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
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.

Categories
Events General Colorado Center Information

Letter to friends and supporters from President of the NFB of Colorado, Scott C. LaBarre and the Executive Director of CCBJulie Deden

6 Dot Dash 5K Logo

Editor’s Note: This letter has been widely distributed this week, but we decided to risk repeating ourselves by posting it here because we very much hope you will join us for the NFB of Colorado Comcast 6 Dot Dash on Sunday. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Dear Family and Friends,

In recent months we have been planning our first National Federation of the Blind Comcast 6 Dot Dash 5K. Perhaps you have heard about it. It is this coming Sunday morning. Perhaps you have already made plans to attend. We hope so. Perhaps you have registered for the race. If so, thank you. If you have not there is still time. www.6dotdashco.com. We at the Colorado Center for the Blind are proud to be hosting this event. The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us or our dreams. The 6 Dot Dash 5K will raise awareness and funds for Braille literacy and blindness skills training. The 5K run/walk, expo, kids’ activities, and blind beer tasting kick off at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 24th at the Colorado Center for the Blind (2233 W. Shepperd Ave. Littleton, CO 80120). The name “6 Dot Dash” comes from the six dots which make up the Braille cell. A combination of these six dots makes up every letter in the Braille alphabet. For individuals who are blind or low vision, these 6 dots represent literacy, independence, and the opportunity to live the lives we want. We will be highlighting our Center, our grounds, and its idyllic setting in beautiful downtown Littleton, Colorado.

We are proud to announce that the Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of Colorado, and a running enthusiast, Mr. Steve Anton, will serve as Honorary Chair of this inaugural event. In addition to the 5K, runners can enjoy a 1-mile fun run, our race day expo, tours of the Colorado Center for the Blind, and our blind beer tasting in partnership with Blind Faith Brewing, De Steeg Brewing, and St. Patrick’s Brewing Company. (Blindfolds available for beer tasters who are not blind.) Registration is $40, and participants will receive an official chip time, technical t-shirt, free finisher photos, a finisher medal, and entry to the blind beer tasting (www.6dotdashco.com). This is an out and back course, starting at the Colorado Center for the Blind and proceeding along the beautiful Mary Carter Greenway. A special thanks to Comcast, our Title Sponsor.

The Colorado Center for the Blind is the principal program conducted by the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. CCB is in the midst of our Summer Youth Programs, along with all of the other training we provide to students of all ages. Students come from all over the Nation and the world. Please, come visit us this Sunday morning. Come walk or run with us. We promise a great experience.

For further information contact Dan Burke, [email protected], 303-778-1130 ext. 213 or cell 406-546-8546.

Warmly,

Julie Deden and Scott LaBarre

Categories
Youth Services

Celebrate Spring with FAST Friday Fun & Games May 11!

CCB Summer students Mary and Cheyene get on the tandem bikes with EyeCycle Volunteers while Christina waits her turnThe entire family is welcome to come and enjoy FAST Friday Fun and Games on May 11 at 5:30 with staff and students at the Colorado Center for the Blind.

This will be an active FAST Friday. We will be getting out and enjoying the beautiful spring weather, playing some kickball, string ball, learning to tandem cycle and doing some guide running to prepare for the NFB of Colorado’s 6 Dot Dash on June 24. We will also be doing some grilling and enjoying some great food.

If you want a burger or a dog, you gotta RSVP here.

Here’s the info on the 6 Dot Dash 5K!

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 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.

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

Categories
General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

High Fives at Mile High Academy #MeettheBlind #HowEyeSeeIt

Ryan High-Fives with the students after shooting some hoops
Ryan at the Mic at Mile High Academy
Ryan shoots some hoops with a group of students from Mile High Academy

We are always excited to be invited to talk at schools in the area about what it really means to be blind. It’s a great chance to dispel myths and stereotypes and to teach kids that blind people are just folks, too. So, we were delighted when we received a call from Diane Harris, a parent and administrator at nearby Mile High Academy. It turned out that the 7th grade English students were reading Michael Hingson‘s book, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust, Mike’s story of his escape from the World Trade Center on 9/11 with his guide dog, Roselle. We were especially excited because Mike’s book talks about the truth of being blind and because he is a member of our Board of Directors. It was a great connection for all of us.

I took one of our students, Ryan along, as well as our photographer Mike Thompson. With the school’s permission, Mike Thompson shot some still photos and video of the presentation. Ryan’s response to a question about how blind people play sports was one of the highlights of the visit. The morning was all net! Thanks again to the students, teachers and Diane Harris for inviting us to come!

Categories
Challenge Recreation General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Body Pads and Karate Punches: Tuesday’s Orange Belts

Rachael flies through the air as Steve flips her to the ground
Another round of testing for the Martial Arts class on Tuesday was followed by an awards ceremony. The entire Center turned out in the gym as five students and Travel Instructor Steve Patten all received orange belts from Karate Denver instructors Rachel and Travis. Steve is a bit of a ringer, of course, since he already has a black belt in Judo and competed internationally.

Brittany throws Travis flat on his back on the mats
Warren holds on to his cane while throwing elbow jabbs at the pads
Jimmi throws Rachael to the ground while keeping hold of his cane

Each class meets for eight sessions in our gym, learning any number of defensive strategies and moves, punches, kicks and holds. This class included Jay, Jimmy, Warren, Brittany, warren and Courtney C along with Steve.

“I feel a lot more confidence in myself,” said Brittany after the class. Wearing a warrior’s face during her belt testing, she giggles when asked about it. “It was fun too!”
Group shot with instructors standing with the students who are wearing their orange belts and holding their certificates