Summer 2011 Grapevine - text only

Document Sample
Summer 2011 Grapevine - text only Powered By Docstoc
					The BISM Grapevine - Summer 2011

BISM Manufacturing Associates Receive Non-Visual Training by Tanner Shepherd and Amy
The Rehabilitation division from Baltimore and Salisbury recently teamed up with the
manufacturing division to provide important non-visual skills training classes for several
manufacturing associates at both locations.
Seven blind and low vision Baltimore production and cutting associates completed the inaugural
BISM Associate Computer Technology Training course in June. The associates attended class
twice a week from 3:00-4:00 pm with computer instructor Page Trammell. With voice assistance
from the JAWS screen reading program, associates learned non-visual methods to use Microsoft
Word and the internet. By the end of their individual sessions, the associates’ knowledge of
adaptive computer technology had increased dramatically.
In April, eleven blind and low vision Salisbury sewing associates participated in non-visual skills
training in Braille, cane travel and adaptive computer technology. The instruction was provided
by the Salisbury Rehab staff and Maurice Peret, orientation and mobility instructor. The
associates learned the basics of white cane travel and traveled throughout the Salisbury
production facility. For most of the associates this was the first time they had experienced non-
visual training.
We were very pleased with our students’ demonstrated commitment to the acquisition of the
alternative skills of blindness. Their willingness to learn new non-visual techniques should be
commended and emulated throughout BISM and the community!

Be OK With Blindness Workshop A Success by Amy Phelps
The ―Be OK With Blindness‖ workshop, co-hosted by BISM and Maryland Parents of Blind
Children, took place at the BISM Baltimore headquarters on April 30 and was a big success. The
goal was to have parents and educators of blind children, blind children and their siblings walk
away from the event knowing that it is truly OK to be blind.
There were a total of 48 parents of blind children, educators, and children in attendance, along
with 17 volunteers (13 of whom were blind) and each family was assigned a blind mentor. For
many of the parents, this was their first time interacting with blind people in a workshop setting.
Children under the age of 8 were educated and entertained in a childcare setting, supervised by
all blind childcare workers. The theme was ―The Very Hungry Caterpillar‖ and included Braille
reading, arts and crafts, and a unique coloring exercise. The children joined their parents for
lunch and returned to fun activities and movies in the afternoon. We had children ranging in age
from 6 months to 7 years.
Our youth participants, 9 years and older, began the day with a shopping trip to the local
Walmart. The participants were either blind or the sibling of a blind child and were given a long
white cane by their team leader to use in the store. The purpose was to gain a better
understanding of how a blind person goes shopping, finds bargains, and remains in control of his
or her own decisions. Following the shopping adventure, the youth returned for an afternoon of
field day activities such as beep Frisbee, jump roping, and the popular Minute-To-Win-It. For
many of the participants, this was the first time they had interacted with other blind youth and it
was rewarding to witness how they developed relationships with their peers and connected with
their blind mentors.
The parents opened the workshop with a panel discussion of blind adults, ―What I Wish My
Parents Had Known That I Know Now.‖ Following the panel, the parents were divided into three
groups and moved into the ―Cooking without Looking‖ phase of the workshop that was led by
Brawyn Evans, William Lindsay, Alycia Breitschwerdt, Grainne Nic Daeid, Darrell Holloway,
Donald Kuhn, and Andre Sconion. The goal of this activity was to help parents
understand that their children can work safely and effectively in the kitchen. The parents learned
non-visually how to remove items from the oven and stove top, how to pour hot liquids, and how
to use a sharp knife while making lunch for the group.
The afternoon session for parents was filled with a fantastic panel of presenters that began with
BISM’s Maurice Peret leading a discussion on the ―Cooking without Looking‖ experience, the
importance of independent movement, and how to encourage blind children to start using a cane
as soon as they stand up. Emily Gibbs, Education Programs Specialist at the NFB Jernigan
Institute, answered parents’ questions about homework for blind elementary, middle, and high
school students. She encouraged all of the parents to learn Braille so they can check homework.
The day wrapped up with a discussion on the importance of mentoring for the parents and their
A lot was learned during the ―Be OK With Blindness‖ workshop and the overall response, from
both parents and children, was extremely positive!

SILVER Retreat Offers Seniors Independence by Ruth Sager and Shirley Riffle
Eleven blind seniors attended BISM’s annual Senior Independent Living, Vision, Education and
Rehabilitation (SILVER) residential retreat June 7-10. The mission of the SILVER retreat is for
seniors to regain their independence by learning the skills of blindness. Training classes occurred
daily and included white cane travel, Braille, computer technology, and independent living. The
classes were taught by blind instructors who also served as mentors and role models.
Other activities included adjustment to blindness discussions, community outings, non-visual
aids and appliances, and hands-on demonstrations. SILVER participants prepared their own
dinner, non-visually, during independent living classes on the first retreat day. Highlights of the
SILVER retreat included a tour of BWI Airport; restaurant dining experiences (BISM,
Chiapparelli’s, Bob Evans); a Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) tour
and demonstrations; and an Everyman Theatre presentation of ―Pygmalion‖ at the LBPH.
The BWI Airport tour included SILVER participants going through security, traveling
throughout the airport, and locating the baggage claim. Seniors also had the opportunity to speak
with representatives from the airport and Southwest Airlines. Some SILVER members reported
that it was their first time visiting an airport and many said they would fly with more confidence
now that they know what to expect.
The closing ceremony was moving as students shared how they began the retreat fearful but
learned through skills training, with guidance and encouragement from the staff, to try new
things, face their blindness and move ahead with their lives. Many participants expressed the
desire to continue training in BISM senior programs.

Office Eagle Update
Pirates Rule At Customer Appreciation Day by Rene Alonso
Aargh-fice Eagle recently wrapped up another successful Customer Appreciation Day
celebration, with stores participating in a pirate-themed event.
We began our adventure at Dover AFB on May 18 with over 300 attendees, and a constructed
pirate ship complete with a mast, cannon holes and an anchor. The customers took part in a
treasure hunt, and vendors and associates wore pirate costumes. Once the treasure hunt was
completed, customers tried turning a key to open the treasure chest. If the key opened the chest,
they won a door prize! Weather hampered the turnout at the JBAB event, but attendance was
back up at Aberdeen, with a record turnout of 365 people! At our Edgewood event, we continued
with record crowds of roughly 300 people, most of which were quality customers. The Office
Eagle Maryland/DC/DE pirate ship weathered its last storm and was retired after the Edgewood
Ft. Knox built its own astonishing pirate ship, and while the weather did not cooperate in the
morning hours, our customers managed to find their way to the event and it was a huge success!
A big round of applause to Ft. Knox manager Judy Bosler for taking the time to piece together
the costumes for all of the stores! Thanks to all of the Office Eagle associates for a job well

Inventory Update by Ken Barnett
Office Eagle completed its physical inventory counts at all locations on June 25. The overall
Office Eagle inventory accuracy rate was 99.03 percent. While all of the Office Eagle stores did
a great job with maintaining the integrity of their inventory, of special note is Dover who, with
over $1 Million inventory, was off by a mere $30.03 for an outstanding inventory rate of 99.97
percent. Additionally, Ft. Knox had an inventory accuracy rate of 99.86 percent, Edgewood had
a 99.84 percent accuracy rate, and DIA had a 99.43 percent inventory accuracy rate. Great job by
E-Commerce Introduces New Marketing Campaign
BISM’s e-commerce website,, is embarking on a new email marketing
campaign this summer in an effort to reach out to customers and keep them informed. The Super
Eagle Supply team is in the process of creating a monthly e-newsletter that will feature new
products and promotions. Email marketing will provide us with the opportunity to engage
customers in the buying process.
Super Eagle Supply also created a Facebook page to take advantage of social media marketing.
You can show your support by visiting Facebook, searching Super Eagle Supply and clicking on
the ―Like‖ button. In addition to up-to-date promotions, specials, and new products, our
Facebook page provides contact information and upcoming events. We encourage you to inform
Facebook friends and business colleagues about Super Eagle Supply!

HR Update by Rob Harris
Because of your efforts and increased focus on safety, BISM will see a reduction in worker’s
compensation insurance premiums. We recently met with our insurance carrier and learned that
due to reductions in the number and severity of incidents, more timely and accurate reporting,
and noticeable efforts in improving workplace safety, BISM is being rewarded with a
―significant‖ reduction in premium costs. Good job everyone, and a special thanks to those who
serve on our safety committees.
The HR Department would like to welcome Pak Boone. Pak is the sole HR representative in the
Raleigh partnership with the Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind (RLCB). She is currently
wearing many hats during the transition of RLCB employees over to BISM associates. She has
considerable experience working in the human resources field and we are happy to have her

Second Quarter Awards
The BISM organization would like to congratulate Associate of the Quarter winners for the
second quarter. The winners were nominated by fellow associates: George Brown (Cutting);
Clarence Freeman (Production); Kathy Jones (Sewing); Andy McIver (Rehabilitation); Debra
Mays (Corporate Administration); Lisa Gancos (Office Eagle).

Happy Birthday Associates!

Stephanie Santell—Salisbury      2
Nelva Perez-Cruz—Salisbury    3
Alberta Clawson—Cumberland    3
Norman Tilghman—Salisbury Cut. 5
Rodney Serisis—Baltimore      6
Chuck Slavotinek—Baltimore    6
Safia Choudhry—Salisbury Cut. 9
LaVaughn Price—Salisbury     11
Telicia Bennett-Maycock—Salisbury 12
Thararat Boone—Raleigh       13
Charlie Collier—Baltimore    14
Rudolph Hill—Baltimore       14
Leona Conrad—Cumberland      14
Robbie Johnson—Cumberland 16
Kathleen Schultz—Salisbury   19
Jacob Nelson—Baltimore       20
George Brown—Baltimore       21
Judy Bosler—Ft. Knox OE      22
Bianca Cemi-Gonzalez—Salisbury 22
Betty Jackson—Baltimore      23
Jerry Kendell—Cumberland     25
Jennifer Fagan—JBAB OE       25
Robert Manger—Baltimore      26
James Konechne—Baltimore     26
Pauline Muir—Cumberland      26
Lola Hudson—Baltimore        27
Pandora Walters—Salisbury    27
Bernice Maddox—Salisbury     28
Carol Tremblay—Salisbury     29

Gary Klatt—Cumberland         3
Stacey Stinchcomb—Baltimore 3
Cindy Casey—Ft. Knox OE       6
Hazel Miller—Raleigh          7
Melissa Lindsay—Baltimore             9
Terri Emrick—Cumberland               9
Sherri Hill—Cumberland             9
James Gray—Aberdeen OE            10
Guy DeRossi—Baltimore             11
Michael Harvey—Baltimore           11
James Carr—Baltimore             15
Richard Murray—Aberdeen OE 16
Gary Snow—Cumberland              16
Tacuma Lodge—Ft. Knox OE 16
John Ward—Baltimore              17
George Brittingham—Salisbury 17
Frederick Puente—Baltimore        18
Stacey Johns—Cumberland           18
Maribel Gonzalez-Cotto—Salisbury Cut. 19
Norma Rounds—Salisbury            19
Christina De La Rosa—Salisbury 20
Danielle Earl—Salisbury           21
Adelaida Santiago—Salisbury 23
Dioiris Kelly—Salisbury Cut.       24
Mark Donohue—Baltimore            25
Lizbeth Lozano—Salisbury Cut. 26
Melvin Truitt—Salisbury           26
William Brown—Baltimore            27
Richard Brown—Salisbury Cut. 27
Maureen Sweeney—Baltimore 30
Shirley Barnes—Baltimore          30
Joy Brode—Cumberland             30
Russell Rummer—Cumberland 31

Upcoming Events and Programs
The BISM Pro-Invitational Golf Classic returns to The Suburban Club on September 30! This
year’s event features three free golf clinics for participants that will help with all aspects of your
game. Don’t hesitate to sign up—last year’s Golf Classic sold out quickly. The cost is $250 per
person ($1,000 per foursome) and includes a full day of golf, continental breakfast, lunch,
awards presentation, and dinner. Contact Liz King at 410-737-2641 or for info.

TEAM BISM needs you for the Baltimore Running Festival on October 15! The donation
commitment for the Marathon is $110; Half-Marathon $100; Team Relay $75; and 5K $50. You
will receive race t-shirts, food, and access to the TEAM BISM race tent! For more information or
a registration form, contact Rene Alonso at 410-299-6628 / or Courtney
Nathan at 410-737-2661 / or visit

The Healthy Lifestyles Workshop takes place on August 17 at the LBPH. A must for all
diabetics that are blind or losing their vision. Workshop includes a glucose screening, a resource
packet, and hands-on demos and instructions of non-visual technology and aids. A healthy
luncheon and nutrition lecture are included and the workshop is free of charge! Spaces are still
available but enrollment is limited, so apply early. Pre-registration is required, walk-ins are not
accepted. For further details or application information contact Ruth Sager at 410-737-2649 or

Congratulations To CORE Program Grads
Congratulations to Boris Conner and Darrell Holloway for completing the challenging CORE
training program. Darrell graduated on May 27 (Boris graduated on March 18) after preparing,
serving and cleaning up a buffet lasagna dinner for 25 friends and BISM staff. Darrell also
successfully completed a solo travel route to Raleigh.

BISM Fundraisers Shine by Amy Crouse and Rob Ennamorato
The 3rd annual BISM’s Big Bash was held March 26 at the Mardela Springs Fire Station near
Salisbury and had a country vibe with Roger and Debbi Williamson handling the music, the
Ladies Auxiliary providing the great food, and a variety of auctions, games, and great fellowship.
The 2011 Big Bash had 125 people in attendance and raised over $4,500 for the Salisbury
Training Center for Blind Seniors!
On April 16, the annual Bull & Oyster Roast fundraiser took place at the American Legion in
Halethorpe near our Baltimore location and was the most successful Bull Roast ever with more
than 200 people braving the stormy weather to attend the fun-filled event. The DJ duties were
handled by associate Steve Hairsine and the tasty food was provided by Atlantic Catering.
Through the generosity of those in attendance and those who donated auction items, we were
able to net over $6,500! The funds were split between the Independence 2011 youth training
program and The Activities Committee.
A special thank you to everyone who made both fundraisers a success!
Are You At Risk For Diabetes by Donna Clark, RN
Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to blindness, heart disease, strokes, amputations, and
death. Below is a diabetes risk chart—if you score over a 5, please contact me at 443-944-5279
or call your personal physician. To find out if you are at risk, add up the points for all of the
questions you answer Yes to (points per question are given):

1. My weight is equal to or above that listed on the American Diabetes Association at-risk chart.
Height/Weight examples are 5’0‖ – 138 lbs; 5’5‖ – 162 lbs; 5’10‖ – 188 lbs; 6’2‖ – 210 lbs. YES
2. I am under 65 years of age and I get little or no exercise during a usual day. YES (5)
3. I am between 45 and 64 years of age. YES (5)
4. I am 65 years or older. YES (9)
5. I am a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth. YES (1)
6. I have a sister or brother with diabetes. YES (1)
7. I have a parent with diabetes. YES (1)

Scoring 3-9 points: You are probably at low risk for having diabetes now. But don’t just forget
about, - you may be higher risk in the future.

Scoring 10 or more points: You are at a greater risk for having diabetes. Only your health
provider can determine if you have diabetes. At your next office visit, find out for sure.

Catching Up

Blind Bowl Fundraiser Debuts
The Blind Bowl fundraiser took place at The Bowler in LaVale (near Cumberland) on June 25.
Each participant bowled while wearing sleep shades to have a first-hand experience of what it’s
like to do an activity non-visually. The unique event netted proceeds of $250, which will benefit
senior training programs in Cumberland!

Cumberland Associate Receives Award
Cumberland Associate Roger Williamson recently received the coveted Melvin Jones Award for
distinguished service from the Cumberland Lions Club. Congratulations, Roger!

BISM Recognized By U.S. Armed Forces
As a result of sending care packages to U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq, BISM recently received a
Certificate of Appreciation from Task Force Crow, who is taking part in Operation New Dawn.
Nurse Donna Appreciated By Associates
During National Nurses Week in early May, BISM associates let Nurse Donna Clark know how
important she is to our organization by filling a special tote bag with letters of
appreciation. HR associate Heather Rankin presented Nurse Donna with the tote bag and a
special pin on May 11.

Seniors Have Bake Sale To Support Youth Program
Baltimore Senior SAIL students and staff prepared bake goods and held a bake sale in April to
raise funds for the BISM Youth programs. Donations were also provided by associates and the
sale raised $615.

BISM’s Leadership Development Program Graduates First Class
BISM’s inaugural Leadership Development and Management Certification Program group
successfully completed the six month program on March 16. The next class of 30 associates will
be selected in the fall. Congratulations to the grads!