Monday, September 11, 2023Categories: All News Items, Instruction, News Event, Spotlight
M&M Movement and Mobility October 11-13 Grand Forks, ND
Join us in October at the Dakotas AER Conference! Register here today! Registration Link
2023 Dakotas AER Conference
Speakers Include Rod Kossick, Chuck Huss, Dr. Cindy Rolas, Nicola McDowel
Hotel Room Block Hampton Inn State Rate Discount until September 10 701-757-2255 Promo Code DAC
Wednesday, August 30, 2023Categories: All News Items, The Store
The Store at NDVS/SB has a new look! In order to give customers more privacy when trying out and purchasing products, the Store moved into the Vision Resource Center area. A corner of the VRC is now cordoned off with portable walls, and Store products are featured there. Now, when you come into NDVS/SB to visit the Store, you will have more privacy when trying out products and when visiting with Ryan, the Store Manager, or someone else who may be helping you. Come in soon to see the new look for yourself!
Wednesday, August 30, 2023Categories: All News Items, Superintendent
by Paul Olson
I would like to enthusiastically welcome everyone back to school for the 2023-2024 school year. The beginning of a school year can come with lots of emotions. My favorite emotions this time of year are hope and enthusiasm. I will admit my enthusiasm can ebb and flow from day to day, but I get very energized when I witness good work being done on behalf of students of all ages. Right now, we are getting lots of reminders from parents and schools getting geared up for the new year. School supplies, school safety, and school sports are all being talked about on the news. At NDVS/SB, our teachers both in Grand Forks and in our regional offices are already visiting schools, sending out special materials and attending meetings. These are all activities that we normally would talk about each Fall but perhaps we don’t always tell how NDVS/SB helps with students in college. We do serve people of all ages and we have a long tradition of being a resource and more for students with visual impairment in college. There are two recent examples of some great work our staff have done on behalf of a couple of hard-working college students to help them on their journey.
Tuesday, August 29, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight
Vision Resource Center Specialist
Former Intern & Mom-to-be
Three years ago, in August 2020, Karli Talley first stepped foot into North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind in Grand Forks. She was just about to start her senior year at UND and needed to do an internship for her degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services. “I applied for a few different places, but after an interview with Mr. Olson and Mr. Dockter, NDVS/SB seemed like a great place for my internship experience,” Karli says. As an intern, Karli, who grew up in Mora, MN, was able to observe all that NDVS/SB does across the state and help the agency out in a variety of ways. “Throughout that semester, I realized that it was in fact a great fit, so I extended my practical experience another semester,” Karli explains. But as graduation approached, it seemed NDVS/SB wasn’t done with Karli yet. “During that second semester, it was mentioned to me that there would likely be a job opportunity opening up shortly after my graduation,” Karli says. “I enjoyed my internship at NDVS/SB, so I was eager to apply for my current position as the Vision Resource Center Specialist and delighted to accept the job offer!” Read on to find out what Karli does in her role as Vision Resource Center Specialist, why you will find her at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and when her family will be growing by one!
Friday, August 18, 2023Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Instruction, Spotlight
Amy Osvold, MSW, has worked at NDVS/SB for 15 years as a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist. She has worked primarily with adults but has done some work with middle and high school students, mostly focusing on Daily Living Skills. Amy recently received her Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University. With a new degree, Amy will be providing new services to adults and students. Learn more about how she can help you or your loved one with vision loss by reading on.
Thursday, August 3, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight
Carmen Grove Suminski died Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at her daughter’s home in Cashton, WI, of congestive heart failure. Carmen was a long-time employee of the School for the Blind, from 1969-1973 and then again from 1991 until she retired as superintendent in 2013. Carmen’s impact on the School is still felt today. She was at the helm during its transition from a residential school to one serving students and clients through outreach and short-term programming, when its name changed to North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, and during its centennial celebration in 2008 when she compiled a book, Recollections of 100 Years of Excellence. She is fondly remembered by current staff and former employees, former students and clients, fellow Lions, and the many other vision professionals she worked with around the nation. We are so grateful for her leadership and her caring professionalism.
At her mother’s funeral, Amanda Schultz Garcia eulogized, “To know my mom was to know me, and to know me was to know my mom.” Even though she held many titles throughout her life – teacher, Director of Education, Superintendent, President of COSB – Amanda’s mom, Carmen Suminski, was, first and foremost, mom. While growing up in Arizona and then North Dakota, Amanda remembers her mom taking “an extreme interest in me,” Amanda laughs. “If I was a part of it, she volunteered, whether it was soccer, theater, music, or school.”
Carmen is remembered as someone who was extremely dedicated to her job and “always working,” Amanda remembers. “Even before you could check your email on your phone, she would be writing letters and notes in the evening.” But family always came first. “She was very family-oriented,” remembers Ken Dockter, a longtime employee of the School for the Blind. “She loved her parents, loved Amanda and her grandson Carter. She always talked about her cousins.” Amanda concurs, “There was always someone she was taking care of.”
Thursday, July 6, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight, Student Programming
In 1995, Heather Whitestone McCallum of Alabama, who is deaf, became the first Miss America with a disability. Since then, other women who have a disability have competed, but we’ve never seen a woman with a visual impairment compete for the crown. We will someday, and she may be representing North Dakota. That is, if Cylee Walton from Cavalier has her way. Cylee, who graduated from Cavalier Public School in May, recently competed for the Miss North Dakota crown in Williston. Cylee’s platform was “Embrace, Inspire, Normalize all,” which was inspired by her experience with a learning disability and her visual impairment. Cylee has nystagmus, which causes uncontrolled repetitive movements of the eyes. She was diagnosed with this condition at two months old, and while it greatly impacts her daily life, such as not being able to see the board at school or not being able to read a menu in a restaurant, she has begun to see how the struggles she has faced in life have enriched her life.
Tuesday, June 27, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight
Husband & Father, Vintage Minibike Restorer, Newly Minted World Traveler
For 37 ½ years, Jody Lembke drove to work at Simplot, just off Gateway Drive in Grand Forks. For the past 1 ½ years, his commute has been about 3 blocks longer, since he started working in the maintenance department at NDVS/SB. Three blocks but a world of difference lay between his past job and his current one. Jody, who grew up in Grand Forks and graduated from Grand Forks Central High School, appreciates that he gets to do important work here – and have his weekends and evenings free. And this time of year, he even gets to spend his days in the great outdoors. “I love that I get to be outside,” Jody says. “And I like working with a great group of people here.”
Monday, June 5, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight
Artist, New Homeowner, World Traveler
Her title is Braillist, but Leslie Pederson doesn’t just work with braille. She produces large print materials, including textbooks and workbooks that are needed by students for their classes. She also prints 3-D models of objects and tools that students and clients need to learn or perform a task. These plastic models allow people to tactually learn about things that they’d otherwise not be able to touch, such as the Empire State Building, parts of a cell, or a rocket ship. You could say she is a master of accessible materials, opening the world to those who are visually impaired by providing them with the materials they need to learn, do their job, or engage in hobbies or activities.
Leslie’s work is done behind the scenes, so it is often taken for granted. Superintendent Paul Olson, however, knows just how lucky NDVS/SB is to have her. “She is one of our greatest assets at NDVS/SB,” he says. “It takes a very dedicated and detail-oriented individual to become an expert braille transcriber. Not only does one need to be a master of the code itself, it requires a deep understanding of how people who are blind can best use braille materials. Leslie has been all of these things and more. She takes great pride in the materials she produces for individuals and organizations and is just such a pleasant person all around.” Find out more about Leslie by reading on.
Tuesday, May 9, 2023Categories: All News Items, Spotlight
by Lanna Slaby
Region 6 Outreach Coordinator
When you go to Louisville, Kentucky, good luck saying it correctly. LoooVul, LooeyVille, LuhVul, LooaVille, and being from North Dakota, I’m sure I said it wrong. I had the privilege to go to Louisville in April to visit the American Printing House for the Blind as a 2022 APH Scholar. Over 150 years old, the American Printing House for the Blind began publishing raised letter books in 1858 and continues today by making accessible products for the blind. I was asked to attend their annual Trustee Advisory Committee Meetings along with 10 committee members, two co-chairs, and two other APH Scholars.