by LaVonne Butler
From the Editor: The work we do at NFB training centers is, to say the least, transformative. Here is a letter from a grateful grandparent that speaks to what contact with positive blind people can do in the life of a young person trying to find his way. Julie Deden is the executive director of the Colorado Center for the Blind, and it is to her that this thanks is directed:
March 1, 2016
Colorado Center for the Blind
John and I came to Littleton this past weekend to visit Alex. We were so very pleased. There is an expression about watching your prayers be answered, and we felt like we were doing that in the time we had with him! He is happy, confident, and more content then we have ever seen him. His friend Shelby came to lunch with us Saturday, and it was so delightful listening to them talk of their time there at the center.
I do not even know where to start sharing it with you. I guess first was the way they discussed how familiar they were with the area. They talked about their favorite places to eat. We would say, "How do you get there?" The answer was the bus or the light rail. They used their canes so comfortably. There was no reaching for someone to offer support and direction! I could not believe it when they were talking about being at the bus stop at 7:00 AM to catch the bus to go to class. When we walked into the apartment Alex shares with Alex Garcia, we were thrilled with how spotless it was. Alex was invited to dinner the night we were there and invited to a friend’s place for a card game. He seems quite social and confident. They discussed their classes. They talked enthusiastically about skiing. Shelby had a fantastic video someone had taken of her skiing, and it was put to music. Alex says he loved skiing. He discussed his math tutor and how surprised he had been to find out he really liked math. She has volunteered to be available to him when he goes to school by Skyping.
During one conversation we were having with Alex, he mentioned that actually he found that he was quite charismatic. He is, and it is nice he is developing in a way to be aware of it.
I want to compliment you Julie on how comfortable he feels with your open door policy. A couple of times he mentioned that if he needs to, he can walk in and see Julie. He feels secure that he is welcome to come in and speak to you about any issue he is dealing with. But, most importantly, he knows that you care sincerely!
I feel I am not adequately putting into words the sincere feelings of appreciation and happiness for all you have done to help not just Alex but all of these individuals who have come to your center for training. One memory I will always carry with me is the happy, excited faces of Alex and Shelby as they shared with us the adventures they were having at the center. They were alive, they were living their life, and they felt confident this was just the first step toward the independent, fulfilled future that is waiting for them.
Julie, please accept my sincere and deepest appreciation for what you and the center are doing!
LaVonne L. Butler