It could be called a convergence. A handful of students who want to talk about their blindness, what they are learning at the Colorado Center for the Blind, how they are learning about being blind and proud – and how they’ve learned from their teachers, but especially one another, to laugh at themselves when they make mistakes.
And yes, at one another.
Couple that with the recent arrival of Brett Boyer, a CCB alum and experienced commercial broadcaster, as our newest Technology instructor, and you have a – well, imperfect storm.
What you get is “No End in Sight”, a monthly podcast featuring Boyer and a rotating cast of CCB students which launches this week.
But let’s give kudos to this first cast of characters, the instigators of “No End in Sight”, if you will: Abdi Mumin, Annette Wilson, Cory Williams and Nick Isenberg who range in age from 22 to 77, not to mention others working off-mic. They have a message about blindness they want you to hear.
Take a listen and subscribe if you like it. “No End in Sight” is available through all the usual outlets. It’s worth your time!
This is Chaz Davis’ final week as a Social Work Intern at the Center, and Director Julie Deden marked the occasion with a short ceremony and presentation of a thank-you card, followed by cookies.
“I joined the blind community four years ago, though not by choice,” Chaz told staff and students this morning. “But I really found that sense of community when I came here (as a student).”
A Master of Social Work student ad the University of Denver, Chaz has been serving as an intern here since February, at first just two days a week and then five days a week this summer. He arrived as a student at CCB in the early fall of 2016 after competing in the ParOlympics In Rio that summer.
It was that sense of community that brought him back to CCB when, after graduating from the center in July 2017 and entering the MSW program at DU, he asked Julie about doing his first internship here.
And he has given back a great deal to this current cohort of students, working with students on housing after graduation, Social Security and Medicaid concerns, as well as one-on-one counseling. In fact, the latter may be the part he liked the most.
“I really enjoyed getting to hear people’s stories, hear where they are in terms of adjusting to blindness, and What their goals are after they graduate from the center,” he says. “It’s great to see people’s growth.”
That experience may have altered the trajectory of his own career. Instead of working on a macro level, in some type of administration, he now sees himself moving toward clinical practice.
Julie cited all the work Chaz has done for our students, and of course how much we’ll miss having him here.
“We have a card for you from all of us,” Julie said. “It’s all in Braille except this last part because we didn’t want it to go to your head … It says ‘You’re an incredible person!'”
Chaz’ next internship will be in a high school setting assisting students develop both soft and hard work skills for their post-high school transitions. He graduates from DU next spring.
Thanks for everything Chaz – especially the chance to have cookies!
Staff and students of the Colorado Center for the Blind, as well as members of the NFB of Denver Chapter once again marched in the Littleton Western Welcome Week Parade on August 18. From Eileen, 92, to our favorite toddlers, Mason and Jackson with their parents, and all five of the Batron kids it was a family adventure as always!
Thanks to Kirk for use of his selfie.
“I’d never been in a parade before,” he said later.
Doing something you’d never done before – even before becoming blind – that makes it worthwhile, because pushing beyond what others (and we) expect of us as blind people is the point!
That’s right, as part of our parking lot construction project, power will be cut to the building on Friday, August 24 so that the new, entirely underground electricity cables can be linked up to the building and Xcel Energy’s trunk line. That means more than just no lights, which isn’t a big deal to us anyway. It also means no computers, fire safety alarm or telephones. In fact, our phones will just ring and ring because the answering and voice mail system run on a computer in the building.
Oh yeah, it also means no WiFi! Ask yourself, what can you get done without WiFi? Even drinking a cup of coffee feels weird without WiFi.
As a result of the power shutdown, our Seniors won’t be meeting this Friday.
No Day Off for ITP
Instead of coming to the Center on Friday morning, our Independence Training (ITP) students and staff will conduct classes from our apartments on S. Lowell Blvd., including apartment inspections, travel in the area and Braille and Tech classes.
We are putting our electrical utilities underground now because we have everything dug up anyway. Eventually, Xcel would likely have wanted us to bury the electrical stuff, so we’re getting ahead of that and saving money and another mess down the road. After the electrical is reconnected on Friday, we’ll also have the large, rather unattractive utility pole removed.
The fire and security systems will go back on-line by the end of the work day on Friday, but computers, phones and WiFi won’t come back on-line till Monday morning.
Expect the unexpected whenever you start digging. That’s the category to put the status of our water main from the street, which was not buried at the proper depth, and not even below the frost-depth of three feet in some places. On the more fun side, excavators also discovered a portion of the foundation of the Lyndhurst Mansion that stood on the site in the first half of the 20th Century, and was the first, though short-lived home of the YMCA on this lot.
We endured a day without water last week, but the water line from the street has been replaced and buried at the proper depth. That, along with a couple of heavy rainstorms in late July that were timed perfectly with an exposed crater of dirt, have pushed back the finish date till sometime in October. The rains turned the whole thing out there into Littleton’s biggest mud puddle, keeping workers and equipment on the sidelines for days at a time. The big tamping machines were finally able to get to work last week, rattling windows and giving us all a foot massage in the meeting room as we enjoyed Nick’s graduation meal on Friday.
He was in the neighborhood, so he stopped by for a visit. Eric Duffy, a long-time member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), spoke to our Philosophy class recently when he came to visit the Center.
Philosophy is an almost-daily class in which staff and students discuss every and any aspect of blindness as it affects our day-to-day lives and our hopes and dreams. We use this time to examine the limiting low expectations of society and ourselves with respect to our blindness, and to acknowledge that the things we are learning about ourselves and our blindness stand in contrast to those low expectations.
Eric shared the story of his childhood in Ohio, where he attended Ohio’s residential school for the blind. Eric’s is a story of a young boy finding a sense of independence away from home and never wanting to let it go. It is also the story of his older brother, that brother he was visiting in the Springs, who encouraged and supported his independence as he grew into adulthood.
It’s a wonderful story, and one that our students very much appreciated. We all did! Thanks again for stopping by Eric!