Founded in 1988, the Colorado Center for the Blind is a world-renowned training center located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton, Colorado, about 13 miles south of Denver.
Grounded in the National Federation of the Blind’s positive philosophy of blindness, the Colorado Center for the Blind provides innovative teaching techniques, daily challenges and self-confidence that are the building blocks of independence, opportunity and success. Day after day, year after year, blind students leave the Colorado Center for the Blind’s training program as living examples of the NFB’s motto: “With effective training and opportunity, blind people can compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers.”
CCB Programs in Action! Click for a larger view.
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Every summer we pack ourselves up, staff, ITP students and summer students, and head out to the National Federation of the Blind convention, wherever that may be – Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas. This year it was going to be in Houston. It often proves to be one of the most important learning experiences for our blind students during their time in training.
But this isn’t every summer. It isn’t just any summer. We don’t even have any summer youth this year. And the NFB convention for 2020 is a virtual one. For those of us who have gone to the NFB convention for years, it is bittersweet. We miss the excitement of 3000 blind people gathering in a huge ballroom for the opening ceremonies, but we still get to bump into friends and colleagues in any number of Zoom meetings or at the President’s Suite (yes, virtual). All the elements are there – technology sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday the Board of Directors meeting, Resolutions Committee and the always energy-infused National Association of Blind Students meeting late into last night! And the NFB’s commitment to diversity and equality again has a strong presence in the agenda every day. All we’re missing are key chain and candy sales in the hallways between sessions.
(Yes, there’s even a virtual exhibit hall. We have our own booth, by the way, and thanks to all those who stopped by to learn about our training program. We look forward to meeting in person when you become students at the Colorado Center for the Blind!)
A special shout out to our four fellow Colorado NFB members who were proponents for important resolutions in yesterday’s committee meeting. All passed and will go before the full convention for a vote on Friday. One of those was our own Jen Spears, who recently moved from teaching Braille to take charge of the front desk. Along with her were two others from CCB we are also proud to mention: Maura Loberg just graduated last month and is back home in Nebraska, and Kelly Cusack will soon graduate from CCB. Both Maura and Kelly are entering college as freshmen this fall! Great Job all of you!
And we have to mention the newly-elected President of the student division, Trisha Kulcarni, who was a summer student here in 2018. We’re proud of her, and excited for a great transition that ushered in another class of young leadership among the blind students and in the NFB!
One of the things that makes our hearts especially proud at convention is that the National Federation of the Blind President since 2014, Mark Riccobono, is one of our graduates.
Today is Thursday, and the third of our five-day virtual convention. That means it’s Division Day, with divisions of the NFB of all kinds meeting. So, we’re here at the center with meeting broadcasts going on in eight different rooms (perfect for social distancing). First up this morning are the Sports and Rec Division, Amateur Radio, Computer Science, Blind Merchants, the Performing Arts Division, and the Blindness Rehabilitation Professionals, plus a few folks interested in something else tucked away in other rooms or offices listening to their division of choice. People are surfing between division meetings, checking everything out, just like our own little version of the convention. We even made little snack packs for everyone!
Convention is something that is best enjoyed together, and we all benefit more by sharing and discussing speakers, resolutions and ideas. so for the opening ceremonies this evening, we’ll still be spread out, but we’ll be together in these many rooms, streaming and cheering that first moment that is always such a rush!
NFB 2020 – Yes, the Colorado Center for the Blind is truly present, anticipating that first fall of the President’s gavel!
Independence Training Program Video
Our Independence Training Program (ITP) is designed for blind adults (18 years of age and older). Typically students complete the program in six to nine months while residing in nearby McGeorge Mountain Terrace apartments, which are owned by the Center. Participants not only build the skills that they need to be independent, but also focus on gaining confidence and belief in themselves as blind people
Youth Programs Video
FAST stands for Fun Activities and Skills Training. This program will meet the second Saturday of each month throughout the school year. Some Saturdays we will simply focus on having fun as we develop skills. Other Saturdays we will participate in a variety of challenge recreation activities.
Senior Programs Video
The Colorado Center for the Blind works to change the experience of older blind and visually impaired persons from frustration to independence. With education and training seniors can and do obtain the skills and confidence necessary to stay in their own homes and continue be contributing members of their communities.
Our Professional Training Seminars include information about causes of blindness, alternative techniques used successfully by blind people, an introduction to sleepshades and their use with a white cane or in preparing lunch, and we spend time talking about the myths of blindness as well.