Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The First Annual InDBA DBW Retreat

For the last 6 months and more, Suzi and I, with some other people have been working very hard to put together the first InDBA Deaf Blind Workshop Retreat. We had a variety of speakers and fun activities that made for a good weekend all around for everyone.

We had 8 deaf blind attendees, 2 deaf blind speakers, and a wealth of volunteers as SSP's and helping with meals. The weekend overall went well and heard quite a few good things about it, given the few challenges we faces with the facilities we were working with.

Here is a write up of the weeeknd itself:

Indiana Deaf Blind Association
2009 First Annual Deaf Blind Weekend Retreat
July 24th-25th, 2009

Photos from the DBW Retreat:

The weekend got off to a great start as everyone arrived on Friday morning at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We started off with registration of the Deaf Blind attendees, in which we had eight Deaf Blind attendees and two Deaf Blind speakers to attend our event. The SSP training started at 9am and the Deaf Blind attendees hung out in the registration area and visited amongst themselves until things began. Following the SSP training, the SSP¡¦s came over and were registered, given their name badges, and then received their assignments of whom they¡¦d be working with.

We started off the day with a wonderful and educational presentation by Critter Colleen from Silly Safaris Inc. Colleen brought an array of animals for everyone to get to see, touch, and even to hold as we learned about the different animals. These animals included a dog, baby rabbit, a blue tongued lizard that liked to give kisses, a chicken that would flap her wings if you cued her by flapping your arms, a beautiful colored snake, a bright green tree frog and a baby tortoise that everyone got to hold, and last but not least a baby alligator that was about three feet long.

After the animal show was over, the SSP's then guide the Deaf Blind to take their belongings to the dorm where we would sleep overnight. It was a bit of a walk, but with our faithful SSP's we all made it just fine and was soon settled into our rooms for the overnight stay. Once settled, the group then headed to the staff dining room of the school for lunch of pizza and breadsticks with drinks.

Everyone reconvened in the conference room for our first speaker presentation from Mrs. Ashley DePrez, the Indianapolis Chapter President for the Foundation for Fighting Blindness. She gave a wonderful talk about Vision Walk and the goals of the FFB on a national level. Immediately following Mrs. DePrez, Al Alvord from CAC Jobs talked about the services that his organization provides to all hearing impaired people in trainings, job assistance and so forth. We were all pleased to hear of his company¡¦s services and several were to attend the job fair they were hosting in Indianapolis, the week after the retreat.

The group then made its way upstairs to the student center, where the "Cantina" was open for service, with fountain drinks, chips, and other snack foods to be purchased if desired. Everyone enjoyed the free time together to chat, play some Braille Bingo, and a few even went outside in the beautiful weather and walked along the beautiful Monon Trail that ran along the back of the school grounds.

When it came time for dinner, the SSP's then guide all of us Deaf Blind people to move to the dining room for a lovely dinner of chicken, corn on the cob, and drinks as well. No one left there hungry, that's for sure! Everyone was free to go to their rooms and freshen up before heading to the student center for an evening of fun at the with balloons to feel the vibrations of the music, food and drinks at the "Cantina" to be bought if desired, and a game of Musical Balloons even started up too! Everyone grabbed a chair and sat in a big circle and one red balloon was passed around and around the circle until the music stopped. When it did, whoever was holding the balloon was out. This continued to the last person, the winner. There was a variety of music from various decades, such as the Macarena, Livin La Vida Loca, Beat it, YMCA, We Are Family, and many other favorites of all ages.

Everyone worked their way back to their rooms and most headed to bed for the night. A couple of Deaf Blind grouped up in a room and chatted amongst themselves for a good while before heading to bed since they hadn't seen each other in a long time too.

Saturday morning came bright and early, as everyone made their way to the dining room again for breakfast of yummy muffins, bagels, and a continental style breakfast for all to eat. Then we all moved back to the conference room to start the day of several awesome speakers! Once we were all situated, our first set of speakers stepped up to pull the members of InDBA into learning what they can do for InDBA using their given talents and gifts!

Jill Gaus, the Treasurer of SHIM=DB of Michigan, as well as a board member for AADB spoke with Jamie Pope, executive director of AADB about Leadership, Empowerment, and what we can do for InDBA. We were paired up as opposite as we could be- Hard of Hearing with partial vision paired up with completely blind and nearly no hearing. We were asked several questions of a conflict that Jamie and Jill staged regarding the differences within the Deaf Blind world and how would we work out this conflict.

Once all of the information was collected and written up on the flip chart what each pair thought would be a good way to resolve these conflicts, Jill and Jamie then moved the discussion to what talents and gifts each person had. Then we began to talk about how each of these talents could fit into InDBA and went over the list of items needed to take care of the next couple of meetings for InDBA and then delegated out these tasks. While the discussions were going very well, unfortunately time ran out too soon and we had to cut things short since it had come to time for lunch.

The group moved to the dining room for lunch and enjoyed delicious deli style lunch meat sandwiches, some pasta salad, potato salad, and some other side items to satisfy the rumblings in the tummies. Once everyone had eaten their fill there, all went to the student center for a fun and yummy treat of ice cream and many different toppings to choose from. Everyone had their choice of Vanilla, Chocolate, or Strawberry swirl ice cream, or all three if they wished, and then there was all kinds of toppings to be had such as Kit Kats, Oreos, sprinkles, syrups, and all that fun!

We then gathered everyone up in one corner of the Student Center to take group pictures of everyone there and Emily Abel, our next speaker volunteered to snap several shots of our whole group, as did a couple of other volunteers helping out as well. Everyone finished eating ice cream to their hearts content and then we moved back down to the conference room for the last speaker presentation for the day.

Emily Abel of the INDATA project, a division of Crossroads Easter Seals and Belva Smith of Crossroads came and presented about assistive technology for the Deaf Blind, as well as about what programs that INDATA and Crossroads offers for the Deaf Blind. They outlined the AT Loan program, the Recycled Computer Program, the secured loan option for people with disabilities, and Training programs that INDATA has and explained that they closely work with Crossroads as case management to continue the process for when a Deaf Blind person decides to purchase a piece of equipment and works through either Vocational Rehabilitation or on their own. Emily and Belva then quickly demonstrated the use of the DBC or Deaf Blind communicator and how that can be utilized for Deaf Blind people.

Our time together then quickly came to an end as we wrapped things up and said our THANK YOU's to all of the speakers, the many volunteers that we had come in and out through the weekend to help with meals, the ice cream social, transportation, and things in general, the SSP's that graciously gave their time for the weekend, the companies, people, and places that donated monetarily to the retreat, and lastly to the coordinators of the InDBA DBW Retreat. Everyone said their goodbyes and retrieved their belongings and then made their way home and the first InDBA DBW Retreat was a resounding success!

Indiana Deaf Blind Association
Deaf Blind Weekend Retreat 2009


~PLATINUM ($1,000. 00 & more) ~



~GOLD ($500.00) ~

Indiana State University Deaf Blind Project


The McGeath Family

~SILVER ($250.00) ~

Archibald Memorial Home

Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities

Teresa and Russell Fry

~BRONZE ($100.00) ~
The Dzwonar Family
Fort Wayne Central Lions Club Charities, Inc.
Goodwill of Central Indiana
Ronald and Carole Guimond
Susan B Jones
Northeast Indiana Deaf Awareness Council
Silent Senior Hoosiers
Suzette Schuette

~FRIENDS and FAMILIES ($20.00 - $99.00) ~
Joan Britt
Roxanne Fischer
Bruce and Kennita McGeath
Roxanne Fischer
Heidi Zimmer

1 comment:

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