… or maybe it’s not if you have a career behind you as a surgical nurse.
Littleton’s 2016 Western Welcome Week, including our tours and participation in the Saturday parade, was sure a lot of fun! This week has already seen Matt complete his support drop, our canoeing trip postponed due to thunder, our first rock climbing trip today for the (really?) fall!
Even as the 10-day Western Welcome Week celebration was winding down on Sunday, Seniors in Charge students were arriving at the McGeorge Mountain Terrace apartments for a week of taking on new challenges in blindness skills. Offered by our Senior Services staff led by Duncan Larsen, Seniors in Charge gives a week’s worth of intensive training in Braille, cane travel, technology and home management skills.
“Last year I could see,” Ron said in the introductory meeting on Monday morning. This year his vision is significantly limited. Like his five fellow students, Ron wants to learn everything he can to ensure his continued independence.
And that’s the goal of the week – to assist blind seniors to maintain their independence. It includes plenty of opportunities for senior students to talk about their blindness and what they learn as the week progresses. Seniors in Charge is offered twice a year, and this group has four students staying at our apartments and two day students. For those staying at the apartments, Senior Services staff work with them on cooking and more in the evening, staying at the apartments with them.
As Duncan reminds us, the skills and discussions are all pointing to developing a positive, can-do attitude about blindness.
On Tuesday, along with other classes, the Seniors in Charge prepared a sandwich bar, then built their own sandwiches and ate together. The program will culminate on Friday morning with a “Friends and Family” session when Senior students can talk about what they’ve gained over the week. This is also a critical part of the program, because family and friends also have an opportunity to examine the fears and doubts they have about their loved ones’ ability to continue living the lives they want, and they can do so in light of all that those loved ones have learned during the week.
Students and staff are getting ready for tomorrow’s Western Welcome Week Parade – the highlight of the 10-day celebration in Littleton. After opening our doors for tours and at the same time graduating two of our students, it’s a fun way to end the week. What could be better than walking down the middle of the street to spectator applause!
And the weather promises to be perfect!
So keep a lookout for us in the morning on Littleton Boulevard – we’ll be showing some cane!
While Marlene is getting ready to serve her final graduation meal (for 60) and Brigid is working on her own grad meal for tomorrow, let’s look back at Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, the extraordinary smells of both Christian’s chicken kababs and Kierr’s pot of red beans and rice cooking all Tuesday morning cannot be conveyed successfully to the reader in words or pictures. The odors wafting out of the kitchen made lots of stomachs growl. Just saying …
Tech classes went out to the garden first thing in the morning. They brought in lots of great stuff – zucchini, an abundance of tomatillos, half a dozen eggplants and more. We don’t want this to get around,. but there are a couple of green pumpkins out there, too.
Later, a new martial arts class started with Rachel, which meant a lot of punching and kicking. Take a look at Brittany – she looks pretty fierce in her fighting stance. Maybe because she was getting so hungy smelling all that food!
Thursday, August 18
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
That’s right, this rodeo isn’t over yet!
If you missed the fun on Monday evening, you still have another shot tomorrow. Nearly 70 of our Littleton neighbors (and some who happened to be visiting from out of town) stopped by the Colorado Center for the Blind to find out what we’re up to at 2233 W. Shepperd Avenue. They talked with staff and students in the kitchens, the technology labs, the Braille classrooms and the Woodshop. They discussed techniques of traveling with a white cane and checked out some live goal ball action. And they heard about our programs for youth and seniors.
The best part for us was simply the chance to meet with so many folks – some who live only a block or two away and some who didn’t know that we were even in town. We appreciate all the appreciation our guests expressed as they left, but some of us at the Center were buzzing until bedtime with the fun of it all! So our thanks to all who came!
Okay, if you couldn’t make it Monday, join us tomorrow afternoon! Maybe this will be the best tour yet.
(Spoiler: There might be cookies and brownies at the end of the tour!)
Farhan came to the center from Pakistan because he believed that the confidence and self-reliance in our tag line mean greater independence and opportunity for him. Here he is, a little past the mid-point in his training, making really amazing (and crunchy) samosas for 15 guests, and you can feel his new confidence!
Warren completed his woodshop project this week. We’ll call it a “Littleton Slugger”, which he turned on the mini-lathe. He plans to have all his instructors sign it when he graduates and returns home to Philadelphia.
Wednesday Brigid successfully completed her support drop and Marlene went on her solo drop. Oh yeah, Marlene made it back too.
Today, Brigid is doing her Monster Route – four places she’s never been to in four Metro cities – all in one day! These big travel requirements are coming up this week because Marlene and Brigid will both graduate nextweek.
At the other end of the spectrum, two of our newest students, John and Ethan went on their very first independent routes this morning and came back to the Center to cheers. Whenever someone gets back from their first independent – or from their drop, for that matter – Robert announces over the PA:
“When you see John, congratulate him on completing his first indeppendent route!”
It’s the first milestone on the path to traveling independently anywhere ablind person needs or wants to go!
Meanwhile this afternoon the Thursday Senior group is meeting. They’re listening to NFB President Mark Riccobono’s Banquet Speech from the 2016 Convention. You can hear the strains of the speech in the north hallway. The title is “The Understanding of Fear and the Power of Progress”>
Littleton’s Western Welcome Week starts … Well, tomorrow! Next week we will give tours and promised that we’ll do Goal Ball demonstrations in the gym, and even let guests take their turn if they like. So, Martin, Warren and Jimmy went down to the gym this week to demonstrate some basics for those who’ve never herd of Goal Ball. Maybe you’ll want to take your shots next week, or even watch the Goal Ball action during the 2016 Paralympics!
We’re inviting the community in to learn how blind people do things, but our real purpose is to give folks a chance to learn that blind people are really a lot like themselves.
You see them all over Littleton traveling with their white canes, many wearing sleep shades. Who are they and where do they come from? They are students from the Colorado Center for the Blind, located in the old YMCA building at 2233 W. Shepperd Avenue.
As part of WesternWelcome Week we invite you to join the staff and students for an interactive tour and learn how they do it – travel, read with those little dots, cook, use power tools, and listen to the latest podcast with their smart phones. Meanwhile, the kids can take a few shots at goal ball, the sport played entirely under sleep shades.
Visitors will have a chance to meet our staff and students in Home Management class, Braille, Cane Travel, Woodshop and Technology. In the gym we’ll be demonstrating Goal Ball – a game developed after World War II for blinded veterans and now a Para-Olympic sport!
Monday, August 15
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 18
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For additional information contact Dan Burke, Public Relations Specialist at 303.778.1130, ext. 213.
Every Tuesday morning a different group of Center students heads out back to our Legacy Garden to meet the Colorado Master Gardeners from Arapahoe County, and to see just what’s happening out there. Students work with the Master Gardeners to plant, cultivate and harvest the bounty. In these hot, hot days of August the lilies are done blooming, but the vegetable garden comes into its own, and it really is a bounty!
On recent Tuesdays students have begun bringing in eggplant, zucchini (quite large), tomatoes, tomatillos, various peppers, kale, cucumbers, celery, basil and peaches! The produce is used in the kitchen in Home Management class or taken home for personal cooking by the students at the McGeorge Mountain Terrace Apartments. If there’s any leavings, staff gather it up for their own kitchens.
What could be better than freshly picked, home grown (organic) produce? Hmmm, maybe only the confidence and satisfaction that comes from knowing that you helped grow it!