Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services
The Talking Books unique service is an American icon, one of which we should all be proud! Founded in 1931 by an Act of Congress promoted by Helen Keller, this year, 2021, it celebrates its ninetieth anniversary. Although it was originally conceived to serve people with vision loss or blindness, over its ninety years it has expanded eligibility to include anyone who has difficulty reading printed matter. This includes individuals who have certifiable learning conditions, such as organic dyslexia and autism, which prevent them from reading. The Talking Books service has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people, thanks to our tax dollars at work. It is an invaluable resource for the Florida community, and should be made available to everyone who needs it.
The Main Regional Library is located at 421 Platt St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114, on the Campus of the Florida Division of Blind Services; service is provided to the entire state of Florida with the collaboration of nine sub-regional Libraries located around the state. Office hours are 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Patrons may call in and leave voicemail or email 24/7. Service is provided year-round (including through the COVID-19 pandemic).
National website: http://www.loc.gov/nls
The completed application may be:
- Mailed to the Florida Braille and Talking Book Library, 421 Platt St., Daytona Beach, FL 32118
- Faxed to 386-239-6069
- Emailed as a scanned attachment (PDF) to firstname.lastname@example.org
(no electronic signatures, please)
Library staff will be happy to help with the application process if needed; call toll free: 800-226-6075.
Millie Sullivan, Administrative Assistant/ Front Desk Therapy, just celebrated her first full year with Easter Seals. Yes, she started working at our front desk just a week prior to the COVID-19 state-wide lock down. Millie's role includes directing incoming phone calls to appropriate programs and departments. processing incoming referrals. checking in clients for therapies, evaluations, and services. She also screens employees, clients and guests coming into the administrative side of the building. And, all with a warm and welcoming smile on her face that shines through her N-95 mask.
Millie has a natural calming vibe about her and enjoys seeing our clients each day! She says, "I enjoy watching the growth of the clients through our programs. The happiness of the guardians when the client does something new and sometimes unexpected. What I want to be known for in my role is my care for the clients. That they can feel at ease in my presence."
Her connection to our clients is personal, "I found Easterseals by accident when I was struggling to locate a child care program for my then 3 yr old who had behavior issues. I only called them because they were located on my street and walkable. He had difficulty communicating through speech and other centers didn’t care to put in the effort for him. Easterseals went above and beyond. They realized his frustrations were due to not feeling understood. He is now 5 years old in Kindergarten and is thriving. My husband and I said the other day that Easterseals unlocked his voice. He has more to say then we ever knew."
Millie loves her job at Easterseals and was recently nominated by her supervisor for participation in Easterseals IMPACT Team. She notes, "Easterseals has brought my life into a place where I appreciate the day to day. This includes my job, my family and my community. - something I had only dreamed about up to this point. Having two special needs children can be hard, but I have learned how to appreciate what they bring to my life in ways I never would have dreamed."
Thanks to the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act in 2014, better known as the ABLE Act, ABLE accounts became a reality across the country. ABLE United is Florida’s qualified ABLE program and allows individuals with disabilities, including autism, to save with the help of family and friends without impacting eligibility current or future s public benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
An ABLE United account is managed completely online at www.ableunited.com. With 43 ABLE programs available – some of which are national programs – we are proud to say that we offer the value best for Floridians.
ABLE United was developed by Floridians, for Floridians with no fees associated an opening in account. Opening an account is quick, easy and free – all you have to do is contribute a minimum of $25 to get started
An individual with a disability may only have one ABLE account at one time and there are three eligibility requirements for opening an ABLE United account:
“For the last five years, ABLE United’s mission has been to educate the disability community on the benefits of ABLE accounts,” says John Finch, ABLE United Director. “We are so grateful for our partners, like Easterseals Northeast Central Florida, who believe in our mission and afford us the opportunity to share how Florida’s disability community can become savers and investors for the very first time.”
Introducing Bobby Cyril, CBHCM - Autism Targeted Case Manager and SOAR (School's Out Afternoon Recreation) Program ManagerRead Now
Easterseals is proud to introduce Bobby Cyril, Targeted Case Manager with the Autism Center of Excellence and New Program Manager of Easterseals SOAR (School's Out Afternoon Recreation) teen program. SOAR is a program for teens with special needs, designed to encourage and support whatever level of independence they are capable of in important areas such as life skills, social skills, health and wellness and successfully preparing for the workplace.
Bobby is also a skilled new addition to our Autism Center of Excellence case management team. He has a very calming sense about him as we works with families, and says his biggest joy is "providing a sense of peace by providing resources to families to help them in any transition."
Bobby is also a 2021 class member of Easterseals leadership focused IMPACT Team, noting "I am a strong team player that possess strong leadership skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. Easterseals has given me the opportunity to grow: not only as a professional, but also as a person, by providing opportunities to enhance my professional skills and to work with a great team! I have increased my confidence in my leadership skills and my knowledge of the great services of this organization."
For information about the SOAR program, or the Autism Center, contact Bobby Cyril at 386-944-7815 or via email at email@example.com.
We are happy to recognize select members of our Easterseals staff for their nomination for and participation in the 2021 Class of Easterseals IMPACT Team. The purpose of IMPACT Team is to create opportunities for employees to affect the future progress of Easterseals, and to empower them to be leaders who bring their strengths and ideas into their leadership roles.
The participants applied to the program through their supervisors, and participated in an all-day learning session to further their knowledge of Easterseals, our history, our programs, and our collective IMPACT in how we LIVE, LEARN, WORK, PLAY and ACT. Thanks to planning committee members Crystal Smithers, Brenna Giblock, Fran DeCinto and Susan Moor for organizing, and special thanks to each of our presenters!
Dodie Derck joined Easterseals in Spring of 2020 as Executive Assistant and is so thrilled with her role to support Easterseals President Bev Johnson and provide Administrative support to the Executive Team, including CFO Melissa Chesley with tasks as requested. She also leads new employee orientations. Dodie says, "I’ve never worked in a more joyful and fulfilling organization. It renews my faith in people and kindness every day. Before working at Easterseals I hadn’t been around children in years (I don’t have any of my own) and when I see them playing on the playground, walking through Administration building or hearing their giggles, my heart smiles. I’m a better person because I work here."
Dodie would like to be known as the “go to person” for the office, Executive team and Board members, "I want to be known for always being a ray of sunshine and taking time for each person I come in contact with."
Dodie is a ray of sunshine, and her attitude is infectious, "I am so proud to work for Easterseals Northeast Central Florida! The all-female Leadership team, and dedicated staff make me want to come to work every day. My life philosophy is “today only happens once, make it amazing” and I hope I share that spirit with everyone I meet every day with an upbeat, positive attitude! I was lucky to have been furloughed by a major healthcare system last April, because that lead me to Easterseals. I didn’t know it then but the blessing of working for a non-profit and helping disabled children was just what I needed to feel like my job, my life, and my renewed faith in mankind matters. What a wonderful gift it was to be given the opportunity to work for such an amazing organization!"
Brenna K. Giblock, MSW Program Manager, Early Steps North Beaches, is responsible for assisting the Program Director with implementing the State Early Steps program locally, supervision of Early Steps program staff as well as meeting the needs and responsibilities of program staff, and maintenance of grant standards to meet the needs of Early Steps clients and their families. We congratulate her on her recent promotion!
Brenna is most proud of the way in which families are engaged and treated during their time with Easterseals, noting, "We offer support and compassion for families that may be receiving news about their child’s development that rocks the foundation of the dreams they held for their child. We are then there to guide them through the services and resources that puts many of those dreams back within reach."
Brenna says she enjoys most the opportunity of working in a team-focused environment, "It is nice to have a like-minded group to discuss and brain storm. It offers a chance to give and receive support. It allows for empowerment of members of the team. When you feel supported and heard and are surrounded by people to lift you up you are stronger and more confident for the families we serve."
Even after seven years, Brenna comments, "Everyday is a new learning experience. I have been and continue to be mentored which allows ongoing personal and professional growth. I have met and work with amazing people with a desire to make our community better. Spending time with people like that one cannot help but gain insight and strength to one’s own character. Early Steps has many moving parts that are set by the State office or beyond them at the Federal government level. We do not take those requirements lightly. What we may want to do cannot always be done based on policy and procedure in place for the program." However, she affirms that her philosophy for her leadership success lies in one simple concept -being approachable, listening - ensuring both families and staff feel heard.
When people think of Easterseals, Brenna hopes that what comes to mind for them is an organization that keeps our children and families we serve at the forefront of our decisions, that follows its mission and purpose for the community as a whole.
To learn more about Easterseals Early Steps North Beaches program, contact 386-873-0365.
My name is Rachael Kennedy, I am an audiologist, and I began working at Easterseals in December. As an audiologist, I diagnose and treat various degrees and types of hearing disorders. Audiologists also dispense hearing aids, assess vestibular (balance) function, and even screen newborn babies for hearing loss.
My favorite part of being a clinician is creating long lasting relationships with families and the people I serve. I love learning new things and being able to take what I’ve learned from other professionals and incorporate it into my work. I’ve learned bits and pieces about other professions in school, but I think my greatest knowledge has come from hands on work and collaborating with other professionals in the same office.
I am impressed by my new Easterseals family of clinicians and family support staff. I think having other professionals working side by side helps reinforce the importance of each profession to families. When families have access to a variety of clinicians under one roof, it shows that we are a nice well-oiled machine that works smoothly and always provides families with a “whole” child centered approach.
Although I haven’t been here very long, I see Easterseals as an opportunity to grow my clinical skills working with kids of all ages and exceptionalities. Regarding audiology (and hearing aids) in general, people often assume that hearing aids will restore their hearing to normal, which is not the case. Unfortunately, hearing aids do not give us 20/20 hearing. However, hearing aids are one of the main options to help keep the brain and ears stimulated!
I like to help make people aware of the importance of audiology and hearing health. Whether it is explaining how the ear works, counseling about hearing protection, or recommending routine hearing testing, audiology is often an educational topic of conversation that I try to share with others.
I hope Easterseals is a place for families to feel safe and know that their children are in the best hands with the most caring team! Fun fact: I have hearing loss in one ear and love to share my experiences with families! I want my families to feel comfortable knowing that they have an audiologist who understands the difficulties that come with hearing loss.
For more information about Pediatric Audiology services from Easterseals, please call 386-255-4568 ext 325.
Easterseals Northeast Central Florida Among Beneficiaries of MacKenzie Scott Philanthropic Gifts Announced December 15thRead Now
Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced yesterday that she has made an unrestricted transformational gift to Easterseals Northeast Central Florida. Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is one of 22 Easterseals Affiliates from across the country to benefit from Scott’s philanthropy, in addition to its National Office, to support life-changing services and powerful advocacy for the one in four Americans living with disability today . Ms. Scott outlined her giving in a post called "384 Ways to Help." You can read Ms. Scott’s announcement of her 2020 giving and selection process here.
In announcing the 384 organizations to benefit from her philanthropy, Ms. Scott indicated that she’d asked a team of advisors to accelerate her 2020 giving to immediately support people suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic. “We do our research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” said Ms. Scott. “Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft. Not only are non-profits chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fundraising, and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them. These 384 carefully selected organizations have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards, and hotlines and front lines of all types and sizes, day after day after day. They help by delivering vital services and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being. This kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone.”
She continued, “The response from these organizations in talking with us often included personal stories and tears which invariably made me and my teammates cry. This kind of chain reaction was captured perfectly by a longtime advocate for people with disabilities: ‘We work with people who have been marginalized for many reasons. Some of our greatest moments of success come through small gestures when a client’s hope is restored. Feeling valued is an amazing sensation. I see the eyes of our clients light up when their efforts are appreciated. Good begets good. I have always believed this, but I have been sorely tested over the past few years.’ Scott added, “Me too.”
Easterseals Northeast Central Florida offers life changing supports and services for over 5,000 local children annually, partnering with their parents and physicians to improve lifetime success. Children receive early intervention and developmental screening, early childhood education, autism diagnoses and functional assessment, pediatric specialty therapy interventions and family supports such as respite, wrap around care and adaptive technology focused on helping children reach their full potential in how they live, learn and play.
“This gift from Ms. Scott represents a transformational gift for Easterseals and we are humbled and honored to advance the dreams we have for our clients,” said Easterseals Northeast Central Florida President & CEO Bev Johnson. “With the input of leading experts across specialties and diagnoses, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida has the people, capacity and passion to redefine how our community addresses disability services. We are overwhelmed with the anticipation of accelerating our progress, and the limitless possibilities in creating a community where:
Ms. Scott signed the Giving Pledge in 2019, a project that encourages billionaires to promise to give away at least half of their wealth throughout their lifetime. Wealthy individuals including Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates as well as Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin have also signed the Giving Pledge.
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About Easterseals Northeast Central Florida
Easterseals Northeast Central Florida has advocated for people with disabilities for 70 years. With the input of leading experts across specialties and diagnoses, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida has the people, capacity and passion to redefine how our community addresses disability services. We achieve this by creating and managing programs and services, and by strategically partnering with our community’s most respected and prominent medical, educational and social-service organizations. We are dedicated to creating a community where every child with special needs in our community is 100% empowered with the services and supports they need to thrive. Learn more at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
Driven by its purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, including veterans and seniors, as well as their families and communities for more than 100 years. Together, its national network of Affiliates serves 1.5 million people annually through high-quality services and powerful advocacy. Its services include early intervention; autism services; medical rehabilitation including physical, occupational, and speech therapies; behavioral health; workforce development; adult day programs; and more. In schools, workplaces, and communities, Easterseals is fostering environments where everyone is included and valued – making a real and positive impact on us all. Join us in ensuring that everyone – regardless of age or ability – is 100% included and 100% empowered to fully participate in life. Learn more at www.easterseals.com.
My name is Diana Martin and I am the new Early Childhood Education Director for the Daytona location. I am coming from the Volusia Flagler Family YMCA where I was the District Executive Director for over 13 years. I have a long background in Childcare and training of childcare personnel for the association. I supervised a staff of over 150, assisted families with financial aid and ran all day to day operations of both facilities.
I received my Childcare Directors credential in 2012 then went onto earn by BS degree in Business management all while being a mother of 5 and working as Executive Director. I am always up for a good challenge and love working with children.
I had a dream of having 10 children and when that was cut short at 5 from a difficult delivery that ended my chances of ever having another child I knew I needed to devote my life to working with children. My goal is to make every child in my center feel wanted, loved and provide them the opportunity to excel and provide them the confidence to conquer any challenge with pride.
If you are interested in our Early Childhood Education programs at our Daytona campus, please contact me directly at 386-944-7831 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to getting to know all our current and future Explorers!