Thank You, Littleton! Joy and Pride at Western Welcome Week 2022

Makhai wearing parade number
Makhai proudly wears No. 43, our Western Welcome Week Parade number for this year, and led the way for us down the parade route on Littleton Blvd and Main St. He didn’t manage to spare his voice, however, as he led chants and cheers. He was already going hoarse by the time we turned off Gallup and onto the official parade route!

You know, it’s not always easy to turn out our Colorado Center for the Blind students on a Saturday morning after a long week of learning and practicing the alternative skills we blind people use. Ours is a demanding program. But this year’s Littleton Western Welcome Week Grand Parade was marked by high energy on the morning of August 19, and it carried all through last Saturday’s event , right up to hearing the announcers at Rapp and Main announce “The Colorado Center for the Blind!” 

Driver Phil with white cane
Phil has been driving for our older blind staff as far back as 2014, ferrying them to support groups and home visits across the metro area. He’s pictured here after the parade with the white cane he walked with in the parade, as all of our sighted colleagues do. They do it out a sense of solidarity, but we ask them to do so because they sometimes get dirty looks from parade-watchers for not helping the blind people enough, and we don’t want them to be subjected to hostile stares. (grin)

True, our voices didn’t last as long as our enthusiasm, but it was a small price.

We’ve marched in the parade every year since 2001, the year after we moved to Littleton and into the old YMCA building. We love to march in the parade with and for our neighbors as a matter of both pride and joy. We are very proud to be part of this community that has embraced us for so long, and we are proud of the work we do to empower our blind students to take charge of their lives with confidence! And the joy is to walk down the middle of Littleton Blvd and to wave and cheer and get the same back from all of our neighbors!

Barry and Martin
Barry (left front) and Martin (right front) chat as we wait to start the parade. While we all wore our blue CCB T-shirts, Martin sported his bright yellow blind hocky jersey to promote the Visionaries, who work out on the ice monthly. Behind them, fellow marchers are practicing a little step routine for the parade.

It was joyful on Saturday, and we won First Place in our marching category! Who knew that would happen? 

Thank you, Littleton!

Maureen & Logan and President Jess
And what is the Littleton Western Welcome Week about if it’s not a family event! Our instructors and staff have brought their children to be in the parade since we first marched, and this year was no different. Here, Maureen is beside 4-year-old Logan in his stroller. At right is National Federation of the Blind of Colorado President (and adopted auntie) Jessica Beecham.