The Braille Monitor                                                                                       May 2003

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How I Turned My Life Around
by Robert Dorfman

From the Editor: We often think of our NFB training centers as an ideal place for young blind people to master the techniques they need to live efficiently as blind people and the attitudes essential to developing self-confidence and general competence. But the centers can do just as much for seniors who have the nerve and determination to give the program a try. Robert Dorfman is one such senior. I had never heard of Mr. Dorfman until he sent me the following little article. It is self-explanatory. Here it is:

Inspired by reading the November 2002 Braille Monitor article about the NFB's training centers, I am writing this article to relate my experiences as a retired senior citizen. After retiring, I joined the Chicago chapter of the NFB, where I first heard about the NFB training centers. I attended the 1999 national convention in Atlanta, where I went to the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) reception. There I met Julie Deden and the CCB staff. I immediately knew it was the place for me.

Seven weeks later I found myself in Denver as a student at the CCB. My training consisted of home management, cane travel, Braille, computers, and physical challenges such as rock climbing and skiing. I was more than twenty years older than the next oldest student, and I am proud to say that I was able to keep up with the pace most of the time.

My day started at 5:30 a.m.; at 7:00 a.m. my travel instructor was at the door to help me with my cane technique on the way to the bus stop. We arrived at the center at 8:00, when classes began, and left at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a full day for me, and it was always good to get back to my apartment.

In May of 2000 I graduated from the center and decided to live in Denver. I am now living in a senior retirement center, where I get a lot of respect for my abilities to live independently as a blind person. I attribute this to the challenges that I met at CCB.

With the confidence I have gained I am now able to live a much happier and more fulfilling life than I had prior to attending the CCB.

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