The Colorado Schoool for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) recently launched a great video series focusing on role models for their blind and deaf students. Our own Martin Becerra-Miranda, Director of Youth Services, is featured in this one:
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”.
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.
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.
Editor’s Note: In the fall we invited blind Colorado high school students to apply for our first-ever scholarship to attend the National Federation of the Blind‘s annual Washington Seminar. Students were asked to submit an essay telling us why they wanted to go, and we selected two students to come with us. In fact, that’s where some of us are right now, including three staff members and three ITP students along with the high school students. Tomorrow we’ll be on the Hill going to appointments at all nine offices of the Colorado Congressional delegation. Here’s a press release issued today by the National federation of the Blind of Colorado.
Littleton, Colorado (January 28, 2019) -Deyannira Villa Cazares, 16, of Denver, and Ian Lee, 18, of Aurora, join other Coloradans participating in the National Federation of the Blind’s Washington Seminar, January 28-31. Villa Cazares and Lee were chosen in a statewide essay contest.
Two Colorado High School students will travel with more than a dozen blind Coloradans to Washington, DC to advocate for legislation to improve the lives of the blind throughout the country. The group will join more than 500 blind Americans at the 2019 Washington Seminar Jan. 28-31, held each year by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).
Deyannira Villa Cazares, a 16-year-old sophomore at DSST: Conservatory Green High School, and Ian Lee, an 18-year-old senior at Aurora West College Prep, were the winners of an essay contest sponsored by the Colorado Center for the Blind in cooperation with the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado for blind high school students to attend the annual event. Deyannira of Denver and Ian of Aurora will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the seminar, where they will meet with Colorado’s congressional delegation and learn from leaders in the National Federation of the Blind.
“One of the biggest reasons visiting Washington would enrich my life is that I want to be able to advocate for people like me, blind or visually impaired, to have the same rights or opportunities as sighted people,” Deyannira wrote in her essay.
“I need to know what laws impact my life and what I can do to help influence changes in the future,” Ian wrote.
According to Julie Deden, Executive Director, Colorado Center for the Blind, “Beyond the legislative issues, these two bright, engaged students will be traveling the halls of our nation’s capital with blind adult role models. Our nation’s capital is big and complicated for anyone. But, they will learn that blind can go anywhere and engage members of congress just like everyone else.”
While in Washington, the students will join others in educating representatives and senators about three legislative priorities:
The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA), which would provide a refundable tax credit for qualifying purchases of critically needed access technology. With this bill, Congress would stimulate individual procurement of this technology and promote affordability of these tools.
The Greater Accessibility and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act. The legislation would have Congress set minimum accessibility requirements for advanced digital interfaces which create barriers that prevent blind individuals from independently operating essential devices that enhance quality of life.
The Disability Employment Act (DEA) is intended to spur innovation that will increase and enhance modern employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Washington Seminar is an annual event of the National Federation of the Blind to introduce Congress to priority issues for blind Americans that require congressional attention over the coming year.
Matt Wallace graduated from CCB in October of 2016. None of his contemporary students would be at all surprised to hear that Matt is doing color commentary for the Penn Women’s Ice Hockey team broadcasts. Matt loves sports. Matt knows sports. Matt talks sports. And talks and talks sports. Hey, savvy broadcast execs, recognize value and start paying Matt and his partner Sam to talk to your audience about sports. Take a look at this video posted on the Philadelphia Enquirer web site with a news story:
We wanted to bring your attention to a couple of newspaper articles that appeared in November and brought attention to the Center. Both reflect great partnerships that help us ensure that our students can, as our tag line says, learn to “Take Charge with Confidence and Self-reliance!”
The first, from November 5, appeared in the Denver Post’s YourHub. It’s about our neighbor and partner, Angel Concept in downtown Littleton. The article isn’t about the Center, but it features one of our students who has been learning job skills there. For a number of years, we’ve counted on Angel Concept to also mentor one of our summer youth in the “Earn & Learn Program”, helping them gain valuable work experience.
Here’s the article by YourHubs Holly Graham:
The second article, written by Alex DeWind, appeared in the Colorado Community Media newspapers on November 17. CCM includes such south Metro newspapers as the Centennial Citizen and the Littleton Independent
The article covers our indoor skydiving excursion at iFLY in Lone Tree
Read the iFLY article at:
Our alum Poonam Vaidya of Bangalore was recently part of a BBC World Service radio episode of “The Conversation.” She spoke about blindness with another guest, a blind attorney from Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia. Shortly afterward, the BBC posted this short video of Poonam. Check it out:
In this part of the world, the BBC’s World Service can be heard during normal sleeping hours on one of our public radio stations. This week our volunteer photographer/videographer Mike Thompson had the BBC World Service on while falling back to sleep in the wee hours when he heard a familiar voice and a familiar name – Poonam Vaidya.
Poonam is from Bangalore, India and was one of our international students. (We always try to have one international student at any given time.), She graduated in 2016. Poonam was one of two blind women interviewed for the BBC program, “The Conversation.” The 30-minute radio podcast gives interesting insights into how blindness is viewed in other cultures.
And thanks for the great plug Poonam!
We want to call your attention to this excellent article by Catherine Kudlick, a 2000 CCB grad, The Price of Disability Denial
It was published in the New york Times on May 24 as part of its Disability series. The Times says: “Disability is a weekly series of essays, art and opinion by and about people living with disabilities.”
Kudlick is a Professor of History an San Francisco State.