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General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

“No End in Sight”, CCB Student Podcast launches: https://bit.ly/2ORWE0x

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!

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Blind people need to know about colors too, & Other First-day-of-summer Lessons

Cadence knows which is her Backpack by reading the Braille label beneath  the hookThat was one of the first lessons of the first day of summer for Confidence Camp kids this morning.

“If someone asks you what your backpack looks like, what are you going to tell them?” the lesson continued.

Yes, Monday began with learning for the 10 5 to 12-year-olds. It went on from there, including making lunches, and there will be plenty more lessons in independence and fun over the next two weeks. Lots of fun too – their day ended with a trip to the pool for a swim. Now that’s summer!

And then there were the 23 teenagers in our Earn & Learn and College Prep programs in their first day of classes. they will be with us for 8 weeks, including a trip to the National Federation of the Blind 2018 Convention in Orlando!

The students arrived on Friday and spent the weekend settling in at their apartments with their counselors and roommates. Monday was their first day under sleepshades for those with any residual vision. That was Challenge One for many of the students. And the summer we have planned for them is full of the rewards that can only be reaped by facing even more new challenges.

The halls were full of new summer students from ages 5 to 19 exploring the Center on their first day.

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General Colorado Center Information Home Management Independence Training Program

A Last Look at CCB Thanksgiving 2017

Starting with a little turkey structured discovery right up to the point where we start stuffing our faces, when the videographer puts away his camera to get in line. Even journalism has its natural limits.

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Home Management Independence Training Program

Plenty to be thankful for: Our 2017 #Thanksgiving Feast!

Lia, Ravi, Mason S. and Masson M. prepare four large turkeys to go into the ovens

There was plenty on Thursday, November 16 – plenty to eat and to be thankful for at our 100-percent student-prepared Thanksgiving Feast!

It’s tradition at the Colorado Center for the Blind to hold our own Thanksgiving feast before we break for visits to family and friends on the official holiday. Our students cook it all with the guidance of our unparalleled Home Management staff, and there are always a lot of “firsts”.

For example, every year there are students who have never seen what a turkey looks like just out of the refrigerator. So on Tuesday, with serving gloves on, students examined and explored the four turkeys that eventually became our dinner.

And on Thursday in the buffet line Casey was happily talking about the gravy he had made.

“I’ve never made gravy before,” he said. “I’m going home and make gravy all the time now!”

Or words to that effect.

After the meal, Director Julie Deden asked everyone to share one thing that they are thankful for this year. Forced to make that choice, the great food fell back in the top ten. Instead, the top items were family and friends, improving health, the gift of being at the Center at all – both for students and staff. More than one mentioned that they were thankful for Diane McGeorge who founded the Center in 1988. There is no question about it, something special exists at the Colorado Center for the Blind that is shared by the teachers with their students and by the students with other students, and it is something that inspires wonder and gratitude.

Like this meal, which is indisputedly part of the learning process. Preparations started a month ago, beginning with the pies (pumpkin and pecan), which were frozen. In fact, everything but the turkeys (four of them), hams (two) and 30 pounds of spuds to make the mashed potatoes and Casey’s gravy were made in advance and frozen.

We had two hotel pans of sausage stuffing, two hotel pans of pineapple stuffing, a pan of creamed corn and one of green bean casserole, two kinds of sweet potato dishes, dozens of homemade dinner rolls and of course lots of cranberry sauce, also homemade. The dessert table had the pies and cheesecake bites made by the CCB Student Association. The only things not homemade were the sodas and apple juice.

It was a wonderful meal that we shared, that every student had a part in creating and working toward on the team. Yes, plenty to be thankful for …

By the way, the gravy was awesome!

Having removed the upper rack, Lia puts this large turkey into the oven
Chris H. and Vicki wearing oven mitts arrange large hotel trays of food on L shaped tables

David K, Anthony, Nick, Robert, Christina and others enjoy a huge variety of appetizers

Categories
Events General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program Senior Programs

A Peek at Hands-on with the “Shared Visions” 2017 Exhibit @ArapahoeCC #TactileAccess

Adia, Mason M. and Cezar look at the Old Man Wincing while Ravi reads the description provided in Braille

Here are a few photos from the Shared Visions reception at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts at Arapahoe Community College on Thursday night. Everyone got hands on with pieces from Nathan Abels’ painting and drawing classes. CCB students also had laser-cuts of drawings they made in Ann Cunningham’s art class with accompanying Haiku, and CCB alum Jenny Callahan had a number of stone carvings and a bronze in the show. The Seniors art class had bowls thrown on the wheel in Katie Caron’s ceramics studio. Katie brought her daughter, who insisted on wearing sleepshades so she could try to identify the art tactilely.

“This is the best thing we do all year,” said one CCB staff member. While some may argue in favor of another activity associated with the center, the Shared Visions art exhibit, now in its fourth year, is an extraordinary opportunity for everyone.

The show remains open at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts until November 22.

Ravi adds color to her drawing which will be laser-cut for the show
Ravi shows Julie her laser cut image with Haiku -

 

Laura looks at a piece made with various screws
Katy holds up her daughter who is wearing sleepshades so she can touch a tactile piece of the mountains

Phillis shows Chris P. and Julie the bowls she threw on the wheel at ACC

Categories
Braille General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Snow Already!

David K. walks through the snow on a winter morning

If you’re on the Front Range of Colorado this post won’t surprise you, because you drove/walked/bussed in a steadily-falling snow this morning.

But let’s admit it – this 3 to 5 inches of snow is a bit early this year, just think of all those trees whose leaves have yet to drop! Tonight will be a killing freeze, whith temps in the low 20s. That will likely mean an icy commute tomorrow morning. Tricky, but it’s part of the deal. Blind people have to go to work in good weather and bad, just like anyone else. And that’s what we teach and expect here at the Center. So, we’ll be open tomorrow just like today, unless of course frozen branches knock out the power, as they did in an arc that went around us, vfrom the Bemis Library to the Littleton Downtown Light Rail Station.

Charles S. reading from his Braille instruction book

To make it all worthwhile today, Charles S. finished learning the Braille alphabet. This is the kind of thing that is regularly announdcd over the PA system or at announcements first thing in the morning.

Who would want to miss out on achieving that kind of milestone?

Categories
Careers General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

Summer Was Fun, and Especially Our Saturday Science Day!

Trevor with Maggie and Amy assembling robots

Here are a few pics from our Science Saturday way back in July! Studens rotated between three stations – basic chemistry, a station dedicated to weather, and a robotics class using Lego Mindstorms.

With the first serious fall weather this week – misty rain, leaves turning and starting to litter the lawns and sidewalks – it’s kind of fun to think about how hot it was that day out front with the bucket and the hose!

The point of course is to show our students that blind people can do science and – Wow! – it’s even fun!

Ashley working with Keila on edible candle science project
Maggie and Lauren watch as as their experiment produces gas that inflates balloons

 

Ashley simulates how a tornado looks using a bucket and water, with Roland, Faye and Keishawn. Our volunteer Kaylooks on.

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

How many ways can the blind enjoy #Eclipse2017? #ShareLittleton

A Large group of CCB staff and students outside observing the eclipse. Some are wearing eclipse glasses while they listen to a live audio description

Quite a few, it turns out.

Staff and students held an Eclipse Party to celebrate and enjoy the 92 percent coverage of the sun today. Students in Home Management prepared a black bean salsa and cookies to start things off about 10:30 this morning as we took time to learn a little more about the eclipse.

Among our tools was the recently published Getting a Feel for Solar Eclipses, published by NASA. It featured tactile (and colorful) graphics of a solar eclipse and a tactile map of the United States depicting the path of totality.

In addition to this, many downloaded the iOS app Eclipse Soundscapes, which featured rumble maps that vibrated to show the brightest spots of such features as Bailey’s Beads, as well as audio descriptions of the peak event timed to our locale. We broadcast these using a bluetooth speaker. The app was developed by the National Park Service, Science Friday and Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Leon wears eclipse glasses and takes a look as the eclipse gets startedOf course we also obtained 25 pairs of eclipse sunglasses for sighted staff and those of us who have some residual vision and wanted to try and see the event. Sleepshades, usually a requirement for any student with no more than light perception, were not required for the event.

We were all out on the edge of our parking lot, watching and listening as the day grew dimmer and the temperature dropped from about 80 degrees to around 74 degrees.

Over in the shadow of the trees several of the group observed the progress of the eclipse as the sunny spots between the shadows of the leaves slowly grew smaller – a natural version of the pinhole approach of watching an eclipse.

Afterwards, we all went inside and were treated to a pizza lunch by the CCB Student Association.

Oh yeah, it was a real party!

Yolanda and Chip looking at the Eclipse Tactile Graphics
Close up of Eclipse Tactile Graffic
Eclipse Soundscapes App featuring Baily's Beads

 

A view of the sun during the eclipse - lense flairs show the actual eclipse shape
Tree leaf shadows make a natural pin hole eclipse viewer on the CCB flagstone in the front garden

 

Categories
Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Youth Services

NF Challenge Olympic Day 2017

Volunteers steady tandem bicycles as students get aboard
CCB Summer students Mary and Cheyenne get on the tandem bikes with EyeCycle Volunteers while Christina waits her turn

There wasn’t time to sit still till lunch was served, but none were inclined to do so at Saturday’s #NFChallenge Olympic Day 2017. There were just too many things to try out – beep baseball demonstration with the Colorado Storm, judo and power-lifting, goal ball and tandem bicycling with Eye-Cycle! Everybody got to take a turn at three or four of these activities, and a few even took a second bike ride or got into a couple of actual goal ball matches!

But participants were able to sit still long enough to listen to Paralympic runner Chaz Davis talk about how he went from “overweight and out-of-shape” to being the current record-holder in the marathon for blind and visually impaired runners.

And then it was back to another round of fun – and fitness – activities!

A woman swings the bat at the ball coming toward her
Julie Deden connected with her first swing at the Beep Baseball demonstration.

Thanks to the Denver Post for publishing a story on the #NFChallenge Olympic Day.