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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Here is a Blind Coloradoan Worth Your Read


Writer, aggregator Kevan Worley. 
Contributing editor Dan Burke.

Here is what you need to know


Are You Ready for the Run Up to The May 31 NFBCO 6 Dot Dash 5K?

Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 31. Registration will be open soon!

Join us Sunday morning for the race or participate virtually no matter where you live. Details about virtual participation coming soon! 

NFBCO 6 Dot Dash-run the race you want!

Marade.

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado is first and foremost a civil rights organization. Every year we take pride in walking side by side with thousands for one of the largest Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations in the nation. As the struggle for equality for all continues. It is worth noting that the last time Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Denver more than 50 years ago there were protesters burning crosses and cars outside of the arena. Marching From the I Have a Dream Monument to Civic Center Park, members of the NFBCO and staff and students from CCB joined thousands on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the annual Marade.
             

MLK 2020. CCB marching. Christina Laty and Julie PMLK 2020, CCB Marching. Stephanie Parris, Christina Laty, Cristian and Stephanie Baldwin

MLK 2020, CCB marching West, toward the State Capital and mountains. Gold dome of state capital on left and cathedral on right.

Fort Collins Meet Up. A Red Robin Night.

This is a reminder from Ileen Gallegos:
Where:   Red Robin
               701 E. Harmony RD.
               Fort Collins, CO 80525
              
When:   Tuesday, January 28, 2020
               From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Bring your appetite, ideas, guests, and something to jot down some notes if you like.
Our goal is to network, make friends, and discuss helpful ideas involving blind people.
It will be a fantastic, fun feeling, as we fill ourselves with food.

Can’t wait to meet up.
Next step. The organizing of a new NFBCO chapter in the Poudre Valley.

Live the Life You Want, by Scott C. LaBarre.

From the aggregator: On the last blog of 2019, we urged our readers to give some thought to the tagline of the National Federation of the Blind, “Live the Life You Want.” I received a number of comments which we will post in the weeks to come. And for those of you who subscribe to our Colorado Talk list serv, and everyone should, you likely have seen some very interesting takes on our tagline. We would like to share with you a post from Scott LaBarre. Here is what he shares:

First of all, I want to wish everyone here a very happy new year!  My hope is that 2020 will be outstanding for all of us.

Next, I want to thank Jenny for raising the topic of what our tagline “live the life you want!” really means.  I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments about how it should be interpreted and implemented.

Before I delve into the substance of my comments, I want to give you a little background which helps to form my perspective.  I first joined the NFB in 1986, and I have had the honor and privilege of being a very active member and leader on many different levels.  As part of that experience, I served on a committee which was formed in 2013, maybe even late 2012, whose purpose was to develop our plan for celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Federation.  After some discussion, we decided that it was time to rebrand our messaging so that we could more effectively communicate who we are.  One part of that rebranding was changing our tagline from “we are changing what it means to be blind” to the current “live the life you want!”  Beyond just the tagline, we developed a comprehensive brand architecture which has many elements that would serve as an excellent focal point for future discussions.  In any event, I mention all this because I think I have some idea of what we intended regarding the message we were attempting to communicate.

Ever since I have been involved in the NFB, there has been this conception that the NFB only supports and celebrates the “super blind” and that if you don’t go about blindness in a very specific manner, you are not really living the life the NFB endorses.  I emphatically and whole heartedly believe that this misconception is not true!  There is no such thing as a model Federationist, and there certainly is not one, singular script from which we must all lead our lives. 

The idea of “live the life you want!” is that your blindness should not hold you back from pursuing your dreams and ambitions.  Undeniably all of our dreams and ambitions are limited and somewhat governed by the realities we face, whether those are financial, educational, health based, or otherwise.  There is no one way to live the life you want.  It doesn’t matter if you are pursuing a high stakes profession, working from home, volunteering in the community, or not working at all.  Our main message is that whatever you are doing with your life, your blindness should not be the chief reason holding you back from whatever brings you fulfillment and purpose in life.  Our one-minute message, another creation of our rebranding, brings this point out.

“The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

A key part of this message is that we are raising expectations.  That has both an external and internal aspects to it.  On the external side, we are working to convince the general population that they can and should expect more from us.  All of us often run into very low expectations held by the public.  Pretty much every time I travel to and through an airport somebody tells me how amazing I am for simply putting one foot in front of another. 

On the internal side, we should encourage one another to become the best versions of ourselves that we can.  Doing so must always be done with love and understanding.  Every year that I am in the Federation, I learn so much from our members on how I can lead my life in a better way, a new technology trick or something that enhances my independent travel or whatever it might be.  I certainly haven’t figured it all out, and I know that sometimes I do in fact let my blindness limit me in a way that isn’t truly necessary. 

Regardless, we must accept people where they are in their lives and be ready to encourage them to achieve more when that is appropriate.  This is what we aim to do at our centers.  We work with people from all walks of life and who have a wide variety of challenges.  No student’s program is or should be the same.  We have some general policies and expectations, but same are always adjusted to the individual student.

Living the life you want is all about independence and freedom.  As our founder Dr. tenBroek so eloquently put it, we have a right to live in the world.  That means we have the right to be free and independent and to determine our own destiny.  The exact mechanism we use to achieve that freedom and independence is not the key issue, but rather that we know and believe that we have the right to achieve it.  I think the Federation’s best speech regarding independence is the Nature of Independence by Dr. Jernigan from the 1993 Convention.  If you haven’t read it, I encourage that you do so.    It is available through our national website.

Before closing this out, I want to address another point Jenny raised in her original message, the idea that perhaps we sometimes focus and emphasize success stories based on traditional notions of success and that we don’t celebrate other forms of achievement.  I think this is a great point, and we should endeavor to paint a more comprehensive picture.  Convincing an animal shelter to let you volunteer despite your blindness is just as important as someone winning a national scholarship based on academic achievement at the highest level.  Both are part of living the life we want.

In closing, I want to share two other elements from our brand architecture, the Brand Promise and Value Proposition.  I do this because, for me, it so eloquently sums up why I am involved in our Federation.  “Together with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality.  I am filled with hope, energy, and love by participating in the National Federation of the Blind because my expectations are raised, my contributions make a difference to me and to others, and I can celebrate the realization of my dreams with my Federation family.”

          Warmly,
           Scott

Dance, Dance, Dance!

Come and learn to Latin dance step-by-step. Learn from a world-renowned Latin dance teacher!!!



clip art of salsa dancers



 On February 15, 2020, join us at the Colorado Center for the Blind, 2233 W. Shepherd Avenue Littleton, CO 80120

The Denver chapter meeting will start at 10 AM and at 11:45 AM lunch will begin being served for purchase. The dance class will begin at 12:45 promptly and end at 2:45 PM

If you have any questions, please contact Maureen at 215-353-7218 or maureenbassmaster@gmail.com.

The Passing of a Tremendous Leader.

What an amazing, AMAZING, sweet, smart, delightful woman.

We received this sorrowful news from Rob Harris, Treasurer, NFBCO Grand Valley Chapter:

It is with great sadness that I inform every one of the passing of Ms. Margaret Williams, January 20. Our president, and matriarch of the Grand Valley Chapter. I remember first meeting Ms. Margaret at the BELL Academy we held in Grand Junction. Margaret was so passionate about so many things and her determination to live the life she wanted will always be etched in my memory. In her 90's she participated in the One Touch self-defense class, rafted the mighty Colorado River not once but twice and was always so eager and energetic at all of our events. She shared with me that her greatest desire was to keep the NFB of Colorado Grand Valley Chapter going because it did so very much for her. From Seniors in Charge to our bake sales to the farmers market on the main street I know I will miss her stories of yesteryear. On our way back from last year's leadership retreat she gleamed talking about riding in a ship to go overseas with her husband and the American muscle car, they zoomed around Europe in, often to the dismay of the Germans with its loud engine.
Our chapter is putting a small get together to share in our memories and I will keep the group posted if you are interested in attending. Margaret was loved by so many in this community and beyond that, there will be stories to talk of for years to come and I am truly honored to have known her and served with her on the Board. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers there are plans for a memorial on March 26th which would have been her 95th birthday. I will always remember one thing she told me, there is never a good excuse to not do the next right thing. She loved the NFB, the NFB of Colorado and all of you. She will be greatly missed, and I rejoice in my time to get to know her.

Join Us Under the Golden Dome. Dan Burke Reminds Us All.

Wednesday February 5th, members of our Federation and our friends and supporters will again reach out to our legislators. Our Day at the Capitol has become a tradition of great value and possibility. Join 100 or so as we enjoy a legislative briefing from Federation leaders and members of the General Assembly. We begin at 12:15 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. At approximately 1:00 that afternoon, we will fan out through the capital to take our legislative agenda and positive message of hope and opportunity to legislators and their staff. For information contact Dan Burke, dburke@cocenter.org.

Tech Tip from Curtis Chong.

Long-time readers of our short-time Blind Coloradoan will know that Curtis Chong is a jack of all trades master of many. He often offers tech tips. Here is his latest.

For anyone who uses touch typing on the iPhone who has updated to iOS 13, please remember that touch typing does not work very well for you unless or until you turn off "slide to type". This is a setting that is found in Settings > General > Keyboard.

And Bingo Was His Name-o.

From the aggregator: of course, someone had to start singing it. In this case, we think it was Federation activist, blind merchant Pipi Adams. Saturday night, January 25th, the Wild West Chapter held a successful family fun fundraiser. The bingo pizza night raised about $400 for the chapter. Thanks to BrewAbility Labs for being such gracious hosts. Special thanks to Ileen Gallegos, Marlene Basta, Shawn Sandoval, and a whole team for making bingo more fun than I thought it could be. Here is what Marlene Basta says:

Bingo night with friends. Fundraiser for our National Federation of the Blind Wild West Metro Chapter. Much fun. Thanks to everyone it was a great success. Lots of helpers and donations. Thank you all.

Wild West Chapter fundraiser. playing Bingo and eating pizza at BrewAbility Labs

 Photo Credit: Marlene Basta


Braille competition in Colorado Springs tests blind, visually impaired students' skills.

By Debbie Kelley, journalist, The Colorado Springs Gazette. Photos by Jerilee Bennett of The Gazette.

Nikola Adams types words on his Braille machine, like a Braille version of a spelling bee during the CSDB hosted Braille Challenge January 15, 2020.

The mood was tense and the competition fierce Thursday in an upper-level-math classroom at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, where an abacus replaces a calculator and white canes hang on a coat rack.
Clacking keys, returning carriages, ringing bells and crackling paper being pulled out of Braille writers filled the air.
But the blind and visually impaired students weren’t paying attention to the cacophony of their work.
With bent heads, the students concentrated on listening to an article about the transition from high school to college, then typed the words on manual Braille machines.

“My ears are buzzing,” 15-year-old Alacia Bates said, pulling out ear buds that allowed her to hear the article she was translating into Braille.
Students had just finished the first “speed and accuracy” portion of the annual Braille Challenge.

“I think I messed up — how do you spell ophthalmologist?” asked Alacia, who has a progressive eye disease that has slowly darkened her vision.

The event, sponsored by the Braille Institute, is the nation’s only academic competition specifically for blind and visually impaired students in the United States and Canada.
The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind is one of 54 regional host sites for this year’s challenge, which culminates in June with national finals, held in California.
From first grade through high school, students’ skills are measured in Braille reading comprehension, proofreading, graph and chart analysis, spelling, and speed and accuracy.

The timed test is hard, said junior Jake Weatherby, who is competing for his third year. “You have to listen to words and type at the same time,” he said.
For the charts and graphs section, students must accurately read and analyze graphs and charts in Braille, which is even tougher, students said.
Seventeen-year-old Jake began learning Braille when he was 11, in Chinese, his native language. But now, he reads and writes using American Braille.
“It’s really important for us to show our best skills for the challenge,” he said. “I cannot read print, so I read Braille.
“For people who are blind, it’s important to feel the texture of the Braille — that’s how we learn different words and how to read and spell.”


Jake Weatherby checks his Braille by touch while typing in the Braille Challenge competition January 15, 2020.


A total of 25 students who use Braille participated in Thursday’s event, and other students did activities such as playing Braille Uno and Braille Twister as part of a schoolwide celebration of the communication method.

The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind has hosted the competition for 17 years, said spokeswoman Diane Taylor.

Regardless of whether students qualify for the national level, the school awards first, second and third prizes in each category, said Jamie Lugo, principal of the School for the Blind.
A group of nationally certified transcribers judge the work and will release the results Feb. 4, she said.
“You hear people say Braille might become obsolete, but we don’t believe that,” Lugo said. “It’s so important to literacy to emphasize keeping the Braille code alive.”

Christina Cortes, a secondary science teacher of blind and visually impaired students and who is blind, said the contest is “something we look forward to every year.”
The event enables students to “experience healthy competition with their peers, where they can compete on equal footing, and practice and showcase their Braille literacy skills,” she said.
It also promotes braille awareness, Cortes said.
A Braille writer is similar to a typewriter but has just six large keys and a space bar. The keys punch raised dots onto paper, representing specific characters that blind and visually impaired people feel with their fingers to interpret words.
Braille has changed in recent years to become unified and universal to all spoken languages, Cortes said.
“I’d never say it’s easy and simple to learn,” she said.
“Our students learn it at a young age and continue to learn through middle school and into high school until they are proficient, so they can read and write throughout their lives.”

Note, your Blind Coloradoan thanks the Colorado Springs Gazette for permission to post the above story.

What Does a Shark Order at McDonald’s?

A quarter flounder with cheese!

How does a shark greet a fish? Please to eat you!

What is a sharks favorite sandwich? A peanut butter and jellyfish!

Why do sharks live in saltwater? Because pepper water makes them sneeze!

Why does the Colorado Center for the Blind partner with Arapahoe Community College to offer a shark dissection experience for blind students? Because the National Federation of the Blind believes in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math for all students!

Just like the great white, it’s full steam ahead for the next shark dissection experience! Friday February 21, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For more information contact Martin Becerra-Miranda at 303-778-1130 ext. 223.

On the Ice with the Avalanche!

Try Blind Hockey 2020, By Bryan Baldwin.
On Thursday, January 9th, 2020, the Colorado Center for the Blind took 10 students, 1 intern, and 3 staff to the Pepsi Center to get their ice legs ready for some hockey. Not only was it an adventure for those staff and students, but for the blind hockey players also on the ice, as well as a few professional hockey players.
                “I got to try out the sleep shades and that was difficult but interesting,” said Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche who plays the Right Wing. Mikko got the opportunity to try out blind hockey by wearing sleep shades, a type of blindfold to keep out all light, as well as with a modified hockey puck with ball bearings on the inside to make the puck more audible.
               Many students that come to the Center are not aware of the things that blind people can do. Many of the students hadn’t been on the ice since going blind, or ever in their life.
                Cameron Hughes, an 18-year-old student from Broken Bow, Oklahoma got to experience ice skating for the first time in his life.
“I never thought I could play hockey as a blind person, but once I saw the hockey pucks with the ball bearings inside of it, I thought to myself that I could do this. I never knew something like this existed for blind people,” said Hughes.
Cameron said he doesn’t have ice rinks in the area where he lives so even if he wanted to try it, he was unable to.
 “I had roller-bladed before, and once I stood up on the skates it felt just like roller skates. Then I got on the ice. I stayed close to the boards and had the anxiety of falling. I just started moving my legs and after about an hour it just felt natural,” added Hughes.
 “I had watched hockey a little as a kid but never thought it was something I could do. While I was out on the ice the NHL players were really encouraging. I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to go and experience this and meet the Avalanche players. It raised my expectations of myself and opened me up to new hobbies. I feel if I keep practicing, I could get better at this. I am going to be signing up for blind hockey right away. This was absolutely amazing,” Cameron said with a giant smile on his face.
I also got to experience these things for the first time. As a cane travel instructor at the Colorado Center I wore my sleep shades traveling to the Pepsi Center and got to get on the ice for the first time ever. Getting to watch these students explore new heights they never thought possible, on top of skating with the Avalanche players, is one of the best parts of my job. We carry high expectations of our students and try to open new doors for them. This was definitely one of those large doors for them. One of the students that attended first came to the center afraid of walking up stairs. Now the student was rushing to get on the ice and has now joined our blind hockey team. The growth of our students to go live the lives they want is what we work for.
Note from your aggregator: Blind hockey is a rather new sport. It is likely to continue evolving. Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado who have played the sport have been concerned about what they consider to be rules that create a hierarchy of vision. A resolution was passed at our 2019 National Convention calling for a study committee to work on the problem. Read the full text of the resolution here. 

More Random Stuff.

  •  Did you know that you can get complete audio information network schedules on NFB Newsline? AIN and NFB Newsline-all the news that’s fit to read. To apply for NFB Newsline contact cheryl.gross@worleyenterprises.com.


“If your grandma has ever been thrown out of bingo hall for using profane language, you might be a redneck.”-Jeff Foxworthy.

“People ask me if there are going to be stories of Harry Potter as an adult. Frankly, if I wanted to, I could keep writing stories until Harry is a senior citizen, but I don't know how many people would actually want to read about a 65-year-old Harry still at Hogwarts playing bingo with Ron and Hermione.” -J.K. Rowling

  • For another perspective on living the life you want, you might enjoy this folksong from Tom Paxton. And since this is the Blind Coloradoan, Tom will be in Denver presented by Swallow Hill on February 22nd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ANwbmLHgM


What did mother shark say to her son? “you watch that sharcasm young fellow!” 

That’s It for This Edition of the Blind Coloradoan.

Forward, always Forward!







Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Trevor Thomas to Present at CSDB

"My Hope is that I can provide inspiration for others to step outside their comfort zones to achieve greater heights in their lives." -Trevor Thomas


Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, in sponsorship with National Federation of the Blind of Colroado, welcomes Trevor Thomas on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. 

His presentation will be in the CSDB Gottlieb Auditorium from 2:30-3:30 and again from 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Please check in upon arrival at the Administration Front Desk with your official photo ID.

Trevor Thomas founded team FarSight Foundation, Inc. a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering young adults who are blind and visually impaired in hiking, camping, and other outdoor skills. He is a member of No Barriers Summit, a 4-day gathering that promotes innovation, education, and assistive technologies that enable participants of all abilities to discover the potential that lies within them and the world. Thomas has been featured in magazines, newpapers, radio and television domestically and internationally, and he has been the subject of several documentaries. He is a motivational speaker and a sponsored athlete. Thomas resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Your Blind Coloradoan is Back! For 2020

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the tagline "live the life you want"

Writer, aggregator Kevan Worley.Contributing editor Dan Burke.

Here is what you need to know



6 Must-Keep Resolutions

Happy New Year! At the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado 2019 Convention, 6 resolutions were adopted. These statements of policy will inform and guide our work in the months and years ahead. Find brief summaries of 3 of these important resolutions at the end of this Blind Coloradoan.

Colorado Seniors in Charge and On the Move

Blind seniors enjoy seasonal open-air trolley offering scenic rides along the South Platte Greenway & Downtown Denver.

From the Front Range to the Western Slope, from the Poudre Valley to Trinidad, and on over to the Kansas line we are Colorado. We are NFBCO and we are the Colorado Center for the Blind. We believe life doesn’t end when blindness and low vision begin. Life changes. And, as is often said, “that’s life.” Of course, it is often not that easy. We get it! That’s why the instructive, empowering, nurturing, and joyful Seniors Programs have become so wildly successful. Blind seniors embrace the loving, problem solving, can-do spirit of our programs. Learn more about dynamic Seniors Programs.
Spend a few moments with these motivating blind seniors; A video that is worth the watch.

NFBCO Mountains and Plains At Large Chapter is Looking for You

If there is no local chapter in your community or if the time and day of your local chapter doesn’t fit your schedule, Mountains and Plains is calling your name.

The Mountains & Plains at large chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month.  
The call-in information is as follows: 605-313-5145,,405276. This is written for one touch mobile.

ReNae Anderson, Pres.  970-393-0170 and anyone may call for any questions.

We are hoping to have an in-person event, probably in Denver, in the summer.  More information to come.

B-I-N-G-O!

BINGO NIGHT MEET UP.
Join the Wild West For fun and fundraising.

WHERE:
3445 S Broadway St.
Englewood, CO 80113

When:
January 25, 2020 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Cost:
Braille and large print Bingo cards will be $3.00.
Pizza will be available for $3.50 per large slice

Bingo prizes will be fun and memorable. Prize donations are definitely accepted.

Ileen Gallegos
303-895-0087

A Mountain, a Waterfall, a Cracked Pool, and a Christmas Tree Color Wheel

From the aggregator: I highly recommend the January Braille Monitor. During the recent NFBCO Leadership Retreat we spent some time talking of our effort to preserve our history. During the discussion we had fun regaling our colleagues with stories and lessons from our history featuring the protagonist, our beloved Ray McGeorge. And what do I see when I open the January Braille Monitor? An article featuring Ray. I highly recommend this view, blind or sighted. Ray was truly a mensch. His legacy continues to make a difference.


Attention Blind Students. Get Ready, Get Set, GO! It’s Time for the 2020 Braille Challenge

From the aggregator: We received the following note from Diane Taylor, Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, School/Community Liaison.

CSDB will host a regional Braille Challenge event, January 16th, in Colorado Springs, and another, in partnership with the Colorado Center for the Blind, January 23rd, in the Denver Metro area.  The Challenge is part of the National Braille Challenge sponsored by the Braille Institute.

The competition includes sections testing Speed/Accuracy, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Proofreading, and Charts and Graphs.  Pre-braille learners and students with low vision who are not braille readers will participate in daily living skill, music, literacy, and orientation and mobility activities, with a tactile focus, to celebrate braille.

Annually, more than sixty students participate in the competition and related activities. Thank you to all of the volunteers and staff members who help make each Braille Challenge positive for everyone.

Attention Sports Fans: Mark Your Calendars for February 28th

Goalball Extravaganza at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.

Colorado Association of Guide Dog Users All-Call!

The Board of Directors of the Colorado Association of Guide Dog users, COAGDU, will meet by Zoom this coming Sunday afternoon, January 19 at 4 p.m. All guide dog handlers and those interested in the work of our Colorado Federation Guide Dog group are welcome. Contact Ileen Gallegos after Wednesday for Zoom information, ileenshere@gmail.com.

Fort Collins Meet Up. A Red Robin Night

Where:
               Red Robin
               701 E. Harmony RD.
               Fort Collins, CO 80525
              
When:
               Tuesday, January 28, 2020
               From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Bring your appetite, ideas, guests, and something to jot down some notes if you like.
Our goal is to network, make friends, and discuss helpful ideas involving blind people.
It will be a fantastic, fun feeling, as we fill ourselves with food.

Can’t wait to meet up.
Next step. The organizing of a new NFBCO chapter in the Poudre Valley.

Live the Life You Want, by Anahit LaBarre

From the aggregator: On the last blog of last year, we urged our readers to give some thought to the tagline of the National Federation of the Blind, “Live the Life You Want.” I received a number of comments which we will post in the weeks to come. And for those of you who subscribe to our Colorado Talk list serv, and everyone should, you likely have seen some very interesting takes on our tagline. We would like to share with you a post from Anahit LaBarre. Anahit is a long-time leader in our movement. Besides managing our state president and 2 very active, extraordinary teenagers, Anahit is a full-time instructor in our Seniors Programs (see above). Here is what Anahit shares:

Greetings everyone.
I would like to take a moment and wish all of you a very Happy and a healthy New Year! It has been very informative to read all of the thoughts and ideas shared on this thread. My story and my take is quite different from many of you. I came from a country where there are no opportunities for people with any kind of disability or limitation, or differences, for that matter. So, while we have a long journey ahead of us to reach full equality in our society here, we have so much available to us. So, what does Living the life I want mean to me? It is complex but yet very simple. It means I have the knowledge, the tools and the ability to make a choice. Every day I tell myself, as well as my students, that we are all human. And the complexity and beauty of it is that we WILL make mistakes, we will choose wrong at times. But We have the right and the opportunity to make those choices. No one organization, workplace, social group or school environment can possibly be right for everyone. There are things you might disagree with in the way things are done. However, I choose to focus on the strengths and the aspects that will support my beliefs and ideas. If I find that at its core an organization or a work space aligns with my values, if I find that I can gain from it, as well as add to it, if I find that with a productive dialogue we can make things better, I choose to belong. Does this mean that I agree with everything that is ever said or done? Not necessarily. But we come again to the power of choice and the fact that I chose to belong here, I chose to make this my home. So, this means I will share, in a productive way, what my thoughts are, I will contribute what I can at the time needed. This is what is so crucially important to me. As a person who grew up in a place where choices were made for me, I value the freedom to make my own decisions, to discuss openly, to be productive and to turn criticism into an opportunity for improvement, while appreciating all that is positive and available to me. Hope this helps. And yes, we all make mistakes, yes, we all make the wrong choice at times. But we sure try. Having. Supportive and constructive environment helps create opportunities for a better future, for collaboration and for a workplace or an organization where care and vision for a greater good prevails. My commitment is to have compassion, to listen and to problem solve together. But making a choice on a daily basis is up to me. There are hard days, where just getting out and facing the world seems almost impossible. It is on those days that we need to work hard to focus on the positive and what we have. It will help us get through the day. We need to focus on what makes us strong, unique and what we have to share with this world. And when the brighter tomorrow comes, we can extend a hand to a friend in need. Before we ask of others to see our worth, we find it ourselves. It looks different to everyone. I value honesty, kindness and loyalty. So, I focus on that for myself. Or at least I try. None of those core values are achievement-based but they are important to me. Find what makes you strong! We all have a gift to share. Thank you to all of those who have contributed. Please do stay active, bring productive ideas and thoughts, stay involved on a local level and make a difference for yourself and for others. Once we chose a home, let’s make it stronger!
Warmly on this not very warm night :)
Anahit

Are You Ready for the DAC? Are You? Are You?

To all of the blind and visually impaired of Colorado, you are warmly encouraged to join NFBCO for our annual Day at Capital. Join us at 12:15 Wednesday February 5th in the old Supreme Court Chambers. Speakers from our General Assembly, an opportunity to join fellow citizens for legislative office visits, and the camaraderie of joint action. This is what advocacy is all about. We will educate General Assembly members about initiatives of importance to people who are blind. Issues such as fair wages, NFB Newsline, and the importance of our Colorado Center for the Blind. For information contact our Legislative Chairman Dan Burke, 303-778-1130, dburke@cocenter.org.

Blind and low vision Coloradoans gathered on the steps inside the State Capital at NFBCO Day at Capital 2019


Colorado Center for the Blind, 2020 Summer Program Staff Announcement

High expectations, fun environment, and empowering experiences.
Gain invaluable job skills, make a difference and be part of a great staff!

The Colorado Center for the Blind is now accepting applications from positive blind adult role models to be residential counselors/classroom instructors in our 2020 summer programs.  Our programming consists of the following summer programs:

1) “No Limits to Learning” Transition Youth Program.

2) “World of Work” Pre-Employment Program.

3) “Challenge and Adventure” Self-Advocacy Program.

4) “Cracking the College Code” College Prep Program.

Staff must be available May 26 through August 7, 2020. If interested, please contact Martin Becerra-Miranda at (303)778-1130 extension 223 or via email at mbecerra@cocenter.org

It’s a New Year. It’s Resolutions Time

Our organization passed our resolutions on Sunday, November 3rd, 2019. Here are summaries of 3 of them:
  • National Federation of the Blind of Colorado Resolution 2019-01 Commends the City and County of Denver for Facilitating Nonvisual Access to the Ballot and Ballot Tracing Tools.
  • Resolution 2019-02 Calls upon the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Blindness and Low Vision Services Unit to Update Their Policies and Procedures to Include Funding for Summer Sessions for Blind College Students.
  • Resolution 2019-03 Is Regarding the Planned Redesign of the 16th Street Mall in Denver and Opposing the Removal of Tactually Discernible Boundaries along Streets at the Edge of the Mall.  

That’s It for This Edition of the Blind Coloradoan


Forward, always Forward!