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      IDB Staff Aren't Afraid of a Little Mud

      picture of Mud Runners finishing last obstacle Arm in Arm

      While most days IDB staff work together to conquer negative misconceptions about blindness, one Saturday in June, they decided to work together to conquer different sorts of obstacles. Team members crawled under ropes, trudged through waste high puddles, climbed miniature mud mountains, and slapped away countless mosquitos. They pulled each other up sheer slippery slopes and rescued one another from shoe-eating sink holes. They earned a T-shirt and a survivors medal, but more than that, they had a great time and showed the other participants and spectators that blindness doesn’t stop people from participating in the community.

      Several people said things to us like ‘I couldn’t do this if I couldn’t see’ or “You’re amazing!’ but we just pointed out that it wasn’t really a big deal. We were just slogging through it like everyone else” Wharton said.

      "Our canes were actually a bit of an advantage.“ Stevens pointed out. ”They helped with balance in the really slippery parts."

      Most of the Mud Runners plan to go again next year and they are threatening to drag more colleagues along with them.

      picture of Nami, Sam, & Helen during the run

      Announcing Monthly DIrector's Forum Meetings

      In order to increase transparency and improve communications, Iowa Department for the Blind Director Emily Wharton will be hosting a regular discussion on the third Monday evening of every month. The second of these meetings will be held Monday, July 17, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm in the Director’s Conference Room at the IDB building. There will be a conference line for those unable to attend in person. The Call in number is 1–866–685–1580 and the conference code is 5152811299.

      “I really appreciate how much Iowans care about IDB and the services we provide. We have a lot going on in all our programs and consumers have a lot of good questions for me every time I attend a consumer group or advisory council meeting,” Wharton said. “I think this will be a great way to answer questions and get information out to consumers.”

      Another piece of IDB’s plan to improve communication with consumers was also rolled out this week. Wharton and the management team are am mending the employee manual to include a requirement that all direct service staff and supervisors attend a meeting of each consumer group as well as at least one area support group each year. “We want to make sure that our staff get to know and are known by consumers. We want to make sure that we are all listening, learning, and expanding our networks. This is an important part of our continuing education efforts,” Wharton explained.

      While the concept will be piloted in Des Moines for the time being, Wharton would like to hold the forums in other parts of the state if there is public interest and support.

      Hy-Vee Corporation Donation

      The Iowa Department for the Blind, the Independent Living Program and our program staff sends our deepest appreciation to Hy-Vee Corporation and their respective Hy-Vee employees for a generous donation in the amount of $500.00. The donation will be used to defray certain program training costs for our upcoming Senior Orientation training event.

      Every year, the Independent Living program hosts at least one week of intensive training for program clients at the Department for the Blind in Des Moines. Clients who are already receiving services from the Independent Living program travel to Des Moines and spend a week devoted to learning skills that will help them adjust to their vision loss and build their confidence. They also are given the opportunity to meet others who are going through similar experiences as a result of vision loss. We have the privilege this fall to partner with our own Orientation Center and their director who is committed to dedicating their staff to assist with delivering service for this upcoming training opportunity. Senior Orientation is scheduled September 25 through 29, 2017.

      For more information about the Hy-Vee grant or the training program, you may contact Department for the Blind to speak with Kim Barber at 515-281-1299.