Skip to main content

December 2023: What a Great Year For Transition in Oklahoma

View as a webpage / Share [ ]

Image of DRS Transition masthead with multicolor paint splatters and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services logo.


Image of View of holiday preparation at table with cookies, a candle, a wreath, and tree ornaments

The Future of Transition is Bright

Welcome to December; a month full of hope. Let's all reflect on the year 2023 while looking forward to 2024. Many will begin preparing for family gatherings, trips, and other exciting events. December is definitely the most wonderful time of the year. Transition is much like the month of December - full of hope.

This year in Oklahoma we have seen partnerships form, and programs expand in ways that set the stage for a bright future for youth with disabilities. From summer internship programs in partnership with Workforce Boards to transition fairs in partnership with schools and Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), we are seeing the chance to begin serving more communities across the state. 

To learn more about new partnerships, and new programs and services, keep reading the DRS Transition newsletter on the first of each month. 

Stay Up-to-date

Happening December 2nd: Minority Health Counts Summit in Oklahoma City

Image of logo, Minority Health Counts Building a More Equitable Community Summit

Join the Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease [;!!GNU8KkXDZlD12Q!612DMpFxdDXcb9BOckkUCqO5aaIiTffvJdMTSQktXh9ZKeNoFfst44CzYe2PsEZ7bvzIha-DQJd8gODkdD8diWEoXLFLBVn2%24?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery ] and other community partners for a FREE Minority Health Counts event on December 2 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Enjoy a FREE breakfast, door prizes, lunch, resources from local vendors and a panel discussion along with keynote speaker, Rev. Michael McDaniel [;!!GNU8KkXDZlD12Q!612DMpFxdDXcb9BOckkUCqO5aaIiTffvJdMTSQktXh9ZKeNoFfst44CzYe2PsEZ7bvzIha-DQJd8gODkdD8diWEoXGpnRpHN%24?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  ].


Metro Tech Center
1900 Springlake Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73111

Registration is required. Click here to register. [ registration closed  ]

Happening December 3: The One - Bright Lights Tree Lighting in Enid

Image of logo, The One, Bright Lights, Enid, Oklahoma

Holiday traditions are near and dear to many Oklahoma families. These traditions keep communities close and help bring people together in meaningful ways.

Taking place in Enid, the joy and magic of Christmas returns Opening Night of this Christmas display. This year marks the third year of "the One," a Christmas experience featuring one of the world's tallest Christmas trees, the “Christ Tree,” in Enid, Oklahoma.

Tree Lighting:

Sunday, December 3rd at 5:30 p.m.


The One in Enid
150 W Park Ave
Enid, OK 73701

For more information, click here to visit The One Enid website  [  ]

Happening December 16: Sensory Winter Wonderland

Image of logo, Sooner SUCCESS Serving, Supporting, Building Inclusive Communities

Sooner SUCCESS invites families that have a loved one with a disability and/or special health care need to their Sensory Winter Wonderland [  ].

Activities and guests include dancing, arts and crafts, hot cocoa, sensory bins, therapy dogs, Santa Claus, and more! The event is free and for immediate family only due to limited space.


December 16, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Draper Park Christian Church
8500 S Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73139

Reservations are required. Click here to register [ Registration closed ].

Happening This Month:  Red Earth 9th Annual Treefest

Image of logo, Red Earth Treefest

Looking for some fun and adventure? Take advantage of a free art event in Oklahoma City though December:

Red Earth Treefest is an art gallery event featuring fully decorated trees representing Tribal Nations from across Oklahoma. Participating tribes each decorate a tree with handcrafted ornaments and art objects that represents their distinctive and diverse cultures.


BancFirst Lobby
100 North Broadway Ave., Suite 110
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Other hand-crafted ornaments and artisan gifts will be available for holiday shopping during open hours Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This six-week holiday event is free and open to the public through December 29, 2023.

For more information, click here to visit the Red Earth website [  ]

Student/Youth Spotlight

Image of Student Spotlight, Debanny

Meet Debanny

Serving and inspiring Oklahoma's students with disabilities is our passion; our purpose.  Each month, we hope to highlight a student whose story encourages others.

We have learned that one of the best ways to hear about our most amazing students is from those that spend time with them everyday. So, we encourage family members, education professionals and transition professionals to tell us about students who are doing amazing things.

Kevin Randall recently met with Debanny, a student at Northeastern State University, who is thriving in life despite physical and other disability-related challenges. She talked about many things including her what she does for fun, and goals she has for herself and others facing similar challenges. She is a wonderful example of resilience. We are excited to share their conversation.

"What are your interests and hobbies?"

"That is such a difficult question for me because I have a lot of interests and things I like to do. I love to be creative, learn new things, and connect with people. One of the biggest ways I do this is through my interest and love of art and going out into the community. I explore local art events and make connections with the local artists and communities in need in my own free time. When I can, I also try to enjoy some time in nature and get some activity and relaxation into my life by going on walks and exploring parks, or meditating.

"What activity do you enjoy the most during the fall?"

"Around the fall I love to walk around creeks and watch the leaves change colors. I also like to celebrate and put-up decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

"What is your preferred fall drink?"

"Almost like a tradition for my family and I to get together and drink Chocolate de abuelita. For me it is my favorite fall drink because of all the good memories gathered from getting together to drink this warm Hispanic hot cocoa while growing up.

"If I were to provide you with $50,000 to create a positive impact in your community, how would you use it to bring about meaningful change?"

"For years I have always had this question in mind, it's what pushes me and makes me want to give back to the community. My goal in life is to open many charity organizations that will encourage educational growth, build powerful strong leadership qualities in individuals, and support mental health. I would start with supporting individuals with my same disability when it comes to mental health and physical activity. Many individuals struggle mentally due to the disorder's effects on the nervous system. There is a heightened issue in respiratory issues, anxiety leading to anxiety attacks, and spinal nerve issues. The Organization would be designed to help support mentally, find community, and resources for bettering health. The next biggest thing I would do is encourage educational programs and activities for children in low-income households in our community. It would support and give variety/enhance children’s creativity, and subjects like Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Literature/writing. Oklahoma is one of the lowest ranked educational systems in the Nation and I would like to create change in that for our future generations that come after us.

"Have you ever had any prior work experiences or volunteer opportunities?"

"Yes! So, I have had some volunteer opportunities. I was involved in a few organizations over the past; them being called the Hispanic Student Association, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. At HSA I had the opportunity to raise diversity and speak at an event held at TCC as a Representative of the club. Later I transferred to NSU I became involved with The National Society of Leadership and Success; I was a Vice President. While being there I developed leadership skills and learned how to create a safe connective environment with other individuals seeking to build leadership qualities in groups.

"Could you share your experience?"

"When I was in the middle of my seventh or eighth grade year of school, I was dead set on knowing I wanted to receive a higher education- preferably a bachelor’s of some sort if it made sense a masters or even higher but I was never sure about resources or how to even begin. Being a first-generation Mexican American it was difficult to hear others say their parents helped them go through the process and how easy it was to get set up in college. In my experience it was as if I was starting something completely foreign and new, there were speech and vocabulary barriers due to filling out forms and not understanding exactly what I needed to hand in or complete due to lack of experience with some of the items they had been asking of me to fill out. I went out of my way to figure out what I needed and how it needed to get done and would help my sister on how to go about what they were asking. Luckily through DRS I was able to feel more relieved in how I would be able to maneuver my way through college being low-incomed and having a disability. I do recognize and take pride in how much I went out of my way to be able to achieve getting through the process of applying for college because it is a lot. It is very stressful to go back and forth and ensure you submitted all the correct forms to be eligible for FAFSA and enrollment into your courses. After the first semester luckily enough, it is just rinse and repeat. Due to the process, I learned I had to be an adult and figure out how the process works and ask questions even if they seem like dumb questions at first. After a short time, I learned to appreciate and feel very grateful that my path toward a higher education was tougher than others because it made me firm and understand that making this decision is something I truly wanted. DRS has helped support my dreams by helping me with the steps toward my dream career.

"What is your dream career?"

"I want to be an Operation Research Analyst; it falls into the international field. I know maybe it seems odd to have a hobby such as art and being creative to go toward a business career; my belief is that although I love and am great at art, I didn't want it to be my career. If anything, art is only an extension to me. In order to achieve my goal of either creating or to be a part of a charity and or organization that will support our community; the way I see it realistic to do so is by going after a career that gives me that ability to fund those dreams. The career path I chose fulfills another side I have where I want to connect people and business on a global scale. I love that I will be able to continue staying informed and research what are other operational strategy methods across the globe.

"Can you share one challenge you've faced due to your disability and how you managed to overcome it?"

"The biggest challenge for me is being able to accept and be a part of society as if I am like any other person without a disability. I have CMT, it affects the nerves and in turn weakens the muscles. It is difficult to maintain balance, go up and down stairs smoothly and quickly. In life we are handed things we don't know how to deal with, although my disability is an extension to me, I do not allow for it to define me in a negative light because it will never be different. We are handed one life in this world, we decide to maintain the body to be healthy, clean, clear and happy.

"What advice or tips would you like to share with other youth?"

"I suggest to not be afraid to look silly and ask the questions you need answered and continue asking if you do not still understand until you finally can make a valid decision. We all must look silly before we appear knowledgeable.

"What is the most significant goal or dream you wish to achieve in your lifetime?"

"In my lifetime it is to set my family up for success, be a productive member of society and be a part of the globe in an impactful, meaningful way.

"What would you like the world to know about you?"

I would like the world to know I started out believing I couldn’t achievable anything, but I dug deep inside myself, and I realized I could be a part of so much. I am a Mexican American with a disability and I stand strong for who I am and what I can offer. 

"Is there anyone specific you'd like to give a shout out to?"

"My Mother for all the knowledge, advice, understanding and support she has given me in life. She has stood by my side and made everything and more possible for me to be here today.

How to nominate a Student:  

If you know a current or former student who has participated in Transition events or who has found success through Transition services, please let us know by submitting this nomination form.

Click here to nominate a student [  ]

Transition Resources

Image of logo, Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH)

Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH)

Did you know Oklahoma has a statewide, free library service for people who can’t use traditional books or struggle with standard print? The Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH) has a huge collection of audiobooks and electronic braille – more than 100,000 titles, including all kinds of fiction and nonfiction! The OLBPH serves Oklahomans of all ages with a wide variety of vision impairments and disabilities. Some patrons have a physical condition that makes it uncomfortable or impossible to hold a traditional book or turn the pages. Others have reading disabilities and find much more success with audiobooks.

Many patrons get their audiobooks and magazines through the mail (with no postage due, either coming or going) in the form of digital cartridges. The cartridges are heard through a player  provided by OLBPH at no cost to users.

Patrons who use a computer, tablet, or smartphone have the option of downloading books and magazines and listening through their personal devices.

OLBPH has an education-focused area called the Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Center that serves Oklahoma students and children from birth through the 12th grade. They provide assistive technology, accessible textbooks, and other educational materials. The library also has a state-of-the-art digital recording studio and a dial-up service for patrons to hear newspaper content from several Oklahoma publications over their phones. And it’s all FREE! For more information about OLBPH and how to use its free services, call 1-800-523-0288,

email, or visit [  ].

Image of logo, Soaring on Hope Pediatric Therapy Center

Soaring on Hope

Soring on Hope Pediatric Therapy Center is an outpatient pediatric facility located in Tulsa, OK. Their passionate multidisciplinary team is eager to serve you and your family. They provide the following services to children from birth to age 21: Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA Therapy), Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech Therapy (ST).  Soaring On Hope​ proudly has bilingual Spanish-speaking office staff and bilingual Spanish-speaking therapists.

It is the mission at Soaring on Hope Pediatric Therapy Canter to "make hope happen every day". Their vision is to take accessibility to quality care and resources to all children and all families in all communities.

To get started, reach out to their Intake Specialist, Bethany at (918) 900-2716 or email

Find out more by visiting their website at [;!!NZFi6Pppv9YRQw!tSWRhvUWhrHQGCQXQqRUzUzEK73s0inbvZPME1fbTK3hVPnJ3vxJ0eu0zIB5zmH4J4ghs_egbXZdjUUD%24?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  ] or follow Soaring on Hope on social media - "@soaringonhope".

Intake Specialist, Bethany can answer questions by phone at (918) 900-2716.

Image of Secondary Transition Handbook Cover - Student in classroom with hand raised

Oklahoma State Department of Education has a Secondary Transition Handbook

The Oklahoma state policy requires transition services to be addressed and in effect no later than the beginning of the student's ninth grade year or upon turning 15 years of age, whichever comes first, or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team, and updated annually. Transition services are crucial in supporting students as they plan for post-school goals. Transition plans assist students in meeting their post-school goals, such as: gainful employment, post-secondary education or training, independent living, military, and/or group living. These plans are designed to meet individual needs as they progress through school.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has a resource to help navigate this process called Oklahoma's Secondary Transition Handbook. It is available to view or download from their website.

Click here to access the Secondary Transition Handbook

Meet Tracy

Tracy Keeley is the newest Transition Program Field Representative for DRS. Tracy has been an educator for more than 20 years.  Educating youth with disabilities and at-risk youth is a family tradition for her. Her mother is a retired Speech-Language Pathologist devoting her entire career to helping people with disabilities improve their communication skills. Her father was a parole officer for youthful offenders and then a recreation therapist at a youth treatment center. Learning from her parents' experiences helped ignite a passion in her for helping others.

Tracy earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, and she holds two Masters degrees - a Master of Library and Information Sciences, and a Master of Education in School Administration. She also a holds teaching and administration certifications and has a Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional certification from the Society of Human Resource Management.

In addition to her extensive education and certification accomplishments, her professional goal has always been to equip Oklahomans with the tools needed to be successful contributors to their communities. We are lucky to have someone as qualified and dedicated as Tracy on our team!

Image of Tracy Keeley

Tracy Keeley
Programs Field Representative
DRS Transition
ph. 918-581-2322

Meet Adrian

Adrian Combs has been a Pre-employment Transition Specialist for the University of Oklahoma in the Tulsa area for a year and a half. Previously, she was a Program Manager for 4 years at Ultra Link Employment, where she worked with DRS staff and clients in supported employment. That experience provided invaluable insight into what students can anticipate and has made her more effective in her role with Pre-Employment Transition Services.

She is from Strang, OK and graduated from Adair High School. She is invested in seeing students and adults find a successful path. Seeing them doing things they did not think were possible is a huge reward that she is happy to enjoy with them! When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her 2-year-old granddaughter who keeps her smiling. Adrian is fun-loving, smart, and very passionate about serving students with disabilities. We are lucky to have her on our team.

Image of Adrian Combs

Adrian Combs
Pre-Employment Transition Specialist
University of Oklahoma
ph. 918-955-8789

What is Transition?

The Transition Program provides services to prepare students with disabilities for employment and life after high school. Services may include career counseling, vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, on-the-job training, work-study, and job development and placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired divisions jointly run the Transition program so the youth can easily move into adult services when it is time.

Start the Application Process [  ]

Contact Us:

Renee Sansom Briscoe
Phone: 405-951-3488

Chris Compton
Phone: 405-605-9651

Tracy Keeley
Phone: 918-581-2322

Kevin Randall II
Phone: 405-255-9663

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Works - a proud partner of the American Job Center network  [  ]

Image of Empowering Oklahomans with Disabilities, with a paint brush.

We can help create the blueprint for your youth’s success

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Website [ ]

Select the needed language above