These are the faces of just a few who have benefitted from previous Colorado Gives Day donations. They range from ages 5 and up and their circumstances are all a bit different, but all have gained the skills and the confidence to “Take Charge with Self-reliance!”
This year our Confidence Camp for Kids (CC4K) had 11 elementary school kids for this two-week day-camp. They worked on Braille and cane skills all the time, but also learned to make their own lunches, traveled on the light rail and bus, went canoeing and rock climbing and gained a peer group of other blind kids.
In our summer residential youth programs, we had one middle-schooler for three weeks, 24 high school students for eight weeks and had a blast! These older kids either worked on college prep activities or had their first work experiences. And one of them, Kameron, had the fastest time for all ages in the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s first annual 6 Dot Dash 5K in June! In fact, he left his running guide in the dust over the final 50 yards.
Throughout the school year, we’ve worked with 50 kids in our Fun Skills and Activities Training (FAST) once a month, and also provided over 930 hours of mentoring time to high school and middle school students at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in Colorado Springs.
At the time of this writing nearly 25 Independence Training Students will have received their Freedom Bell, meaning they’ve completed all of the demanding requirements, such as the Monster Route (a one-day trip on public transportation to four places they’ve never been before, each in a different Denver Metro city), and cooking a grad meal for sixty. And we still have a couple more graduations before we break for the holidays.
Our Senior programs hold three weekly support groups in the Center each week, and another 10 groups are held across an eight-county area, though some meet only once a month. In all, counting individual home visits for training, we serve over 330 seniors who are blind or in the process of losing vision.
In all our programs our positive philosophy about blindness is the foundation we build on. Blindness doesn’t mean that expectations should be lowered for you, that your usefulness is ended or that you can’t even expect to have fun. The opposite is the truth – we keep expectations high and know that blind people can live full and useful lives – the lives they want. Success takes a lot of hard work, but it can also be a whole lot of fun!
So, thanks for past support of our students and our mission, and please remember us today on Colorado Gives Day!