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General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Youth Services

Meanwhile, down in the gym, a dozen blind students were dissecting dog sharks! @ArapahoeCC

Deya and Alma examine their Shark

These Denver high school students, Deya and Alma were two of the dozen middle school to college prep students who experienced all the sensory data of a spiny dog shark when they opened one up today at the Center.

Well, except for taste.

Thanks again to Arapahoe Community College’s Biology Professor Terry Harrison for leading these blind students through a meaningful lesson about anatomy – a lesson with the side benefit of learning that vision isn’t the only sense with which to do real science!

Terry Harrison with the 2019 Shark Dissection Group

Categories
Events General Colorado Center Information In the Media Youth Services

Here’s news about the 2 high school students who submitted successful essays to attend #NFBinDC with @nfbco:

Drawing of the US Capitol with the NFB Logo and Whosits in front of the steps

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.

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Events General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

FAST (Fun Activities & Skills Training) Kicks Off the Year with Family Movie Night Friday #BlindYouth

Movie and Pizza for our first FAST Friday!
That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Even better is that we’ll be watching an audio-described version of the all-time favorite, “Toy Story.” It’s Martin’s favorite movie!

Audio description provides information to blind and visually impaired viewers that would otherwise be inaccessible to them – short descriptions of on-screen scenes, action, gestures and facial expressions slipped in during gaps in the dialogue.

What:

 

Toy Story and Pizza

 

When:

 

Friday, September 21, 5:30 p.m.
Where:

 

Colorado Center for the Blind
2233 W. Shepperd Ave.
Littleton, CO 80120

 

How:

 

Please contact Martin Becerra-Miranda so we’ll know how many pizzas to order:
303-778-1130, x223
email: [email protected]

Here are a couple of other things to keep a watch out for this school year:

  • October 13, a trip to the Makers Fair
  •  

  • October 25 – 28, 2018 NFB of Colorado Convention 
  • December 15 NFB of Denver Christmas Party
  • January 24 Metro Area Braille Challenge

 

We’ll have more details on these and even more activities this year, including our annual shark Dissection with Arapahoe Community College Biology Professor Terry Harrison and the NFB of Colorado’s 2nd Annual 6 dot dash in June.

To infinity and beyond!

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General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Access & #TactileLiteracy: A Day in Our College Prep Class

Access to concepts and information presented in graphical form has long been a challenge for blind college students. In the past couple of decades the surge in digitally-displayed content has, well, gone supernova. Thus, blind college students need to develop basic tactile literacy with two- and thre-dimensional representations that their sighted peers may have learned much more informally through media such as picture books, television, film, or YouTube. Blind people learn how things look best by touch. Descriptions are a stop-gap, but only that. Thus, one aspect of our College Prep class’s goal of preparing our students to be savvy and nimble in gaining access to their studies involves taking a look at the kinds of things colleges may throw in front of them and expect them to be able to interpret.

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Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information In the Media Independence Training Program

CCB Alum @vi_poonam Guest on @bbcworldservice “The Conversation” w/ @KimChakanetsa

Smiling Poonam rining her bell
Poonam Vaidya rings her Freedom Bell at her CCB graduatin in 2016.

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!

https://player.fm/series/the-conversation-1301459/being-blind

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Careers General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Summer Was Fun, and Especially Our Saturday Science Day!

Trevor with Maggie and Amy assembling robots

Here are a few pics from our Science Saturday way back in July! Studens rotated between three stations – basic chemistry, a station dedicated to weather, and a robotics class using Lego Mindstorms.

With the first serious fall weather this week – misty rain, leaves turning and starting to litter the lawns and sidewalks – it’s kind of fun to think about how hot it was that day out front with the bucket and the hose!

The point of course is to show our students that blind people can do science and – Wow! – it’s even fun!

Ashley working with Keila on edible candle science project
Maggie and Lauren watch as as their experiment produces gas that inflates balloons

 

Ashley simulates how a tornado looks using a bucket and water, with Roland, Faye and Keishawn. Our volunteer Kaylooks on.

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General Colorado Center Information

How many ways can the blind enjoy #Eclipse2017? #ShareLittleton

A Large group of CCB staff and students outside observing the eclipse. Some are wearing eclipse glasses while they listen to a live audio description

Quite a few, it turns out.

Staff and students held an Eclipse Party to celebrate and enjoy the 92 percent coverage of the sun today. Students in Home Management prepared a black bean salsa and cookies to start things off about 10:30 this morning as we took time to learn a little more about the eclipse.

Among our tools was the recently published Getting a Feel for Solar Eclipses, published by NASA. It featured tactile (and colorful) graphics of a solar eclipse and a tactile map of the United States depicting the path of totality.

In addition to this, many downloaded the iOS app Eclipse Soundscapes, which featured rumble maps that vibrated to show the brightest spots of such features as Bailey’s Beads, as well as audio descriptions of the peak event timed to our locale. We broadcast these using a bluetooth speaker. The app was developed by the National Park Service, Science Friday and Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Leon wears eclipse glasses and takes a look as the eclipse gets startedOf course we also obtained 25 pairs of eclipse sunglasses for sighted staff and those of us who have some residual vision and wanted to try and see the event. Sleepshades, usually a requirement for any student with no more than light perception, were not required for the event.

We were all out on the edge of our parking lot, watching and listening as the day grew dimmer and the temperature dropped from about 80 degrees to around 74 degrees.

Over in the shadow of the trees several of the group observed the progress of the eclipse as the sunny spots between the shadows of the leaves slowly grew smaller – a natural version of the pinhole approach of watching an eclipse.

Afterwards, we all went inside and were treated to a pizza lunch by the CCB Student Association.

Oh yeah, it was a real party!

Yolanda and Chip looking at the Eclipse Tactile Graphics
Close up of Eclipse Tactile Graffic
Eclipse Soundscapes App featuring Baily's Beads

 

A view of the sun during the eclipse - lense flairs show the actual eclipse shape
Tree leaf shadows make a natural pin hole eclipse viewer on the CCB flagstone in the front garden

 

Categories
Youth Services

Weather, Robots and Chemistry: Summer Science Seminar is Saturday!

Jamie (bottom right) holding the rocket with a group of CCB youth launching water rockets
Water Rockets were a big splash during last summers science seminar.

Blind people can and are scientists, even though too often blind youth are discouraged or set off to the side in science classes. With that in mind, each year we conduct a Saturday Science Seminar in conjunction with our summer programs. It’s not exclusive, however, as blind youth are invited whether or not they’re in this year’s summer programs.

So please join us for 3 fun filled and educational sessions in an array of sciences.

When and Where?

Saturday July 22nd from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. We will be providing lunch so please RSVP to Brent by July 20th. Email him at [email protected] or by phone 303-778-1130 x 222.

What?

We’ll break participants up into three groups, and each group will get a chance to go to all three of the science activities offered:

Robotics

Learn about mechanical advantage and gear ratios and more when your group assembles a Lego Mindstorm robot to drive across the floor.
Trevor Settles, B.S. Physics

Meteorology

Experience cloud formation, the Bernoulli Effect and other weather phenomena related to the weather.
Ashley Neybert, B.S. in Chemistry

Chemistry

Use the talking LabQuest during an Introduction to basic chemistry and using accessible technology to take visual measurements using non-visual methods.
Dr. April Hill Associate Professor, Director of Criminalistics
Department of Chemistry
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Come and have some science fun!

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Senior Programs

Seniors Attend Audio-described Production of “Mama Mia”

Seniors around a long table, laughing and talking with food

Here’s a pic of some of our seniors at Chili’s last Saturday, after attending the audio-described performance of “Mama Mia” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The Seniors used it as a fund-raiser, raising over $200. They keep a small donation fund going to help out with the expenses of various Senior activities for those who may come up short – things like bowling or movies. The money raised will go into that pot.

For the audio-described performances, blind and theater-goers check out a small FM receiver and headphones over which they receive the live audio description of action on the stage. DCPA offers at least one performance with this accessibility service, as well as sign-language interpreters, for each production.

Categories
Computer and Adaptive Technology General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Graham’s Tech Project

Graham's hands turn dials on the audio mixing board, mic, headphones and guitar visible

It just so happens that Graham graduated today, but we’re posting a sample of his Tech Class project. He of course worked with screen readers and other tools in his Tech Class, but as a songwriter and musician with a fair bit of recording experience, he wanted to try his hand at recording and mixing a music track for his final Tech project. Tricky enough, but it takes some skill and patience with the computer and screen reader to make it work with audio editting software, and then only a few such applications are actually accessible for blind users. So, that’s what Graham did, selecting Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is a Losing Game,” recording vocals and guitar and multiple tracks for background vocals, then editting and ixing … Well, here’s asnippet, just to give you the flavor.

Graham in headphones before the mic and mixing board, laying down a guitar track
Graham wearing headphones at a PC editing tracks