Joey wanted to return to the Center for a full training program ever since he came to a summer program as a teenager in 2005. Finally, his Dad put the question in his mind – was he ready to take care of himself if something happened to his parents? That’s when Joey went into action. It took work to do it, Julie told us, but ultimately Joey returned to the Center last summer. He graduated on April; 13.
“Joey is a man who follows through on everything,” Julie remarked before awarding his Bell of Freedom. “Your teachers are so impressed at how you get your assignments done without procrastinating.”More than that, he took on new challenges with enthusiasm, and on weekends traveled far and wide independently. For his Monster Route, he went from corner to corner of the Denver Metro area.
Fittingly, his travel instructor Steve grabbed the floor after Joey received his bell. Recalling how he’d met the kid Joey in 2005 when Steve was himself a young summer counselor, he praised Joey for the growth and progress he has made at the Center.
“You’re a man now,” Steve said.Joey’s guests included his Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Walt and cousin Debbie, who drove down from Cheyenne to enjoy his chicken Alfredo, Caesar salad and Italian sodas.
Kind and big-hearted as Julie pointed out, Joey reached out in many ways to his fellow students, all of whom had something to share at the “love session”. Well-known as a big movie buff Joey also often had other students over regularly for movie nights at his apartment.
“I never get tired of talking about what the Bell means, do I Joey,” Julie said. “It means freedom for each blind person, and you worked so hard to earn yours – congratulations!”
Like many Hollywood endings, Joey’s is a happy one, but just the beginning of the real story. There is so much more to come!