It’s the last week of July, and at the Colorado Center for the Blind we’re fighting the feeling that summer is almost over. We know that there are still weeks of hot weather, lovely warm Colorado evenings to enjoy.
But that vague anxiety is fueled as the last week of July saw our 22 summer students graduating on Wednesday, cleaning and packing on Thursday and leaving on Friday. Many of them are starting school in the first week of August. For them, summer truly is about over.
It was a big week, and a big summer. Eighteen students flew out from DIA Friday, and these Face Book posts give a sense of the momentousness of the last week of July – and the last two months:
From Shay: Here at the airport, waiting to go home. Thinking about this summer, and how great it was. I met a lot of really amazing people this summer that have really help me and challenge me to do the best that I could. I am leaving here with so much. New friendships, amazing memories, and The ability to do more than I ever thought I could. I will never forget the memories or the people I met this summer. hope to come back next summer and to see all of you sometime again.
From Sami: So I got on that plane and had to say a temporary goodbye to some of the greatest individuals I’ve ever met. It was the hardest thing i could’ve done. You guys have changed my life and taught me so much. Thank you for everything.
More Summer Highlights
In their last week, the 17 Earn & Learn students picked up their last paychecks. For many of these students, these were their first paychecks ever!
Three students worked at The Right Step, feeding horses,hauling sand to level the riding arena, and lots more. Sure they got paid, and then on Tuesday they also got a riding lesson!
The students finished up by cooking a meal Wednesday for the entire Center and guests, which included family members and employers for some of the kids in the Earn & Learn Program. They cooked a delicious baked ziti for more than 100 and then many performed in the talent show.
Their departure left a void, and the Center was pretty quiet without them on Friday. One of our nine awesome summer counselors posted on Face Book, tagging the two students she lived with, taught and came to love this summer:
“I don’t know what to do with myself!” she posted Friday evening.
As you can tell, more than just skills happen, even more than just the confidence and self-reliance of our tag line.
And yet, …
The Center wasn’t quiet this week for our other programs either. On Friday the Seniors made a trip to Golden and the Coors Brewery for a tour. RTD’s W and C Lines provided the designated drivers.
There were three dinner parties given at the apartments by Independence Training Program students – Marcus, Gwendolyn and J.J. all cooked and served great meals to five or more guests.
On Friday Curtis had his mini-meal – a meal for 15 guests, and served a delicious and abundant meal of homemade macaroni and cheese with barbecued chicken and green beans from our garden.
There were two Monster Routes on Friday – Carolyn and Sarah both completed the requirement of visiting four places they had never been before in four different cities in the Denver Metro area – all in one day. The real challenge of this grad requirement in cane travel is in the planning it takes to pull it off. Both are scheduled to graduate next week.
And another of our “summer” students finished up on Friday. Robin House came with the summer youth and left about the same time. She is a past NFB Scholarship winner and a school counselor in the St. Louis area, and spent her summer vacation under sleepshades during the week. On her own time, she hiked and biked and even climbed a 14er!
On Friday night a dozen of her classmates and six staff members sent her off with a dinner of Thai food… and a lot of love.
“I planned for the skills, but this …” Robin told the group, meaning the connections, friendships and support that grow between students and staff, “this was something I simply could not have anticipated.”
Now at the start of August, we have two graduations this week, and another student, J.J. finishes another “summer” ITP program before heading back to CSU for her junior year.
Then comes Littleton’s Western Welcome Week. The Center is offering interactive tours to the community, we’ll walk in the parade on Saturday, August 15 and many of us will help out with the Denver Chapter’s booth that day in the arts and craft fair.
There’s so much yet to do before Labor Day!