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Anchor Center said goodbye to its founding teacher after 32 years!
Anchor Center has had a few thresholds to cross: from the trunk of a car and a classroom in the basement of Wellshire Presbyterian Church, to a classroom at Maddox Elementary school in Englewood, to half a cottage on the Clayton Campus in North Denver, to a full cottage and then to an amazing state-of-the-art facility - the Julie McAndrews Mork Building - in the Stapleton neighborhood. We started with 10 children in the program - four preschoolers and six infants - getting home visits in the metro area. We have evolved to serving 400 children a year throughout Colorado. From a $25,000 budget to $2 million!
So much growth and so many changes have happened over the years! We will miss our founding teacher JC Greeley and wish her well on her retirement.
Anchor Center for Blind Children sets the standard as a nationally recognized leader in early developmental, education and support services for young visually impaired children, their families and the professionals who serve them.
At the end of our fiscal year in June 2014, we served 380 children. Our core programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers remain consistent, but with greater numbers of students and families attending center-based programming in our teaching facility. Teachers and therapists provided 356 home visits to children too medically fragile to attend center-based services and made 6 outreach trips to rural Colorado. Eight children graduated from Anchor Center's preschool and will start kindergarten in their local public schools in the fall.
Goals for this year include finishing up the Expanded Core Curriculum project, which will be printed and available for both teachers and parents to use and refer to. We are also working on a more standardized curriculum for the regular classes as well as the horticultural therapy program.
The 5 most pressing needs of Anchor Center for Blind Children:
1. General operating support for teaching blind infants, toddlers and preschoolers 2. Funds for parent education services 3. Funds to support home visits to children too medically fragile to attend center-based services and for teachers to visit rural areas of Colorado 4. Gifts to our permanent endowment to operate and maintain our unique teaching facility 5. Broaden donor base to deliver services more efficiently and partner with others on behalf
of children with vision impairments
Anchor Center for Blind Children provides direct services to blind, visually impaired and deafblind children and their families in Colorado. We serve children from birth to age 5. Founded in 1982 by a librarian for the blind and alumnae from the Delta Gamma Fraternity, Anchor Center has served hundreds of infants, toddlers and preschoolers through its accredited early intervention developmental education programs. Anchor Center is the only privately funded organization in Colorado dedicated to meeting the needs of these children and providing support services to their families.
Our staff is often called to see a newborn in the hospital who is suspected of having a vision impairment. We also get referrals from children's eye doctors and other service providers, and we frequently hear from parents seeking a vision assessment on their child.
As much as 90 percent of early learning takes place through vision (Warren, 1984). Children who are blind do not automatically compensate for lack of vision by overdeveloping their other senses. They need to be taught how to make sense of the information provided by these remaining senses.
As such, it is critical for children with blindness to receive specialized services to minimize developmental delays. If they do not receive appropriate services, they will fall behind in all areas of development. When the child is older, these delays will be more difficult or impossible to reverse. All of the programs offered at Anchor Center teach independence and provide the educational foundation needed for children with visual impairments to be successful in life.
Executive Director Statement
Anchor Center for Blind Children is located in a state of the art building that is designed to support the learning styles of young children with vision impairment. The building is doing everything it was designed to do, but what really makes the center work is the staff.
From the first time a family walks into the door with their child (who is often a newborn) to graduation at age five or six, the main support vehicles are respect and love. These, along with everything else, lead to a family going from lost and searching to having confidence and hope.
If one were to ask any family what happens at Anchor Center the answer would, in some form or another, be that their lives are transformed. Each child is taught in response to his or her unique learning style as every visual diagnosis presents different challenges. Each family is embraced and encouraged to enjoy their child as a child first; a child who just happens to have a vision impairment. It is our goal to help all children get the foundations needed to grow into responsible members of their communities.
Early childhood is a magical time for all children. At Anchor Center for Blind Children, it is no different. Children's curiosity is welcomed, exploration encouraged and a sense of wonder is nurtured. Children are provided an opportunity for a wonderful childhood here, and, with the support of their families and the community, to evolve into confident, competent and productive adults.
Board Chair/President Statement
One of the challenges is always ensuring the one on one attention the children need due to their different diagnosis and developmental levels. It is important to have a diverse staff of qualified professionals who can provide optimal early intervention services to meet the unique learning styles of young children with vision impairments.
Even though our founding teacher just retired, most of the other teachers and therapists (speech, music, occupational and physical) have been here for more than 10 years. They are truly experts in how to teach young blind children and how to support their families. We have recently hired six new program staff members, including a full-time Program Director and started a respite program for parents to have a monthly night out.
- Anchor Center Parent