School for the Blind employee earns DRS Commission award

Two smiling women stand with on on right holding flag in a case and framed certificate.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Karen Reed, Oklahoma School for the Blind compliance officer, earned the 2017 Commission Award from the members of the Commission for Rehabilitation Services.

Commission Chair April Danahy presented the award to Reed at a commission meeting in Oklahoma City with co-workers and colleagues in attendance.

Reed received an official state flag flown over the Capitol in Oklahoma City.

As a compliance officer, Reed ensures that OSB complies with state and federal regulatory requirements and DRS internal policies.

School for the Deaf honors superintendent with building dedication

Bearded man wearing suit and tie holds gian scissors

SULPHUR, Okla. – Oklahoma School for the Deaf Superintendent Larry Hawkins was honored March 14 by family, friends, students and co-workers with a surprise building dedication.

Following a program in the OSD gymnasium led by his daughter Jill Hawkins, Larry Hawkins and his family cut a ribbon symbolizing the naming of the Larry Hawkins Activity Center in his honor.

Jill Hawkins is an OSD outreach specialist and teacher who serves students attending local schools across the state.

750 attend People with Disabilities Awareness Day at the Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin joined more than 750 disability advocates at the 24th People with Disabilities Awareness Day on March 13 at the state Capitol.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Service hosted the event, which included 76 disability-related exhibitors and 120 volunteers.

The agency provided Braille and large print materials, certified sign language interpreters and other accommodations to enable all guests to fully participate.

Nickles earns Social Security Trail Blazer Award for customer service innovation

Photo: Serious man in dark jacket

Oklahoma City – Innovative ideas that improve customer service and benefit the public earned Brian Nickles from Norman a Trail Blazer Award from the Dallas Region of the Social Security Administration.

Nickles, who is Disability Determination Services administrator in Oklahoma, received an award letter from Regional Commissioner Sheila Everett, who wrote, “Ideas, such as Brian’s, are imperative for SSA to advance in our service to the public.”

DDS is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

DRS Vocational Rehabilitation to relocate Durant office serving jobseekers with disabilities

Vocational Rehabilitation office in Durant will relocate on Thursday, March 1, to room 101 in the Russell Building at 1422 N. 5th on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant.

The office is located on the first floor of the Russell Building, which is across from the Student Union.

The main phone number will remain 580-924-2677.

The office provides career planning, employment and related services to job seekers with disabilities in Bryan and western Choctaw counties.

Oklahoma School for the Blind receives $15,000 grant from the Kirschner Trusts

Group of happy young people stand in front of a building entrance.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee is pleased to announce that the school has received a $15,000 grant from The Kirschner Trusts.

The grant will be used to expand the transportation program provided OSB to take residential students home for the weekends and return them to school.

“We are excited about the support of the Kirschner Trusts and are grateful for the generous award for the second year,” Rita Echelle, OSB superintendent, said.

School for the Blind students to serve Feb 1 at Sapulpa Lion’s beans & chili dinner

Young man wearing sunglasses and apron stands beside young woman wearing glasses and an apron who holds a dishcloth.

SAPULPA, Okla. – Since 1952, the Sapulpa Lion’s Club members have prepared their family style beans and chili recipes for friends and neighbors who come back every year.

Twenty-five Oklahoma School for the Blind students will help serve at the annual fundraising dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 1 at Sapulpa First Baptist Church located at 124 S. Elm.

Students include seventh and eighth graders, high school students from the service learning class and members of OSB’s Family, Career and Community Leaders (FCCLA).

DRS names new Visual Services administrator

Smiling woman wearing suit

OKLAHOMA CITY – OKLAHOMA CITY – Tracy Brigham from Oklahoma City was appointed administrator of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Visual Services division, which annually helps more than 1,800 Oklahomans who are blind or visually impaired to reach their goals for employment and independence.

As administrator, Brigham leads staff who provide statewide career counseling, vocational education and training, medical services required to become employable and assistive technology focused to achieve their career goals.

People with Disabilities Awareness Day

2018 Awareness Day logo. An outline of Oklahoma on top of blue field of stars. “Go All in” is inside the outline of Oklahoma. Oklahomans deserve Access for All.
Whether it's for employment or independence Oklahomans deserve access for all. This year starting at noon on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at the state Capitol, we are asking people with disabilities, friends, families and Legislators to go all in when it comes to disability initiatives and bring an end to access-related barriers for people with disabilities.

This event is an opportunity to engage lawmakers and help them understand what programs are vital to reach these goals.

The strategy for the day

Awareness Day gives people with disabilities and advocates, like you, a chance to talk with decision-makers who can preserve or expand services that make a critical difference in the lives of Oklahomans with disabilities. Last year, more than 775 people participated in this free event, which is hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and friends.

This year, our attendance goal is 780 people with 50 percent visiting state Senators and Representatives or their staff. Volunteers will be available to take you on legislative visits and provide other assistance if needed.

Click here for People with Disabilities Awareness Day home page.

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