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In the Media Senior Programs

#NextFiftyInitiative Grant Helps Us Take Seniors in Charge to Grand Junction This Week @50initiative

Editor’s Note: We were excited to receive a one-year grant from Colorado’s Next Fifty Initiative in June to provide skills training and employment services to seniors losing vision. The grant allows us to serve “seniors” from age 50 and up. So, this week Duncan, Julie and Dan are all in Grand Junction for our first-ever Seniors in Charge road trip! Here’s the press release we sent out.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Dan Burke
(406) 546-8546

Date: Sunday, August 25, 2019

Training Comes to Grand Junction for Blind Seniors

NextFifty Grant Helps Littleton-based Center Bring “Seniors in Charge” to Western Slope

Littleton – The Colorado center for the Blind (CCB), a world-renowned training center for blind adults, youth and seniors, will conduct its 4-day Seniors in Charge program for nine seniors this week at Grand Junction’s Center for Independence, 740 Gunnison Ave.

The intensive training covers mobility with the white cane, nonvisual cooking techniques, accessible gadgets, and Braille instruction, and is offered twice each year to seniors losing vision across Colorado. The Grand Junction training is funded through a grant from NextFifty Initiative, a Colorado-based private foundation dedicated to funding innovative, mission-driven initiatives that improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers.

“Our goal is to teach seniors that losing vision doesn’t have to be the end of their independence,” says Duncan Larsen, Director of Senior Services at CCB. “We teach skills, but we also teach a positive philosophy about blindness.”

The Seniors in Charge program is offered by CCB twice a year at its Littleton facility, and attracts seniors from across Colorado and even other states. Thanks to the NextFifty funding, CCB is taking the program on the road for the first time. The Center for Independence has made its kitchen and auditorium available for the training.

“We’ve had many students from the western slope come to Littleton for the program in the past,” says Executive Director Julie Deden, “so it’s especially exciting to be coming to Grad Junction this time and to have so many seniors sign up.”

One of the Seniors in Charge alumni from Grand Junction is Margaret Williams, 92, who currently serves as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s Grand Valley Chapter. Williams will be on hand for the opening introductions on Monday morning.

Classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and seniors will prepare their lunch all three days. On Thursday, the program will run from 9 a.m. to noon. From 10 a.m. to noon, a Family and Friends session will be held. Seniors will share what they’ve learned, and certificates will be awarded to participants.

In addition, a training session on serving seniors experiencing vision loss will be held for about 20 area professionals from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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General Colorado Center Information Senior Programs

Thankful for the Colorado Center for the Blind!

This year, Susan says she’s thankful for her husband as always, but also for the Colorado Center for the Blind.  She’s been attending Senior support groups at the Center twice a week for only a month.

“My rock” is how she describes her husband and his support for her.  “When I get home, he’s going to ask me about all that happened at the Center today.”

Susan began to lose vision to Macular Degeneration in early 2016, and was declared legally blind last June.  She is right in the middle of learning to live with her vision loss, and knows that process is not all smiles and triumphs.  Along with that, she has been recovering from a series of surgeries for a completely different medical issue. 

“But when I come in the door here, I feel happy,” she says,” no matter how hard a day I’m having.”

A group of a dozen seniors at along with CCB staff work on making sugar scrub

“I’m learning a lot. Robert (Dyson) showed me how to use the white cane when I first came.  And I’m reading words in Braille now,” she says. “But, it’s just the people, the other seniors – they understand about the fears, the anxieties.  It feels like home here.  I don’t have to put on an act.  It’s incredible what (the Senior Program) has done for my spirit.”

For our part, we are thankful to have Susan in our Senior Program, and we’re thankful for the donations that help support our Seniors and other programs.  Please remember us on Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 4.  You can designate your donation to Seniors, Youth or to the Colorado Center for the Blind in general.

Colorado Gives Day Logo
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!