Author Archives: rickcouch41

Nothing can slow the success of Stephens

Don’t let her size and sometimes quiet nature fool you. Dothan resident and Rehobeth High School senior Whitney Stephens is a fighter. Stephens has never let any obstacles hold her back, including 27 surgeries and 50 overall procedures. Through it all, she pushed forward and remained an honor student. In December of 2018, Stephens was recognized as the Alabama Department

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Gadsden and Anniston CRS offices participate in Special Olympics

Six staff members from the Children’s Rehabilitation Service offices in Gadsden and Anniston were excited to again participate in the Etowah County Special Olympics at the Gadsden City Football Field along with hundreds of athletes. The group has been a part of the Etowah County Special Olympics for more than 10 years. The crew manned four activities at their tent

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Opportunities abound at Huntsville career fair

Job seekers were eager to showcase their skills at the annual Ability Career Fair on Friday, May 3, at Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville. The fair, which was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Huntsville Area Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and Phoenix Industries connected employers and individuals

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Partners in Care Summit an eye-opening experience for participants

Family Voices of Alabama and the Family to Family Health Information Center, along with Children’s Rehabilitation Service, opened the annual Partners In Care Summit at the Marriot Legends Conference Center in Prattville earlier this month. Day 1 of the two-day event was dedicated to youth and family members, while the second day offered those in attendance an opportunity to visit

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Focus groups help ADRS Lakeshore plan for the future

Staff from the ADRS Lakeshore office recently spent a week traveling the state to conduct a series of focus groups. The groups, made up of Vocational Rehabilitation Service staff, provided input that will be used in a restructuring effort to address the growing demand for the office’s programs. Program Evaluation and Development Specialist Samantha Wadsworth said Lakeshore has grown beyond

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Blind and Deaf Services conference draws big numbers to the beach

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services held its Blind and Deaf Services staff training conference at Gulf State Park in mid-April with plenty of enthusiasm and excitement. This was the first time a combined training of this format had been conducted, which led to the theme “Hand in Hand, We Can Make a Difference.”

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Davis reflects back on ADRS career

For Melinda Davis, the success she has achieved with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has been based not only on the knowledge she gained on the job but also on a strong family and spiritual support system. Davis, who was honored with a retirement coffee Monday, April 29, has dedicated decades of her life to helping children with special

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ADRS staff, families join in Child Advocacy Day at the Capitol

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Alabama State Capitol in early April to celebrate Child Advocacy Day. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services was well-represented, with staff, supporters, and families lending their voices to those advocating for a number of programs for Alabama’s children. After the ceremony, ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw, EI State Coordinator Betsy Prince, and several

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James family is a true EI success story

Despite her tiny frame, Kinsley Grace James is an unstoppable force. After being born at 28 weeks and weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, the now 2-year-old has made consistent strides through services from Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS). The road to progress has certainly run into its fair share of obstacles, but Kinsley’s mother, Ashly James, said her daughter does

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STEM-finity Wars launches 2019 campaign in Mobile

Students from the Mobile area gathered at Bishop State Community College in late March to participate in STEM-finity Wars. The Marvel Universe-themed event, which was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, is an interactive transition program that provides valuable information, resources, and experiences to eighth- through 12th-grade students who are

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Youth consultant to compete in Ms. Wheelchair Pageant

Sarah Williams is seen here offering advice to a prospective college student during last summer's YLF program.

The River Region will be well-represented this weekend when CRS Youth Consultant Sarah Williams travels to Huntsville to participate in the Ms. Wheelchair 2019 pageant. Williams will spend two days in the Rocket City to compete for the crown. She said she was urged to compete by fellow CRS youth consultant Courtney Adams and received further encouragement from coworkers Kim

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Mobile VR participates in Mardi Gras Festivities

The ADRS Mobile Vocational Rehabilitation Services office had a chance to combine revelry and raising awareness for their programs Thursday, Feb. 28, by participating in The Mobile Arc Association of Reveling Cavaliers Mardi Gras Parade. Several staffers manned the float, while others provided support and spread the word about their mission by visiting spectators. Everyone left with a smile on

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Active-shooter training opens eyes to the importance of planning

When it comes to active-shooter situations, preparation is the key. During a Tuesday training session, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services employees received valuable information on how to deal with emergency situations from Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Bureau Commander for Special Investigations and Operations and SWAT team leader Randy Pollard. Pollard outlined a plan that encouraged participants to run, hide, or

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Heroes Hub helps vets sharpen employment skills

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services partnered with Southern Union State Community College and others to host a Veterans Employment Workshop in Opelika earlier this month. The purpose of the program was to prepare veterans to receive an offer of hire at the upcoming Veterans Hiring Fair in the spring. The program focused on the current and future landscapes of

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ADRS, EASE, and Athens State host Transition Mentoring Day

Admissions Advisor Bethany Campbell is excited to give a history of the school and tour of its facilities.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Erica Allen Supported Employment (EASE), and Athens State University recently partnered to host Transition Mentoring Day for high school students with disabilities on the campus of Athens State. Some 200 juniors and seniors from Athens High School, Limestone County Schools, Brewer and Priceville high schools, and Decatur City Schools rotated in 50-minute sessions to

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Facebook Live series to spotlight ADRS programs

An exciting new opportunity for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services to spread its message took flight Wednesday, Jan. 23. Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw discussed some of the department’s services and programs during a live online broadcast with Alex Bimes of Alabama Care to outline some of the avenues that help people with disabilities achieve their maximum potential. The broadcast

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Floyd excited for the opportunity to lead ADRS IT department

A new face has stepped in to fill the shoes of recently retired Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services IT Director Dave Rainey. While her title is new, Beverly Floyd, who was previously a software development manager, is no stranger to ADRS. Floyd has been associated with the department since 1983 when her twin sisters began receiving services from Children’s Rehabilitation

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Lions partner with ADRS to construct wheelchair ramps

Everyone involved in the project did his part to make sure all the pieces were in place at the proper angles.

The missions of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Lions Club focus on improving the lives of Alabamians with disabilities, so it is only fitting that the two recently established a partnership. A presentation to the Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services by board member Dr. Stephen Kayes highlighted success stories that allowed club members and ADRS Rehabilitation Engineering and

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Awards ceremony celebrates Governor’s Committee success stories

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services conducted a statewide awards ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Alabama State Capitol. Governor Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the award recipients.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the honorees at the recent statewide awards ceremony at the Alabama State Capitol. T he annual event is sponsored by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Ivey said state leaders are always looking for ways to provide more opportunities

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ADRS job seeker now helping others realize their work goals

Renika Baggage discusses job opportunities available at the Anniston Army Depot with an attendee during this year's Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in Huntsville.

There are many success stories highlighting the impact that the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its programs can have on an individual. Renika Baggage, however, provides a look at how the recipient of these services can share his or her experiences to change the lives of others. Baggage attended the annual Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in

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ADRS board elects Williams new chairman

  The Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services will be under new direction in the coming year. During the Dec. 7 quarterly meeting in Montgomery, the board unanimously voted District 5 representative Eddie C. Williams as chairman and District 3 representative Penny Piland Foster as vice chairman. Williams said he has always taken his role on the board very seriously because

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BEP partner Misty Dawn honored for performance during storm surge

From left, Business Enterprise Program Business Specialist Darryl McCaul; Sodexo District Manager, Lexis/Nexis General Manager James H. Winkler; ADRS Business Enterprise Program Director Lori Brady; and Misty Dawn Enterprises owner David Talley pose for a photo after the awards ceremony. Misty Dawn earned the national “Spirit of Sodexo Award” and the Center for Domestic Preparedness 2018 “Government Services Segment Unit of the Year Award.”

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Enterprise Program (BEP) has a long history of successful business operations and superior customer service.  Licensed blind vendors have been operating small businesses across the state since 1946 and achieving independence through self-employment. For almost 15 years, ADRS has partnered with Sodexo USA to provide dining hall services to the FEMA Center for

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Deaf Services strategic planning sessions shape plans for future

Members of the audience listen as Adams listen to Adams explain the next part of the process

  A series of ADRS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services strategic planning sessions has provided leadership with useful feedback for determining the direction of the program. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator Bedarius Bell said the meetings take place throughout the state every three years to allow leaders to receive input as they prepare their plans to move

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Two new transition programs now available through ADRS Lakeshore

This program will engage, educate, and equip high school and community college students with the skills they need for future employment.

The ADRS Lakeshore office is offering two new transition programs this fall. The E3 and SET programs are intended as supplements to the college prep and job readiness workshops offered each summer. E3 – which stands for engage, educate, and equip – launches Friday, Sept. 28, and provides high school and community college students with the skills necessary for employment, said

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