History

When Florida Lions Conklin Center for the Blind opened for service in 1979, it was  the only organization in the United States whose adult services were devoted exclusively to the vocational rehabilitation needs of adults who were blind with coexisting disabling conditions.  This was a pioneering collaboration between the Conklin Center and the Florida Division of Blind Services. Prior to that time, it was commonly believed this population was unlikely to benefit in terms of employment from vocational rehabilitation services. By helping thousands of adults to become successfully employed and to live independently, this collaboration has conclusively demonstrated that adults with blindness and coexisting disabilities can become employed and take control of their lives when they are provided with intensive, specialized training and support. Today, the Center remains the only organization whose adult vocational rehabilitation programming targets this underserved population.

The Conklin Center served four students in its first year. The facility was expanded in 1986 and again in 1997 to accommodate its successful growth. Community-based Supported Employment/Living Services were added in 1987 to help ensure the long-term success of graduates. In January 2000, an Early Intervention Program was added to serve children with visual impairment and their families.  In 2011 we increased the capacity of the Center’s intensive residential training to serve 14 students at a time, up from 12. The Conklin Center served 105 adults and 31 children and their families in FY 2016-17.

Our Mission

OUR MISSION:

To help blind children and adults with additional disabilities be independent and contributing citizens

OUR VISION

To eliminate all barriers separating people who are blind from full community participation

OUR CORE VALUES

1.    Respect for our students, staff and volunteers: We believe that all students are entitled to our respect, and to opportunities to take control of their lives. Staff and volunteers are most effective in achieving positive outcomes when they are treated with respect.

2.    Seek Growth & Learning: We believe that training, when carefully focused on the individual needs of students, is key to successful outcomes. It is also essential for development of effective staff and volunteers.  We believe growth and learning are lifelong processes.

3.    Nurture a Positive Team Spirit: Everyone at the Conklin Center for the Blind is part of a purpose-driven team -- including parents and children in our Early Intervention program, adult students, graduates and their families, staff and volunteers.  Our organization's success depends heavily on fostering positive attitudes and behaviors.

4.    Be Responsible & Intentional: Each team member must approach the work we accomplish together in a responsible and purposeful manner.  We are committed to empowering our graduates to ultimately lead independent lives on their own terms and actively engage in and contribute to society.

5.    Be Passionate & Determined:  Passion and determination are what drive the ability of each team member to support our mission.

6.    Embrace Change:  Our organization realizes it must welcome, foster and drive change to continue to positively grow and be sustainable and relevant.

Code of Ethics

Purpose:

Conklin Center personnel, volunteers and members of the governing body are charged with improving the personal, vocational and economic independence of individuals who are blind or vision impaired with an additional disability.  In our service to these individuals, we are committed to doing what is right and honorable. We set high standards for ourselves and we aspire to meet these standards in all aspects of our lives - at work, at home and in the service to our clients, peers and associates. 

This Code of Ethics describes the expectations we have of ourselves and others associated with the Conklin Center.  It articulates the ideals to which we aspire as well as the behaviors that are mandatory in our personal and professional roles.  The purpose of this Code is to instill confidence in our performance and to define and standardize our duties.  We believe the credibility and reputation of the organization is shaped by the collective conduct of the individual staff members and those we associate with.  We believe we can advance our mission, both individually and collectively, by embracing this Code of Ethics. We also believe this Code will assist us in making wise decisions, particularly when faced with difficult situations where the potential to compromise our integrity or values may exist. 

 

Recognize the abilities of blind/visually impaired people with at least one additional physical, emotional or mental diagnosis- We value the contributions of people who are blind or vision impaired with at least one additional diagnosis.

  • We will respect confidentiality and privacy – we will not share organization, medical or personal information with anyone except those authorized to receive the specific information and as required by state and federal law and regulation.
  • We will provide for Equal Opportunity Employment – ensure there are no discriminatory practices based on the following: an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or genetic information.
  • We will avoid imposing values on others or policies that are inconsistent with our mission.
  • We will appreciate the contributions of people who are blind or vision impaired with at least one additional diagnosis.

Equal AccessWe value equal access to all life activities including information, education, training and employment.

  • We will ensure all Conklin Center clients are empowered to exercise informed choice.
  • We will ensure all Conklin Center clients have access to needed vision rehabilitation and education services that enable clients to achieve their desired outcomes and are within our scope of services.
  • We will act fairly in our decisions, act impartially and objectively.  Our conduct shall be free from competing self-interest, prejudice, and favoritism.
  • We will ensure the public interest is served by advocating for those we represent.

Exemplary Work HabitsWe value integrity, honesty, teamwork and dedication.

  • We are committed to the highest ideals in the stewardship of public resources and avoid any misuse of resources due to illegality, conflict of interest, improper behavior or personal gain.
  • We will promote safety in the workplace.
  • We will act with honesty, integrity and fairness when working with individuals who are blind or vision impaired with an additional disability and all co-workers and associates so that everyone can optimally and equally benefit from organization business and services.
  • We will continually seek to find and employ efficient and economical methods for accomplishing our responsibilities.
  • We will abide by all applicable health, safety and environmental laws and regulations in the communities in which we operate.

DiversityWe value diversity, respect for the individual and personal choice.

  • We will ensure the public interest is served by advocating for those we represent.
  • We will recognize the cultural diversities of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other demographics of the organization customers and provide services in a fair and equitable manner.
  • We will promote a culture of ethics and compliance to federal, state and local policies and procedures.

Employees, Volunteers and Members of the Governing BodyWe value our employees, volunteers and members of the governing body for their dedication and expertise.

  • We will dedicate ourselves toward earning the respect, trust and confidence of those with whom we work and the public.
  • We will always act with integrity in all relationships.
  • We will treat all persons in a fair, evenhanded, respectful and courteous manner. 
  • We will make no private promises of any kind binding upon the agency or the Commonwealth.
  • We will strive for professional excellence by maintaining and enhancing professional knowledge, skills, and abilities for ourselves and our colleagues.

 

Who Must Follow Our Code?

We expect all of our employees, volunteers and members of the governing body to know and follow this Code of Ethics.  Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment or termination of volunteer services.  Moreover, while the Code is specifically written for Conklin Center employees, volunteers and members of the governing body, we expect our contractors, consultants and others who may be temporarily assigned to perform work or services for Conklin Center to follow the Code in connection with their work for us.  Failure of a Conklin Center contractor, consultant or other covered service provider to follow the Code can result in termination of their relationship with Conklin Center.

What If I Have a Code-Related Question or Concern?

If you have a question or concern regarding this policy, you can contact your supervisor or your Human Resources representative.

Bylaws