In the Media Woodshop and Home Maintenance

Learning from Blind/VI Role Models: Martin Featured in @CSDBBulldogs Video Series

The Colorado Schoool for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) recently launched a great video series focusing on role models for their blind and deaf students. Our own Martin Becerra-Miranda, Director of Youth Services, is featured in this one:

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.
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!
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

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.
General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Another Sign of Spring: Master Gardeners & the Legacy Garden #ShareLittleton

Tyler holds up a weed with a foot-long root

It’s yet another sign of spring when the Arapahoe County Master Gardeners first arrive to work with our students in the Legacy Garden. Of course, everything starts with getting the soil ready for planting and, after our spring rains, that means pulling out the eager weeds already leaping up. Tyler, Annette, Abdi, Tucker and Brad took first crack at it on Tuesday. Next week planting begins!

Brad fills a large container with old dead growth and weeds
Abdi uses a hand cultivator to loosen the soil around smaller weeds so he can get the roots


Annette uses a spade to dig out some weeds between the irrigation tubing
Tucker uses a weed digger to get right up next to a large rock


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

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.
Careers General Colorado Center Information

Hard Work & Passion for What You Do Are Key to Making Connections

Dianne Primavera and Judy Mares-Dixon at the podium

More than 130 were in attendance on April 17 for our second annual “Making Connections That Work for You: A Career and College Seminar”. From the beginning in the morning with two phenomenal keynote speakers untl the last breakout ended at 3 p.m., it was a day to learn about the world of work and to feel inspired that blind people can and do any kind of job they wish.

Former State Representative Dianne Primavera told her story with humility, but undoubtedly her story as a single mom and cancer survivor who became one of Colorado’s most effective legislators and now the CEO of Susan B. Komen Colorado revealed the secret to her success – hard work and a singular passion for what she does. Judy Mares-Dixon’s rise to become an internationally-respected mediator – work that she loves – ended with a clear message. Blind people need other blind people along their way to help them fulfill their dreams.

A blind self-employed wordworker, a blind tech company manager, and a blind attorney who defends the rights of blind people spoke on a panel that showed the diversity of occupations that blind people pursue.

Students, teachers, parents and rehabilitation professionals learned about the process of applying to college from recruitment professionals from three local colleges. Following that session was a discussion with three college access professionals about the differences between receiving accommodations in high school and college.

There were half a dozen more breakouts covering the Business Enterprise Program in Colorado for blind entrepreneurs, the basics of the Vocational Rehabilitation program and Federal employment.

Attendees who took part in the mock interviews met with four different interviewers who gave them feedback before they moved on to the next round. Said one student: “In the first interview I didn’t even know what to say. But by the last one I didn’t have any difficulty answering the interview questions.”

And what better outcome could anyone wish for?

Marcus Sands at the podium
Petr Kucheryavyy at the podium
Scott LaBarre at the podium

An audience of over 120 people at Making Connections 2018
Job Seekers participate in Mock Interviews

Careers Events


2nd Annual Career and College Seminar

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lunch is provided.

Don’t miss these keynote addresses:

Dianne Primavera

Dianne Primavera is Chief Executive Officer for Susan G. Komen Colorado. She served in the state legislature for eight years as representative for Broomfield. During her tenure in the Colorado General Assembly, Dianne held terms as Chair and Vice Chair on several key committees. She was appointed to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the Blind Interim Study Committee. A cancer survivor, she founded and co-chaired the Cancer Caucus. The Statesman, the newspaper which covered the state capitol, named her the most effective member of the House for her final term.

Born in Denver, Dianne’s working life began at age 12 when she started a dog grooming business which she maintained for three decades while pursuing educational and career goals. She holds a Master of Arts in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, and an Executive Education Certificate in Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Among her many jobs, Dianne worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for Colorado’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), rising to Supervisor. She served as Education and Training Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury Center, served as Manager of Customer Services for a number of state agencies, and as Colorado White House Conference on Aging Coordinator.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, granddaughter and Airedale Terriers.

Judy Mares-Dixon

Judy Mares-Dixon, M.A., is the owner of Mares-Dixon & Associates and a former Partner with CDR Associates. She has worked in the conflict resolution field since 1986 as a trainer, mediator, coach, facilitator, consultant, and dispute resolution systems designer.

Judy mediates healthcare, business, employment, domestic, cross-cultural, community, and public policy disputes. In addition, she offers negotiation and mediation training programs for a wide range of professionals in both the public and private sectors.

Her clients include the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, New Zealand Employment Tribunal, Fletcher Building of New Zealand, Western Area Power Administration, Ohio Supreme Court, United Airlines, Levi Straus and Co., and Denver Public Schools.

Judy holds a Master’s Degree in Social and Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado. She lives in Boulder.


9:00 am


10:00 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks, Julie Deden, Director, Colorado Center for the Blind; Monique Melton, Employment Specialist, Colorado Center for the Blind; Diane McGeorge, Chair of the Board of Directors, Colorado Center for the Blind

10:10 am

Keynote Addresses: Dianne Primavera; Judy Mares-Dixon

11:00 am

Lunch/Panel Discussion (Half of us will eat lunch and the other half will attend our panel discussion)

12:00 pm

Lunch/Panel Discussion (We’ll swap places, half of us will eat lunch and the other half will attend our panel discussion)

Panel Discussion:

Who Built the Desk and Who’s Working Behind It; hear from a blind woodworker, a blind lawyer, and a blind manager of one of the nation’s leading telecommunications companies. Marcus Sands, wood worker, owner of Blind Insight; Scott LaBarre, attorney; Petr Kucheryavyy, manager, Charter Communications

1:00 pm

Breakout Sessions (1:00-2:00)

  1. Using Workforce Centers to Find a Job and More. Helen Meadows, Arapahoe-Douglas Works. Small Conference Room upstairs.
  2. DVR 101. Julia Zanon and others from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Senior Resource Room upstairs.
  3. The Business Enterprise Program: What Does it Take to be Successful? Ellie Karre, Program Manager. Large Conference Room upstairs.
  4. Mock Interviews. Practice your interviewing skills with managers from various local companies. Gym downstairs.
  5. College: The Process of Applying. Howard Fukaye, Arapahoe Community College; Shanna Pomager, Denver University; Kathryn Kenyon, Metropolitan State University of Denver. Braille Room downstairs.

2:00 pm

Breakout Sessions (2:00-3:00)

  1. What Does it Take to Hold on to Success While Self-Employed? Kevan Worley, CEO, Worley Enterprises. Small Conference Room upstairs.
  2. DVR 101. Julia Zanon and others from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Senior Resource Room upstairs.
  3. Working for the Federal Government: How to Apply and Land the Job. Patricia McMahon, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Large Conference Room upstairs.
  4. Mock Interviews. Practice your interviewing skills with managers from various local companies. Gym downstairs.
  5. You Mean I Have to Ask for Accommodations: Getting Access in College. Melissa Cermak, Ph.D., Metropolitan State University of Denver; Michele McCandless, MSW, Denver University; Anna Berger, M.A., Arapahoe Community College. Braille Room downstairs.

Our thanks to the following for assisting with mock interviews: Charter Communications, Comcast, Worley Enterprises, 20-30 Foundation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ralph Schomp Automotive Group

Our thanks to the Gibney Family Foundation and the Verizon Foundation for sponsoring this seminar.

Careers Events General Colorado Center Information

Just what is a “mock interview?

Three smartly-dressed women chat in a large, busy gym
Employment Specialist Monique Melton talks with Courtney and Libby at Making Connections 2017.

The rule of thumb is that a good resume gets you an interview, but it’s in the interview that you get the job. How can you be successful at interviewing? With coaching and practice!

If you have never interviewed for a job before, if you haven’t interviewed for a job since becoming blind, if you haven’t interviewed in a long time, then a mock interview is just for you! It’s a low-pressure chance to get some coaching and practice.

During our April 17 career and college seminar at CCB, Making Connections that Work for You, you can sign up for a series of three mock interviews as one of the afternoon breakout sessions. Yes, you’ll do three short mock interviews in a one-hour period!

Mock interviews are simulations of a job interview, but not a real job interview. We’ll have professionals from the public and private sectors on hand to run you through a short interview much like the interviews they conduct in their professional capacities. Then you’ll get constructive feedback about the things you did well and things that you might improve. After that, you’ll go on to another mock interview with that feedback and practice what your coaches suggest.

Mock interviews will be offered Tuesday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sign up with Monique Melton at 303-778-1130, x221 or [email protected]. Obviously, space is limited, so sign up in advance. Dress for a job interview and if you have a resume, go ahead and bring it. But the real emphasis will be on practicing and improving your interview skills

Our thanks to representatives from these organizations who will assist in the mock interviews:

  • Charter Communications
  • Comcast
  • Worley Enterprises
  • 2030 Foundation
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Ralph Schomp Automotive Group

Register for Making Connections That Work for You

Tuesday April 17, 2018

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Events General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

#FAST Friday to Explore the Stars with @AstronomyatACC

Astronomy Event - Telescope and tactile graphics in front of a star filled night sky
Whirling overhead at all times are stars, planets – whole galaxies. Humans have always wondered at them and about them. Blindness is no impediment to curiosity, including in the area of astronomy, nor is their any reason blind people can’t learn much in this field, often thought to be too visual. Some have even become astronomers themselves.

So, with the help of Arapahoe Community College Astronomy Coordinator and Instructor Jennifer Jones this month’s FAST (Fun Activities and Skills Training) Friday program for blind youth will teach about the stars with tactile graphics of constellations, 3D printings of telescopes and, finally, a trip outside to see what is in Friday night’s sky. Members of ACC’s Astronomy Club will be helping out too. We’ll also learn a little about the science of sonification as it applies to studying various astronomical phenomena.

With luck, we can inspire anew generation of blind astronomers!

Oh, and we’ll bring snacks. That’s inspiring … right?

Please note

There’s a change of time (later so as to use the telescope after dark), and change of venue for our April FAST Friday.

Friday, April 13
7 p.m.
Arapahoe Community College
5900 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
Main Building, Room 1040
It’s best to enter the Main Building from the north side. The entrance is on College avenue right at the pedestrian crosswalk. Parking is across the street. For bus riders, this is the western end point of Route 66.

Blind Astronomers

Doing a Google search for blind astronomers will turn up some interesting results, though a couple of the links below were already known to this blogger. When you learn just a little about how these blind astronomers do their research, it quickly becomes apparent that astronomy isn’t limited to the visual, but rather that it’s been taught that way, often exclusively that way. Until recently that is. My Google results showed that not all curious blind would-be scientists felt constrained by those teaching limitations.

The 1997 sci-fi movie, Contact featured a blind astronomer, Kent Clark, who was based on the true-life blind astronomer, Kent Cullers, who worked for NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). One of SETI’s projects was to process radio signals from space using the computing power of PCs around the world. if you wanted to help, you invited SETI to use your PC while you weren’t, and early application of crowd-sourcing.

Cullers was blind from birth and is now retired. Wanda Diaz Merced was already an astronomer when she became blind, and her TED Talk, How a Blind Astronomer Found a Way to Hear the Stars won’t be a wasted 11 minutes and 16 seconds out of your life.

There is in fact a Blind Astronomy Guild, with members across this tiny, spinning globe.