Editor’s Note: We were excited to receive a one-year grant from Colorado’s Next Fifty Initiative in June to provide skills training and employment services to seniors losing vision. The grant allows us to serve “seniors” from age 50 and up. So, this week Duncan, Julie and Dan are all in Grand Junction for our first-ever Seniors in Charge road trip! Here’s the press release we sent out.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan Burke
Date: Sunday, August 25, 2019
Training Comes to Grand Junction for Blind Seniors
NextFifty Grant Helps Littleton-based Center Bring “Seniors in Charge” to Western Slope
Littleton – The Colorado center for the Blind (CCB), a world-renowned training center for blind adults, youth and seniors, will conduct its 4-day Seniors in Charge program for nine seniors this week at Grand Junction’s Center for Independence, 740 Gunnison Ave.
The intensive training covers mobility with the white cane, nonvisual cooking techniques, accessible gadgets, and Braille instruction, and is offered twice each year to seniors losing vision across Colorado. The Grand Junction training is funded through a grant from NextFifty Initiative, a Colorado-based private foundation dedicated to funding innovative, mission-driven initiatives that improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers.
“Our goal is to teach seniors that losing vision doesn’t have to be the end of their independence,” says Duncan Larsen, Director of Senior Services at CCB. “We teach skills, but we also teach a positive philosophy about blindness.”
The Seniors in Charge program is offered by CCB twice a year at its Littleton facility, and attracts seniors from across Colorado and even other states. Thanks to the NextFifty funding, CCB is taking the program on the road for the first time. The Center for Independence has made its kitchen and auditorium available for the training.
“We’ve had many students from the western slope come to Littleton for the program in the past,” says Executive Director Julie Deden, “so it’s especially exciting to be coming to Grad Junction this time and to have so many seniors sign up.”
One of the Seniors in Charge alumni from Grand Junction is Margaret Williams, 92, who currently serves as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s Grand Valley Chapter. Williams will be on hand for the opening introductions on Monday morning.
Classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and seniors will prepare their lunch all three days. On Thursday, the program will run from 9 a.m. to noon. From 10 a.m. to noon, a Family and Friends session will be held. Seniors will share what they’ve learned, and certificates will be awarded to participants.
In addition, a training session on serving seniors experiencing vision loss will be held for about 20 area professionals from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.