for the federal government)
2.    Computer Software Engineers (federal government)
3.    Electrical Engineers (federal government)
4.    Managers for General Merchandise Stores
5.    Marriage and Family Therapists
6.    Personal and Home Care Aides
7.    Sales Associates for General Merchandise Stores

Top 3 Careers to Avoid
According to 150 HR executives, these occupations appear to be over-
subscribed:

1.    Law
2.    Marketing/Advertising
3.    Human Resources

Which degrees did the HR executives select as the best to pursue?

1.    Computer Science & Information Technology
2.    Engineering
3.    Health Care

***
Opportunities for Change and Growth

By Catharine Bailes

During this past year, while we have been experiencing the Great
Recession, we have also developed new skills in adapting to change.
Much of this adapting really relies on our individual attitudes and inner
strength.

As a result of furlough days and rapidly aging Baby Boomers making
financial calculations about their pensions, we have experienced more
retirement parties, lunches and gatherings than I‟ve ever seen at DOR.
Blind Field Services has recently lost two Supervisors, due to retirement
and a job change. Another Supervisor will retire the end of September.

Lest I be remiss, I want to sincerely thank Sam Goldberg (Van Nuys),
Stephanie Wong (Oakland, moving to EPS‟s Fairfield Office) and Linda
Paravagna (Concord, retiring end of September) for their hard work and
dedication in serving people who are blind or visually impaired.

We also lost four Counselors due to either retirement or career re-direction
over the past few months. They are Paul Wesner (San Diego), Sheila Paul
(Victorville), Joanne Wolfe (Oxnard) and Kathryn Arceneaux (San Luis
Obispo). Again, I want to thank each of these Counselors for their
dedication and hard work.
These personnel changes and vacancies have provided BFS with
opportunities to work smarter and more efficiently. The remaining six BFS
Supervisors are now providing guidance, coaching and supervision to
Counselors all over the State. I have not heard one word of complaint from
any of the Supervisors. They know what needs to be done, and they step
up to do it. In the same way, many counselors are covering the “vacated”
caseloads. They provide counseling and guidance from a distance and
must be quick studies in order to get acquainted with resources in other
geographic areas. All of this has required good time management skills
along with good communication and teamwork.

The exams for Rehabilitation Supervisor and Rehabilitation Specialist have
been posted, and the Rehabilitation Administrator Exams will be posted in
the near future. Counselors and Supervisors who have demonstrated
leadership skills, including but not limited to: flexibility, good
communication, teamwork, time management, and the ability to be
innovative are the type of professionals who I encourage to take these
exams. We need people like you to help energize our Department and the
direction we will be going in the future.

The Great Recession will be ending someday, but I believe we have all
grown in many ways, as a result of it. I‟ve seen resilience in our staff and
I‟m very proud to be a part of your team! Thanks for all your hard work and
creative ideas. You are making a better world for the people we serve.

***
The Visionary on the Web and Telephone

You can find The Visionary on the California Department of Rehabilitation‟s
web site. Just go to http://www.dor.ca.gov/ssd/blindser.htm and find the
links to this newsletter there. While in the site, read about the variety of
services the Department‟s Rehabilitation Counselors of the Blind offer to
blind Californians who seek vocational rehabilitation services. You also
can read the on line version of the Blind Field Services brochure and a
brochure on Transition services for blind and visually impaired youths.

Don‟t forget to dive into the links on:
*Orientation Center for the Blind
*Business Enterprises Program
*Title VII, Chapter 2 Grants for service to Older Blind Individuals
The Visionary can also be found on NFB Newsline in California where its
articles are read aloud using synthetic speech. For general information and
assistance, call NFB Newsline at (866) 504-7300. When calling Newsline,
use a local number if available. To get the local number for your area, call
Tim Ford at 916-440-7822.

The Newsline system now allows you to read the material on line, and to
send any of that material to your e-mail address. To register your e-mail
address with Newsline, contact Tim Ford, at 916-440-7822, or send him an
e-mail request at tim.ford@cdph.ca.gov.

The new Newsline web site is at:
www.nfbnewslineonline.org.

				
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