General Colorado Center Information

Shopping Online? Choose Us on Amazon Smile

Make the most of your online shopping this year – buy the wonderful holiday gifts you want, and support the Colorado Center for the Blind.

Amazon’s Smile program contributes a small percentage of each eligible purchase to your selected nonprofit, and the Colorado Center for the Blind is on the list.

Just go to and search for the Colorado Center for the Blind. Then, any time you login and make a purchase on you’ll also benefit the life-changing programs at the Center – all year long!

Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

Events General Colorado Center Information

Happy 75th Birthday NFB!

A smiling man and woman stand on each side of a bronze plaque with print and Braille visible. Both hold long white canes.
Julie Deden and Dan Burke outside Gennetti’s Hotel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where a plaque hangs commemorating the birthplace of the National Federation of the Blind on November 16, 1940.

The national Federation of the Blind turns 75 today!

The NFB was formed in 1940 to bring the collective voice of the blind into being. Blind people in 1940 had little chance to be employed in meaningful jobs or to attend college. Some did, and in a number of states the blind had organized. On this date in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania delegates from seven states gathered with the express purpose of creating a national voice. The constitution was written, voted on and accepted by the delegates and the National Federation of the Blind was born.

In that time the NFB has wrought enormous change in attitudes toward the blind, though we still fight for equality in employment, education, and access to technology and information.

Part of the significant accomplishments of the past 75 years has been the revolutionization of rehabilitation programs and services for the blind. That is how the Colorado Center for the Blind and our sister NFB Centers, the Louisiana Center for the Blind in Rustin and BLIND, Inc in Minneapolis, came into being. Tired of cajoling programs to do a better job, to believe in their blind clients, the NFB started its own programs. It turns out that it’s sometimes easier to pull than to push, and for the past three decades other programs across the country have striven and strained to match our pace of success.

This past weekend the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania held its annual state convention in Wilkes-Barre at the same hotel where the delegates of those first seven states met 75 years ago. Featured on the agenda was a 40-minute talk by Jacobis “Dutch” TenBroek, son of our founding President, Dr. Jacobis TenBroek. Dutch gave us a picture of the man at home and with his family, but never at rest, never doubting his ability to do anything as a blind person, from cutting trees on the steep Berkeley hills where they lived to coaching President John F. Kenedy on oratory skills. For the TenBroeks, summer road trips were always trips to the National Federation of the Blind convention, wherever it happened to be that ear.

Executive Director Julie Deden and Public Relations Specialist Dan Burke traveled to Wilkes-Barre to attend this historic event, as well as to meet potential students.

“It truly was spectacular,” Julie told students and staff at this morning’s announcements at the Center. “I will always remember being there.”

And that’s about all the time there was for reflection, as it’s back to the work of the Center and of the NFB. There’s a lot of it to do, and with a belief in ourselves, our students and our purpose we look forward to the work and our centennary celebration!

Careers Events Youth Services

Shark Dissection Day This Friday!

the instructor stands and student sits,both have their hands in the shark's open stomach cavity
Arapahoe Community College’s Terry Harrison points out a part of the shark’s anatomy to a high school student in 2014.

For most of us, the run up to the Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t conjure thoughts of sharks, but it does here at the Colorado Center for the Blind. That’s because for nearly a decade, Arapahoe Community College’s Biology Professor Terry Harrison has been conducting his shark dissection here with blind kids from around the Denver Metro area as well as from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB).

This year’s event is Friday, November 13, from 10 a.m. to noon in our gym at 2233 W. Shepperd Ave.

“We set out to show that blind kids can actively participate in STEM subjects in school, and even consider STEM careers,” says Youth Services Director Brent Batron. “Terry has been a great ally for us in accomplishing this critical part of that goal.”

The annual event sponsored by ACC, always just before Thanksgiving, has become a much-anticipated event in November. This year, 30 area students are on the list to dissect the 15 dog sharks that Harrison has ordered. In fact, the demand is so high that there is talk of doing another shark dissection event in February … Valentine’s Day maybe?

Some info about Terry Harrison from ACC’s web site:

Professor Harrison, who has taught at ACC since 1994, teaches all levels and disciplines of Biology courses at ACC.  He is a member of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and Nano-Link.

For mor information about this event or other Youth Services and SEM programs, contact Brent Batron at 303.778.1130, x222 or [email protected].

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs Youth Services

Colorado Gives Day on December 8!

Colorado Gives Day ad for December 8, 2015
Support us on Colorado Gives Day 2015 – an easy way to make an impact!

It’s only a month away – Colorado Gives Day 2015, and a great opportunity to support our programs and philosophy at the Colorado Center for the Blind!

You know that we don’t just teach blindness skills, as important as they are, but aim for that belief in those blindness skills that lead to confidence and self-reliance. Whether it’s our Seniors, Youth or Independence Training Programs, those extras like challenge recreation, art, our special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), or attending the largest annual gathering of the blind in the world – the National Federation of the Blind Convention – your donation can make the difference!

Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. For the sixth year, Community First Foundation and FirstBank are partnering to present Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Donations are accepted through

Last year, Colorado Gives Day brought in more than $23 million in donations to Colorado nonprofits. We received nearly $14,000, but our goal for this year is $20,000!

What’s Really Great about CGD

  • Colorado Gives Day features a $1 Million Incentive Fund, one of the largest gives-day incentive funds in the country. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the incentive fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated.
  • Community First Foundation and First Bank absorb all but 2 percent of credit card fees related to your donations – but only on December 8! This means that more of your online donation comes back to the Colorado Center for the Blind to support our programs!
  • Recurring donations can be set up, meaning you can make smaller weekly, monthly or quarterly donations that have a larger impact all year long!
  • Can’t wait until Colorado Gives Day? Starting November 1, 2015, donations can be scheduled ahead of time.

So, please go online and support our programs at the Colorado Center for the Blind!


“Shared Visions” – A Collaboration with ACC’s Dept. of Art & Design

Six people work their clay on pottery wheels
For “Shared Visions” CCB and ACC students work side by side, and works by both will be shown on November 19-20.

For nearly two decades, Colorado artist Ann Cunningham has
been teaching art classes at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Initially drawn to us because she was curious about how blind people experience art (such as the stone carvings she produces), she has become one of North America’s leading teachers, advocates and innovators with respect to access to the arts for the blind – both as observers and creators.

a woman holds a wet sponge against her spinning clay, her other hand stabilizes the base
Natalia at the wheel in the ceramics studio on the ACC campus.

So when Nathan Abels, painter and faculty member at Arapahoe Community College’s Art Department, called last year to talk about a nontraditional painting assignment he was planning, it was natural that Ann and he would find plenty to talk about. Basically, Nathan was curious about very similar things that have informed Ann’s art and her investigations for years: How might blind people experience this new wave in the painting world that incorporated more than pigment?

That assignment and collaboration culminated in last November’s showing of student tactile paintings at ACC’s Jantzen Gallery in the Art and Design Center on November 14. It was an exciting evening for us and for the student artists, many of whom later donated their paintings to the Center.

a young woman examines a feathery artwork hung on the wall
Brittany talks with the artist as she examines a tactile painting in 2014.

In truth, we had a hard time keeping our hands off the works in the gallery which, of course, was the point.

This year the collaboration involves clay, the wheel and the kiln, but includes both an ACC ceramics class and CCB students (and at least one staff member) working alongside them.

And there will be another show. “Shared Visions” will open at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts at ACC November 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. and November 20 from noon to 5 p.m.

It’s another great collaboration with our neighbors at Arapahoe Community College! Come out and join us on the 19th!

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Zach Turns “I Can’ts” into “Can Dos!”

Man holding his bell high as he rings it, a woman stands beside him applauding

Zach’s day was Wednesday, October 28, a day to celebrate what he now “does” after nine months of training at the Center, and the confidence he has as a blind person for the things he will do in the future. The photo of him ringing his Freedom Bell above shows just how ready he was for that celebration.

Zach fought for nearly two years to get funding to come to the Center from Wisconsin. The real work started when he got her early this year, however.

A young man stoops to take a large hotel pan of fries from a hot oven
When it came to the kitchen, Zach now has a long list of things he does and can do.

“You had a whole list of ‘I can’ts,’ Maureen, his Home Management Instructor, reminded him. “but you’ve turned that all around.. You can Mince and chop and do all the things you thought you weren’t going to be able to do – I’m so proud of you.”

The confidence that grew in Zach was remarkable. Not only did he master all those kitchen skills, but he built an ambitious project in wood shop – an elaborate entertainment center.

His Tech Instructor, Chris Parsons gave him his bell.

“The first thing I heard about Zach was: ‘This guy is techy and he wants to tell you about it,'” Chris teased. “Our class was never boring with Zach in it.”

“I’m so proud of you! Everybody is really excited to see where you go next with all those tech skills and all the new skills in other areas you’ve gained.”.

large pans are lined up on the counter below the serving window, the chef standing at the far end
It’s all ready. Zach had 63 guests to serve his cheeseburger casserole, including his Mom and and younger brother from Wisconsin.

Chris also told us about how, when he was about to go on his Drop – one of the final Travel requirements, that she gave him the usual encouragements, but Zach had an unusual response.

“You don’t understand – I’ve been waiting for this (drop)”

His comment when he returned?

“That was so fun”

He made sure to thank his teachers, especially Maureen and Chris, for helping him get through his program.

Zach had a number of guests, ultimately serving 63 people at his grad meal. His Mom and younger brother came from Wisconsin, as did Jeremiah Beasley – a former teacher and advocate who helped him get to the Center. Tom and Linda Anderson were there, having come from Kansas for the NFB of Colorado convention.

Keep that bell ringing Zach!

a grinning young man leans an elbow on top of the entertainment center he built, white cane in his other hand