Fall FAST Saturday Update

Our FAST Saturdays program for youth will meet the second Saturday of each month and involve a variety of activities. FAST stands for FUN ACTIVITIES and SKILLS TRAINING

We at the Center are excited about new or strengthened collaborations with Rocky Mountain Goal Ball, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR in Boulder is sometimes referred to as NCAR), and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Sports, STEM, and the arts it’s just the balance we’re seeking with our FAST Saturdays!

RSVP to Brent Batron 303-778-1130 x 222 or bbatron@cocenter.org

Saturday September 13 – Rocky Mountain Goal ball

2 – 6 pm

Come and learn the sport of Goal ball with Matt Simpson, para-Olympic goal ball star

Goal ball will be played Saturdays at the Colorado Center for the Blind nearly every week this fall!! A complete schedule will follow shortly.

Saturday October 11 – FAST Saturday Science

10 am – 2 pm

We will get a chance to see the sky in action in this astronomy workshop. Instructors will be John Ristvey from UCAR and Ben Wentworth, retired from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB). They’ll use atmospheric tents to show us how to understand comets and different aspects of our sky.

Lunch is provided!

Sunday October 26 – Audio Described play

“Lord of the Flies” at DCPA

We have reserved seats for this audio described play located on the DCPA campus. Tickets are only $20 for this amazing theatrical performance. Tickets will be available on a first come first re-served basis.

We will also have tickets available to upcoming performances such as “A Christmas Carol”, “One Night in Miami” and some Broadway shows such as “Cinderella”, “Annie” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

Saturday November 8 – FAST Saturday Meets Super Saturday

UCAR in Boulder

We will be joining John Ristvey at UCAR to participate in their Super Saturday Program

Find out how “measuring weather happens! There will be a wind tunnel, the “Little Shop of Physics” and launching of weather balloons, just for starters.

Stay tuned to this web site for more FAST Saturday news!

A Little More About Cafe Americana

(Mosaic, our 2014 fund-raising event, will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, September 5 here at the Center. We’re especially excited out our main musical guests, Café Americana, and we want you to be excited too! Here’s a bit more about them, and don’t forget to buy your tickets using the link on this page!)

* * *

We’ve captured a few strays from the Denver area acoustic roots band Stray Dog: Eric Woods, Zac Cottrell & Anne and Joe Rigley. From numerous original songs, acoustic interpretations of classic rock tunes, 1940’s jazz standards, all the way to bluegrass and blues, they put their own mark on a broad, eclectic mix of music. Eric’s unique touch on the guitar over Joe’s classy bass backs Anne’s remarkably sweet, pure and honest voice, all while riding Zac’s magical percussion on the Cajón.

Audiences consistently remark that the unique hallmark of this group is their ability to make you feel as if you are sitting around the coffee table with them in the basement making music, with as much focus on enjoying the music as playing it.

So on September 5 come to the Center for art and cuisine, then have a seat and enjoy!

Purchase your Mosaic tickets now!

Art Instructor Cunningham Demos Stone Carving at Denver Art Museum

Colorado artist Ann Cunningham has been teaching art to blind students at the Center since … well, it feels like she’s always been with us! That’s why we’re excited to spread the word. For the next two weekends, Ann will be demonstrating stone carving at the Denver Art Museum as part of their weekend artist demonstrations. We’re reposting some of the info explaining what that’s all about from DAM’s web site. If you want to find out what other artist demonstrations are coming up, follow the link.

Sculpture Studio and Weekend Artist Demonstrations

Every day the museum is open, visitors can explore the creative process behind assorted techniques and mediums in the Sculpture Studio.

Every weekend, visitors will have a chance to pull back the curtain and immerse themselves in the artistic process as local artists demonstrate a variety
of sculpting techniques.

Weekend demonstrations will take place Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 pm. 

August 23 & 24, 30 & 31: Ann Cunningham — Stone Carving (outdoors on Martin Plaza)

Announcing Mosaic

An Evening of Art, Cuisine and Entertainment

Purchase Tickets for Mosaic

Tickets are just $30, $10 for children under 12.

Proceeds benefit the programs at the Colorado Center for the Blind. From youth to seniors, we teach our students that blindness is just a characteristic. It’s all about confidence!

Join us at the Center:

Friday, September 5th
5:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Black & White photo of Cafe AmericanaTaste a wide selection of foods from some of Littleton’s best restaurants.

Learn how blind students create sculpture and stone carvings, and how they build a final project in woodshop.

Pick up some basics in Braille.

Cap off the evening with Cafe Americana’s own blend of American roots music – everything from jazz, bluegrass and folk to originals!

Bid on your dream vacation or a fun night out on the town and much more.

Students & Staff close CCB Summer ’14 with ‘You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful’

Watch the video of the July 30 Talent Show finale:

Summer Youth Programs ended July 30 with a student talent show featuring solo singing and duets, Native American flute, songs in Spanish, Mandarin and Thai, as well as lively and funny Emceeing.

The finale of the show – and the summer – was was ‘You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful’ sung by all summer students and staff.

Why this song? Youth Services Director Brent Batron decided it was the theme of the summer after hearing it almost every day for month at 7 a.m. Early-arriving students took advantage of the baby grand piano in our lobby to play and sing before the start of classes. ‘You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful’ was a daily favorite.

Despite the teen-love theme of the lyrics, the title at least resonates with the goals and purpose of our summer programs and Youth Programs in general – to instill in blind youth the belief in themselves and their capacity, and that blindness is respectable.

Summer 2014 StudentNow Knows She Can

Editor’s Note: Annalyn, a 17-year-old from South Carolina, was part of our Earn and Learn Program in 2014. She worked at the Auraria Childcare Center with infants and toddlers, taking a 20-minute light rail ride to work early each morning. She wrote this thank-you letter in perfect contracted Braille with her slate and stylus. The next morning, our next-to-last day in the Summer 2014 Youth Programs, she read it aloud to Brent and Julie at our morning announcements. Read the letter and you might see why Brent and Julie were momentarily speechless, but also why we do what we do at the Colorado Center for the Blind.

Dear Brent and Julie,

Annalyn seated at the piano in the Center's lobby Thank you so much for your full effort, time, and consideration in order to make this summer happen. You two have changed my perspective in life in the context of who I am. And I am so grateful. I came to this summer camp empty handed, and I’m going home armored with the knowledge of who I really am.

I am still Anna, but I can cook, clean, travel places, and access my technology. All of which are the perfect tools that can provide me with my needs in the real world. I couldn’t have done it without this training [program], and what made this summer change people’s lives such as I, is the people who have the heart and passion to make it happen. Thank you so much Brent and Julie. I’m going to get on the airplane with tears of joy and gratitude. I know now that just because someone says otherwise, doesn’t mean I can’t, because I can. Anything I set my mind on, I can fulfill. And I have you guys to thank with all my gratitude.



Shark Dissection Attracts Crowd, 9News

This year’s shark dissection, sponsored by Arapahoe Community College and directed by its Terry Harrison, attracted more than 30 local blind middle school and high school students to the Center on November 22. Oh yeah, the kids brought teachers and parents, too. It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects accessible to blind students.

Nelson Garcia, 9News Education Reporter also showed up with a camera crew, and here’s the short video clip that appeared that evening on KUSA in Denver:


Center’s 25th Anniversary Celebration In the News!

For the Center’s alums, current students, staff, volunteers and Littleton community members, our 25th Anniversary Celebration was a big deal. Here are some articles about the event that appeared in the local media.

Colorado Center for the Blind celebrates turning 25

By Jennifer Smith
From the Littleton Independent

Just like any businessman starting his workday, Mark Riccobono headed out the door Sept. 13 and hopped in his car.

The he put on his sleep shades, started the engine and took off down the street.

Riccobono, executive director of the Jernigan Institute at the National Federation of the Blind, was in town to help the Colorado Center for the Blind celebrate its 25th birthday by offering rides in a vehicle designed to give blind people the ability to drive.

Read more from the Independent

Colorado Center for the Blind in Littleton celebrates 25 years

By Karen Groves
From the Denver Post YourHub

LITTLETON —Julie Deden remembers when the Colorado Center for the Blind, founded in 1988, was originally on South Broadway, then on South Acoma, in Denver.

That was before it outgrew its space and moved to Littleton in 2000 to expand its youth and senior programs.

The center celebrated the center’s 25th anniversary Sept. 13-14 at 2233 W. Shepperd Ave.

Read more from Denver Post Your Hub

Littleton-based center marks silver anniversary


By Peter Jones

from The Villager Newspaper

“I don’t drive every day,” Mark Riccobono says as he slowly makes a right turn from West Shepperd Avenue in Littleton.

Read more from The Villager Newspaper

Center Hosts Braille Carnival

Louis Braille made a surprise visit to the Colorado Center for the Blind on June 18 — extremely surprising, given that he’s been dead for 161 years.

“I’m having a great time,” said “Braille” — portrayed by center instructor Tom Anderson — while watching kids practice writing during the center’s Braille Carnival. “It’s great meeting the young children, and the adults and seniors, too.”

The event hosted 120 blind people of all ages to experience a variety of tactile and interactive learning stations. They gathered in the wood shop to learn the basics of braille using large “dots.” In the kitchen, they chose a card, then found the utensil or appliance printed on it. There were candy prizes for successfully completing a word scramble of technology terms in the computer lab. In the travel lab, they attempted a puzzle of the United States and learned intersection safety using Hot Wheels. There were card games, art projects and pizza for lunch.

In the library, “Braille” demonstrated how to write using a slate and stylus, essentially poking dots through a template into paper with a sharp object.

Anderson, who’s been teaching braille at the center since its inception 25 years ago. He donned an elegant purple period outfit to explain the virtues of the writing system the real Braille invented in 1824 at the tender age of 15. Blinded by an accident with an awl at the age of 3, Braille was inspired by a method used by French soldiers as a way to write in the dark.

Today, there are 190 characters in American braille, with combinations of dots representing letters, numbers, math symbols, contractions and even some shortcuts, like one for the letters “ou” together.

“Braille is not as difficult as people think it is,” said Anderson.

“It’s not uncommon for people to read as quickly as sighted people do in print, even 300 or 400 words a minute. But unfortunately, many children are discouraged from learning braille.”

Julie Deden, CCB’s executive director, says there are a lot of misconceptions about the system. People think it’s hard to learn, that it’s slow and inefficient, or that technology can replace it.

“Let’s face it, listening does not equal literacy,” she writes, noting that kids who rely on audio don’t learn spelling and punctuation. “Not to mention, the act of quietly holding a book in your hands and reading for the pleasure of it is a gift. Independent reading is true independence of the mind. Braille is the only thing equivalent to print for the blind.”

This is a lesson Katherine Seaton, 11, is definitely learning as she spends time at the center this summer.

“I think it’s fun, except I have had a couple of hard days,” she said.

“Otherwise, I think it’s just great. It gives you the chance to be independent. It gives you the chance to show your inner self. You leave your outside self and show everybody the inside view. I’m not talking like getting all awkward, just to the point where you’re independent and you feel comfortable enough to ask questions.”