The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) is pleased to introduce two new staff members of the department’s leadership team. Both have previous connections to the department and both return with impressive credentials and accomplishments.
On September 27, 2013, Kimberley Barber returned to IDB as the new Independent Living Program Supervisor. No stranger to the department, Kimberley was employed as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with IDB from 2005 to 2007. Her work with the agency allowed multiple clients to secure gainful employment and increase their level of independence. From 2007, Kimberley was employed as a Program Planner 2-Business Development Specialist for the ISE Program with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services where she delivered direct services to help many clients establish successful self-employment ventures. She has a BA degree in Human Resource Management from William Penn College in 1988 and earned a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation counseling from Drake University in May of 1996. She also has a certification from Northern Illinois University through their DeafBlind program. Kimberley continues her life-long journey of learning and just finished her Chronic Disease and Self-Management certification through Stanford University. In addition to providing outstanding service to the citizens of Iowa, Kimberley has a wealth of experience delivering comprehensive services to rehabilitation clients in the private sector. Her work has also included international business training and consulting in Africa where she assisted women to achieve self-sufficiency and independence through self-employment opportunities. In 1999, she was presented with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from then President William Clinton for her contributions toward poverty alleviation.
Emily Wharton began her employment with IDB as the new Technology Director on October 28. IDB veterans may remember Emily because she graduated from our Orientation Center in 1998. Emily earned her BA in English from Drake University in 1997 and her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Hamline University in 2005. She has earned national certifications in Literary Braille and Orientation and Mobility. Since 1998, Emily has worked at BLIND, Incorporated in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has been leading that organization’s technology unit since 2002. During her Tenure with Blind, Inc. Emily developed award winning curriculums for Braille and Assistive Technology, managed the purchasing of computers and adaptive equipment, provided direction to technology instructors, served as the center’s accessibility expert, and managed information technology services. In recognition of her work in developing a new method for adults to learn Braille, Emily received the 2012 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation from the National Braille Press. The following year, she was presented with the 2013 Jacob Bolotin Award by the National Federation of the Blind for her outstanding contribution to Braille Literacy.
We welcome both Kimberley and Emily back to the agency.
Technology specialists from the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) will be offering workshops to help the department's consumers get up to speed with Apple iOS7 VoiceOver and other new features of the new operating system. Sessions will be offered at different locations around the state beginning in November. Take this opportunity to increase your skills on iPads that will be available for use during the workshops!
Two sessions have been scheduled so far:
November 20, 2013 iOS7 VoiceOver Workshop -Boone, Carroll, Marshall, and Story counties
December 4, 2013 iOS7 VoiceOver Workshop - Bremer, Butler, Blackhawk, Grundy, Buchanan, Tama, and Benton counties
Have you ever thought you would be effective at mentoring or providing peer support to another Iowan who is blind or visually impaired? This just might be your chance. The Iowa Department for the Blind is looking for upbeat and positive individuals who can share a skill or technique, information, advice, resource, or maybe just an encouraging word with another blind person. All you are investing is your time.
If you are interested, please fill out the application form. This information will be used to build a mentoring and peer support database that staff will use to provide even better services to blind and visually impaired individuals. In order to participate, you will need to agree to a background check. You will also need to attend a training workshop that will be held at IDB. The training for the first group of peer support volunteers was held on September 7, 2013 and included a lot of excellent discussion on how the program is structured, best practices of mentoring, and facets of good communication. Future trainings will be scheduled as needed.
Please contact Sandy Tigges at 515-281-1313 or Sandy.Tigges@blind.state.ia.us; or Rick Dressler at 515-281-1314 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Thank you for helping the Iowa Department for the Blind continue to provide topnotch services to Iowans with vision loss.