School for the Blind to celebrate White Cane Safety Day October 14

Muskogee, OKLA. – The Oklahoma School for the Blind will celebrate National White Cane Safety Day October 14 with an educational program for the public and a competition to improve OSB students’ white cane navigation skills.

White Cane Safety Day was first established by presidential proclamation in 1964.

“Approximately 109,833 Oklahomans have vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users,” Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Executive Director Joe Cordova said.

The School for the Blind is a division of DRS.

Heartland Council of the Blind, DRS to promote White Cane Safety Day Oct 15 in Bricktown

Woman with a bull horn and man with a white cane in front of a small crown

OKLAHOMA CITY ─ Wednesday, October 15, will mark the sixth time that the Heartland Council of the Blind has involved the public in White Cane Safety Day in Oklahoma City.

Participants will gather at 10 a.m. near the intersection of Sheridan and Oklahoma streets with the morning’s events scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Heartland Council members will join forces with Visual Services staff from the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services for a 35-45 minute walk in Bricktown.

Hundreds expected for DRS’ free disability outreach and education EXPO October 22

2014 EXPO. Collaboration, connections, Employment and Community aurround a circle.  Photos inside circle of a man on the phone and a woman in a wheelchair in front of a van. DRS logo. Metro Technolgy Centers logo with Preparing for Life

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of Oklahomans with disabilities, parents, disability advocates, and educational and medical services providers are expected to attend the sixth free disability education and outreach EXPO on Wednesday, October 22.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and Metro Technology Center will partner to inform the public about services and issues affecting the disability and rehabilitation communities.

Enid receptionist copes with hearing loss to serve Youth and Family Services’ clients

Woman smiles and holds phone to ear

ENID, Oklahoma – Hearing loss can’t slow Denise Gallagher down. The busy receptionist at Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma just doesn’t have time.

Gallagher greets 1,500 children and families each year and helps them navigate a range of services offered by 50 YFS staff in Enid, including 24 mental health counselors.

YFS operates an emergency youth shelter, outpatient and school-counseling programs, food pantries, a transitional living program for young adults ages 18 to 22, and drug and alcohol recovery programs.

Oklahomans celebrate Deaf Awareness Week Sept 21-27

Crowd of people pet a dog on a leash

OKLAHOMA CITY - Deaf Awareness Week in Oklahoma kicks off this Sunday, September 21. The event is celebrated each year in the U.S. during the last full week of September.

“The Oklahoma School for the Deaf is planning activities to celebrate their rich deaf cultural heritage and educate others about deafness,” explained Joe Cordova, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

The School for the Deaf is a division of DRS.

Agenda released for 2014 EXPO

Logo for 2014 Expo

2014 Expo Agenda – The Event is Open to Everyone
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Location: Metro Technology Center, 1900 N. Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Registration

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. -- Opening Ceremony- (Malcolm Stoughtenborough), Welcome (Dr. Elaine Stith) Welcome (Director Joe Cordova)

9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. -- Career Success Panel (Malcolm Stoughtenborough moderator)

9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. – Break

Project SEARCH job training leads to permanent jobs for eight Enid interns

ENID, Okla. – High school-age interns in the Project SEARCH program expect to get on-the-job training and ideas about potential careers.

Full-time, permanent employment usually comes later after the students with disabilities finish the nine-month Project SEARCH intern program and go on to complete more education or training.

In Enid, eight Project SEARCH interns completed the program and were immediately hired by employers in the Enid community. All are now taxpaying citizens, less likely to need disability benefits or social services.

Veteran helps other vets succeed at college/career tech through Veterans Upward Bound

Ada, OKLA. – Transitioning from military service to the academic world can be overwhelming for veterans. They trade a structured environment for a new avalanche of choices. Many also juggle families and jobs, or have service-connected disabilities.

Gary Spikes has been there, done all of that – plus he has hearing and vision loss, and has used a wheelchair in the past because of degenerative disc disease.

Veterans Upward Bound Director Mary Meeks hired Spikes as an academic counselor three months ago.

National Federation of the Blind Braille instruction July 28-August 8 at DRS Library for the Blind

A group of people with white canes outside

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma will partner for the second year with the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Visual Services division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services to bring a fun, summer day camp experience to children, ages five to fourteen, who are blind or have low vision.

Students must pre-register for the two-week Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning program – or BELL for short – which builds participants’ self-confidence, positive attitude and Braille skills.

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week spokesperson’s productivity, ambition pay off at Cintas

Two men smile for the camera

OKLAHOMA CITY – All Peter Broussard really wanted was a chance -- a chance to work hard, fit in at the job and take care of his family, like everybody else.

At Cintas, Broussard, who is deaf and blind, is just one of the guys on a team that rewards productivity and ambition.

Cintas employs 30,000 “partners,” the term they call all employees. The Cincinnati-based corporation, provides products and services that help companies keep their employees and facilities safe.

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