Message from the Director
Last week, one of our Braille instructors was out for three days. She had some of our students substitute for her. This gave several of our students an opportunity to teach Braille and to learn how rewarding it is when someone makes progress. One of our students from Oregon is working on an internship. She is proficient in the area of technology and is teaching others in this area. She loves this and is a natural teacher with creativity and zeal. Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with our seniors. I observed a conversation and was proud to see how one of our seniors was so encouraging of another. Just a couple of minutes ago I walked into the meeting room to discover that one of our students was teaching another about how to fold table cloths. Yesterday, I met with Debby who is from Washington state to discuss what it means to be a student mentor. She is chairing this committee and is excited about matching up mentors with new students so that they will feel welcome and have a connection even prior to their arrival. Students travel to and from the Center each day taking a city bus and walking a couple of blocks each way. Our students are always happy to work with each other and exhibit caring and kindness when teaching their peers the route to and from the Center.
Our students have Braille study groups in the evenings, get together for dinner, go shopping with each other and simply spend time learning, growing and having fun. Whenever I ask a student to give a tour, work at the front desk, set up tables or clean, the answer is “Yes, I will be happy to help”. Our culture of caring, unity and understanding is what creates our Center. I never take this for granted and know how privileged I am to be a part of this.
On April 12th, the Center hosted a science fair. We were pleased to have eighteen students in attendance along with ten students from our Independence Training Program. Too often, blind people come to the conclusion that they are not capable of working in the area of science. They only see that this is visual and are not aware of alternative techniques that can be used to place a blind person on equal ground with their sighted peers. Many times, the blind student sits on the sidelines during science class, or works with a lab partner who ends up doing the work. We are changing this misperception by holding workshops in all of the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and math). Not only are we dedicated to working with blind students, but we are also passionate about working with educators so that they will have the ability to fully integrate their blind students into all classes. Blindness is not a barrier when determining what career to enter.
“Success in College” Program
We have hired Dan Burke to coordinate our new program which will pair blindness skills development and confidence with college classes. Dan has over twenty years of experience working with disabled students at the University of Montana. He also has a rehabilitation counseling background and feels strongly that with training, opportunity and confidence, we as blind people can compete equally with our sighted peers. He is looking forward to jumping into this new program.
Independence Training Program
When our students enter the Independence Training Program, they make a commitment to fully participate in all aspects of training. Usually, students are enrolled for six to nine months. A major part of their work with us is to determine what they will do when they graduate. Employment class is a key component. On April 11th students had an opportunity to network with over twenty employers. They shared their resumes and business cards. Employers from the Veteran’s Administration and Wells Fargo bank were particularly interested in several of our students. Employers who attended this event learned that blind people are just like anyone else.
On April 19th we were pleased to have over twenty-five volunteers from Ignite join us for a tour of the Center and lunch. The Ignite organization provides ski guides for all of us when we go skiing at Eldora. Several students gave thorough tours of the Center. They made bourbon chicken, rice, stir fried vegetables and banana pudding cake for dessert. Seventy of us enjoyed the meal. The ski guides learned that we are proud to be blind people and that we can easily handle all aspects of our lives.
April was a busy month for us in all programs. We had a Seniors in Charge program where students received intensive training for four days. They loved spending time in the woodshop learning how to use a click rule to measure within one 16th of an inch. They also used the table saw and other woodworking equipment. The seniors prepared lunch each day, worked on technology including the iPad, practiced their Braille, and increased their ability to use their cane effectively.
One of our participants did not realize that he could enjoy fly fishing anymore. He learned how to string the fly and is eager to go fishing now. At the completion of the program he expressed his feelings of accepting his blindness and said that he is excited to reinvent his life now.
Senior groups are available weekly. For more information, please call Duncan Larsen at 303-778-1130 extension 226.
May 4: Colorado Association of Blind Students College Seminar. Contact Antonio Rozier firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
May 6-10: “Seniors in Charge”. Contact Duncan Larsen email@example.com for more information.
May 10: CCB student Talent Show from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
May 18: Youth Track from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Contact Brent Batron firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
May 18: NFB of Denver chapter meeting from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
June 7: Start of Summer Program for high school and college prep students
June 10-21: “Confidence Camp for Kids” Elementary Program
June 18: Braille Carnival. Contact Brent Batron email@example.com for more information.
To refer someone who is interested in training, please call Robert Dyson at 303-778-1130 extension 249.
If you have items for the newsletter, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Center for the Blind
2233 W. Shepperd Ave.
Littleton, CO 80120
303-778-1130 ext. 211