Saturday, April 26, 2008

Honoring Ann

Growing up, my sister, Ann always wanted to be a teacher. When our older brother brought home a girlfriend who was blind, Ann's future was set. We got to know Judy, our brother's girlfriend, very well as she spent time with our family. Ann was so impressed with all that Judy could do, and her attitude, she realized she would be a teacher of the blind. Over the years, her life took some twists and turns, as all of our lives do. Her dream was delayed, but in 1965 she began teaching visually impaired students in a local school district. Her career has taken her to public schools, the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) as a teacher, then as the principal of the school for the Blind. Eventually she "retired" and took a position as the Director of the Oregon School for the Blind.

When she "retired" from that position, she and her husband, Bob, became fulltime RV'ers for about 2 years. They decided to park the motor home and bought a house, only 3 blocks from a house they'd lived in for many years, here in the Colorado Springs area. Ann went back to work at the CSDB, as the Director of Instructional Materials for the state of Colorado.

Throughout her career she has been an amazing contributor to the community of educators of the visually impaired. From preschool to high school students, her outlook has been one of practical logic, unending optimism about what these kids can do, and a tremendous belief that they can succeed. She's about to "retire" again (her 4th attempt), but she's already planning what she'll do to remain active in the educational community. As a matter of fact, she is currently taking classes to become certified to teach preschool, so she can substitute at the school where her daughter is a director.

Last night we went to Denver to attend an awards ceremony, held by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). This is an international association dedicated to providing support and assistance to the professionals who work in all phases of education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired children and adults. Ann was honored as the recepient of the 2008 Colorado Lifetime Achievement Award, a very high honor indeed!

Ann, as she is honored.



The ceremony was held at the Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver. The center, a not-for profit organization dedicated to providing early intervention/education to blind and visually impaired children throughout the state of Colorado, has recently moved into a new building that has many specialized rooms. We had a great time wandering around looking at all the wonderful equipment designed to help visually impaired children reach their potential.

These sculptures are part of the sensory garden, where there are many opportunities for children to experience the outdoors.



Most of the rooms in the center are dedicated to families and organizations who contributed to the building. This room was one of my favorites -- notice the table is in the shape of a football? This is the Denver Broncos room. The machines on the table are braille writers.


I'm not sure how well this will show up, but can you see the little bumps on the paper? That's braille.

This is a painting on a wall in the Broncos room. There is a climb-up room within the room, where kids can climb up into a padded loft and read or just have some quiet time. Some of the kids who attend this center are totally blind, others have some level of sight.



In another room, this easel has "fuzzy" faces to teach the children about facial expressions and emotions.



I've just touched on the highlights of my sister's career and her accomplishments. Trust me, there's a lot more. But I just want my readers to know how proud I am to be her sister, she's a bright light in my life!


Congratulations, Ann, we love you!

7 comments:

Sandra said...

Wow, congratulations Ann, I'm proud to have met you! A great woman and a great life of dedication to the blind.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ann from a guy in Texas! Ellie I know you are proud to have Ann for a sister. I am proud to be a friend to a person that has such a great sister. I know she has touched so many lives in her career. How rewarding that must be.

Thanks for sharing this with us

Joe and Sherri

Karon said...

Ellie,

What a wonderful recognition. Ann has truly lit a candle in her lifetime. I'm so proud to know both of you.

Love, Karon

Peggy said...

Ellie,

Your pride in your sister comes shining through in this post - please tell her congratulations from David and I.

Peggy

Janna & Mike said...

Ellie-what a wonderful tribute to your sister. I too have a sister named Ann and she is also very special. Ann is truly lucky to have you for a sister!
Janna

Anonymous said...

Ellie - what a wonderful recognition of your sister Ann -- I'm so lucky to have met her when they were traveling through the area. Kerry

dreamjosie said...

An amazing story. I can see why you are so proud of her.

Jo