This year, Susan says she’s thankful for her husband as always, but also for the Colorado Center for the Blind. She’s been attending Senior support groups at the Center twice a week for only a month.
“My rock” is how she describes her husband and his support for her. “When I get home, he’s going to ask me about all that happened at the Center today.”
Susan began to lose vision to Macular Degeneration in early 2016, and was declared legally blind last June. She is right in the middle of learning to live with her vision loss, and knows that process is not all smiles and triumphs. Along with that, she has been recovering from a series of surgeries for a completely different medical issue.
“But when I come in the door here, I feel happy,” she says,” no matter how hard a day I’m having.”
“I’m learning a lot. Robert (Dyson) showed me how to use the white cane when I first came. And I’m reading words in Braille now,” she says. “But, it’s just the people, the other seniors – they understand about the fears, the anxieties. It feels like home here. I don’t have to put on an act. It’s incredible what (the Senior Program) has done for my spirit.”
For our part, we are thankful to have Susan in our Senior Program, and we’re thankful for the donations that help support our Seniors and other programs. Please remember us on Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 4. You can designate your donation to Seniors, Youth or to the Colorado Center for the Blind in general.
Our students really dig in at the Colorado Center for the Blind. We don’t simply teach rote skills, but nurture the confidence and curiosity in our students to continue to problem-solve and learn new skills. That’s how they learn to “Take charge with confidence” so they can live their lives in pursuit of their dreams instead of always following a pre-planned, memorized route. If you only follow memorized routes, you’ll only go to where you’ve already been.
It may be the best yet! This year’s “Shared Visions” tactile art exhibit at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts at Arrapahoe Community College (ACC) featured even more tactile painting pieces, a series of “boxes” from another class that were in every instance surprising, as well as an installation of an idyllic natural setting,complete with a trickling spring.
It’s the fifth year that we’ve collaborated with Arapahoe Community College’s Art & Design Center, and the fourth year our students had some of their own work on display.
The best news is that it’s open till Monday, December 3! In fact, this Friday our Senior Program will be making a pilgrimage to see it.
A year-and-a-half ago in Kansas City, Loren was on his family’s front porch after church when he was struck in the face by a bullet. He’d been caught in the crossfire of a shooting that had nothing to do with him, but his life changed forever. About to graduate from high school, Loren had been talking with a recruiter and was eager to join the marines. After extensive medical care, managing to finish high school and some initial blindness rehabilitation, Loren arrived at the center in late January for nine months of our intensive, comprehensive training.
When Loren graduated from our program in October, his life had changed once again. Having traveled all over the Denver Metro area, he has the skills and confidence to travel anywhere he wants to in any city. He can read and write Braille, and loves using the slate and stylus. In tech class, he had to start from scratch in learning the keyboard by touch, but now is proficient using multiple productivity apps both in Windows and on his Android phone with assistive technology. Always an athlete, Loren relished the challenges of downhill skiing and rock climbing, and excelled in our 8-week martial arts class.
For his graduation day, he planned and prepared a meal for sixty people. Several family members and friends traveled from Kansas City for his graduation, including the Marine recruiter he had been talking to in high school. Everyone talked about how proud they are of Loren and how his positive attitude will get him far in life.
Loren is now back in Kansas City where he has a job working with disadvantaged youth. From the first, Loren refused to accept that his blindness should hold him back. Now he knows how to live the full and exciting life he wants as a blind person!
Every student’s story is compelling, whether an elementary Confidence Camper in June, or a senior newly coping with blindness. We teach skills, sure, but we also impart a new, positive way to think about ourselves as blind people. Donations, such as those from Colorado Gives Day, are necessary for the Colorado Center for the Blind to continue providing our innovative programs, characterized by the high expectations we have for blind children, seniors and working-age adults.
The Colorado Center for the Blind is part of Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 4. That’s the day that the Community First Foundation and First Bank waive all but 2 percent of credit card fees and make each donation eligible for a percentage of the $1 Million Incentive Fund! That adds up to making your donations on Colorado Gives Day more valuable than on any other day of the year!
What are the programs that most appeal to you, or have affected you or a friend or family member?
Confidence Camp for Kids (CC4K)
Fun Activities & Skills Training (FAST) for blind youth
Seniors in Charge
Challenge Recreation – Skiing, Rock Climbing, Rafting
Ho! Ho! Ho! Don’t miss our Holiday Party on Saturday, Dec.
15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Colorado Center for the Blind! CCB’s FAST program is teaming up once again
with the NFB of Denver Chapter for this event, which will include gift-wrapping
for the kids, holiday arts and crafts, and a visit from our blind Santa. He may have gifts for the kids, too!
We’ll serve lunch and cider and perhaps sing a few rounds of carols before the day is done! So, make sure it’s on your Holiday Calendar!
Thanksgiving is of course very much a harvest celebration. So it is appropriate that we invited our Master Gardeners to the center for a little thank-you celebration Tuesday morning. After all, our collaboration with them in our Legacy Garden each summer results in a wonderful harvest of tomatoes, peppers, herbs and squashes, to name a few, but also in a harvest of opportunity and confidence for our students.
While many of the students who worked in the garden as recently as September have graduated, there were many individual thank-yous and some great comments for the gardeners.
Faye said that she plans to resume gardening when she graduates and returns home to Georgia. Annette talked about how she loved getting down to business with the spade. She also mentioned that she often took advantage of the peaceful space in the garden at lunch time over the summer, going out to relax and quietly munch on snap peas.
“That solvbed a mystery,” a Master Gardener later confided. “We were worried about the peas. We couldn’t understand why they weren’t producing.”
Students baked up several kinds of sweet breads for their guests, ranging from blueberry bread to white chocolate bread.
Saturday, November 10 was a full day – full of learning and, by about 1:30, we were all just full. Twenty-four came for our FAST (Fun Activities and Skills Training) Thanksgiving meal. A mix of blind youth, parents, teachers, staff and volunteers (and one little brother) made an early Thanksgiving meal, substituting chickens for a turkey. Everybody got a hand in the preparations and the feast that followed! Four parents also took the opportunity to practice skills under sleepshades, doing everything from slicing carrots to taking pies from the oven.
Yes, we’re full of thanks for all who came, for the teenagers hanging out by the piano after it was all put away, and for the leftovers, naturally!
Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 4, and we’re in for the mega-million-dollar statewide day of giving, sponsored by First Bank and the Community First Foundation! Your gift to us on CoGivesDay2018 ensures that we can continue to offer programs to youth, seniors and working-age adults that challenge, impart skills and infuse the confidence in themselves our students can draw on throughout the rest of their lives!
Sure, we’ll take your gifts any time, but there are some advantages to both of us if you contribute on December 4:
It’s an easy online giving platform just for Colorado!
First Bank & Community First waive all but 2 percent of the credit card fees, meaning more of your contribution goes to the Colorado Center for the Blind and our programs, and
Your gift addds to our total and thus is eligible for a portion of the $1 million Incentive Fund. That means that your gift helps us draw down even more dollars!
The holiday season is a time of giving, but it’s also a time of lots of holiday activities. If you’re worried you might forget about Colorado Gives Day, relax! You don’t have to wait for December 4. You can get that holiday giving spirit by scheduling your gift for Colorado Gives Day, and take that item off your calendar. You can schedule right now, and all you have to do is select “CO Gives Day” during checkout. Your payment will roll over on December 4, making it eligible for the reduced credit fee and the $1 Million Incentive Fund!
So now you have time for one more school play or choir concert!
And thank you for all of your support for the programs and people at the Colorado Center for the Blind!
Thirteen is our lucky number when you look at the Rogue’s Gallery in this photo. These are thirteen volunteers who contribute so muchto the Colorado Center for the Blind and to our students. Yet they humbly protest that they get back more than they give. We suppose that’s their call, but we’re telling you they give a lot. They teach Braille to seniors and drive vans, sort through the truckloads of Bed, Bath and beyond donations we received last year, teach students how to write a resume and several read a section or two of the ACT to one of our students. They drive students to rock climb and ski and sky dive, from the airport when they first arrive and back when they graduate, to job interviews and doctor appointments. If it’s true that nonprofits run on volunteers, then it’s no mystery why we’re in such great shape!
So beyond the excellent Romano’s pizza, here’s our thanks to Diane, Janet, John, Carolyn, Geoff, Mike, Josie, Ron, Bill, Kay, Sharon, Julie and Greg! And that also goes for Tony, Soosan, William and Casey who couldn’t make it today!