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Cane Travel Careers General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

A little about CCB at #NFBCO17 – @nfbco

Blanca at the Podium at NFBCO17
Tabea at the podium at NFBCO17
Ryan at the podium with Julie and Scott to the right at NFBCO17

Everyone – staff and students – were in Fort Collins last weekend for the 63rd Convention of National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. For some, it was their first convention, while others were very involved in a number of activities and divisions.

Above these three recent alums were at the podium at different moments. Left to right: Blanca was part of the CCB presentation talking about her training and her new job; Tabel was one of the scholarship winners, but here is
shown as part of the “My Blindness, My Self” panel; and Ryan also talked about his new job, and how he was quickly moved to a new position that challenged him even more. He had met many challenges as a stdent and that confidence helped him push forward.

Below are two current students during Sunday morning sessions – Dougan and Adia. Dougan completed his Monster Route on Monday. At Tuesday morning’s announcements, he learned he was going out on his support drop. He made it back with hours to spare before Game Six of the World Series Tuesday night.

Dugan at the NFBCO17 convention
Adia at the NFBCO17 convention

 

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Home Management Independence Training Program

Pie-day Friday

There are always firsts at the Colorado Center for the Blind. For example, today Casey, a relatively new student, went on his first independent route to Romancing the Bean. Sure, he’d been there before, but not traveling on his own. And that’s what makes it a first.

Adia has been at the center since August, and last night she cooked her dinner party – for herself and five guests. This afternoon, Cody completed his mini-meal – it’s only for 15 people. He served Mississippi Pot Roast over smoked mashed potatoes and homemade bread.

What makes the pot roast “Mississippi?”

“A whole lot of butter.”

Adia, Melissa and Tyler (with 2 thumbs up) showing off their pies
And this afternoon the CCB Student Association is hosting the first-ever pie contest. There are seven student entries, and Julie, Daniel and Vicki are the judges.
Julie, Daniel and Vicki Judging the pie contest

Cezar with his pie
Lia cutting her pie

 

Late Breaking!

The seven contestants and their pies were:

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie with Chocolate crust – Lia took second place
  • Carmel apple – Melissa
  • Tropical Mango topped with nuts and whipped cream – Cesar
  • Key Lime – Zach P.
  • Raspberry Pie – Adia
  • Cherry Pie – Tyler.

But the winner, baking his very first pie, was Justin with a crispy apple, proving that sometimes it’s hard to beat the simple basics! First prize included a new rolling pin.

J.D. awards Justin his prizes

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Youth Programs Receive Anonymous $10,000 Donation

Garret works with 3 summer students in the Gym on holding their canes properly

Recently, we were elated to get notification that we had received an anonymous donation of $10,000 designated for our Youth Programs through our Colorado Gives portal. We often receive donations in this way and welcome every one of them. But such generous donations as this one are, not surprisingly, a little out of the norm. The anonymous donor left the following note, which meant a lot to our Youth Services staff as our summer youth programs were drawing to a close. We’ve edited the note slightly:

I am pleased to be able to make another large donation this year. (I know) one of your alumni and seeing the incredible impact you have made in her life makes me want to give as much as I can. God bless you all. True charity is anonymous, I do not need any recognition of accolades beyond being able to continue to see you do incredible work.

Maggie and Lauren experiment with chemically inflating balloonsSo let’s talk about Summer 2017. We’re including a few photographic highlights from this year. Along with these activities, many students had their first jobs this summer. Maggie, for example, is starting her sophomore year of high school in Arizona. She was matched with our perennial partner, “Arapahoe community College (ACC) to work in their e-learning Department. Her job was to check various pages on ACC’s web pages and learning management system for accessibility. ACC has a strong commitment to equal access to learning, and Maggie loved her job using her assistive technology skills.

“And they loved me, too!” she reported.

No doubt.

Dineigha is also a high school sophomore this year and loved her job doing childcare at the Auraria Early Learning Center – another perennial partner for our Earn and Learn summer students. Going to a job, having responsibility, doing something valuable and then getting paid for it is an important step in becoming an adult for any young person. but it is one in which blind youth face barriers of doubt on the part of prospective employers and often doubt about their own abilities to meet the challenge. Our Earn and Learn program makes that step as normal and as rewarding as those our students’ peers experience. And they come away with the confidence that they can be successful in the work force.

Mausam is a high school senior this year in Virginia and was part of the College Prep Program this summer.

“Growing up with Indian parents,” she said with understated humor at the summer graduation ceremony, “college is the Holy Grail.”

Mausam learned about the differences between high school and college. Blind students in college have to plan, investigate and initiate accommodations well in advance to ensure they will have equal access. In addition to learning more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), she and her felow College Prep students had the opportunity to visit two area campuses and learn about how accessibility services are administered at each, giving her more experience and perspective, and thus a better chance to make the successful transition into higher education next fall.

The only suitable expression of our gratitude for this generous donation is to continue to give the message through our unique training programs that blind Youth, seniors and our Independence Training Program students can live the lives they want. World-class blindness skills and confidence-building challenges are the recipe, and we’ll keep developing new ways to give our students the tools to change what blindness means in their lives!

To learn more about giving to the innovative programs of the Colorado Center for the Blind, visit our Donate page.

Roland locates a hand hold as he climbs up a steep rock outcrop
Four rafts navigate down Clear Creek toward some white water near some large rocks
Summer students Mary and Cheyenne each mount a tandem bike with EyeCycle Volunteers while Christina waits her turn

 

Roland picks Basil leaves while he takes a tour of the garden
A large group of CCB Summer Youth on Paddle Boards, Kayaks and Canoes
Masson learns how to put power in forward knee strikes while Rachael holds the pad. Maggie waits her turn to give it a try

 

Summer staff with canes crossed in the air

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Senior Programs

Celebrating Our Senior Programs in New Video!

We’re proud of our senior programs and how they have changed the lives of seniors who have lost vision and the people who love them. We’re excited about how those programs continue to grow – from the residential Seniors in Charge (twice a year), to four support groups (one in Spanish), to ever-expanding opportunities to provide outreach services.

And so we’re proud of our new Senior Program video, made with filmmaker and long-time collaborator Djuna “DJ” Zupancic. The video doesn’t talk about all the program details as much as it endeavors to tell what those programs and services have meant to five seniors in particular. Embodied in these seniors and in their stories are the values that drive our Senior Services – indeed everything we do at CCB – skills that build belief in ourselves, a community that supports us, hope where there was uncertainty and maybe just a skoshe of defiance!

Thanks to DJ for her highly professional and creative work. She gets us!

Thanks to all the Seniors and the staff who appear, especially Judith, Richard, Bernie, Phyllis, Ruben and Dale for telling the world! Thanks also to Tech Instructor Chris Parsons, who reads the descriptions like a pro. You’d never guess it’s her first film!

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Steve Announces 2 for 1 on Drops: Julie & Ashley Successes!

Who can resist a 2-for-1 deal? Steve called it out at morning announcements – Ashley for her support drop (meaning she spent the morning with Steve), and Julie M. on her solo drop! What a great deal – and they both made it back successfully, and with more confidence in their independent travel skills!

Limit one coupon per Travel Instructor, please.

Ashley just back from her Support Drop
Julie M. Signing in after returning from her Independent Drop

 

Categories
Independence Training Program

Students Fan Out over Metro Denver on Annual Scavenger Hunt

Libby and Chaz about to get on an RTD Bus

While Center staff hold an educational and planning day, students are excused from classes, though not from learning.

No, it’s the annual scavenger hunt that CCB alums will recall. Students are divided up into groups and given a list of 30 items they must find or produce today, and bring to the Center tomorrow. Items on the list involve a lot of Braille, traveling to various locations to get such things as menus or business cards or other unusual items. There’s also a baking item on the list, and some research on the Internet can help, but everything is required to be in Braille or have a Braille label. That way, there’s something that everyone can do. Thus, students work together and use the skills they’ve been practicing in class.

And yes, it’s a competition. The winning group will receive a gift card for a popular place to eat.

And the weather’s great this morning … hope everyone got an early start!

Categories
Cane Travel Independence Training Program

“I cant’ believe I did it!” Congrats to Serena on Completing her Drop Today!

Serena signing in at the Brailler in the lobby, grinning at the camera

Confidence

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Shout out to La. Tech Grad Faculty & Students – Safe Travels! @PDRIB210

Three men seated at a long table, facing a room of listeners.
Left to right are Derek Williamson, Dr. Eddie Bell and Colin Wong, part of a philosphy class on Wednesday.

Safe travels to our friends from Rustin as they head back to Louisiana on Friday! Two faculty members and five graduate students in Orientation & Mobility from Louisiana Tech University spent this week in the Denver area, observing and working with our staff, exploring the Metro area and testing out the RTD system.

Dr. Eddie Bell, Director of Louisiana Tech University’s Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB), brought Instructor Derek Williamson and the five grad students currently in the program. They stayed in our apartments, and spent some time with our Cane Travel Instructors and students, but we didn’t see them a whole lot. After all, travel is what they do, so they did, exploring Union Station and 16th Street and beyond. Today, they’re up in the mountains doing some hiking and this evening, weather cooperating, they might test out Coors Field for a Rockies game.

Such trips are a staple of the PDRIP. Dr. Bell has taken groups every year to various locations, including New York and San Francisco, but this is their first visit to Colorado.

The PDRIP is the only graduate program preparing graduate-level Orientation & Mobility Instructors to teach with the Structured discovery method used here at the Center. So naturally, we were very happy to host them this week.

On Wednesday, the group presented during our Philosophy Class. Each told a bit about himself and why he has chosen to go into this profession. The common theme – to give the powerful gift of independent travel to more blind people!

We’re good with that!

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Confidence Is the Cornerstone of Independence: Suzi’s Drop

Suzi with a huge grin signing in at the Brailler after getting back from her Independent Drop

“Is Suzie here this morning?” asked Daniel yesterday at morning announcements.

“No!” protested Suzie

This is how it goes sometimes near the end of a student’s program – things can get bunched up a bit. Suzie will graduate on May 10. On Tuesday this week, she completed her Monster Route – traveling to four places she’d never been before in four Metro-area cities. That’s a big, big day, and her protests were certainly as much about the fact that she was still a little tired as it was about the fact that it was raining yesterday morning.

Why was Daniel, Suzie’s Travel Instructor asking whether she was there? Well, because Suzie was going on her Drop – the other big travel requirement. While the Monster Route focuses on planning, scheduling and working out how to find new places – and students often spend several weeks of class time doing all this for the Monster Route – the Drop is all about problem-solving, using the travel fundamentals of orientation, making decisions based on skills have been practiced for nine months.

So, for Suzie, a driver was ready, the spot had been chosen, and she was about to take a ride and be “dropped” somewhere – she wouldn’t know where – with the task of returning to the Center having asked only one question of anyone she might meet along the way.

It sounds scary, it might seem mean, but it’s the culmination of months of work and practice and, when the student walks in the front door of the Center with that success under their belt, they are full of confidence – the confidence that is the cornerstone of true independence!

Just look at the grin on Suzie’s face!

By the way, the sun came out yesterday afternoon, not long after Suzie’s triumphant return.

Categories
Braille Cane Travel Computer and Adaptive Technology General Colorado Center Information Home Management Senior Programs

Sleepshades, Cinnamon Pudding Cake & Seniors In Charge May 2017

Steve works with Janet to learn the Braille Alphabet using a muffin tin and tennis balls

You wouldn’t have needed to be told that Dorine’s Cinnamon-Pudding Cake was an award-winner if you had been anywhere near the Center’s kitchen this afternoon. It’s our spring Seniors in Charge week, and we have five dynamic seniors determined to keep living the lives they want. This afternoon, of course, they were cooking and baking under sleepshades, and the smell of that cake had mouths watering out in the lobby and beyond!

Sleepshades are optional, though encouraged, in the five-day training for seniors. This group is pretty game though, and all are giving them a good workout this week.

All five, along with some of our Senior Services staff, are staying in our apartments, traveling back and forth to the Center on the bus every day. They’re learning cane travel, Braille, technology and of course the tricks of cooking and cleaning up without vision.

The group come from all over Colorado and as far away as Portland, Oregon. The week wraps up on Friday morning with the Friends and Family gathering.

Sally wears sleepshades while chopping Bell Peppers
Nick stirring a pan of ground beef and freshly-chopped onions

 

Holly and Janet reading Braille Books
Dorine holding up her award-winning Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Holly and Petr returning to the Center after a Cane Travel lesson