“I feel that the existing service available to people who are visually impaired and/or blind is not adequate to meet their needs,” Tileston said. “I am blind. And I know for myself, just personally being now retired, there are vision related needs that I have, that I don’t have access to being served. Rather than sit back and whine about it, I just decided I would cooperate with ACBCO and help them.”
— Evelyn Tileston, long-time Craig resident and former executive director of the Independent Life Center, about her efforts to help establish an American Council of the Blind of Colorado chapter in Northwest Colorado
Visually impaired and blind residents of Northwest Colorado may have more resources available to them in the future.
The American Council of the Blind of Colorado announced this week they're exploring the idea of creating a chapter in the area.
Evelyn Tileston, a long-time Craig resident and former executive director of the Independent Life Center, said she felt there were not enough resources available to the visually impaired, which is why she is helping to establish a chapter in the area.
“I feel that the existing service available to people who are visually impaired and/or blind is not adequate to meet their needs,” Tileston said. “I am blind. And I know for myself, just personally being now retired, there are vision related needs that I have, that I don’t have access to being served.
"Rather than sit back and whine about it, I just decided I would cooperate with ACBCO and help them.”
The group’s purpose is to promote advocacy, social and employment inclusion and self help for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. They also offer assistance to friends, supporters and families of the blind or visually impaired.
“The good thing about this group is it’s not age related," Tileston said. "Anybody, no matter what age they are, from little children and their parents through senior citizens, is invited to be a part of this group. Anybody who’s interested, anybody at all who wishes to contribute any way. Anybody is welcome in this group.
"That’s what I like so much about ACBCO, it does not limit who can participate.”
Tileston said bringing the chapter to the area is just in the beginning stages of testing the waters to see how well it would be received.
“This may be successful," Tileston said. "Who knows, it may fall flat on its face and people say, ‘we don’t want to do this,’ and that’s fine. But at least we can offer it and people can choose."
Barbara Boyer, executive director for the American Council of the Blind of Colorado, said there seems to be a need for the program in Northwest Colorado, but how that chapter will look is still being assessed, along with services that need to be offered.
“We’ve been working closely with Evelyn to see if there’s a need for a group, or some individual or some of the other services we provide," Boyer said. "We’ll have to find additional funding. It’s kind of an assessment period."
Tileston compared the current work to a grassroots movement, similar to the one she said happened almost 20 years ago that was instrumental in bringing the Independent Living Center to Craig.
“Some individuals who had vision loss came to me, approached me and insisted, ‘you need to start a group for us. We need help,’" Tileston said. "This was like 20 years ago, and so we started this group and everybody was a volunteer. There was no money to be had for such a group."
Boyer said regardless of what forms in Northwest Colorado, she is happy to be working to bring services to the area.
“I’m just excited to be including more people in our organization," Boyer said. "We’re a very inclusive group and very open. We’re all about helping people."
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com