Youth Programs


The Colorado Center for the Blind has brought high-quality, welcoming and yet challenging programs and training for youth ages 4 to college since 1990. Whether it’s our year-round Fun Activities and Skills Training (FAST) program, mentoring for students attending the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB), Confidence BELL Academy, our residential summer programs for teens, or collaborating with partners such as Arapahoe Community College for our annual shark dissection, we are committed to creating opportunities that raise expectations for blind students and help them build the confidence to pursue their dreams as successful adults. 

Youth programs have been in-person since the summer of 2021. Even so, programs like Learning Box and Study Buddies, which were first conceived in response to the unique strains of virtual school for blind youth in 2020-2021, continue to offer high interest and high-value content virtually to blind youth in Colorado and further afield.

For more information on youth programs in Colorado, contact our Youth Services Director, Anahit LaBarre, 

(303) 778-1130, x223

alabarre@cocenter.org

Youth Program Participant Protection Policy

The Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) understands the importance of protecting individuals that participate in youth programs offered by the Colorado Center for the Blind.  This includes any program directly managed by the CCB. These programs may take place at the Colorado Center or other locations. This policy affirms our commitment to taking the necessary steps to provide a safe and secure environment for program participants.

Please read the entire policy adopted by the CCB Board of Directors on April 3, 2022

Summer

BELL/Confidence

National Federation of the Blind BELL Academy Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning Logo

Planning is underway for BELL/Confidence Camp 2022

The National Federation of the Blind BELL Academy provides children with Braille and nonvisual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. Planning is underway for programs in the summer of 2022. 

In Colorado, one edition of BELL Confidence is scheduled for June 6-17, 2022 at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Check back soon for sign-up information and announcements about other BELL/Confidence opportunities for Colorado. You can also visit the NFB’s BELL Academy web page for more information.

https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-bell-academy

And you can call Anahit LaBarre at (303) 778-1130, x223, or email at alabarre@cocenter.org.

Summer Residential

Three-week Residential Summer Youth Program

Build skills and gain confidence!

We’re excited to bring our residential summer program back in 2022 after two years! There are two three-week sessions to choose from.

Program Description 

This 3-week residential  program will provide each student with the tools that they need to move forward in high school, college or on a job.

You will:

  • Live in an apartment with a counselor and a roommate.
  • Learn from competent blind adults who use blindness skills daily.
  • Plan, shop and prepare delicious meals.
  • Organize your apartment – find everything!
  • Develop effective methods for handling all aspects of living independently.
  • Meet peers who are also blind.
  • Attend classes Monday through Friday in Technology, Braille, Independent Travel and Home Management.
  • Build interviewing skills, learn about careers, find job leads, write a resume and more.
  • Meet blind people who work in a wide variety of positions.
  • Develop techniques and skills to use in order to be successful in college.
  • Have fun rock climbing, learning martial arts, white water rafting, playing goalball, games, and more. 
  • Learn about chemistry, astronomy, physics, and other interesting subjects. 
  • Develop the effective self-advocacy skills you will need to receive the services and accommodations that allow you to pursue your dreams.

Sign up for one of the sessions below

Session 1: June 10 through July 1
Session 2: July 15 through August 5

Admission Requirements 

  • Must be legally blind
  • Interested in learning non-visual techniques
  • Age 14 to 21
  • Possess stamina to handle a full day of class and activities
  • Independent with self -care skills

Admission Process 

First, complete the online application by May 2, 2022:   https://cocenter.org/summer-application/

Typically, vocational rehabilitation agencies are able to fund our program as part of their Pre-ETS programs. We can assist you with the approval process if necessary. Discuss your interest in our program with your rehabilitation counselor if you have one. The staff at the Colorado Center for the Blind will interview each applicant.  

If you have questions, please contact Anahit LaBarre, Director of Youth Services, at alabarre@cocenter.org or 303-778-1130, ext. 223.

Year-round

Voluntary Youth Enrollment Information

Our year-round programs, such as FAST, Learning Box, and Study Buddies require registration for each event. No surprise – we need to know how many students, parents, or educators will participate so we can have enough materials for everyone. But we also need to be able to say to grant funders how many students have participated in our programs. We’ve tried to make this registration process as easy as we can, but you can help us out by providing additional, voluntary information on our Youth Enrollment page. By providing this information to us, we don’t have to ask some of these questions over and over, things like birthdate and address. That way you don’t have to fill out all the same stuff every time you register for an event for one of our year-round programs. I mean, we all spend more time than we’d like to admit filling out forms on web pages, right?

Visit our Youth Enrollment Page

FAST (Fun Activities & Skills Training)

FAST - (Fun Activities & Skills Training) logo

CCB’s long-standing FAST program will continue to bring more of our signature in-person activities to our youth throughout the school year, including the annual shark dissection, sports activities and more. 

Usually held each month on a Saturday, activities are designed to have something for students at all age levels, and range from rocketry to wood shop to goal ball to tactile art and crafts. There are even activities for parents! No matter what, though, the key word is “fun”! 

Check our calendar or contact Anahit LaBarre for more information or to get on our youth email list.

alabarre@cocenter.org

(303) 778-1130, x223

Learning Box

Launched in January of 2021, Learning Box delivers creative and fun projects virtually that focus on STEM subjects, but also include tactile story books and other hands-on lessons designed to be inclusive of blind and visually impaired children. The Learning Box team designs, assembles and mails out each month’s Learning Box  full of learning and project materials to students and their families prior to the virtual activity. Then on a Sunday afternoon, parents, students and even sighted siblings join in the guided activity on Zoom featuring a skilled teacher and positive blind role models. They explore and make projects related to that month’s learning Box topic. Examples  include making a pretend pizza and learning about fractions, examining tactile images of some of Colorado’s state symbols and then making the state flag from colored modeling clay. Check our calendar of events to see what’s coming up, or ask to be put on our Youth email list by contacting Anahit Labarre at alabarre@cocenter.org.

Upcoming Learning Box Events

Study Buddies

Study Buddies

In the fall of 2021, we also launched our virtual Study Buddies program, a weekly opportunity for blind/low vision kids to get one-on-one tutoring from qualified teachers of the blind, as well as teachers-in-training.

We know that homework, some new concepts and various skills can be overwhelming to tackle. Perhaps at times, your child might just need to check in to refresh his/her knowledge about a particular topic. Those are the things Study Buddies can help with! 

Study Buddies begins as a virtual program with the potential to move to an in-person program later. We will have licensed teachers, including Teachers of Visually Impaired/Blind Students, present at every session. Additionally, we are partnering with a program at Metro State University of Denver. This will give us an opportunity to have student teachers complete some of their practicum hours with Study Buddies under the supervision of a licensed teacher at the same time that teachers-in-training learn about working with blind/low vision kids.

Tutoring will be offered in the following areas:

  • Math
  • Literacy
  • Assistive technology instruction
  • Braille instruction

We will expand this list based on students’ needs.

When is Study Buddies? 

Study Buddies offers two one-hour sessions on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Mountain Time.

Signing up:

We ask that parents and guardians first fill out an enrollment form for your student. Once this form is completed, you will receive a link to register for sessions of Study Buddies. You can then sign up your student for individual sessions. Families can sign up for one one-hour session per day. We are starting small and will be supporting up to five students during each one-hour session. That is a total of 10 students on each day 

Enroll your student for Study Buddies here!

2017 CCB Summer Science Seminar Video

See Photos of our Youth Programs in Action!

Summer Photos

Year-round Photos

Support Our Youth Programs

The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, the Colorado Center for the Blind and the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults know that blind and visually impaired kids don’t need to be held back by their blindness, but in order for them to grow up to live the lives they want they need access to supplemental learning programs –  the kind of programs that are often easily accessible to their sighted peers. Thus, a committee of determined Colorado educators, advocates and parents are developing programs for K12 students to augment educational opportunities using accessible design principles.

All of these programs are free to families with blind/low vision children. Your donation helps us grow our blind youth in Colorado into active, ambitious blind adults!

Donate at coloradogives.org/grow-our-blind-youth