General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

CCB Seeks Blind Colorado Youth to Go to DC in February

Early each year, more than 500 blind Americans tap their canes across Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia to keep appointments at the offices of every member of Congress. It is the Washington Seminar of the National Federation of the Blind, and it is how we make our legislative concerns and priorities known to those who have been elected to serve us. It is how we, the blind, make our voices heard, and doing so is the foundation of our democracy.

For the 2020 Washington Seminar, The Colorado Center for the Blind will assist up to 3 blind Colorado high school students to travel with the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado to the annual Washington Seminar February 10-13, 2019. The scholarships will include the costs of air travel, lodging at the Holiday Inn Capitol and a food allowance. We typically fly on the Sunday before the Washington Seminar begins, returning late on Wednesday. So, our travel plans will likely run from Sunday, February 9 to Wednesday, February 12, 2020. In that time, students will attend the National Association of Blind Students (NABS) meeting, learn about this year’s legislative priorities, attend meetings at the offices of members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation, and possibly get to visit some important sites in our nation’s Capital.

How to qualify

Blind and low vision students will submit an essay, 350 word minimum, that details how their experiences leading up to this point have shaped their goals and how attending the Washington seminar will help in their transition into college or the workforce.

Applicants are encouraged to read more about the Washington Seminar, and be able to identify who represents them in the United States House of Representatives. Here’s the link to the House Find Your Representative search page.

Essays should be sent to Martin Becerra-Miranda, Director of Youth Services,by December 1, 2019. Electronic copies are preferred, but Braille will also be accepted. Send essays to [email protected] or Braille to Colorado Center for the Blind, 2233W.Shepperd Ave., Littleton, CO 80120, ATTN: Martin Becerra-Miranda.

For more information, call Martin at 303-778-1130, ext. 223.Drawing of the US Capitol with the NFB Logo and Whosits in front of the steps

Braille Cane Travel Computer and Adaptive Technology General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Meet Adama, a Disability-rights Champion from Sierra Leone

Adama sitting at the table in the travel lobby with her phone and her slate and stylus.
After a lesson with her new iPhone, Adama reviews her Braille notes.

For the past three weeks, we’ve been delighted to have Adama Conteh as a special student at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Adama is from Sierra Leone, a country of about 6 million in West Africa. She has been in the U.S. under the sponsorship of Hope International, which has provided Adama with training at their headquarters in Tennessee, and transportation to Colorado to attend the Center for these three weeks.

You don’t have to talk to Adama more than a couple of minutes to understand that she is a disability rights and women’s rights advocate at her core. Blind since she was a very small child, she nonetheless went to college, worked as a teacher and was recently elected to city council in her home town of Makeni.

Not surprisingly, in a country where almost all daily cooking occurs outdoors over a wood fire or coal pot, and where only 12 percent of the population had access to electricity in 2016 (and that sporadic, she tells us), Adama had not learned to use accessible technology or even a Braille typewriter. She is, however, a marvel using a slate and stylus. Just think of the sound of a popcorn popper. Okay, a little slower than that, but just a little.

While at cCB,Adama has followed a very abbreviated schedule typical for our Independence Training Program (ITP). Thus, she worked on cane travel, home management and lots of Tech. Already Braille literate, her efforts there were to learn to use a Braille typewriter with its unique keyboard. In her work as an advocate and on the city council, she could effectively use her iPhone with a bluetooth Braille display, both for reading and writing e-mail, text messages and other documents.

At first, she didn’t see much use in a white cane, though. Streets in Sierra Leone are not regulated in the same way as they are in the U.S., and there are definitely no pedestrian sidewalks.

“If you (as a blind person) want to go somewhere,” she told us, “you take a scooter and they drop you right in front of the door.”

After a couple of weeks with a cane, however, she says she is excited about the increased independence it provides to her. She not only plans to use a cane when she returns home, but she plans to introduce it to other blind Sierra Leonians as well.

And calls home to her family?

“They can’t believe it,” she laughs. “”All those blind people are cooking? All the teachers and the director are blind?”

Adama gets it, though.

So, our thanks to Hope International for sending Adama to us, if only for three weeks. But also our congratulations. With a goal of empowering women with disabilities in Sierra Leone, you have found a champion, and we are proud to welcome Adama into our CCB family as well.

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Peaches, Chiles and Chives – Our Post-Labor Day Harvest

Octavia picks Peaches from the CCB Garden

During the latter part of August in Colorado, and into the first week or so of September, we are all going crazy about Western Slope peaches. They are big, they are juicy, and they are to die for. They are in the supermarkets, the farmers’ markets and many from the Front Range make the trip across the Divide to get a case or two, and maybe even attend the Palisades Peach Festival. They end up in cobblers, pies, crisps, freezers, and we have heard at least one reported instance of homemade peach ice cream. Some folks never get around to any of that, but eat as many as two to four fresh peaches a day during this period.

Well, they aren’t Palisades peaches, but they are from our very own peach tree. The day after labor Day students in Jen and Eliza’s morning Braille classes harvested peaches from the tree in our Legacy Garden. There were some other things to harvest, too, so we thought we’d share a few of the photos from that morning with all of you.

Thanks as always to our Colorado Master Gardeners!

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CCB Senior & Alum Launches “the Tactile Traveler” Radio Program & Podcast @kdnkradio

Nick crossing Shepperd Ave

You can’t keep Nicky out of the news. Glenwood Springs’s Nick Isenberg, who first attended our Seniors in Charge program and then came back to complete the Independence Training Program at age 73, is back in the news where he spent his professional career. This time it’s as “The Tactile Traveler”, the monthly radio program and podcast he launched on KDNK in Carbondale July 30.

KDNK is a ppublic access radio station which, according to its web site, reaches over 100,000 listeners from Rifle to Leadville to Marble, as well as streaming on the web. Here’s what the web site says:

Nicky News Premiers “The Tactile Traveler” on KDNK
Journalist Nick Isenberg applies his skills and experience to a new show that seeks to “empower blind and low vision people to explore the world and help the sighted to see the world in a new way.”

“The Tactile Traveler” is available from the Apple Store and other podcast distributors. Just search for “Tactile Traveler”.

Clicking this link will open the podcast and begin playing it.

General Colorado Center Information

Thanks to our 2019 #WesternWelcomeWeek Guests!

Ernesto talks about travel techniques while 3 children and one adult practice walking with white canes

We want to thank the 40 or so of our neighbors and new friends who stopped in, tour the center, got a Braille alphabet card and tried some of the killer chocolate chip cookies students had been baking all day. The real goal, and the real benefit of the event was that we all got to meet and talk. Our guests got the inside story on what the center is all about and, we trust, learned that blind people aren’t really all that different than themselves.

In fact, as one soon-to-be 6th grader put it, “It’s really cool that blind people can use the saw just with touch and listening!”

And hey, look for us in the Western Welcome Week Parade on Saturday!

A large group gathers around while Eliza talks about Braille

General Colorado Center Information

Join Us for Our Open House Today – It’s Part of Littleton’s 91st #WesternWelcomeWeek!

Shelby hands out Braille cards to a group of very interested children

Come and tour the Colorado Center for the Blind today, August 12. Take a tour of our facility, meet our staff and students and learn what it is we do at – and why! We have been in Littleton since 2000 and appreciate the welcome this community has afforded us for these 19 years. And we are proud to be part of Western Welcome Week!

Colorado Center for the Blind
2233 W. Shepperd Ave.
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, August 12, 2019

We will organize small tour groups as guests arrive. No reservations necessary. We’d love to meet you neighbors!

Check out the rest of Western Welcome Week’s Activities!

General Colorado Center Information In the Media

Catch These Words: Meet Current Student Holly Scott-Gardner & Words Worthy of Catching: @CatchTheseWords

Holly Scott-Gardner Hiking along Clear Creek on her first day at CCB

Holly Scott-Gardner is from the United Kingdom. By many measures, she is a very successful woman, yet she wanted to come to the Colorado Center for the Blind for training. On her first day at the Center, she accepted the challenge to go rock climbing. She attended the National Federation of the Blind Convention with us in Las Vegas last month, and a few weeks ago attended a conference on blindness in Guadalajara, Mexico.

We thought the best introduction to Holly would be to send you to her recent blog post about being at the Center. On her blog site, you can learn much more about her.

Read Holly Scott-Gardner’s blog post, Measuring the Impossible.

Events General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Run, Walk or Donate to the 2019 #6DotDashCO to Support Braille Literacy #ComeRunwithUs

6 Dot Dash 5K Logo

Bring the whole family and #comerunwithus #6dotdashco. You can Read more about this year’s 6 Dot Dash 5K, or Go Straight to the Registration Page.

The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and the Colorado Center for the Blind are partnering again for our 2nd 6 Dot Dash 5k, June 29! Our first year was a big success with 191 runners (and/or walkers) and netting more than $5000 for our Braille literacy and scholarship programs. Not bad for the first lap! Besides, it was a lot of fun.

This year is shaping up to be even bigger and better, with more kid activities, local food vendors, live music and more beer, just to name a few of this year’s additions. It’s a great way to spend a mid-summer Saturday morning!

The “6 Dot” refers to the six dots that make up each Braille cell. And it’s the combination of these dots that make the letters of the alphabet and punctuation that blind people read by touch.

This summer we will hold three Confidence/BELL Camps ;in Colorado for blind kids ages 5 to 11, where blind kids can learn that learning Braille is fun. Your participation in the 6 Dot Dash 5K will help bring the lifelong gift of literacy to kids from Littleton to Grand Junction.

It’s summer fun for the future of blind Colorado kids – you can’t go wrong!

Register Now! You can sign up as an individual, build a team or just make a donation!

Some more of this year’s highlights:

Collectable Race Medal with Braille and Print
The medal is part of a three year series that, when combined, makes up a beautiful mountain range. YEAR ONE SAYS Live The Life you Want in both Print and Braille, Year Two says Nobody Can Stop You, and Year Three says Shoot for the Sun. You’ll want to collect all three, which means you need to Register Now to get the 2019 medal!
Awesome tank style race tee!
This year we will have a great new design and color for our race shirts, which of course are part of each racer’s great swag!
More Activities for the Kids
We’re really excited about our kids activities this year, including face painting, a bouncy house, cotton candy, and popcorn all for FREE! We will also have Harley’s hot Dogs and Kona Ice in the house for more treats for the whole family.
Blind Faith Brewery and St. Patrick’s Day Brewery will be returning to pour up their brews for tasting by everyone over 21. We’re excited to report that Littleton’s Jackass Hill Brewery will join them this year. So, you’ll definitely want to wet your post-5K whistle, but don’t forget to bring your ID.
Bigger and Better Event Expo
We will have great exhibitors including 5 Wellbeing Spa (they are bring a sound resonance chair for everyone to enjoy), chair massage, essential oils, Tupperware, paparazzi jewelry, 31, Dot Dot Smile, Oroweat Organics, Ameritech Windows, Lula Roe, and much more. Many of our vendors are donating a portion of their proceeds so come ready to shop!
Live Music
We claim this band as our own, and you’ll love them too! Stray Dog will begin their live performance at 10:30. You’ll want to stick around to hear this great local group, and maybe you’ll become a Dog-Head too!
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Making Connections 2019 Agenda – Take an Early Look!

Colorado Center for the Blind Logo



3rd Annual Career and College Seminar

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

9:00 am: Registration
9:45 am: Welcome and Opening Remarks: Julie Deden, Executive Director, Colorado Center for the Blind; Diane McGeorge, Board Chair and Founder of the Colorado Center for the Blind; Kathleen Conti, Arapahoe County Commissioner

10:00 am: “A Blind Accountant? Crunching the Numbers”. Cody Bair, Certified Public Accountant, KPMG LLC

10:30 am: “From Ukraine to Colorado: Working in the Communications Industry”. Petr Kucheryavyy, Senior Accessibility Manager, Charter Communications

11:00 am: We will divide into two groups. One group will enjoy lunch while the other group meets our dynamic exhibitors.
12:00 pm: We will switch groups.

List of Exhibitors

Arapahoe Douglas Workforce Center
Blind Institute of Technology
Charter Communications
City of Littleton
College Information Table
Colorado Association of Blind Students
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (Business Enterprise Program)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Littleton Adventist Hospital
Team EEI
Visa Card Services
Yoga Body LLC

Breakout Sessions 1:00 to 2:00 pm

1. There is a job for you with the federal government: what you need to know to get started. Patricia McMahon, Outreach and Educational Coordinator, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Large conference room, upstairs)
2. Take time to relax: don’t let stress and anxiety limit your potential. Julie Hill, Yoga Therapist, Yoga Body LLC. (Small conference room, upstairs)
3. Essential interviewing techniques: practice your skills with several managers from various companies. (Gym, downstairs)
4. Rehabilitation Services: a vital resource. Josie Shea, Rehabilitation Counselor, Blind and Low Vision Services, Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. (Tech room 1, downstairs)
5. The Business Enterprise Program: not just a job, a career. Ellie Karre, Program Manager, Business Enterprise Program, Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. (Tech room 2, downstairs)
6. Get started in high-school to ensure your success. Martin Becerra, Director of Youth Services, Colorado Center for the Blind and Michelle Reed, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. (Braille room, downstairs)

Breakout Sessions 2:00 to 3:00 pm

1. What you need to know to get a job in the technology industry. Cala Estes, Director of Candidate Services, Blind Institute of Technology and Adam Campfield, Engineering Architect, Charter Communications. (Large conference room, upstairs)
2. Take time to relax: don’t let stress and anxiety limit your potential. Julie Hill, Yoga Therapist, Yoga Body LLC. (Small conference room, upstairs)
3. Essential interviewing techniques: practice your skills with several managers from various companies. (Gym, downstairs)
4. Mapping your future: how to choose a vocational goal. Josie Shea, Rehabilitation Counselor, Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. (Tech room 1, downstairs)
5. Competing in college on a level playing field. Dan Burke, College Preparation Skills Instructor, Colorado Center for the Blind. (Tech room 2, downstairs)
6. Get started in high school to ensure your success. Martin Becerra, Director of Youth Programs, Colorado Center for the Blind and Michelle Reed, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Colorado Division of Rehabilitation. (Braille room, downstairs)

Thank You Sponsors!

Our thanks to the 20/30 Foundation and to the Verizon Foundation for generously sponsoring this seminar.

About the Keynote Speakers

Cody Bair

Cody is a totally blind individual who earned his Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master’s of Taxation from the University of Denver. Following his graduation from the University of Denver, Cody began employment with KPMG LLP where he has worked for the past three and a half years in the Business Tax Services Department. Cody’s responsibilities at KPMG include reviewing business tax returns, tax consulting, corporate tax provision review and conducting research and development tax credit studies. In his free time Cody enjoys outdoor activities, blind hockey and traveling.

Petr Kucheryavyy

Petr was born in Ukraine, just two months prior to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion. He discovered that he was losing his vision at age nine, shortly after his family immigrated to the United States. By age 10, Petr was declared legally blind. Petr’s career journey began with his work in hospice care, after which he went on to teach “It’s Your Health”, an innovative approach to health and wellness at Emory University, his alma mater. He later went on to complete his Wellness Coaching Certification with Wellcoaches Corporation. Petr’s passion to ensure equal access for people with disabilities also became a great part of his life and led him to the work he did at the Colorado Center for the Blind in their adult and senior programs. Additionally, he was inspired to co-found Socially Accessible, a consulting agency that works with businesses to incorporate diversity and inclusion. His commitment to accessibility brought Petr to Charter Communications where he is currently building accessible employee and customer experiences as Senior Accessibility Manager. Petr’s true passion is to inspire transformational thinking that leads to positive health.

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Signs of Spring

Omar, Charles and Kameron move picnic tables while Julie and Duncan figure out placement

Sometimes spring arrives in Colorado in waves that feel like that bad bus driver, the one who alternately steps on the gas and then lets off, again and again, rocking you forward and back into half-nausea. That’s how it’s been this year – 80 degree days followed by an icy blast of wind and snow and then it starts again. But underfoot (and a couple of times under the snow), the grass is greening and the smell of the damp, warming soil is like a reassuring promise, while overhead in the budding trees robins and sparrows and towhees announce their return.

Even though the center was closed for Good Friday, it was a busy week. Both Omar and Lauren graduated this week. Adrian completed his Drop on Wednesday, and his Monster Route on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Tuesday Seniors group traveled to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasons herbal tea factory (located, appropriately enough on Sleepytime Drive).

Here are a couple of pics that speak of this spring. One of them is a group of volunteers, under the direction of Director Julie Deden and Senior Services Director Duncan larsen, moving the picnic tables onto our new patio outside the meeting room door. This was a classic “No, I don’t like it there, let’s try it over here” kind of activity. (Those picnic tables are made of steel, just saying.) The patio was put in last year as part of our parking lot and grounds redesign project. It’s the perfect place to enjoy your lunch in the spring sunshine and listen to the birds sing.

Our roof at the McGeorge Mountain Terrace Apartments is new,after the the big January snowstorm revealed serious leakages. The final exterior touches involve painting the roof trim. But while we have the painters up on ladders, we’re doing the necessary maintenance of painting the window trim and changing the colors. Why not? Spring is a great time for fresh new color!

Enjoy the Easter weekend all!

Repainting the trim at McGeorge Mountain Terrace