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General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Signs of Spring

Omar, Charles and Kameron move picnic tables while Julie and Duncan figure out placement

Sometimes spring arrives in Colorado in waves that feel like that bad bus driver, the one who alternately steps on the gas and then lets off, again and again, rocking you forward and back into half-nausea. That’s how it’s been this year – 80 degree days followed by an icy blast of wind and snow and then it starts again. But underfoot (and a couple of times under the snow), the grass is greening and the smell of the damp, warming soil is like a reassuring promise, while overhead in the budding trees robins and sparrows and towhees announce their return.

Even though the center was closed for Good Friday, it was a busy week. Both Omar and Lauren graduated this week. Adrian completed his Drop on Wednesday, and his Monster Route on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Tuesday Seniors group traveled to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasons herbal tea factory (located, appropriately enough on Sleepytime Drive).

Here are a couple of pics that speak of this spring. One of them is a group of volunteers, under the direction of Director Julie Deden and Senior Services Director Duncan larsen, moving the picnic tables onto our new patio outside the meeting room door. This was a classic “No, I don’t like it there, let’s try it over here” kind of activity. (Those picnic tables are made of steel, just saying.) The patio was put in last year as part of our parking lot and grounds redesign project. It’s the perfect place to enjoy your lunch in the spring sunshine and listen to the birds sing.

Our roof at the McGeorge Mountain Terrace Apartments is new,after the the big January snowstorm revealed serious leakages. The final exterior touches involve painting the roof trim. But while we have the painters up on ladders, we’re doing the necessary maintenance of painting the window trim and changing the colors. Why not? Spring is a great time for fresh new color!

Enjoy the Easter weekend all!

Repainting the trim at McGeorge Mountain Terrace

Categories
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

 

Categories
Cane Travel Careers General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

A little about CCB at #NFBCO17 – @nfbco

Blanca at the Podium at NFBCO17
Tabea at the podium at NFBCO17
Ryan at the podium with Julie and Scott to the right at NFBCO17

Everyone – staff and students – were in Fort Collins last weekend for the 63rd Convention of National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. For some, it was their first convention, while others were very involved in a number of activities and divisions.

Above these three recent alums were at the podium at different moments. Left to right: Blanca was part of the CCB presentation talking about her training and her new job; Tabel was one of the scholarship winners, but here is
shown as part of the “My Blindness, My Self” panel; and Ryan also talked about his new job, and how he was quickly moved to a new position that challenged him even more. He had met many challenges as a stdent and that confidence helped him push forward.

Below are two current students during Sunday morning sessions – Dougan and Adia. Dougan completed his Monster Route on Monday. At Tuesday morning’s announcements, he learned he was going out on his support drop. He made it back with hours to spare before Game Six of the World Series Tuesday night.

Dugan at the NFBCO17 convention
Adia at the NFBCO17 convention

 

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Steve Announces 2 for 1 on Drops: Julie & Ashley Successes!

Who can resist a 2-for-1 deal? Steve called it out at morning announcements – Ashley for her support drop (meaning she spent the morning with Steve), and Julie M. on her solo drop! What a great deal – and they both made it back successfully, and with more confidence in their independent travel skills!

Limit one coupon per Travel Instructor, please.

Ashley just back from her Support Drop
Julie M. Signing in after returning from her Independent Drop

 

Categories
Cane Travel Independence Training Program

“I cant’ believe I did it!” Congrats to Serena on Completing her Drop Today!

Serena signing in at the Brailler in the lobby, grinning at the camera

Confidence

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Confidence Is the Cornerstone of Independence: Suzi’s Drop

Suzi with a huge grin signing in at the Brailler after getting back from her Independent Drop

“Is Suzie here this morning?” asked Daniel yesterday at morning announcements.

“No!” protested Suzie

This is how it goes sometimes near the end of a student’s program – things can get bunched up a bit. Suzie will graduate on May 10. On Tuesday this week, she completed her Monster Route – traveling to four places she’d never been before in four Metro-area cities. That’s a big, big day, and her protests were certainly as much about the fact that she was still a little tired as it was about the fact that it was raining yesterday morning.

Why was Daniel, Suzie’s Travel Instructor asking whether she was there? Well, because Suzie was going on her Drop – the other big travel requirement. While the Monster Route focuses on planning, scheduling and working out how to find new places – and students often spend several weeks of class time doing all this for the Monster Route – the Drop is all about problem-solving, using the travel fundamentals of orientation, making decisions based on skills have been practiced for nine months.

So, for Suzie, a driver was ready, the spot had been chosen, and she was about to take a ride and be “dropped” somewhere – she wouldn’t know where – with the task of returning to the Center having asked only one question of anyone she might meet along the way.

It sounds scary, it might seem mean, but it’s the culmination of months of work and practice and, when the student walks in the front door of the Center with that success under their belt, they are full of confidence – the confidence that is the cornerstone of true independence!

Just look at the grin on Suzie’s face!

By the way, the sun came out yesterday afternoon, not long after Suzie’s triumphant return.

Categories
Cane Travel Independence Training Program

Congratulate Courtney, she completed her drop this morning!

A young woman standing at the counter, her fingers on the keys of a Braille typewriter
Courtney signs herself in on the Perkins Brailler as Robert announced her return on the PA.

She had great weather, and more than a little New Jersey attitude when Steve told us at announcements she was going on her drop this morning. She still had that attitude when she got back after only an hour.

“I think I spent more time waiting for the light rail than anything …,” she commented.

The drop is the final travel requirement – a big test. Students are “dropped” off somewhere in the Metro area and they must find their way back to the Center asking no more than one question. Of course, our travel instructors know when they are ready, know when they have the experience with RTD and various kinds of street crossings and, especially important on the drop, understand and make use of cardinal directions.

Well, congrats Courtney!

Categories
Cane Travel General Colorado Center Information Independence Training Program

Last week was a big one for drops

Ryan signs in on the Brailler with a sense of accomplishment after completing his Independent Drop
Trevor traveling with his cane and sleepshades

Last week was busy with drops and support drops.

The “Drop”, or independent drop is one of the two final requirements of our cane travel instruction. Ryan and Trevor both completed theirs last week, having been dropped somewhere in the Denver Metro area and permitted one question on their trip back to the Center.

The “support drop” is more or less a dress rehearsal for the independent drop. Everything is the same except that the student’s travel instructor goes along. The instructor, by the way, doesn’t know where they are either and also wears sleepshades. Both Julie and Suzie completed support drops last week.

The drop is the culmination of many months of instruction and daily practice of those travel skills, including how to orient, problem-solve, analyze and cross many kinds of intersections and how to find a bus stop. The confidence students gain from completing this requirement is obvious the minute they walk in the front door of the Center, having succeeded, and the announcement goes over the public address system congratulating them!

Julie M. traveling with her cane and sleepshades
Suzi signing in on the Brailler after returning from her Support Drop