After spending much of the day in their chairs, giving their best in various Braille skills as part of the 2018 Braille Challenge, participants in the Metro area competition found goal ball the perfect way to unwind.
It’s the third year we’ve hosted the event for Metro-area kids, which is organized in Colorado by the colorado school for the deaf and the blind. Students scores on reading, writing and more are collected regionally and given rankings, then compared to scores across the country. Eventually, the Braille Institute in Los Angeles will bring the most competitive students there for a final competition. In the meantime, there’s a little goal ball, some local and regional prizes and pizza for lunch!
Congrats to all the participants- you’re all winners with Braille!
When it snows in Georgia, when it’s warmer in Atlanta, Idaho than it is in Atlanta, Georgia in January (I checked it, 32 versus 30 degrees) … Well, it’s time to talk about Summer 2018 and our residential youth programs! Below you will find the dates of our three residential programs, links to more detailed descriptions of each, the application form in PDF or MS Word, and contact info for our Summer Youth Coordinator, Martin Becerra-Miranda, so “think Warm!”
It has been nearly 18 years since Catherine Kudlick first arrived in Littleton as a student at CCB, but the lessons of her training have endured, as she told staff and students in Philosophy Class last Thursday.
Cathy’s blindness is due to Nystagmus and she had never used a cane before she came for training. Still, she counted her travel training as one of the most important classes for her. She told students in frank terms about her internal struggles in that class under sleepshades.
“You ask yourself why you have to do this travel assignment. You hate it while you’re doing the travel, maybe getting turned around. But then you get there, and you know you did it. It’s an incredible feeling!”
Cathy was already a faculty member at the University of California-Davis but, as she told students and staff in Philosophy Class last Thursday she knew she needed blindness skills to continue to be successful in her academic career And to be around blind people to help her deal with the denial about her blindness and identity as a blind person. Besides, the course of her research in French History of the 19th Century had increasingly drawn her into the place of disability in history.
“Being here among others who were coming to terms with blindness and finding friends and Camaraderie helped her in long-lasting ways. One result was an end to the shame she’d felt around her blindness.
“You’re in a good place,” she told students, adding that she became choked up as she walked through the front door for the first time since 2001.
The things students gain at CCB are long-lasting and life-changing, she told them. “You carry that with you in your soul when you leave. Nothing can take that away from you.”
Now the Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and Professor of History at San Francisco State University, Cathy took her own advice to students to gather it all in and embrace every challenge given them. She spent the afternoon in the wood shop with Instructor David Nietfeld.
“We didn’t have the shop when I was here,” she explained after making her first cut on the chop saw.
We didn’t. In fact, CCB had just moved to Littleton before Cathy arrived, and the wood shop didn’t have a place in the building that was still new to us until after she had already graduated in 2001.
It’s a big day today. Sure, there’s World Braille Day and Louis Braille’s 209th birthday, and our Independence Training Program students are back from the holiday break and our first Seniors meeting is this afternoon. We’re excited about all that, but here at CCB we’re very excited about something else, too. Today marks 30 years that the doors of CCB first opened. Five students accompanied by cane travel instructor Duncan Larsen and Residential Manager and Braille instructor Tom Anderson made their way from the apartments the Center rented for them to 2232 S. Broadway.
They came in a blizzard. Really, it’s hard to think about because it’s 50 degrees in Colorado today, but there was a blizzard 30 years ago.
As it happened, the apartments were in Littleton, where CCB would relocate in 2000, but when the group made it through the wind and blowing snow, they found that the pedestrian button at Powers and Broadway was frozen. The light didn’t change, so they walked south to Littleton Boulevard and crossed there to catch the northbound Route 0 bus.
Meanwhile, founder Diane McGeorge was at 2232 S. Broadway with coffee and donuts, wondering where they could be. Maybe worrying just a little.
But that wasn’t the end of it. After arriving at the Center and warming up with coffee and donuts, eventually the entire group went grocery shopping. For several of those first students, it was the first time they’d done their own shopping, so it was also an adventure of discovery.
I think the students thought we’d have a snow day,” said Duncan this morning of that first snowy day. “our expectations were high on that first day, and they’ve remained high.”
Throughout this year, we will celebrate 30 years of “Taking Charge with Confidence and Self-reliance” with a number of events and activities, so stay tuned!
Where Are They Now?
Diane McGeorge, the force behind creating the Colorado Center for the Blind and it’s first Director (until 1999) says she’s retired. Actually, she volunteers at CCB with our Seniors program as many as three days a week. She is also the Chair of our Board of Directors.
Tom Anderson says he’s retired also. Well, he did retire from CCB in 2015 after teaching Braille and other things – lots of intangible things – for more than 27 years. He returned with his wife Linda to Kansas where Tom is a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas Board of Directors, serves on the Kansas Independent Living Council, and organized Kansas’ first Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning (BELL) Academy for blind elementary kids in 2017. Way to relax Tom!
Duncan Larsen is now Director of Senior Services at the Center – a program we could only dream of in 1988… That is, we might have dreamed of it if there had been time.