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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Blind Coloradan; Hope is a Powerful Concept

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

Hope is a Powerful Concept.

In the National Federation of the Blind, we often say that with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality. During these difficult times hope can be a powerful thought. Along with love, faith, heart, and determination, our National Federation of the Blind of Colorado family stand united. Through our NFBCO COVID-19 helpline, our daily 5:00 zoom calls, and our 1-to-1 outreach we offer hope, support, and words of love for one another. This is who we are. If you know of a blind or vision impaired person who needs a little extra hope, please let us know. 303-778-1130, extension 219 or email Here is hoping you are secure, safe, and that your physical and emotional needs are being met. We can’t wait to hug each and every one of you. For now, we send you a virtual hug.

Colorado Center for the Blind Continues to Change Lives During the COVID-19 Shutdown.

Our Center is closed but the work of a caring diligent staff continues. Most students returned to their homes across the nation more than 2 weeks ago. The Center has a few students living at our apartments. The Center continues to provide long distance training, encouragement, and hope. Each day Center staff and students congregate over zoom for a discussion of the philosophy of mutual support, independence, and opportunity. Congratulations to the Colorado Center for the Blind for the grace, hard work, and imagination with which they continue to raise expectations.

Sharing the Hope of the Federation Over YouTube.

NFBCO Secretary Maureen Nietfeld is well known for the Breaking Blind videos she has posted over the years on YouTube. Many blind folks have been made aware of our Federation and attracted to our Colorado Center for the Blind by first meeting Maureen on YouTube. As people look for ways to spend time during the COVID-19 crisis, why not send everyone you know one of Maureen’s personal stories. Here is a link to one of my favorites, Maureen Gets a Guide Dog.

National Federation of the Blind COVID-19 Resource Page.

Sometimes the questions you have may be as close as Check out our COVID-19 Resource Page.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

Never have we heard the word zoom so often. Throughout the state and nation, our NFB has been using the zoom platform to provide our members our vast social network, encouragement, and interesting training. On Thursday evening, April 2nd, at 6:00 p.m. Colorado time the President of the National Federation of the Blind will be offering his monthly presidential release live over zoom. Feel free to join President Mark Riccobono. After providing information and perspective, President Riccobono intends to take questions from our Federation family. Join the experience! Or one-tap mobile +14086380968,,2368918214#, meeting ID 236 891 8214.

Of Course, Chapters and Divisions are Meeting.

Our Federation family can always find a way to persevere. Now is the time to plan your next chapter or division meeting. No! Not in person. In cyberspace! We know that the Colorado Springs chapter will gather at our usual time, at 10:00 Saturday morning, on the 2nd Saturday of April. President Jeanette Fortin says that details about how to join our zoom call-in are forthcoming. Looking forward to our visit on April 11th.  

Connect to NFB-NEWSLINE to be informed on COVID-19.

We received the following note from NFB Newsline Director Scott White. If you are not a subscriber to NFB Newsline, sign up today.

In an effort to bring the latest news on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our subscribers, we are pleased to offer a new information source in our "Breaking News: Online" category. This source of information is being provided by Johns Hopkins University and is titled "COVID-19 Pandemic Data." Johns Hopkins University is considered one of the leading worldwide resources concerning statistics on this pandemic, and we are pleased that we can offer it in an accessible audio and Braille format to our subscribers.
Access the COVID-19 information using the telephone by pressing 5 from the main menu, then press 1 for the "Breaking News: Online" category, followed by pressing the 1 key, which will bring you to the virus search results, or press 2 for the Johns Hopkins data. If you are using the NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile iOS app, look for the virus information under the "All Publications" section. Web News on Demand users can find the COVID-19 information by selecting "Publications Organized by State," and then "Breaking News Online".

Reflections on our NFBCO activities and Our Federation Family, by Scott LaBarre.

From your aggregator: The following was posted by NFBCO President Scott LaBarre, Monday evening, March 30th on our ColoradoTalk listserv. Although we have touched on a few of these items in this issue, we thought you would enjoy reading Scott’s message:

Good evening everyone, as I begin writing this email, I am listening to this evening’s NFBCO zoom call which is focusing on opportunities available in the Randolph-Sheppard Program.  These sessions have been a smashing success and have covered an impressive breath of topics.  For example, I am looking forward to shifting gears from talking about business opportunities to tomorrow night’s session with the Blind History Lady.

Beyond enjoying the substance of these sessions, I am beaming with pride for our affiliate and our terrific members.  In particular, Kevan Worley, Jessica Beecham, and Maureen Nietfeld have done an incredible job of putting these programs together and executing them with tremendous skill.  I want to thank all the participants from our speakers to those who join the calls and help us create fascinating discussions.

I also want to publicly thank Jessica and Maureen along with their great volunteers for operating our COVID19 assistance program which has helped many blind individuals get what they need to make this crisis a bit easier to manage.  We are truly blessed with great leadership and dedicated volunteers.

I also encourage you to think about and appreciate our Colorado Center for the Blind and what our Center is facing.  We remain open offering instruction remotely and virtually to our students who have largely returned to their homes all over America, but we have also been serving several students who remain in our apartments because it was not possible for them to leave.  We should definitely tip our hats to Julie Deden, our amazing staff, and our terrific students.

This crisis is challenging us in so many ways that we would have never imagined just a few weeks ago.  The news is often overwhelming and depressing like today when over 500 people died from the virus in the U.S. alone.  For me, I could not imagine getting through all of this without my families, the LaBarres and all of you.  Anahit, Alex, Emily, Moka, and I are all hunkered down here in Centennial, and we haven’t killed each other yet, but I am pretty sure that the only one who still really likes me is our dog, Moka, as long as I give her treats, anyway.  I am incredibly appreciative, also, for our Federation family from our great President, Mark Riccobono, to the countless other national leaders, our terrific state Board and chapter/division leaders, and, of course, all of you!!  Our bond of love and faith in one another  are far stronger than the virus will ever be.  Even in the grips of this terrible pandemic, we support each other and continue to build our Federation!!



From the aggregator: I am taking the liberty of including a piece I saw on Facebook earlier this week. During this challenging time, I have found social media can be a connector or a crock! It can give us hope through our isolation or be downright insulting. In addition, we often hear from members that they don’t know how to take leadership. Under what circumstance? “What can I do to make a difference?” I found the advice in this post to be helpful. I hope you do too.

The leaders in any organization must be the environmental change agents. They must be more like thermostats than thermometers. At first glance, a person could confuse these instruments. Both are capable of measuring heat. However, they are really quite different. A thermometer is passive. It records the temperature of its environment but can do nothing to change that environment. A thermostat is an active instrument. It determines what the environment will be. It effects change in order to create a climate.
The attitude of the leader, coupled with a positive atmosphere in the organization, can encourage people to accomplish great things. And consistent accomplishment generates momentum. Many times, momentum is the only difference between a winning, positive growth climate and a losing, negative growth climate.
The next time you find it difficult to adjust the environment in your team, keep in mind this simple fact from the laws of physics: Water boils at 212 degrees, but at 211 degrees, it is still just hot water. One extra degree, an increase of less than one-half of one percent, can make the difference between a pot of languishing liquid and a bubbling caldron of power. One degree can create a full head of steam--enough power to move a train weighing tons. That one degree is usually momentum.


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

Forward, always Forward!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Blind Coloradans Meet the Extra Challenges of COVID-19 Head On!

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the tagline Live the Life You Want


National Federation of the Blind of Colorado launches COVID-19 Hotline & Daily Virtual Meetups.It’s truly the Blind Helping the Blind.

Colorado Springs, Colorado/Littleton, Colorado (March 25, 2020):  The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado last week launched the statewide COVID-19 helpline for the blind. Receiving several calls, a day, the hotline is helping to connect blind and low vision Coloradans with extra support services and volunteers at a time when doing even the simplest, but essential day-to-day tasks are far more complicated than usual.

“We knew from the start of this pandemic that people with disabilities would likely encounter challenges not faced by Coloradans without disabilities,” said Scott LaBarre, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

“With an unemployment rate of 70% and a significant portion of citizens who are blind being elderly or with additional disabilities, connecting with a network of volunteers and existing social services is essential. We drafted a number of our blind volunteer members. They in turn recruited dozens of sighted volunteers who have helped with grocery shopping, getting folks to dialysis, and meeting other needs. This truly is the blind helping the blind. It is the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado understanding the real needs of blind Coloradans and taking action,” Labarre said.

Working in collaboration with the Littleton based Colorado Center for the Blind, the Federation says they are hearing from blind citizens and volunteers from across the state.

“Connecting with this service is easy,” said Maureen Nietfeld of Littleton, Hotline Coordinator and star of Breaking Blind on YouTube. “People can call 303-778-1130 extension 219. We check this line several times a day.”

“But our effort is more than just connecting blind people who need services,” Maureen continued, “it is also a way we can find ways to assist others. Blind folks are engaged and making a difference in the world. We are receiving calls from some amazing people.”

The Colorado Center for the Blind ( in Littleton, for its part, continues to support its students and participants in seniors’ groups via one-to-one phone calls and daily conference calls in light of increased requirements for social distancing.

“We need to ensure those we work with have what they need, but especially that they don’t begin to feel too isolated,” said Julie Deden, the Center’s Director.

The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado has also set up an email, The group is also offering a number of training and networking sessions over Zoom. Information about those sessions can also be found by calling the hotline, 303-778-1130 extension 219, or reaching out to Topics range from exercise and isolation, the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind, maximizing your business brand, the value of social media, and much more.

# # # #

About the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado

The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado is the oldest and largest organization of blind Coloradans. 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.


For information about this initiative please contact
Kevan Worley
Manager, National Federation of the Blind of Colorado Project Literacy

Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus COVID19 and the Blind of Colorado

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the tagline Life the Life you Want

Greetings Blind Coloradan readers,

We know you have much to do to manage your lives during some very challenging times for our nation and planet. This is a special Blind Coloradan update from the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. We will keep it brief for you.

Of course, blindness and catching Coronavirus COVID19 have no correlation whatsoever. However, the fact is many blind folks are unemployed or significantly unemployed. Many of our elderly and others in our family may find themselves isolated and/or face discrimination as it relates to shopping, accessible and affordable transportation, and appropriate medical services. Thus NFBCO will remain ever vigilant and advocate for our needs.

Breaking News! Breaking News! The 2020 NFBCO 6 Dot Dash will be postponed. Understanding that by May 31st the Nation will have returned or be returning to a level of normalcy, We know, however,  that the next two months will be a turbulent time for many. It is probably not the time for sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors, and racers to make our NFBCO a priority. So your race committee has decided to seek a Fall date for our 3rd Annual community extravaganza. We appreciate your understanding. If we are back to a more normal set of circumstances by May 31st maybe we will get together for a big blow-out picnic or BBQ on Sunday the 31st of May. Wouldn’t that be a joy!

Please see the below notes:

  1. We have an NFBCO hotline for any individuals who are blind and needing some extra support, guidance, advocacy as the nation deals with the ever expanding outbreak of COVID19. We are using our NFBCO extension at the Colorado Center for the Blind to gather questions, reports of difficulties accessing services, or any other special circumstances arising out of the pandemic . Please call 303-778-1130 ext. 219. We will do the best we can to coordinate some volunteer assistance if someone is isolated and in need of groceries or supplies or facing other difficulties.  Please remember that above all else, we truly are a Federation family. Feel free to reach out to our state president, members of our state board of directors, and local leaders if you are in emotional or physical need. We know that some blind folks have been turned away from grocery stores. They were told that the stores were unwilling to assist. We are also working with authorities to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to test sites and health care facilities. If you reach out to your medical professionals and then encouraged to get tested and you find the process inaccessible please let us know. The NFB will continue to serve as advocates.
  2. As you know, NFBCO is following all of the guidance from our national office to limit exposure to the virus. The Federation will sponsor no official seminars, chapter meetings, or division meetings for at least the next 30 days. However, we are strongly encouraging chapters to hold chapter meetings via conference call, Zoom, or other appropriate platforms. It is important that we keep our united effort and spirit of philosophy and advocacy in action.
  3. Over this next month, members of our executive board have been charged with developing some conference call and webinar training. Over the next week or so you will hear about some training seminars we will be providing. I know that one of these trainings will deal with chapter and division financial management. So, chapter treasurers and presidents, in particular, should stay tuned for more info. If you have ideas for training content you would like all of us to pursue together let us know. From philosophy to community relations to how to have the best chapter meetings possible. We can use this time to continue our work.
  4. Of course, our eagerly anticipated Poudre Valley organizing planned for the 31st of this month is cancelled. But we will continue our work by phone and email in that area of the state. There is much we can do electronically to help build the Federation and bring opportunities to our brothers and sisters no matter where they live in Colorado.
  5. We know that many of our colleagues who manage businesses under the Business Enterprise Program will be closing their operations or their sales will be significantly curtailed. Our Colorado Association of Blind Merchants, under the leadership of Brad Basta, is working with Program Manager Dan Whalen and his team to do everything possible to minimize the impact. We already know that our colleague Nate Hecker’s business at the Capitol has been closed. Many of you may know that our General Assembly is taking a two week hiatus due to the Coronavirus outbreak. NFBCO applauds Colorado BEP staff for the extra effort they are making. Thank you.
  6. The Colorado Center for the Blind will release a statement about its operations later today. We will post and distribute as appropriate.
  7. With CSDB and other schools serving blind students closed, we stand ready to help when possible. If you know of blind kiddos who could use some mentoring of some kind during this break please be in touch. We would love to help where we can. We say to parents of blind kids, “keep those kids active, keep them reading, and, of course, keep them safe.”
  8. Remember that NFB Newsline carries local Colorado papers, breaking news, news from the Federation, TV listings, and weather bulletins. Call our new Coronavirus COVID19 hotline if you do not have your Newsline codes or need to apply and we will get right back to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read the above. Never has it been more appropriate to say, “together with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality” and we work as a family to support all blind people in need as best we are able.

That’s all for now.
Forward, always forward.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020 Census Info Starts Arriving in the Mail Today!

You might have heard it on the news, but sandwiched between other stories of the moment that cause concern. Yes, today we can expect the first of the Census Bureau's mailings to show up in our boxes, telling us how to fill out the 2020 Census!

The vast majority of us will be encouraged to complete the 2020 Census survey online, and we'll get a letter that tells us the web address and gives us a unique Census ID. I can tell you that  the online survey is very accessible with a screen reader. It's live right now, I tested it out already! But that's not the only way to fulfill your civic responsibility to respond to the Census, and the Colorado Center for the Blind has a good article about doing the survey if you are blind. Just for your information!

Read about how to complete the 2020 Census survey if you are blind!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

So Much News In Your Latest Blind Coloradan Blog

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

Registration is Now Open!

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado invites you and all of your family and friends to participate in our 3rd annual NFBCO 6 Dot Dash and family fest Sunday morning, May 31. The blind beer tasting is back! The walking and running course begins on the beautiful grounds of our Colorado Center for the Blind in the heart of Littleton, Colorado.

Stay tuned for special guests, promotions, news about sponsors, volunteer opportunities, vendors, and more.

 Blind and visually impaired runners, guides, and sighted runners along the Mary Carter Greenway Trail during the 1st annual NFBCO 6 Dot Dash 5K in 2018

Congratulations to NFBCO Leader Gary Van Dorn.

Gary keeps all of us moving onward and upward. Sunday, March 1 Gary participated in the Fight for Air Climb (Run the Republic).

Aurora Chapter Leader Curtis Chong Speaks at Optimist Club of Aurora.

Curtis Chong addresses the Optimist Club at Village Inn February 19, 2020.

Curtis spoke about the National Federation of the Blind to the Optimist Club of Aurora on Wednesday, Feb 19 at the Village inn on Iliff.  They provided breakfast so he was in fine voice. 

Club members asked probing questions about Curtis, our voting legislation and how best to include blind people.  Kernel books were handed out to the members.  

Peggy Chong had spoken to the club in January about the history of the blind of Colorado, handing out our curtesy rules of blindness.

Note:  Public Speaking to organizations such as Optimists, Lions, Rotary, and other community and church groups is a great way to spread our message and to build the National Federation of the Blind.  
If your chapter members speak to organizations post about them.

NFBCO Announces Special New Rideshare Hotline.

Guide dog handlers who rely on Uber and Lyft know that being turned down by drivers still occurs all too often. The National Federation of the Blind legal team needs data from rideshare service customers who use guide dogs. It is important that we provide a full picture of the challenges we face and the good experiences we have. 

You can now report your rideshare experiences directly through the survey tool.  And, now, you can call to report your experience at 303-778-1130 ext. 219. Just leave your name and number and someone from our Colorado Association of Guide Dog Users will get right back to you.

It is important that Lyft and Uber know about the experiences we are having here in Colorado. We look forward to hearing from you!

NFBCO Member and Entrepreneur Pipi Adams Brings Her Unique Knowledge of Essential Oils to a Special Seminar.

We received the following from Maureen Nietfeld, President, NFBCO Sports and Rec Division:

Get your essential oil roll on!!!
March 21st, 1 p.m. till 3 p.m.
Learn about different essential oils. Learn how aromatherapy can provide many great health benefits. Learn the different ways to implement aromatherapy into your life.

Make your very own essential oil roll-on that you will get to take home!

For this class you must RSVP by March 14 to ensure there will be enough supplies for everyone
We are also asking for a five-dollar donation to offset the cost of supplies. If you cannot afford the five dollars, please do not let this be a barrier because all are welcome.

RSVP to Maureen,, or text 215-353-7218.

This class will be held at the Colorado Center for the Blind at 2233 W. Shepherd Avenue, Littleton, CO.

We will be learning all of this valuable information from Pippy Adams so please don’t miss this great opportunity!!

Braille Challenge, Shark Dissections, and Latin Dance. It’s Always Something.

In January, CCB partnered with CSDB for Braille Challenge at both campuses.

On February 21st, dozens of blind kids, teachers, and blind role models picked up goggles and scalpels to participate in our shark dissection led by our partners at Arapahoe Community College.

On February 15, our Sports and Rec Division sponsored Latin dance taught by Moises Hinojosa. The calendar is always full for blind people in Colorado who want to live the lives they want. NFBCO is always here to help.


New NFBCO Chapter Comes to Poudre Valley.

Over the years, the National Federation of the Blind has had chapters lead by wonderful members in the Fort Collins area. “It’s time to re-establish our Poudre Valley presence,” said Scott LaBarre, President, National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

If you have blind family or friends in the valley of Loveland and Fort Collins areas, we would love to meet them. Over the next few weeks members of our team will be spending time in the area and we will have an official chapter organizing meeting on Tuesday, March 31. We will assemble between 5-5:30 to meet new folks and consider the philosophy, mission, and organization of the National Federation of the Blind. The happening will take place at Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St, Fort Collins, CO. There will be light refreshments.

To RSVP or to lend a hand, for more info or to introduce us to blind folks in the area leave a message at 303-778-1130 ext. 219. Or be in touch with Ileen Gallegos,

The meeting will adjourn no later than 7 p.m.


Interested in Contributing Your Time and Leadership?

Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind Seeks Committed, Energetic Colorado Citizens for Service on CSDB Board of Regents.  

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

COLORADO SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AND THE BLIND (CSDB) BOARD is looking for two volunteer Board members to oversee the programs for Colorado families with children, who have deafness, blindness or deafblindness, who attend CSDB and/or receive Outreach services, throughout the state.

What does the CSDB Board of Trustees do? The Board, appointed by the Governor of Colorado, is responsible for the development of policy and for the employment/evaluation of the Superintendent. The Board is also responsible for providing oversight to the operations of the school. Board members act as ambassadors throughout the community and state representing CDSB, its mission and vision, to a variety of stakeholders. The Board meets once a month, during the school year, with additional appearances to school events, upon request.

If you are interested in contributing your time and leadership, apply for the position at  (choose "Deaf and Blind").

Want to explore this opportunity, but you have a few questions?  Please contact Jacky Skinner, (719) 578-2102 or

Colorado Springs Chapter to Hold Annual Election Saturday March 14.

Attend the next Colorado Springs chapter meeting on March 14 at the Garden Ranch YMCA. We gather around 9:30 and Jeanette brings down the gavel at 10. Annual dues are only 5 bucks. So, pay up and vote and run for an office to serve the blind of our community if you are so inclined.

Remember that dues-paying members are entitled to their National Federation of the Blind membership coin. Carry it with you proudly.

Blind Entrepreneur Joanne Franklin Experiences Her First Transaction and Pledges Chapter Contributions.

Headshot of Joanne Franklin, Keller Williams real estate agentThere was celebration at the home of the Franklin family last week. Joanne and Brian are both real estate agents. They are also active in our Colorado Springs NFBCO chapter. Joanne has recently completed all of the arduous requirements, earning her Colorado Real Estate License. Like all industrious businesswomen, she is on a quest for customers. Although not specializing in serving people with disabilities, she suggests that her life experience, knowledge, and networks make her an extraordinary fit for readers of this blog interested in buying or selling a home.  And she will donate $200 from every closing between now and end of year to our local chapter. Congratulations Joanne!

If you have any referrals for Joanne, please email, and she will be in touch!

Making Memories by Kevan Worley.

As we announce the opening of registration for our 3rd annual NFBCO 6 Dot Dash, I reflect that although we have only had 2 of these Spring events, they are rich with memories for me. Last year, when "This Land is Your Land", performed by the band Stray Dog, began to echo across our beautiful CCB campus I got chills. For me this was a moment in time that perfectly reflected who we are. 

Do you have favorite NFBCO 6 Dot Dash memories? What memories do you plan to make at our race in 2020? Post your comments here.


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

Forward, always Forward!