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Anchor Center for Blind Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Blind & Visually Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Education, Human Services, Special Education

Mission: Anchor Center teachers and therapists help children and their families learn how to live with a vision impairment, meet critical early developmental goals and lead full, productive lives. Children graduate from Anchor Center programs to attend the public school system and amaze us all with what they can accomplish. Anchor Center is the only privately funded organization in Colorado that provides early intervention/developmental education services to very young children with blindness.

Target demographics: blind and visually impaired children

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 380 children and families through center-based services, home visits and rural outreach

Geographic areas served: Stapleton serving all of Colorado through center based services and home visits

Programs: Anchor Center for Blind Children is a nationally recognized, private, non-profit agency whose goals are: *to provide educational and therapeutic services of the highest quality to children from birth to age five (whose vision is their primary obstacle to learning) without discrimination to race, national or ethnic origin, sex or religious preference; * to provide information and support to families for the purpose of: a) increasing parents appreciation and respect for their child's unique potential b) empowering families to advocate for their child; *to provide a setting that encourages children's independent functioning and ability to interact with their families, peers, and others in the world around them; *to collaborate with schools, community agencies and others in order to enable children who are blind to successfully transition into other educational settings and develop optimally.

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Maria B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter attended anchor center Since she was a baby ... they helped us so much with their love and support when she graduated this year I was so sad... I am so great full for the opportunity to be part of their family..

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an Anchor Center volunteer, I am touched by the impact that this center has on the children and families it serves. I have volunteered on several occasions for their respite program - and have personally experienced the magic and joy that happens at Anchor Center. Young children with visual impairments have a place that was created just for them during their most important developmental years: the building, teachers, therapists, etc. And families feel relief, and hope, and are included in the process of how best to help their children. The Anchor Center community has helped so many children and families and I am honored to be a volunteer.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my son was dignosed with a permanent, progressive, degenerative vision diagnosis, our specialist referred my son to the Anchor Center to begin preschool in a unique environment and with professionals that understand his path of development and his needs. The school is more than a school for us, as the staff and volunteers are helping my son enjoy a fantastic school environment and they have countless opportunities for the parents to learn and find a community in the low vision world. We have made friends there and my son is thriving. We are so grateful for his placement at the school and for the incredibly skilled and knowledgeable individuals who work to make Anchor Center a true blessing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my second year volunteering on their signature fundraising event...Sunset in the Country. During my time associated with Anchor Center (while going to committee meetings, interacting with and making friends with the thoughtful people running the organization) I was privileged to tour the facility and observe first hand the dedication each person invests in the young people to satisfy their needs. Anchor Center is well run, organized, and staffed by devoted, commited, caring people.

Cheryl123

Board Member

Rating: 5

Anchor Center is a place where miracles happen. So many families arrive feeling hopeless but with the support, education, and love from the staff, they graduate with a child full of potential. The amazing staff addresses all areas of concern----speech, mobility, socialization, independence, cane use, Braille readiness, and much more. Every staff member and volunteer sees the child's potential and works with the child and family to maximize this potential. Anchor is a place full of love and support.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is visually impaired and we started going to the anchor center when she was three months old. Over the past two years the teachers and staff have helped my daughter overcome many challenges and continue to help her succeed and use her vision the best she can. The staff at anchor are the most amazing group of people I have ever met. I am forever grateful for the support they offer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started out as a volunteer at the Anchor Center when I first moved to Colorado 2 years ago, then I became a teacher's aide for about a year before going back to school to get my master's in early childhood special education. This place opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I fell in love with everything about it! I have raved about this place to everyone! The staff are amazing, the children surprised me daily, and the school itself is beautiful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful group of dedicated professionals, volunteers, and contributers helping children and their families to establish a strong foundation for their life paths. I love being a small cog in their process and progress.

Renee52

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Daniel started as an infant at the Anchor Center For Blind Children. He continued through pre-school and was an Anchor graduate in 2008. Ancho changed our lives. They taught us more than we ever would have learned on our own. Anchor gave is hope for the future and as I said at my son's graduation, showed us how to see life differently. Our lives would not be the same without Anchor. We truly believe they are a top rate non-profit. Thank you again Anchor, the Tillitz's

Shelly Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a parent of two boy's who graduated from Anchor Center for Blind Children. Anchor Center was our 2nd home for 10 years. When my two boy's were born with Albinism and were visually impaired, my husband and I didn't know who to turn to. We had no experience with blind/visually impaired and were taught a lot by Anchor Center. It was such a wonderful special place for the 10 years that we were there. There will always be a special place in our hearts for everyone at Anchor Center. We love that place and we go back for a visit all the time and we are always welcomed. Thank you Anchor Center for helping us and everyone that enters through the front door!

Stephanie175

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent of two girls who graduated from anchor center.Without Anchors love and support I don't know where we would be, my story could go on for days:-) I'm sure you all can relate,but I now have a beautiful daughter who is a freshman,and doing great! And a 22 year old who now herself volunteers at Anchor because she loves it soo much! Thank you to all Anchor staff and volunteers!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The anchor center is such a wonderful special place. My daughter went there for a little over 2 years and the support and therapists made such a difference in our lives. Here is ablog I wrote a while back saying more...http://littleladylucia.blogspot.com/2012/12/behind-these-walls.html?m=1

Joan44

Client Served

Rating: 5

We started attending Anchor Center when my son was 6 mo old. At the time we didn't have a full diagnosis and had no idea what we were dealing with. The Anchor Center provided a welcoming environment that helped our family understand the struggles we were facing & provide important support along our journey. I truly believe we would not be in as good a position as we are today without the Anchor Center. Even though we have moved across the country, I know I can reach out to them at any time for help and advice!

Angela110

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has only had one appointment with the Anchor Center for Blind Children. I was very impressed with them. The therapists were very patient with the fact that my son just wanted to move around and figure out the new place he was in. They were very informative and I can't wait for our next appointment.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 5 year old granddaughter spent three years at Anchor Center and is now in kindergarten and is excelling. The staff at Anchor Center assesses each child's needs on an ongoing basis and are in constant contact with parents to achieve optimum success for the students. Our little gal has had a myriad of health concerns with visual impairment being just one challenge. But, in great part due to her time at this wonderful school, she is confident, independent, vivacious and definitely out to leave her mark on this world. We cannot thank Anchor Center enough for being an integral part of her success now and going forward.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our granddaughter was born with multiple health issues but is now a thriving four year old. The issue which will be with her always is her vision. She is not blind but is visually impaired and has the potential for glaucoma so blindness is always a possibility. Anchor Center has been a godsend for her and for her family. She is a very strong-willed and independent child so she needs to be able to propel herself through life at full speed. She never lets anything stop her if she wants to do something. Anchor Center provides a safe environment for her to explore the ways in which she can become an independent and productive member of society. She loves going to school and is excelling at everything she does. Anchor Center feels like a happy place from the minute you enter. There are children laughing and chattering non-stop. You might even encounter a parade of children with brightly colored scarves and rhythm instruments. Children who are upset are cuddled and protected and are soon laughing again. It is a pleasant and safe environment for everyone.

I have had the privilege of visiting Anchor Center multiple times and have attended some of their field trips. They go out of their way to provide field trips that are indicative of the world these children will live in. Some examples are: ice skating, a behind-the-scenes theatrical tour, pumpkin patch, water park, botanical gardens, museums, and many others. These field trips help the children explore their capabilities and never cater to their disabilities.

The staff at Anchor Center is loving and passionate about their work. They truly care about each family they serve and go to great lengths to cater their services to the needs of the family. They provide speakers and discussion groups for parents and are always willing to discuss what people need for their success. Having a child who is differently abled is not an easy task but the more daunting task is trying to help that child navigate their world and learn to be successful. Anchor Center gives these children a very strong foundation as they move from there to public schools, specialty schools, etc. Our granddaughter has been exposed to techniques which will last her a lifetime as she grows.

This is a very worthy nonprofit and I will be eternally grateful to them.

Noel5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter came to us when she was 14 months old from foster care after being found alone in a hotel room. She was visually impaired but no one knew why. We began attending Anchor Center immediately and it was the beginning of a lovely relationship between our family and Anchor. Anchor provides the very best instructors, therapy, resources and instructional instruments. My daughter became confident, strong and empowered because of the people and programs at Anchor. Just as important, as a parent I became strong and confident because of Anchor. We love Anchor Center and would recommend it to ANYONE!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We arrived with out daughter when she reached about 6 months of age. Expectations were minimal. We had been let down by other organizations before so we tried to keep a realistic outlook. When we arrived, they welcomed us with open arms and gave baby girl an assessment. We were welcomed with love and we began the program shortly there after.
We were a bit skeptical to begin with. The more we attended, the more we learned and the more we felt like we belonged or "fit in". This was all on us as parents. OUR hesitation, OUR nerves, OUR feelings were the cause of our own hesitation. The Anchor center was, and has always, welcomed us. They have also been there to help us in more ways than one.
Our daughter is not "just" visually impaired. She has a cobblestone brain formation, ocular nerve Hypoplasia, Muscular Dystrophy and the list goes on. They never balked or "batted an eye" at our babies "complications". They were and have always been there for us and most importantly, our baby.
Throughout the program, which we are still participating, they have offered assistance in any and every way that they can. Be that assistance for our baby or for us as her parents, they have been there and offered help.
Our baby has progressed so much and I attribute that progress to the help and assistance of the Anchor Center. They have not only taught my daughter or helped her experience her capacity, but they have also taught us/me sooo much. Everything they do, or offer, teach, or educate can be "taken home" with the parent who wants to work with their child or offer their child in terms of love and learning. Everything they teach, we take home and utilize as well as practice with our baby M.
We would not be this far, nor more importantly, would our baby M be where she is right now, without their educational assistance, patience, and love. I could never repay them. They have already done more for me and our baby M than anyone else could do, including me, her parent. Thank you is all I could say or offer, and that is more than they ask in return.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are eternally grateful for all Anchor Center has done for our son and our family. They have loved our child and helped us help him though the most difficult time on our lives.

Donor

Rating: 5

My grand niece has been a student at Anchor Center from the first months of her life. I can't imagine what her (our) family would have done without the wisdom, experience and compassionate care of the staff, doctors, teachers and administration. I had no idea there was such amazing help for the families of blind and especially Waggers children. This is such a great resource for anxious and often clueless parents. And the organization gives great feedback to the donors too.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for the Anchor Center for 2 years now and passionately believe in their mission and vision. The work that is done to help children with visual impairment is unparalleled.

Client Served

Rating: 5

There isn't a day that goes by that we don't thank our lucky stars for the presence of Anchor Center. Our son was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and we visited Anchor Center for the first time when he was just a month old. Walking into a place to talk to people about your child who you just found out was blind two days prior was a huge and very emotional step for us. Looking back I can't imagine how we could have been embraced, literally, and welcomed any more wholeheartedly than we were. The teachers and staff at Anchor Center have introduced us to the world of visual impairment and fostered our son's growth and achievement in ways that we never knew possible when we walked through those doors over three years ago. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't repeat something that I learned at Anchor. Our son is now in the preschool program where he attends three times a week. He will undoubtedly ask if we have school today on the days of the week that he is off. We would all spend more time at Anchor if we could.

Our son is thriving not only within the walls of Anchor Center but also in the bigger world. Anchor is such an amazing place that it's difficult to imagine ever leaving, but with the tools we have been given our family will have what it takes to excell in the world after Anchor Center. Luckily we don't have to cross that bridge for another year and a half!

Marlo N.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our daughter, Claire, began attending Anchor Center for Blind Children when she was 11 weeks old. It was a fragile time for our family with much uncertainty about her vision. We attended the program twice a week faithfully, and Claire began slowly responding to lights -- gradually she was able to focus on faces. With intensive therapy from Anchor Center's qualified and supportive staff, Claire began reaching for objects and eventually interacting with others. We rarely missed a day of Anchor Center's program for five years. After many Anchor Center sessions and countless doctors' appointments, Claire is functioning at a high level using one eye (with the help of a contact lens). Claire graduated from Anchor Center in June and is thriving in public kindergarten. Anchor Center has a "magical" effect on these children with low or no vision. How blessed we are to have Anchor Center at the foundation of Claire's learning. What a gift Anchor Center has been to Claire and our family. We are forever grateful for their early intervention, professionalism, guidance, support and love!

Client Served

Rating: 5


When Carlie was four-months-old, the doctor did his routine checkup. Other than being a little colicky everything else seemed fine. Then he asked if she could focus and follow an object. Having two perfectly normal babies before, I could easily answer, "not yet". He sent us to The Children’s Eye Physicians to get her eyes dilated and checked out. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was three days before Christmas, 2006. After having her eyes dilated we went back in to talk to her doctor. She told us Carlie had what is called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia or tiny optic nerves that just didn't develop completely. She told us that The Anchor Center for Blind Children was a great school that could help us as we figured out if Carlie would be blind or highly visually impaired. We left the doctors office and never spoke a word as we drove in a snowstorm to get home. Our older kids met us at the door asking how it went. My son crumbled to the floor in tears while our optimistic ten-year-old daughter told us it was going to be ok.

So we went to the Anchor Center when Carlie was 5 months old. They welcomed us with open arms. As most parents of babies coming to the Anchor Center, we were scared for our babies’ future. They gave us suggestions on how we should play with Carlie – what kind of toys to use, how to motivate her and support her. A month later Carlie started having seizures until the summer, changing any and every plan we would make. She was very ill and could not leave our home.

The Anchor Center provided home therapy all summer, giving us ideas on how to work with her to play, getting her to sit up, roll over, and how to communicate with our baby girl. They not only focused on vision therapy, but provided occupational, speech and physical therapy for her too.

They enrolled her in a Gerber food study for blind children to help us understand how to feed her and get her to touch her food. A majority of the children at the Anchor Center have issues with eating. The Anchor Center provides so much experimenting with different foods – letting the kids use their feet to feel the food. Just like a monkey, Carlie would regularly put her feet up on the table to feel everything before she would use her hands.

As she got healthier, I started to bring her to the Anchor Center in Stapleton. The teachers, therapists, volunteers and staff all surrounded Carlie and me with support, involvement, friendship, guidance, education, and therapy.

I talked to other parents that were just getting started at the Anchor Center too. Everyone’s child had something different that they were dealing with. There was a shaken baby, one child had Lebers disease, one child had cancer and lost an eye, another had albinism, one child suffered from hydrocephalus, and a few had optic nerve hypoplasia which was so nice to talk to them on how they were dealing with some of the same issues that we were with Carlie.

It’s hard to describe what a transformation we saw in Carlie, week after week at the Anchor Center attending the infant and toddler classes, working so hard on everything she did. She took her first step when she was about 2 years old. Carlie started talking at almost 3 years old. Even though she was walking – everyone said she had to learn to crawl to get the brain to work correctly. So we would all get down on the floor and move her knees and arms to crawl to help her understand how to crawl since she couldn’t see us to copy how we did it. She finally learned to crawl -- which triggered her brain to count all the way to ten within a week!

At 3 years old, the children start preschool. Carlie was in the Butterfly Classroom with 4 other children.

Carlie had to “sign in” – writing her name on the white board with marker – they used a hand under hand approach with a teacher – and then signed in using the Brailler to type out her name in Braille. The kids had circle time – and had to tell the class their full name and how they were feeling that day and a nickname they wanted to be called. I remember hearing Carlie tell her name and that she was happy and that her nickname was Apple. So everyone had to call her Apple for the day! That always made the kids giggle to remember who had what nickname for the day! They had a song for almost every group activity. They did a lot of pretend play – with the teachers leading the kids in many of the activities. One of Carlie’s favorites was when they played the Three Billy Goats Gruff on the bridge just outside the lunchroom. The troll would say – “Who’s that tromping across my bridge” then they would have the kids tromp tromp tromp… and giggle in delight at the Troll and such a fun animated story!

Of course, lunchtime was Carlie’s favorite time with her classmates. They learned social manners and how to carry on a conversation. Playing tea with the Queen and Carlie was a Princess was so fun – She would come home and say –“ Would you like some tea? In a british accent and show me that you had to lift your finger while holding the teacup.

The library at The Anchor Center has the coolest loft that they had to climb up to read. All the books have textures and braille added to them so that the children could really feel the books. They have CCTV’s to magnify the books too. The teachers are so animated verbally – it made the books come alive!

And what would a school be without the motor room. They have a climbing wall, adaptive tricycles, a ball pit, stairs to learn to crawl and walk on, and of course the cuddle swing.

They told us that 90 percent of what we all learn is from visually seeing it. So the Anchor Center has taught the parents to describe, describe, describe everything. Since our children seem to have heightened sensitivity to everything, getting them to feel things is so very important. In art they would color, paint, play in the sandbox and plant flowers in the dirt and seeds in the garden.

The kids went shopping at King Soopers to buy ingredients and then walked back to The Anchor Center to make a recipe and eat it too! I say they walked to the grocery store – and that alone is a huge undertaking. Imagine the teachers with a bunch of preschoolers that can’t see. Some are walking – learning how to use their canes, some are in wagons, some in wheelchairs. Letting the kids figure out how to be mobile in their own way – all the way to the grocery store and back. It’s a full day adventure. The thought and patience they put into every activity – it’s amazing. - It really is the best school in the world.

The Anchor Center tested Carlie and gave us the news when she was 3, that she would be a visual learner. What does that mean? In the low vision clinic, the doctor said her right eye is about 20 over 700 and her left eye is 20 over 300. Carlie is legally blind, but she can read and learn with her eyes. The Anchor Center gave her the love of learning and taught her how to use what vision she does have.

Carlie graduated from the Anchor Center last June at the age of 5 and now attends public school. She is in 2nd grade! Her understanding of phonics is incredible. Hearing is her first sense and she has developed it so well! This past year, Carlie was one of the best spellers in her first grade! And she is also reading at grade level with her eyes. Carlie's social skills are truly amazing. She knows everyone's name at the Anchor Center and a ton of people at her public school. If she doesn't know you, she wants to know you. She has developed these skills directly as a result of attending the Anchor Center. I could not imagine her life or mine without the wonderful people, love and magic that happens at the Anchor Center every school day!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I had first visited the Achor Center for Blind Children five years ago I did not know that in two years's time I would be a volunteer there. But even then I realized this was a special place where everybody I spoke with or observed seemed to have one thing in common, they were all there for the children. The delight in the children's faces spoke more than any of the words I heard that day. They belonged. And they were loved. Since I have been a volunteer there I have seen things that other people would deem small miracles. I have heard five year old children speak who could not speak before they started, I have seen children who were afraid and distraught to be away from their parents hug and embrace their friends and I have heard children laugh that perhaps had never laughed before. These are not accidents and no, they are technically not miracles either. These are everyday, common occurrences and I give thanks every day that I am there to witness them. The Anchor Center is truly a gift to our community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our little girl was in November of 2009. For one night, we thought her health would be perfect like ours. The next morning we were told that our daughter had some abnormalities, specifically Aniridia, which is a rare eye disorder in which the irises never fully formed. Our daughters eyes have no colored part. They are the usual white with a large pupil. We were devastated when we started our research that day online...our daughter would be legally blind, never drive, never have the chances other kids have. We had no idea what her life would be like. Our dreams were crushed.
When a social worker and an ophthalmologist came by the NICU that week, they both brought up a place we'd never heard of: Anchor Center for the Blind. Because we had so much going on, I just kind of forgot about that name. Soon, a wonderful woman named Kivanch called me and welcomed me and Audrey to come see Anchor. Kivanch answered all my questions and made me feel so welcome and comfortable! When Audrey and I went to check out Anchor School, she was a tiny 6 week old on oxygen. The warm kindness was immediately apparent when we walked through the doors of the beautiful new building. Everyone was smiling and welcoming. Everyone thought Audrey was adorable, not 'funny looking' like the typical observer might think! All the teachers wanted to hold her. I felt like Harry Potter going to Hogwarts. We fit in at Anchor immediately. Audrey started learning pre-braille and literacy behaviors from Day One. And we learned how to help her to become all that she can be. We looked forward to our two days a week at Anchor because it was a positive, understanding environment where we could learn how to help Audrey at her level. Now we attend preschool three days a week and we feel blessed every day that we have a place like Anchor to 'dig into' and belong.

Adriana8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wow lets just say I would be lost without the anchor center, my son Giovanni started to attend the school at two months. After being told from doctors they were not sure if he would be able to see, all the teachers started to work with me on what it was I could do to straightened his vision. They didn't only help my son but they helped me cope with the difficult times. My son still attendes the school, he is now in toddlers and we both enjoy and look forward to school day. Everyone in that center helps you with everything the have all type of therapist that will work with you and give you advise. Please continue to donate to the anchor center every penny is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Anchor Center for Blind Children is an amazing and special non-profit. It is true to it's mission and makes life changing differences not only for the students' and their families, but for the volunteers. If you need an internship or a place to volunteer I strongly suggest contacting Anchor Center.

The staff is so informative and approachable to work with. Not to mention the fundraising events are tons of fun to attend or help with. Check out Dancing with the Anchors for a exceptional night out.

It will make you smile everyday you are there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The am lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer with ACBC.

First of all, the staff of ACBC are AMAZING, DEDICATED people who are loving and passionate. You walk into the school and are greeted with smiles and love. The staff appreciate the volunteers and welcome and accept each person who walks through the door with open minds. We all have our talents in life, and ACBC is a venue that I have found let's mine shine.

Secondly, the opportunity to put forth effort to help kiddos who are blind is INCREDIBLY gratifying. These children are some of the most beautiful courageous people in the world. A contributing factor must be that love and care surrounds them everyday at ACBC. To contribute to helping a young person who is blind learn how to adapt to a seeing world is wonderful. My mind cannot find words to express the gratitude and love I have for ACBC's mission.

Lastly, the supporting members of ACBC (volunteers, board members, donors) are all amazing, warm people as well. They all share a commonality: love. I had the privilege to meet many of these actors at ACBC's 30th birthday party: Smiling; hugging; openness; warmth; willingness to give; friendliness; are all traits of everyone I had the pleasure of interacting with.