CCB Safety and Support Progress


Content warning: the content on this page addresses sensitive topics regarding sexual misconduct or violence. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you are not alone. The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential support, 24/7, at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or at online.rainn.org

Keeping you posted

The Colorado Center for the Blind is committed to ensuring the safety and support of all of our staff and students. This necessitates continuous attention and progress. Thus, we will use this page to post important steps taken by the Colorado Center for the Blind as an NFB-affiliated training center.

May 4, 2022

Sessions on Stress for Staff and Seniors

Colorado Spirit, as part of its on-going in-person sessions with our students, also conducted a session for staff and for the Wednesday virtual seniors group. The topic was “Stress and Resilience” and included a mindfulness exercise. Thus, they conducted the discussion and exercise for us in three different groups.

April 3, 2022

CCB Youth Program Participant Protection Policy

The Colorado Center for the Blind Board of Directors adopted the CCB Youth Program Participant Protection Policy on April 3, 2022.

Purpose

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.

Read the complete policy

March 21, 2022

Training with Consent Academy

Students and staff took part in a one-hour training on Consent in Our Lives by the Consent Academy. There was time for a number of questions afterward from both students and staff.

March 11, 2022

RAINN Training for Students and New Staff

As part of the NFB’s organization-wide training scheduled with the Rape, assault and Incest National Network (RAINN), all students and all staff hired in the past year were part of RAINN’s training. However, all staff sat in on the session and took part in the off-line discussions held after the RAINN training ended.

March 10, 2022

Staff Training On Safety in Public

Robin Ennis, LCSW, CPC, conducted a training for CCB staff entitled: “How Far Is Too Far, How to Know and How to Respond.” The purpose of the training was to better equip staff to manage difficult encounters with the public, and also to support our students when they experience such difficult encounters. There seems to be an up-tick in such encounters of late, such as people yelling things lik, “You’re not really blind,” or even throwing things. The training discussed options for dealing with these encounters while maintaining a balance between protecting one’s personal boundaries and personal safety and avoiding escalation. We also spent time discussing the importance of debriefing with one another after such incidents occur.

This discussion will lead into training on safety for students, also conducted by Robin Ennis.

March 9, 2022

New Student Policies Read and Discussed

Executive Director Julie Deden read the new student policies during Philosophy class. Students will be signing these, and all new students are signing them as well as part of their intake and orientation process. Following the reading, there were questions and discussion.

The policy was approved by the CCB Board on February 15, but they also asked for some formatting and organizing elements to be added. Once these were completed, the document was forwarded to them again and then we had to find a day that wasn’t in conflict with other activities, ensuring that all, or nearly all, students would be present.

February 15, 2022

CCB Board Approves New Policies

The Colorado Center for the Blind’s Board of Directors in its scheduled meeting on Tuesday, February 15 took the following actions, both recommended in the NFB Special Committee’s Final Report of December 8, 2021:

  • The CCB Board of Directors approved revised student policies in its scheduled meeting. These policies are now in line with the NFB’s Code of Conduct, including the NFB’ Code of Conduct definitions of sexualmisconduct.
  • The CCB Board also approved new formal Safety Protocols to be followed if sexual misconduct is reported. Much of what is in the new response protocols reflects practices that CCB has routinely followed over the years.  The major change in policy is that reports of sexual misconduct will now be investigated by an external investigator.

Revision of CCB’s staff policies are also nearly complete, and will be considered by the board no later than its next meeting in the spring.

February 1, 2022,

Mental Health Supports at CCB

in addition to working with Colorado Spirit in a group setting, the Colorado Center for the Blind has connected students with appropriate mental health support for more than 30 years.

It started with the late William Saker, Ph.D. about 1989. Bill, who was blind, worked with cCB students for nearly a decade and later, after he had shifted his practice to Boulder and no longer worked with CCB students, served on the CCB Board of Directors.

CCB has continued to ensure that our students receive mental health services if they need them. To do this, we maintain relationships and refer to several skilled therapists in the south Denver Metro area. We’ve been fortunate to work with several experienced professionals in the past twenty-plus years.

In addition, for the past four academic years, we have been fortunate enough to have interns completing their Master of Social Work programs at the University of Denver meeting one-on-one with students at the center. This has been an important resource for our students and a fruitful partnership with DU’s MSW program. It’s a valuable continuation of CCB’s long-standing recognition that blindness isn’t the only thing we must address in our lives, and sometimes our students can benefit greatly from this kind of focused, professional mental health support. Indeed, for many students, it is a critical component of their long-range formula for success.

January 19, 2022

The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) certifies the Colorado Center for the Blind as a Structured Discovery training facility. In addition, the NBPCB provides the National Orientation & Mobility Certification (NOMC) as well as the National Certification for Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind (NCRTB). Several of our center staff hold one of or another of these certifications.

This month, NBPCB sent out an Annual Notice to Stakeholders discussing the Board’s professional Code of Conduct, which can be found on its web site. This page also has links for filing a Code of Conduct complaint regarding a professional certified by NBPCB.

NBPCB Code of Conduct

January 12, 2022

Colorado Spirit at All Health

We resume our wellness sessions with our partners at Colorado Spirit on January 12, and will meet with them for our philosophy class period every other week. Starting off on January 12, we’ll be discussing healthy sleep and how to get it.

January 3, 2022

New Year’s Staff In-service

Robin Ennis, LCSW, a private practice Clinical Social Worker/Therapist in Englewood gave a one-hour presentation on “Trauma-informed Services and Therapy” to staff as part of our annual in-service.

December 19, 2021

NFB’s Recent Revisions to Its Code of Conduct

The National Federation of the Blind first adopted its Code of Conduct in January, 2018. The Code has been updated regularly since it was first adopted. In 2021, the Code was extensively reviewed and revised, and the resulting revised Code was formally adopted by the NFB Board of Directors on December 19, 2021.

The Colorado Center for the Blind is an NFB training center. As we update our staff and student policies, we also ensure that they parallel the NFB Code of Conduct where applicable.

This link to the NFB Code of Conduct page provides links to the current version of the code (in a variety of formats), the form for reporting violations of the code, a frequently asked question page, and a variety of supplemental resources and guidance documents.  

October 27, 2021

separate Men’s and Women’s Philosophy classes were held simultaneously prior to leaving the next day for our annual NFB of Colorado convention. Each group covered issues involving safe and appropriate boundaries, and we covered the Fries acronym of elements of consent (Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specific).

October 25, 2021

Three-hour staff retreat focusing on staff support, facilitated by Bill Lundgren, LPC.

Wellness Hour with Colorado Spirit

Our bi-monthly Wellness Hour with Colorado Spirit at All Health will resume this month. Sessions will be held via Zoom and will start with an ice breaker, then focus on wellness education, followed by practice of wellness activities and discussion. Topics will include coping with burn-out, managing stress and mindfulness.

Dates

8/11, 8/25
9/8, 9/22
10/6, 10/20
11/3, 11/17
12/1, 12/15

August 13, 2021

William Lundgren, LPC presented to students on “The Stages of Your Training Program: How to Get the Most out of Your Time at CCB.” Bill is a licensed counselor practicing in Denver, and attended the Colorado Center for the Blind in 2000-2001.

Safety and Support Sessions During #NFB21

The NFB’s Survivor-led Task Force had four sessions on the National Federation of the Blind’s 2021 convention agenda held virtually between July 6 and 10, 2021. CCB staff members attended various of these sessions, which included “Inclusion and Safety” and “Allyship and Bystander Intervention.”

Men’s/Women’s Philosophy

Philosophy class divided up into men’s and women’s groups on Thursday, July 1 for discussions on appropriate behavior, what constitutes sexual misconduct, boundaries and what consent is and is not. We hold such meetings each year just prior to attending the national Federation of the Blind convention, and we saw no reason not to hold these sessions now, even though the convention is again virtual this year.

Staff Training

William Lundgren, LPC, presented and discussed the five stages of developing positive identity as a blind person to CCB staff on Monday, June 21, 2021 via Zoom. Bill, a CCB graduate, has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed counselor. He practices in Denver.

Reading of the NFB Code of Conduct

May 28, 2021

As we prepared to register staff and students for the 2021 National Federation of the Blind Virtual Convention, we took time to read the NFB Code of Conduct. Actually, we listened to the audio recording of Duncan and Chris reading it to Seniors in March.

Wellness Hour Topics and Activities

These sessions were conducted for students, though staff were also welcome, by our partners at Colorado Spirit at All Health Network. Self-awareness and self-care are the goals of this series.

4/21
Topic: Overview of stress management and stress in our bodies
Mindfulness activity: breathing meditation
5/5
Topic: Stress and resilience
Mindfulness activity: progressive muscle relaxation

5/19 Topic: Focusing on what you can control
Mindfulness activity: hand/finger mindfulness/ breathing
6/2
Topic: Benefits of morning routines
Mindfulness activity: grounding exercise (4,3,2,1 (hear, feel, smell, taste)

Psychological First Aid

Provided by Colorado Spirit at All Health Network
April 21 for staff
All Health Network is a nonprofit mental health organization providing counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, substance use treatment, and more.

Colorado Spirit at All Health provides free psychological support to people of all ages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
720-707-6789

This training from our local partner provided staff with tools to initially address psychological distress and trauma,, whether presented by friends, family, students or colleagues. This two-hour session reinforced discussions of trauma-informed responses in our March 23 training with RAINN

Mark Riccobono’s Open Letter on Safety and Support Progress

On April 15 – National Federation of the Blind President Mark A. Riccobono published his Open Letter on Safety and Support Progress. We urge all to read it.

NFB Code of Conduct in Audio

Registration for this year’s NFB Virtual Convention requires you to check a box saying that you have read and agree to follow the NFB’s Code of Conduct. Because our Senior Services staff assist many seniors in registering and, indeed, in getting onto the meetings and general sessions, they decided to read the code to one of the senior groups. That way, everyone would have a chance to hear the code and all could honestly say they had read it. The code was read and recorded on Tuesday, March 28 and played at the other senior meetings.

Listen to the NFB Code of Conduct

Men’s and Women’s Philosophy Discussions Following RAINN Training

On March 29, immediately after our students completed the RAINN training on sexual misconduct, our daily Philosophy Class was dedicated to follow-up and processing of what we had all learned from the training. We divided students and staff into men’s and women’s groups to ensure that everyone would feel comfortable sharing their responses and to ask questions.

RAINN and NFB Community-Wide Member Training

As part of the National Federation of the Blind’s contract with the Rape, assault and Incest National Network (RAINN),
CCB staff, board members and students have all completed the initial training with RAINN, which discussed the complexities of sexual misconduct and its impact, strategies for creating safer communities, and trauma-informed ways to support survivors.
CCB staff, along with staff from the other two NFB-affiliated training centers, were part of the first group to receive the RAINN training on March 23, 2021. Our students [received the training on March 29, and CCB Board members participated in those and other RAINN trainings held in April. Plans for follow-up training are in the works.

All Staff and Students Men’s and Women’s meetings

Thursday, January 21, 2021
Separate men’s and women’s meetings were held at Philosophy to discuss appropriate conduct between individuals, respect and boundaries, keeping oneself safe, recognizing and reporting misconduct, and more. These meetings were very much like the meetings we typically hold with staff and students prior to attending the annual National Federation of the Blind convention each summer.

Reading and Discussion of Open Letters

During our Philosophy class on Thursday, January 7, Executive Director Julie Deden read both the “Open Letter of Apology from Mark Riccobono” of December 16, 2020, as well as the statement from Julie and the Colorado Center for the Blind’s Board of Directors endorsing it, posted December 24, 2020. Discussion followed, including the updates announced on January 4’s Presidential Release Live by President Riccobono.

Workshop on Reinforcing Professional Boundaries

January 4, 2021
As part of our annual Staff Retreat to kick off each new year, we had a 90-minute workshop on “Reinforcing Professional Boundaries,” conducted by Eric Wahler, LCPC of Helena Montana. Eric has more than 30 years’ experience as a mental health therapist and has presented at numerous professional conferences and conducted many workshops.

NFB Announces Survivor-led Task Force & Partnership with RAINN

Posted: January 8, 2021

In his December 16 Open Letter of Apology National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono promised that the National Federation of the Blind would take meaningful, concrete steps to address the issues raised by survivors of sexual assault or misconduct in the organization. During a nation-wide Zoom webinar Monday night, January 4, President Riccobono announced two major steps forward to begin that process – the NFB will work with the Raipe, Assault and Incest national network (RAINN), the nation’s leading advocacy and prevention organization, as well as a survivor-led task force to advise the President and the Board. We invite you to follow the links below to learn more about these important steps, which the Colorado Center for the Blind embraces and from which our staff, students and programs will benefit.

National Federation of the Blind Announces Partnership with RAINN

President Riccobono Establishes NFB Survivor-led Taskforce

Please direct any media inquiries to Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations for the National Federation of the Blind, (410) 659-9314, extension 2330, or cdanielsen@nfb.org.