BESB: Recent Events

 Past Events

Spring Paws program 


{Guide dog kissing little girl}


During April vacation children from all areas of BESB participated in the first annual Spring Paws program. The Spring Paws program is a collaborative program between BESB and the Fidelco guide dog school. The children from BESB, their parents and their brothers and sisters spent time learning, having fun and socializing with one another at the Fidelco training center in Bloomfield Connecticut. Participants learned about dog safety, understanding dog language, guide dog equipment and puppy play time. Older children received hands-on experience working with dogs through dog obedience activities, dog washing and grooming activities as well as guide dog walks with an instructor. Younger children had the chance to explore all different types of dogs, puppy games, and storytime where they learned about the first guide dog and his owner. The program gave children and their families an opportunity to have fun learning about guide dogs and share that experience with other children at the agency.



April, 2011

{teen running}

BESB Launches New Programs for School-Age Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired


BESB is pleased to announce that a new program has been implemented this school year for students served in our Children’s Services and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. “Sports Adventure Weekends” held in December and March offered 37 legally blind, deafblind, and visually impaired students the excitement and challenge of competing in sporting events such as the long jump, shot put, triple jump, wrestling, track and field, goal ball, baseball, physical fitness and team-building ropes courses. Pictured above is one of the students running a track and field course with the use of an adapted guide wire. The Sports Adventure Weekends are based on the Expanded Core Curriculum for children who have vision impairments. Areas addressed during the program are recreation, self-determination, daily living skills, orientation and mobility and self-advocacy. For more information on this and other exciting new children's programs at BESB, please contact Robbin Keating at


September, 2010 

Two BESB Employees Honored By The Governor 

On September 17, 2010, BESB Rehabilitation Technologist Michelle Laramie and Data Processing Technical Analyst 2 Donald Ferguson were presented with the Governor’s Services Award by Governor M. Jodi Rell in recognition of their outstanding efforts that made it possible for BESB to provide remote access technology to field staff of the agency who are legally blind. Both employees worked tirelessly to find a solution that has made it possible for all field staff of BESB, including staff who are blind, to gain access to case management information while in the field serving clients. Mr. Ferguson and Ms. Laramie researched and identified software and hardware solutions that would function with speech access software, handled the installation and testing of individual machines and worked with vendors of adaptive technology products to problem solve the issues encountered during testing. By using the remote access feature, staff are no longer bound to their desks to process case work activities. It is now possible to sit with a client in their home or place of employment, and actually process the request for rehabilitation aids that are needed on the job or for independent living.

{Donald Ferguson, Governor M. Jodi Rell, Michelle Laramie, and Brian Sigman, BESB Executive Director}

Pictured from Left to Right are Donald Ferguson, Governor M. Jodi Rell, Michelle Laramie, and Brian Sigman, BESB Executive Director


From 2009 ACAC/BESB Awards Event held at the State Capitol, Old Judiciary Room, October 23, 2009.

{Dr. Bill Petit congratulates student Joseph Eckler of Newtown, recipient of the Civic Leadership Achievement Award.}

Dr. Bill Petit congratulates student Joseph Eckler of Newtown, recipient of the Civic Leadership Achievement Award.

{Dr William Petit recognizes Joseph Nerney, recipient of the 2009 Business Enterprise Manager of the Year Award}

Dr William Petit recognizes Joseph Nerney, recipient of the 2009 Business Enterprise Manager of the Year Award.

{Junerose Killian, Recipient of the Emily Wells Foster Award}

Junerose Killian, Recipient of the Emily Wells Foster Award (third from left);
Also pictured: Senator Andrea Stillman (Far left); Nominators Reverend Jill Harvey and Susan Wyand;  First Selectman Paul Formica and State Representative Ed Jutila.

2009 ACAC/BESB Awards Event
{Ms. Tiffany Davis, Recipient Student Achievement Award in the Arts}
Featured:  Ms. Tiffany Davis, Recipient Student Achievement Award in the Arts
Accompanied by members of the ShoreGrass Band (Branford);
 L to R: Paul Pozzi, Tiffany Davis, Frank Shaw and Barbara Shaw
On October 17, 2008, the agency celebrated our 25th year of presenting awards that recognize individuals who are blind, employers, and community partners, for accomplishments and contributions that enhance the quality of life for people who are blind.

Award recipients included:
Gary Johnson of Wolcott, for his outstanding educational achievements as well as his work at the UConn Center for Students with Disabilities;   
Ruth Feldman of Madison, Director of Education and Accessibility Services at Yale Repertory Theatre for her work in bringing audio descriptive performances to the theatre and then expanding the program to other Connecticut theater venues;  
Evelyn Brown of Bozrah, for 28 years of excellence in adapting lesson plans and educating students who are blind or visually impaired;  
Columbia Ford, Lincoln, Mercury of Columbia, for their commitment to hiring individuals who are blind;
Verizon Wireless of Wallingford, for their successful efforts to hire, train and retain staff who are blind;  
Zacash Shaham of West Hartford, for successful entrepreneurial management of a high volume concession business.
Special Student Awards 
Nicholas Corbett of Sterling received an award for outstanding student achievement in academics;  
Rebekah Anderson of Portland received an award for outstanding student achievement in the arts.
Volunteer Awards
Agency volunteers who individually and collectively have made a major volunteer contribution to the mission and services of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind:
Gillian Bromfield of West Hartford 
Barbara Jones of Windsor 
Barbara Lawlor of Windsor  
Holley Rosen of Windsor
Myrna Schaffman of Bloomfield 
Ron Carubba of Berlin
Clayton St. Amand of Berlin

25th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen Thal of Hartford (pictured below) received a lifetime achievement award for his exemplary participation in more than 40 years of professional and volunteer efforts to provide training and increase public education on blindness and eye care. 
{Stephen Thal receives the Lifetime Achievement Award.}


BESB conducted public hearings on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 5 locations for the purpose of updating the State Plan that governs the administration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program.  A draft policy revision concerning the provision of books and supplies to consumers served within the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program was also a subject of this public hearing.  The purpose of the hearings was to offer the public, consumers, advocates, agencies and organizations an opportunity to review and provide comments pertaining to the proposed State Plan annual updates prior to submission to Rehabilitation Services Administration. 

BESB Board adopts updated policy on Low Vision Practitioners at the March 27, 2008 meeting. To view the updated policy and to learn about other motions taken by the Board at this meeting, go to the agency board web page at this link:

BESB Executive Director Brian Sigman testified before the Human Services Committee in support of Raised Bill 418, An Act Concerning the Hiring of Support Staff for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired on February 28, 2008. This bill would expand the statutory authority of the agency to add support staff to the Children's Services Division. 

BESB Executive Director Brian Sigman testified before the Transportation Committee in support of Raised Bill 292, An Act Concerning Requiring the Operator of a Vehicle to Yield the Right-of-Way to a Pedestrian Who is Legally Blind on February 25, 2008. This bill would strengthen the penality for failing to yield to a pedestrian who in blind.

BESB Board Adopts Bylaws at Special Meeting held on February 7, 2008. To view the Bylaws, go to the agency board web page at this link:

November 3, 2007- BESB Parents as Partners Conference

October 19, 2007- BESB/ACAC White Cane Safety Day Awards Ceremony. Click on this link to view the names of award recipients:

BESB Board and State Rehabilitation Council member Carolyn Dodd had the honor of presenting an award on behalf of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) to Connecticut State Senator Christopher Dodd on April 24, 2007 for his commitment to individuals with disabilities.

Content Last Modified on 5/18/2011 2:40:48 PM