When Fitz came to the center as a student, he really didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, simply because he had no idea what he could do.
As an Independence Training Program (ITP) student, Fitz has been finding his own identity as a blind person. With what he thought of as a lot of residual vision, Fitz nonetheless was one, like many of us, caught in between the myth that blindness means absolute “blackness” and the hard reality of being stuck because we can’t actually see enough, and we don’t have the skills that many totally blind people use effortlessly every day. It takes a toll on self-confidence and undermines our ability to live the life we each want for ourselves.
That’s changing. Fitz is finding the opportunities to learn and to grow in confidence. For example, Fitz had limited knowledge of the Unified English Braille code prior to entering our program but developed his reading skill rather quickly. He loves Braille, and his enthusiasm recently spilled over to a Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) student.
On a recent mentoring trip to CSDB with our Youth Program, Fitz helped a student who only began learning Braille this school year. The younger student became frustrated as he was falling behind in the class lesson, but Fitz’ patience helped the student persevere.
“You really make Braille so fun!” the younger student exclaimed when they finished. “I read eight new words in class today!”
Fitz is a leader. He’s president of the student association. Whether organizing food drives, acting as a mentor for our newly enrolled adult students, or using his lived experience to enrich the lives of younger blind students, he serves as a positive blind role model for many.
And he’s seriously considering becoming a Braille teacher.
He’s come a long way in a short time, but it shows that our belief in our blind students pays huge dividends. Every day, we encourage and challenge each student—and they come to understand their potential as they build the skills and confidence to live the life they want. Because when you believe in yourself and experience a thriving community of positive blind people, nothing can hold you back from pursuing your dreams.
Thank you in advance for helping us spread our belief in blind people!
The Colorado Center for the Blind is a training center and community of blind and low vision people, proudly affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind.
We believe blind people can do anything. Every day, we encourage and challenge each student—and they come to understand their potential as they build the skills and confidence to live the life they want. Because when you believe in yourself and experience a thriving community of positive blind people, nothing can hold you back from pursuing your dreams.