Categories
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.

Categories
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.
FREE BEER
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!
Categories
Braille Events General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

The #Braille Blizzard Challenge in Littleton!

Ty in the meeting room
During the lunch break, Ty Gillespie talked about his experience going to the National Braille Challenge last summer, held at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. Were you nervous? “I was really nervous.” Would you go again? “Oh yeah, I’d go again!” Ty took 2nd Place in his age group in 2018.

We hosted the Braille Challenge today, referred to as the “Braille Blizzard Challenge” by the seven Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) staff members who drove north  in the storm, sometimes at 25 MPH or slower.  It was also slow going for participants, teachers and parents who came from as far away as Dillon and Fairplay.  It even took as long as 90 minutes to get to Littleton from Aurora as wind and snow swirled across the Metro area this morning, beginning about 8 a.m.

There were 14  participants in the Braille Challenge hosted here today, and there were 25 in Colorado Springs last Thursday at CSDB.  No doubt, Braille Rules!

Based on the last couple of posts, readers might get the impression that it’s doing nothing but snow in Colorado this month. The truth is that, between storms, skies have been sunny and teperatures as high as 55 degrees. Not so rough. And since this is Colorado, this morning’s wind had died and the sun was trying to burn through the clouds by early afternoon.

A deep snow covers the grounds of the Colorado Center for the Blind
By early afternoon, the view of the front of the Center showed only the fresh snow from the blizzard, and the sun was burning through.
Categories
Events General Colorado Center Information

Letter to friends and supporters from President of the NFB of Colorado, Scott C. LaBarre and the Executive Director of CCBJulie Deden

6 Dot Dash 5K Logo

Editor’s Note: This letter has been widely distributed this week, but we decided to risk repeating ourselves by posting it here because we very much hope you will join us for the NFB of Colorado Comcast 6 Dot Dash on Sunday. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Dear Family and Friends,

In recent months we have been planning our first National Federation of the Blind Comcast 6 Dot Dash 5K. Perhaps you have heard about it. It is this coming Sunday morning. Perhaps you have already made plans to attend. We hope so. Perhaps you have registered for the race. If so, thank you. If you have not there is still time. www.6dotdashco.com. We at the Colorado Center for the Blind are proud to be hosting this event. The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us or our dreams. The 6 Dot Dash 5K will raise awareness and funds for Braille literacy and blindness skills training. The 5K run/walk, expo, kids’ activities, and blind beer tasting kick off at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 24th at the Colorado Center for the Blind (2233 W. Shepperd Ave. Littleton, CO 80120). The name “6 Dot Dash” comes from the six dots which make up the Braille cell. A combination of these six dots makes up every letter in the Braille alphabet. For individuals who are blind or low vision, these 6 dots represent literacy, independence, and the opportunity to live the lives we want. We will be highlighting our Center, our grounds, and its idyllic setting in beautiful downtown Littleton, Colorado.

We are proud to announce that the Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of Colorado, and a running enthusiast, Mr. Steve Anton, will serve as Honorary Chair of this inaugural event. In addition to the 5K, runners can enjoy a 1-mile fun run, our race day expo, tours of the Colorado Center for the Blind, and our blind beer tasting in partnership with Blind Faith Brewing, De Steeg Brewing, and St. Patrick’s Brewing Company. (Blindfolds available for beer tasters who are not blind.) Registration is $40, and participants will receive an official chip time, technical t-shirt, free finisher photos, a finisher medal, and entry to the blind beer tasting (www.6dotdashco.com). This is an out and back course, starting at the Colorado Center for the Blind and proceeding along the beautiful Mary Carter Greenway. A special thanks to Comcast, our Title Sponsor.

The Colorado Center for the Blind is the principal program conducted by the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. CCB is in the midst of our Summer Youth Programs, along with all of the other training we provide to students of all ages. Students come from all over the Nation and the world. Please, come visit us this Sunday morning. Come walk or run with us. We promise a great experience.

For further information contact Dan Burke, [email protected], 303-778-1130 ext. 213 or cell 406-546-8546.

Warmly,

Julie Deden and Scott LaBarre

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Blind people need to know about colors too, & Other First-day-of-summer Lessons

Cadence knows which is her Backpack by reading the Braille label beneath  the hookThat was one of the first lessons of the first day of summer for Confidence Camp kids this morning.

“If someone asks you what your backpack looks like, what are you going to tell them?” the lesson continued.

Yes, Monday began with learning for the 10 5 to 12-year-olds. It went on from there, including making lunches, and there will be plenty more lessons in independence and fun over the next two weeks. Lots of fun too – their day ended with a trip to the pool for a swim. Now that’s summer!

And then there were the 23 teenagers in our Earn & Learn and College Prep programs in their first day of classes. they will be with us for 8 weeks, including a trip to the National Federation of the Blind 2018 Convention in Orlando!

The students arrived on Friday and spent the weekend settling in at their apartments with their counselors and roommates. Monday was their first day under sleepshades for those with any residual vision. That was Challenge One for many of the students. And the summer we have planned for them is full of the rewards that can only be reaped by facing even more new challenges.

The halls were full of new summer students from ages 5 to 19 exploring the Center on their first day.

Categories
Events

Join us with @NFBCO & @ComcastColo for the First #6DotDashCO on June 24!

Four runners with the NFBCO 6 Dot Dash Logo in the lower-right cornerDear Friends –

We want to bring your attention to an exciting event taking place here at the Colorado Center for the Blind on Sunday, June 24.

At least, it will start and finish at the Center, because it is the national Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s first 6 Dot Dash 5K, and we invite you to register and walk, run or roll! Funds raised go to the NFB of Colorado, the organization that founded the Colorado Center for the Blind and whose fund-raising kept the doors of the CCB open for many years afterward. The practical application of the philosophy we teach here at the Center is the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind, whose tag line is “Blindness is not what holds you back. You can live the life you want.”

Comcast LogoWe also want to give special recognition to Comcast, Title Sponsor for our first-ever 6 Dot Dash in Colorado!

 

“6Dots” refers to the six dots that make up the Braille cell, and so are the fundamental elements of that revolutionary reading system for the blind. The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado advocates for blind children to learn to read and write in Braille with its annual Braille Enrichment in Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academies held across the state. In addition, college scholarships for blind students, advocacy for blind parents and other blind Coloradans are among the important work of the NFB of Colorado.

The Expo opens at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 10 a.m. There will be blind beer tasting at noon.

Read more about the NFBCO 6 Dot Dash!

We’ll be on hand on June 24, and we hope you will be too!

Categories
General Colorado Center Information

Shout out to @DirtCoffee #ShareLittleton

After delivering Braille menus to Dirt Coffee, Rebecca was the first to put one to use.

Here are a couple of pics taken this morning at the Dirt Coffee Bar in downtown Littleton. Dirt is a nonprofit operation dedicated to employment for people with Autism and we knew we had a lot of values in common when they called us to ask about Braille menus and board games for the shop a month before it opened. There’s nothing like a Braille menu!

This morning we delivered two copies of the menu in Braille … and of course we had to try out their coffee and hot chocolate!

Here’s a short clip from dirtcoffee.org

Dirt is on a mission to bring you quality crafted coffee, food & drink while employing & empowering individuals with autism.  … From the ground up, our shop will go further to cultivate a culture of acceptance, inclusion, and opportunity

Dirt Coffee managers wanted both inclusivity and a relaxed, inviting atmosphere, so provide Braille board games and playing cards. Steve and Dan learned never to bet against Rebecca in Crazy Eights.
Some games we can adapt for ourselves. Rebecca tosses her bean bag toward the sound of Dan’s cane tapping behind the hole.
Categories
Braille General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Blowing off Steam After Competing in the Braille Challenge CSDBBulldogs

A student in sleepshades prepares to make a throw iwht the goal ball

After spending much of the day in their chairs, giving their best in various Braille skills as part of the 2018 Braille Challenge, participants in the Metro area competition found goal ball the perfect way to unwind.

It’s the third year we’ve hosted the event for Metro-area kids, which is organized in Colorado by the colorado school for the deaf and the blind. Students scores on reading, writing and more are collected regionally and given rankings, then compared to scores across the country. Eventually, the Braille Institute in Los Angeles will bring the most competitive students there for a final competition. In the meantime, there’s a little goal ball, some local and regional prizes and pizza for lunch!

Congrats to all the participants- you’re all winners with Braille!

Categories
Events General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs

A Peek at Hands-on with the “Shared Visions” 2017 Exhibit @ArapahoeCC #TactileAccess

Adia, Mason M. and Cezar look at the Old Man Wincing while Ravi reads the description provided in Braille

Here are a few photos from the Shared Visions reception at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts at Arapahoe Community College on Thursday night. Everyone got hands on with pieces from Nathan Abels’ painting and drawing classes. CCB students also had laser-cuts of drawings they made in Ann Cunningham’s art class with accompanying Haiku, and CCB alum Jenny Callahan had a number of stone carvings and a bronze in the show. The Seniors art class had bowls thrown on the wheel in Katie Caron’s ceramics studio. Katie brought her daughter, who insisted on wearing sleepshades so she could try to identify the art tactilely.

“This is the best thing we do all year,” said one CCB staff member. While some may argue in favor of another activity associated with the center, the Shared Visions art exhibit, now in its fourth year, is an extraordinary opportunity for everyone.

The show remains open at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts until November 22.

Ravi adds color to her drawing which will be laser-cut for the show
Ravi shows Julie her laser cut image with Haiku -

 

Laura looks at a piece made with various screws
Katy holds up her daughter who is wearing sleepshades so she can touch a tactile piece of the mountains

Phillis shows Chris P. and Julie the bowls she threw on the wheel at ACC

Categories
Braille General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Snow Already!

David K. walks through the snow on a winter morning

If you’re on the Front Range of Colorado this post won’t surprise you, because you drove/walked/bussed in a steadily-falling snow this morning.

But let’s admit it – this 3 to 5 inches of snow is a bit early this year, just think of all those trees whose leaves have yet to drop! Tonight will be a killing freeze, whith temps in the low 20s. That will likely mean an icy commute tomorrow morning. Tricky, but it’s part of the deal. Blind people have to go to work in good weather and bad, just like anyone else. And that’s what we teach and expect here at the Center. So, we’ll be open tomorrow just like today, unless of course frozen branches knock out the power, as they did in an arc that went around us, vfrom the Bemis Library to the Littleton Downtown Light Rail Station.

Charles S. reading from his Braille instruction book

To make it all worthwhile today, Charles S. finished learning the Braille alphabet. This is the kind of thing that is regularly announdcd over the PA system or at announcements first thing in the morning.

Who would want to miss out on achieving that kind of milestone?