Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Presents Annual Achievement Honor Roll Awards

Contact: Jason Moon 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

October 25, 2013 - The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) today presented its annual Achievement Honor Roll Awards in Lansing. The annual awards are presented to BSBP clients who are exemplary in achieving their goals for employment and/or independent living after vision loss; employers who have shown leadership in hiring blind workers based on their abilities; and community partners recognized for their collaboration with the BSBP in increasing opportunities for blind people to achieve independence and/or employment. 

“Our honorees have demonstrated a tremendous amount of hard work and perseverance and have made great contributions to Michigan’s blind community,” said BSBP Director Ed Rodgers. “The BSBP’s Achievement Honor Roll winners are shining examples of how we are focused on providing a diverse set of quality services to ensure that blind individuals have the opportunities they need to achieve active employability and independence.”

Achievement Honor Roll Award Winners

BSBP Clients (individuals who are blind or visually impaired):

Leatrice Fullerton, Kalamazoo

Leatrice became a BSBP client in high school. After receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work, Leatrice was recently hired as a full-time social worker.

Terrence Ruffin, Detroit

Terrence graduated as one of the top students in his class in the BSBP’s Business Enterprise Program. Terrence now runs a successful business at the Café DeVille in the Cadillac Place in Detroit.

Johnathon Hall, Kalamazoo

Johnathon worked with BSBP counselors who helped him attain college aid and other tools to assist him in a career as a mechanic. Johnathon graduated with honors from the Universal Technical Institute, and now works in Portage at Boat City Marine.

Dr. Howard Vernon Sanden, Muskegon

A retired pediatrician, Dr. Sanden sought the help of the BSBP hoping to find devices that could assist him in reading his journals and documenting research.  A digital recorder now allows him to navigate his notes and continue his research.

Gordon Tilkens, Menominee

At age 62, Gordon began working with the BSBP in order to learn necessary skills to maintain his independent living. Through practice, mobility training, and various other tools Gordon was able to learn how to live independently.

Greg Weekley, Owosso

Greg sought the help of the BSBP in order to live independently even with great vision loss. Nearly two years of training and diligent work allowed him to achieve his individual goals and his independence.

Community Partners:

Work Services, Inc., Jackson

Over many years Work Services has provided job placement services to clients of the Bureau. Their staff has also worked tirelessly to provide assistance to clients by helping them look for jobs, talking with potential employers, and assisting clients with interviews.

Western Michigan University Office of Disability Services for Students (DSS), Kalamazoo

DSS has long been committed to assisting students with disabling conditions in their pursuit of educational and career goals including the often difficult processes of class scheduling and accessing adaptive equipment. The services DSS provides have aided the Bureau in serving their clients with teaching the studies skills course and making post-secondary education available to all those with disabilities.

Warren Galloway, Grosse Pointe Woods

As an owner of a business planning firm, Mr. Galloway provides small business consulting services to help all who are interested in starting their own small businesses. In addition to his assistance with business plans, and applying for microloans, Mr. Galloway provides independent living workshops that help clients learn proper work or personal etiquette, effective work communication, and confidence building in addition to many others.

Employers:

Ranir, Grand Rapids

Ranir, a globally based company, has gladly hired blind workers from the BSBP and made efforts to accommodate them in their new jobs and accessibility of the facilities.

Boat City Marine, Portage              

Established more than 30 years ago, Boat City Marine has always set the goal to make consumers’ boating experiences the best they can be. Gladly hiring dedicated employees including a visually impaired mechanic, Johnathon Hall, this company is dedicated to customer satisfaction.

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons provides training and other services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve employment and/or independence in the careers of their choice.

The BSBP’s services include:

  • The BSBP Business Enterprise Program (BEP) provides blind individuals with opportunities for employment.  The BEP operates vending routes and cafeteria facilities in state and federal government facilities as well as in a limited number of private buildings. The role of the BEP is to guide and assist the operator in achieving upward mobility.
  • The BSBP Vocational Rehabilitation Program helps blind citizens become employed in a career that suits their current or potential abilities. The program provides diagnostic evaluations, vocational counseling, and training in skills of blindness at no cost.
  • The BSBP Braille and Talking Book Library serves people with visual impairments and offers a diverse set of materials.
  • The BSBP has services that can help the visually impaired understand and access cutting-edge technology and provides training on the accessibility of the iPhone, iPad and Android operating system, and the capabilities of many screen reader programs.

For more information about BSBP visit www.michigan.gov/bsbp or call toll-free: 1-800-292-4200, TTY 888-864-1212 

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is a part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara
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