Careers General Colorado Center Information In the Media Independence Training Program Senior Programs

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.

In the Media Senior Programs

#NextFiftyInitiative Grant Helps Us Take Seniors in Charge to Grand Junction This Week @50initiative

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
(406) 546-8546

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.

Careers Events General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs Youth Services

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 Senior Programs

The Blind History Lady Talks to the Tuesday Seniors

Peggy Chong talks to the Senior Group
Left to Right – Phillis, Peggy, Gary, Sheila

This morning, the Tuesday Seniors group hosted The Blind History Lady, a.k.a. Peggy Chong. Chong, a long-time member of the National Federation of the Blind, recently retired to Aurora from New Mexico with her husband, Curtis.

For a number of years she has researched stories and records of blind Americans, some as far back as the 19th Century, in order to bring their more or less forgotten or never-known lives to light.

Her “blind ancestors” as she considers them to be, become more fully rounded-out citizens, and not just Hollywood stereotypes as she tells their stories in person or in print.

Having researched archives and records about blind people in the many states where she and Curtis have lived (New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland), Peggy is currently searching for blind Coloradans from the past. In fact, she spent the better part of the afternoon looking through old records here at the center, some dating back as far as the 1920s.

Yes, our Colorado blind ancestors!

General Colorado Center Information Senior Programs

Spanish-language Seniors Group Meets 3rd Friday of Each Month… That’s Tomorrow!

Saul practicing Braille with a muffin tin

¿Habla Español? ¿Es una persona mayor? Ven al grupo de apollo los invidentes al Centro de Colorado Colorado Para Personas Invidentes.

That’s right, we’ve started a seniors’ group for Spanish-speakers who are losing vision, have lost vision or are blind. It meets on the third Friday of each month from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. at 2233 W. Shepperd Ave. in Littleton.

Sí, mañana, a la una de la tarde.

Para más información, llame a Carina Orozco, 303-778-1130, ext. 233, o e-mail, [email protected].

Careers General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs

Still Thick as Thieves, These CCB Alumni Reunite, Tell Their Stories & Offer Wise Counsel to Students

Anahit, Kathy, Bill and Julie 2019

Let there be no doubt – students at the Colorado Center for the Blind form lifelong friendships. Monday, three such friends reunited at the center Kathy Kudlick, Bill Lundgren and Anahit LaBarre. They are shown above standing in front of our tactile CCB logo, left to right, Anahit, Kathy, Bill and Director Julie Deden

All three were students at the same time, in fact, they began arriving shortly after our move to Littleton in August, 2000.

Kathy was first in October of that year. A professor of French History at the University of California-Davis at the time, she came ready to at last embrace her identity as a blind person. Today, she is Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.

A psychotherapist, Bill came in November of 2000 from Philadelphia. He was not just at a transitional moment with the progress of his vision loss, but also in his life. After graduating in 2001, Bill made a fresh start when he opened a new psychotherapy practice in Denver. He’s still practicing.

Anahit LaBarre came to Littleton in January of 2001 as an international student from Armenia. She had finished college an been successfully employed as a blind person in Armenia, yet she felt further opportunities were very limited. Anahit wasn’t named LaBarre when she came to CCB. That came later, when she married Scott LaBarre. They have two children. Anahit has worked part-time with the Seniors’ program at CCB for many years. This year, as her two teenagers move into high school, Anahit has simultaneously increased her hours of work and started a Master’s Degree program to become a teacher for blind kids.

The three of them talked to our current students and staff during Philosophy class on Monday, offering advice and answering questions. The clear takeaway: Embrace this momement that is your training at CCB, and the friends you are making here, the friends you go through so much with, the friends you grow with for 6 to 9 months. For Kathy, Bill and Anahit, that moment of their training occurred 18 years ago now, but they’ve been reaping the benefits ever since.

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs

Our thanks to @RepJasonCrow for his visit & tour today!

Rep. Jason Crow visits with CCB Braille Class

We were honored to have freshman Congressman Jason Crow visit the Center this morning. Rep. Crow serves Colorado’s 6th District, which includes the Colorado Center for the Blind. Though he only had an hour, it was plenty of time to learn what we are about, and to meet our students and staff. He even got to say hello to our Tuesday morning Seniors support group!

Thanks for coming meeting and listening Congressman! It meant a lot to everyone!

Rep. Jason Crow visiting with CCB staff and students in the Travel Lobby

Rep. Jason Crow with Brent, Scott Julie and Dan in front of the mural

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs

Happy New Year from the Colorado Center for the Blind!

Looking across a snow covered landscape at the Colorado Center for the Blind

Yes, we got a little snow for the New Year, and a lot more cold! Temps dropped below zero in some places, but have been rising steadily since the ball dropped at midnight to start the New Year! Things are looking great for 2019, and we look forward to our students’ return on Friday, January 4!

Seniors groups start up again next week.

Senior Programs

Our New Senior Team Has Its First Meeting

There was excitement in the Senior Resource Room this morning as Senior Services Director Duncan Larsen met with a reconstituted Senior Team. Joining her and Anahit LaBarre were Carina Orozco and Chris Parsons, who are filling the two positions left open by the departures of Chris Kinney and Wayne Marshall earlier this fall. Both women are graduates of our Independence Training Program (ITP) and have been teaching at the Center for several years.

Four smiling women stand together in the Senior Resource Room
Our new Senior Team held their first meeting together this morning. Left to right are Carina Orozco, Chris Parsons, Duncan Larsen and Anahit LaBarre. Carina and Chris will move full-time into their new positions in 2019.

“I’m really excited,” Duncan said after the meeting. “With our new team we’re going to work on new initiatives, reaching out to more Spanish-speaking seniors and doing more multi-generational activities.”

Carina has been teaching Braille since April, 2015 and worked in our summer youth program in 2014. She will become the Senior and Student Services Specialist, working with Seniors part of the time as well as doing case management for ITP students. She’s also attending Metro State of Denver part-time, working toward a degree in Social Work. She is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Chris Parsons has been teaching assistive technology in the ITP program since March of 2015. Chris has a degree in English and worked for two years after college as an online writing tutor. She will become the Senior Outreach Specialist, leading support groups and making home visits in an eight-county area.

The positions became vacant when Wayne Marshall left the Center in September after eleven years to move to Georgia to be nearer to his aging mother and other relatives. Chris Kinney worked at the Center for seven years, mostly as Wood Shop & Home Maintenance Instructor before moving to the Senior Outreach position in 2017. He accepted a position with Denver Public Schools in October working with blind youth and is pursuing a master’s degree to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Carina and Chris Parsons will assume their new positions full-time after the first of the year.

General Colorado Center Information Senior Programs

Thankful for the Colorado Center for the Blind!

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.”

A group of a dozen seniors at along with CCB staff work on making sugar scrub

“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.

Colorado Gives Day Logo