Youth Services

FAST November: Kicking off the Holiday Season with CCB!

FAST - (Fun Activities & Skills Training) logo

The date of our annual FAST Thanksgiving activity has been changed from earlier dates you may have seen.

Blind students of all ages, families and teachers
Colorado Center for the Blind, 2233 W. Shepperd Ave. Littleton CO, 80120
Saturday, November 23, 2019 from 10:00AM – 2:00PM

If we are expected to eat the meal, we should be expected to help cook it as well.

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition around here. November’s FAST Program is all about the meal we eat, the games we play, and most importantly, the people we share this time with. This year, on November 23, we will hold our own Thanksgiving get together, FAST style that is. Join us for an afternoon full of cooking, eating, sharing each other’s company, and games! We promise to keep the competition to a minimum during dinnertime.

For many of our students this will be the first time they’ve been expected to help prepare such a meal; this is the type of teaching/learning we love to implement at the Colorado Center for the Blind. We will have plenty of volunteers to work with students as well as other participants. Although our focus is working with students, we love working with parents, siblings, and teachers to encourage them to have expectations that their blind child/sibling/student actively participate in all aspects of life.

We will:

  • Prepare/bake chicken and ham
  • Make mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed corn, stuffing, dinner rolls, and pie
  • Play games, such as Pin the Feather on the Turkey, Pumpkin Roll, and Thankful Alphabet Game

Deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, November 20th.

For questions or to RSVP, please contact Martin Becerra-Miranda at
[email protected] or (303)778-1130 Ext: 223.

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.

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].

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.

Youth Services

Announcing Our 2019 Summer Youth Programs

For 2019, we’ll offer our long-standing summer youth programs, including Confidence Camp/BELL and our 8-week residential program for high school and college-aged youth. But we’ll also offer shorter-term and more focused “modules”, describe below. For more information on our 2019 Summer Youth Programs, contact Martin Becerra-Miranda at 303-778-1130, ext. 2223, or [email protected].

Summer Students work with the LabQuest
Izzy and Vanessa L. take measurements with the LabQuest

Confidence Camp/BELL Academy

Dates: June 10 through June 21
Ages: 5 to 10
Location: Colorado Center for the Blind

Program Description

This two-week day program will be filled with learning, challenge and fun. Your child will meet competent blind role models who will work with the kids on cooking, cleaning, Braille, independent travel and technology. The kids will learn how to take the bus and use the light rail. They’ll have fun swimming, rock climbing, making a tactile art piece and going on exciting field trips.

No Limits to Learning

Dates: June 7 to August 2
Ages: 14 to 21
Location: Colorado Center for the Blind

Program Description

This eight-week residential program will change your life. You will live in an apartment with other students and a staff member. Learn about the world of work and meet blind people who work in all kinds of jobs. Challenge yourself through our program by participating in rock climbing, goalball, white water rafting and much more. Build your core skills in Braille, technology, home management and cane travel. Attend the convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Las Vegas, Nevada. Expand your skill set in STEM fields with hands-on experiments using accessible, nonvisual tools and strategies. College coming up soon? Learn what it takes to be successful, including how to navigate the unfamiliar new landscape of higher education. You will learn that being blind will not limit you from pursuing your dreams.

Module Madness

Want a shorter training program? We offer three different modules throughout the summer that may fit your schedule and your interests. In all three modules, you will live in one of our apartments with other students and a counselor, and you will build your core skills in Braille, Technology, Home Management and Cane Travel classes.

The World of Work

Dates: June 7 to June 21
Ages: 11 to 21
Location: Colorado Center for the Blind

Program Description

Challenge yourself with new experiences! You will travel the Denver Metro area via bus and light rail to meet with blind people who work in a variety of professions. Develop confidence and your own style for networking. Practice your interviewing skills and put together a resume and cover letter.

Challenge and Adventure

Dates: June 21 to June 30
Ages: 11 to 21
Location: Colorado Center for the Blind

Program Description

Run in a 5K race, play goalball and hockey, learn self-defense, go canoeing, whitewater rafting and much more. Prepare delicious foods and learn about maintaining a nutritious diet. On the slower side try yoga, gymnastics and develop an exercise routine.

Cracking the College Code

Dates: July 18 to August 2
Ages: 16 to 21
Location: Colorado Center for the Blind

Program Description

Develop the skills you need to be successful in college as a blind student. Expand your skill set with accessible tools and strategies for chemistry, biology, statistics, robotics and more. Practice self-advocacy and learn how to navigate the unfamiliar new landscape of higher education.

General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

“No End in Sight”, CCB Student Podcast launches:

No End in SightIt could be called a convergence. A handful of students who want to talk about their blindness, what they are learning at the Colorado Center for the Blind, how they are learning about being blind and proud – and how they’ve learned from their teachers, but especially one another, to laugh at themselves when they make mistakes.

And yes, at one another.

Couple that with the recent arrival of Brett Boyer, a CCB alum and experienced commercial broadcaster, as our newest Technology instructor, and you have a – well, imperfect storm.

What you get is “No End in Sight”, a monthly podcast featuring Boyer and a rotating cast of CCB students which launches this week.

But let’s give kudos to this first cast of characters, the instigators of “No End in Sight”, if you will: Abdi Mumin, Annette Wilson, Cory Williams and Nick Isenberg who range in age from 22 to 77, not to mention others working off-mic. They have a message about blindness they want you to hear.

Take a listen and subscribe if you like it. “No End in Sight” is available through all the usual outlets. It’s worth your time!

Careers General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Chaz wraps up summer of giving back

Julie and Chaz laughing. Julie gives Chaz a hug as she presents his card.
Julie presents Chaz Davis a Thank You Card during Morning Announcements

This is Chaz Davis’ final week as a Social Work Intern at the Center, and Director Julie Deden marked the occasion with a short ceremony and presentation of a thank-you card, followed by cookies.

“I joined the blind community four years ago, though not by choice,” Chaz told staff and students this morning. “But I really found that sense of community when I came here (as a student).”

A Master of Social Work student ad the University of Denver, Chaz has been serving as an intern here since February, at first just two days a week and then five days a week this summer. He arrived as a student at CCB in the early fall of 2016 after competing in the ParOlympics In Rio that summer.

It was that sense of community that brought him back to CCB when, after graduating from the center in July 2017 and entering the MSW program at DU, he asked Julie about doing his first internship here.

And he has given back a great deal to this current cohort of students, working with students on housing after graduation, Social Security and Medicaid concerns, as well as one-on-one counseling. In fact, the latter may be the part he liked the most.

“I really enjoyed getting to hear people’s stories, hear where they are in terms of adjusting to blindness, and What their goals are after they graduate from the center,” he says. “It’s great to see people’s growth.”

That experience may have altered the trajectory of his own career. Instead of working on a macro level, in some type of administration, he now sees himself moving toward clinical practice.

Julie cited all the work Chaz has done for our students, and of course how much we’ll miss having him here.

“We have a card for you from all of us,” Julie said. “It’s all in Braille except this last part because we didn’t want it to go to your head … It says ‘You’re an incredible person!'”

Chaz’ next internship will be in a high school setting assisting students develop both soft and hard work skills for their post-high school transitions. He graduates from DU next spring.

Thanks for everything Chaz – especially the chance to have cookies!

General Colorado Center Information

Everybody Loves the #WesternWelcomeWeek Parade! #ShareLittleton

Kirk marching with CCB in the Western Welcome Week Parade
Students and staff from the Colorado Center for the Blind, along with friends and family, march in the Littleton Western Welcome Week Parade

Staff and students of the Colorado Center for the Blind, as well as members of the NFB of Denver Chapter once again marched in the Littleton Western Welcome Week Parade on August 18. From Eileen, 92, to our favorite toddlers, Mason and Jackson with their parents, and all five of the Batron kids it was a family adventure as always!

Thanks to Kirk for use of his selfie.

“I’d never been in a parade before,” he said later.

Doing something you’d never done before – even before becoming blind – that makes it worthwhile, because pushing beyond what others (and we) expect of us as blind people is the point!

Two Blind Parents pull their son in a stroller as they march in the parade
Blind parents Jen and Dishon Spears each have a hand on 2-year-old Mason’s stroller as they approach the bandstand at Main and Rapp in the 2018 Littleton Welcome Week Parade. Other staff and students of the Colorado Center for the Blind march with them
Blind Senior in a red hat marches in the Parade with a group from the Colorado Center for the Blind
Eileen, 92, is flanked by Senior Services Director Duncan Larsen and Senior Outreach Specialist Chris Kinney during the Littleton Western Welcome Week Parade. In front of them is Ashley and behind them are Martin and Brad.
General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Eric Duffy tells his story in Philosophy class

Eric tells his story in Philosophy class

He was in the neighborhood, so he stopped by for a visit. Eric Duffy, a long-time member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), spoke to our Philosophy class recently when he came to visit the Center.

Duffy, who was visiting his brother and family in Colorado Springs, previously served as the President of the NFB of Ohio and, most recently, directed the Access Technology department at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute (NFBJI) in Baltimore.

Philosophy is an almost-daily class in which staff and students discuss every and any aspect of blindness as it affects our day-to-day lives and our hopes and dreams. We use this time to examine the limiting low expectations of society and ourselves with respect to our blindness, and to acknowledge that the things we are learning about ourselves and our blindness stand in contrast to those low expectations.

Eric shared the story of his childhood in Ohio, where he attended Ohio’s residential school for the blind. Eric’s is a story of a young boy finding a sense of independence away from home and never wanting to let it go. It is also the story of his older brother, that brother he was visiting in the Springs, who encouraged and supported his independence as he grew into adulthood.

It’s a wonderful story, and one that our students very much appreciated. We all did! Thanks again for stopping by Eric!

Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs Youth Services

The First Week of Summer Means Lots of Firsts

Amber turns dirt over in the garden with Annette and Master Gardener Barb

No matter what the calendar says, it’s the first week of summer. The temps are in the 90s, the garden is being planted and summer staff are shadowing their ITP staff counterparts. Friday 25 teenagers (summer students) begin arriving and on Monday the elementary Confidence Camp kids start too.

So here’s another first or two. Above, Amber uses a spade for the first time out in the garden. When asked if she’d dug with a shovel before she promptly answered, “I’m about to.” And then she proceeded to do it. In the process she and classmate Annette planted this years pumpkin and zucchini hills.

Tyler went on his solo drop this morning, returning in time for lunch. He traveled in the heat out to Aurora in order to make his way back to Littleton. “It’s a good thing the light rail was the last stop,” he admitted. “I fell asleep on the bus three times.” Nonetheless, Tyler’s completed the daunting final travel challenge we call “the drop”. That is, he was driven around for a while (sometimes in circles), and let out with no information about where he was. He successfully used his travel skills to make his way back to the Center asking no more than one question.

Danielle made a first when she used the hot glue gun. “I was always told I wouldn’t be able to do that because I was blind,” she said. In fact, blind people are often told such things simply because no one knows how or cares to figure out how a blind person can do a task. “There aren’t many of those things left now,” Danielle reflected. “and now I’ve done this one too!” She’s been working with fellow art classmates Brad and Annette on a tactile map of the area covering the Center and the Littleton Downtown Station, including the light rail tracks and the bus loop.

That’s really what the Colorado Center for the Blind is all about – the things we as blind people have figured out how to do for ourselves, with or without the assistance of sighted teachers. The trick is to question the warnings that a blind person can’t do a certain task because, it often turns out that a lot of blind people have already done it!
Mashup of Tyler before and after his solo Drop


Danielle uses a hot glue gun for the 1st time, Ann Cunningham gives direction and in the background Brad uses the paper cutter
Duane Plants cucumbers
Marqus plants pole beans under a trellis
Phillis walks to the Center for the Senior meeting and senior art class with her dog Tylee
Brad leads on travel with ITP instructor Charles Bennett, shadowed by Summer Instructor  Jackson Schwoebel