Categories
Youth Services

Chloe’s Party Nets $3000 for CCB

Sixth-grader Chloe stands between Julie and Brent with the tactile CCB logo behind them.
Chloe started as a Confidence Camp participant, then started giving back a Jr. Counselor and found another way of helping out with her party. She presents Julie and Brent with the $3000 she raised.

Chloe and her dad Scott stopped by the Center on Monday. Some might remember that Chloe was having a big party at Denver’s Washington Park on Sunday, August 4. The idea – Chloe’s idea – was to raise funds for the Colorado Center for the Blind.

Chloe knows a little about CCB. She has been a student in our Confidence/BELL Camp going back a number of years. Going into 6th grade this year, she helped out as a Junior Counselor at the camp in June, which works with 5 to 10-year-olds. So, she was helping out the younger kids with Braille, lunch, traveling on adventures (there were a lot of trips to the swimming pool), and more.

And then Chloe joined our Challenge and Adventure group, which involved plenty of sports, fitness and yes, adventure.

That’s the backdrop for her stop by the Center on Monday. This party, which invited friends and family to come, get a grilled burger or hot dog, and just hang in the park and have some fun, was a big success. She presented $3,000 to Director Julie Deden!

Wow! What can you say?

“Thank you so much,” is what Julie said, with an assurance that we’d be spending this money for more youth programs.

Look out, 6th grade, Chloe is coming!

Categories
General Colorado Center Information In the Media

Catch These Words: Meet Current Student Holly Scott-Gardner & Words Worthy of Catching: @CatchTheseWords

Holly Scott-Gardner Hiking along Clear Creek on her first day at CCB

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.

Categories
Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Youth Services

From Motorcycles to the New Parking Lot to the #NFBCO18 Convention: Catching Up with All of Autumn

CCB students and staff gather near a row of motorcycles lined up in front of the McGeorge Mountain Terrace Apartments

There are lots of opportunities for students at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Some are part of the formal program, others staff and students develop out of their own interests and contacts. This fall activities like motorcycle rides and rock climbing were mixed in with graduations and the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado Convention, to name a few.

Pictured above: On September 9 students had a chance to go for a motorcycle ride into the mountains. Members of the Sentinels Motorcycle Club loaded up students and took a tour as far as Indian Hills before returning for lunch at Wrigley’s Chicago Bar & Grill in golden. We thank Dishon Spears for organizing this each year.

In the pictures below, Brian and Jodi furthered their scuba diving adventures on October 7 at the Downtown Denver Aquarium. This is a non-required activity instigated by Brian, a certified scuba diver before he became blind. It was Jodi’s second dive ever. You can read more about it in our previous post on scuba diving

There’s a great picture of Brad from above as he works his way up the rock face west of Golden. All students make two rock climbing trips in the fall, and there are also more in the spring. These are a required and long-standing part of our unique training program. What a thrill, what a feeling of confidence when you make it to the top! We also had our martial arts class, and 6 students received their orange belts this fall.

Construction continues out front. In fact, the parking lot is finished and is lovely, if that could ever be said about a parking lot! Just a few more weeks should do it, as there are a couple of more concrete pours to do and landscaping to finish up. This photo is from an earlier, warmer phase of the construction!

Everyone attended the National federation of the Blind Convention October 25 to 28 in Lone Tree. As part of the program, we had a multigenerational panel talk about the Colorado Center for the Blind – we turned 30 years old this year! Ty Gillespie and his mom Laura are shown below. Ty first came to us at age 5 to take part in Confidence Camp for Kids. He’s 13 now, and nobody’s worried about his confidence anymore!

Finally, we’ve had a number of our students graduate this fall, Loren shown below, but also Danielle, Brian (scuba diving), Tad, Carlene and Nick. Naturally, as these veteran students move on, we bring in new ones, so the faces have changed as quickly as the autumn leaves!

 

Brian and Jodi Scuba Diving at the Denver Aquarium

Looking down at Brad who is nearly 80 feet up the rock face. We see tall trees and the river far below.

Loren M. Ringing his Bell of Freedom at Graduation- Julie clapping

Dust clouds swirl around a front-end loader as dirt and debris are moved for our parking lot construction

Ty and his mom at the podium at NFBCO18

Categories
Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Thumbs Up for Scuba Divers!

Group of 14 in Scuba Gear in the corner of the pool smile and wave
Brian organized the scuba experience at A-1 Scuba in Littleton. A certified diver himself, he found satisfaction in sharing the sport he loves with his friends and fellow Center students.

A group of seven Colorado Center for the blind students took a scuba lesson on August 31, thanks to the enthusiasm, organization and experience of one of their peers, Brian Bussard and A-1 Scuba and Aquatics Center in Littleton. In fact, A-1 donated the lesson, including gear and instructor time!

Bussard, who came to CCB as a student six months ago, is already a certified diver. He has been for 10 years and loves the sport, but hadn’t been diving in the two years since he became blind, so it was as much his own motivation to get back to the sport as his desire to share it with his fellow students that resulted in his setting up the entire adventure.

“It was really satisfying to share this (scuba diving) with my friends,” he said. From the looks of these photos, everyone found it a pretty satisfying experience!

Thanks to A-1 for working with Brian and our students!

Two women in wet suits stand inside a swimming poolWith her instructor Carol, Annette Gives the thumbs up.
A young man in diving mask and snorkel gives the thumbs up after surfacing with his instructorLoren decided to try snorkeling. Here he is in the pool with his instructor AnnaMarie.

 

Two women at the surface of a pool with diving masks pushed onto their foreheadsDanielle and instructor Rita surface near the edge of the pool.
A tall young man in t-shirt stands with his petite, wet-suited instructor in the shallow end of the poolAbdi (6 feet, 8 inches)and Lynn (not so much) partner in the pool to prove, not only that blindness need not hold you back, but there are no maximum or minimum height limits to enjoy scuba diving.

 

Four pairs of divers, some at the surface, some just below, and some on the bottom of the pool
Students paired off with A1 instructors for their practice dives.
Categories
Cane Travel Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Belding Travels with Hockey Stick All the Way to the First U.S. #BlindHockey team #LivetheLifeYouWant @USAHockey

Daniel works the puck across the ice
Daniel in full Hockey gear in action on the ice

 

Since January, fans attending Colorado Avalanche games have been treated to between-periods video of the Try Blind Hockey Day on January 17. Over 50 blind Coloradans went out on the ice that day, some for the first time, others with a stick in their hand for the first time. Fans are impressed by the video, but it is little more than an historical artifact now.

In just three short months, blind hockey has gone from being nonexistent in Colorado to a sport avidly pursued by dozens of players. And it’s produced a member of the newly-formed U.S. National Blind Hockey Team under the auspices of USA Hockey.

Daniel Belding, Cane Travel Instructor at CCB, was invited to be a member of the first U.S. team. The only other team right now is Canada, but other countries are anxious to get their blind athletes out on the ice soon, spurred on perhaps by the first-ever international blind hockey games planned for October. That’s when the new U.S. team will meet Canada in Pittsburgh for a best-of-three series.

Since January, about a dozen and a half Metro-area skaters, men and women and some as young as six years old, met weekely for practice. Craig Fitzpatrick, a member of the Washington Wheelers was temporarily located here for his day job and certainly helped inspire young blind hockey players. Fitzpatric visited CCB in March to talk about blind hockey, though a number of students were already going to practices. Fitzpatrick was also picked for the U.S. team.

As a result of all that ice time, Belding and fellow Cane Travel Instructor Steve Patten were invited to attend the 14th annual Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago last weekend. It was from among the 80-plus blind skaters that Belding, Fitzpatrick and others were invited to try out for the national team.

It’s never been a secret that Daniel loves hockey. So much so that he played on sighted teams in high school leagues in the Denver area. Though he didn’t think of himself as blind at the time despite limited central vision and even more limited peripheral vision. He nonetheless developed a number of alternative techniques to stay on the ice.

“You can hear the (standard) puck a lot better as the game goes on,” Daniel said of one of those alternate techniques, noting that the ice gets rougher with prolonged play.

But his experience with blind hockey dates to January 17 and the Try Blind Hockey Day at the Pepsi Center. He couldn’t be having more fun!

Blind hockey is a relatively new sport in the U.S. Though it started in Canada in the 1970s it wasn’t played below the 49th Parallel until three years ago. Along with teams in Canada, there were at least seven teams active in the U.S. at the start of this year, including the Wheelers. There will soon be more than a dozen. So the rapid rise in popularity of blind hockey in the Denver area really isn’t anything new, but parallels the rapid expansion of blind hockey in the U.S. since 2014. And maybe it prefigures a worldwide trend to come!

What’s up next for the national team is a skills camp in July and then a final cut-down to 14 from 30 in August. Those will be the players that face off against Canada in the fall.

For Belding, there’s no chance he’ll be slowing down. The chance to play the game he loves so much has energized him. He and Patten have been on the ice three mornings a week at Denver University for months already – at 5:30 a.m. If anything, he’ll be looking for more ice time now!

Craig Fitzpatrick holds up an adapted hockey puck while he gives a talk about Blind Hockey at the Colorado Center for the Blind

Categories
Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Taking It to the Net: CCB There at Start of Blind Hockey in Colorado @USAHockey

CCB students go out on the ice in their hockey gear

Back in January the Colorado Avalanche hosted a “Try Hockey” event for prospective blind hockey players. It featured several blind hockey players from across Canada and the United States and was coordinated by USA Hockeyand the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association. Forty-two blind participants, including youth and some,like me, who were much older, took to the ice that day. About half of those participants came from CCB. You can read more about it in this article, Try-Blind-Hockey Day Another Example of How Hockey is for Everyone.

The goal was to encourage amateur blind hockey in the area. It’s working! Since that mid-January event, an average of 18 or so blind hockey enthusiasts have been hitting the ice, practicing passes and shots with the idea of creating some serious competition, says CCB Travel Instructor Daniel Belding, who is well-beyond being termed a mere hockey enthusiast.It was Daniel who took the lead for CCB when we were first contacted about the Try Blind Hockey event.

As a matter of fact, Daniel will be one of only three blind Coloradans who will travel to the 14th annual Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago April 5 to 8, along with his colleague Steve Patten and CCB alum Mike Straub. There they will play with about 80 other very, very serious blind hockey players.

So yes, this very much looks like the start of competitive blind hockey in Colorado!

(Disclaimer: Because of my limitations, not as a blind photographer but as a skater, these photos are taken either while leaning up against the glass or from inside the players bench area. The best skaters that day were out of my reach as a skating photographer, and you should look at the USA Hockey Red Line blog post for some really good ones. By the way, the Avalanche have continued to show video clips from that first day between thirds at home games.)

CCB students & alums put on skates and pads
Ravi flashes a huge smile through the face guard of her hockey helmet

 

Dan in his hockey helmet and mask
Mickey and her guide take a break on the players bench

 

Categories
Challenge Recreation Independence Training Program

Watch CCB Indoor Skydiving @iFLYDenver featured last night on @CBSDenver!

Leon Free Flying the I Fly Denver Wind Tunnel
I-Fly Denver invited us over on Monday to take flight and learn about the science around wind tunnels and things like force and resistance. There was math involved, just saying.

then we got to experience push and pull full-body, so to speak. Here’s a story from CBS Denver Channel 4 last night:

Skydiving Business Helps Students At Center For The Blind

Thanks to everyone at I-Fly Denver – we had a great time!

Categories
Cane Travel Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

A Stroll through the Corn Maze

Students and staff took a Friday afternoon to visit the Chatfield Farms Corn Maze. Martin took his GoPro along and brought back this footage. It was “Structured Discovery” at its most fun!

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
Events Independence Training Program Youth Services

Fitness & Sports Tomorrow for #NFChallenge #OlympicDay2017! @WEFitwellness @USABA

It’s happening here tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. Thanks to our partners at WE Fit Wellness and United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). Contributing will be Eye-Cycle, Achilles Denver and members of the Colorad Storm Beep Baseball team.

And at lunch there wil be a keynote address from current CCB studentChaz Davis, a member of the 2016 US Paralympic team! Checkout the agenda below.

#NFChallenge Olympic Day Agenda

10:00-10:10 – Welcome
Meeting Room

10:10-10:55 – Breakout Session 1

Running – lobby sitting area

Tandem Cycling – picnic tables

Beep baseball – side yard

Power Lifting – art room

Goalball – gym

11:10-11:55 Breakout Session 2

Judo – Travel Lobby

Tandem Cycling – picnic tables

Beep baseball – side yard

Power Lifting – art room

Goalball – gym

11:55-1:00 Lunch
Meeting Room
Keynote Address Chaz Davis, 2016 Paralympian

1:15- 2:00 Breakout Session 3

Running – lobby sitting area

Judo – Travel Lobby

Tandem Cycling – picnic tables

Power Lifting – art room

Goalball Scrimmage Matches: gym