Category: Uncategorized

The 27th American Disabilities Act Celebration

ada cake

On July 27th, community members and consumers of Connections came together to celebrate the signing of a bill that has continue to impact millions of lives in America. The ADA (American Disabilities Act) was passed and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination is all parts of life as well as any disability (physical or mental impairment) that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Rather stating what the ADA does, it’s better to state what could not be done without the ADA:

-About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population- could lawfully be discriminated against in the workforce because of their disability.
-Public transportation could not be used by individuals who uses wheelchairs.
-Students with disabilities would not have the opportunity to have a IEP (Individualize Education Plan).
-Public businesses would not be legally forced to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
-Telecommunications for the deaf would not be available on all phone services or television stations.
-Businesses could lawfully deny services/goods.

We are grateful we do not live in a world without in the protection of ADA. Here at Connections, we value the history of the disability community and the role Independent Living had in the history. That is why we have and will continue to have a ADA celebration at Connections. The ADA celebration allows us to be appreciative of our rights as well as come together as a community and share experiences, laughter and of course, cake.

Thank you for all the consumers and community members who came to the celebration; it was a full house with almost 50 attendees! And thank you to all the donors who support Connections and help make events like this happen with donations.

Connections for Independent Living




BBQ to Honor Veterans and First Responders

PDC Energy, Colorado Therapy Horses and Boy Scout Troup 247 are holding barbeques on June 12, June 17, August 14, September 18, and October 16 to honor veterans and first responders.  Bring your family and enjoy hot dogs and burgers, then meet the Colorado Therapy horses.  Location:  5206 West F St., off 59th Ave., Greeley.  To RSVP call or text 970.302.5204.

Magnifeyed Living Find your Fit Write-up

The Magnifeyed Living Series, sponsored by Ensight Skills Center and Weld County Area Agency on Aging, brought Jessica Beecham of We Fit Wellness to the Greeley Senior Center on Wednesday to discuss staying active when you’ve lost some or all of your vision.

The US is the most obese country in the world with an obesity rate ranging from 30-35% according to various studies, and people with disabilities are twice as likely to be obese than people without. Apps with voice recognition are available to calculate BMI, Body Mass Index. It is calculated by relating your height and weight to each other.

Some basic guidelines on how to best maintain a healthy BMI have been put forward. The surgeon general recommends that to be healthy one should be active for 30 minutes a day for 5 days and the American Heart Association has recommended people take at least 10,000 steps everyday to reduce the risk of heart disease.

But there are ways to do this easily. Jessica showed us how balancing on each leg for 1 minute is equivalent to 40 minutes of walking. She also showed us an easy way to do strength training by placing a chair behind yourself, and squatting into it until just before you are sitting and returning to a standing position.

A picture of Jessica and one spectator practicing squatting into chairs to strengthen their legs
Jessica demonstrates how to do strength training with only a chair

Jessica also addressed some of the challenges that keep people from exercising ranging from weather to being nervous at the gym. For example, she has a routine she can do from home in case she isn’t able to get out and run.

When she does go to the gym, she has someone from the gym accompany on her first (usually complimentary) visit and show her all the equipment. When a machine has a flatscreen control display, she asks them to place scotch tape on the most important controls and mark them in a more distinctive way. It is also important to know the weight increment of the machines, so generally she marks the lowest setting and learns which setting is best for her (“the fifth click is the weight I work on,” etc).

Running can be a scary prospect for someone who has lost or is losing their vision. Jessica runs with a longer cane which she uses the same way as when she is walking. She also recommends running with a guide, either on a tether or following them (if your vision permits). Most dogs however are not trained as running guides and should not be used for this purpose.

In conclusion, if you are losing or have lost your vision, you can still stay fit and keep yourself healthy, with a few adaptations!



Coupon Madness

A Brown paper bag is full of groceries and surrounded by vegetables and cans of food

Connections’ consumer Christina Hernandez and her cousin Denise taught a class on how to save money using coupons. The highlights of the event were when Tina and Denise spoke of their own savings and how much they had saved by couponing.

They also provided insight, such as talking about those little coupons you get at the end of your purchase at King Soopers. They’re called catalinas and they can help you save tons of money when you go shopping.

A coupon is pictured to save one dollar on groceries compliments of Nature ValleyThe two couponers save lots of money by combining the coupons the store gives you, and the coupons manufacturers and brand names give you.

A group of coupons is shown in baseball card sleevesThey also cautioned about dangerous practices which could get someone in trouble when couponing. For example, it is illegal to sell coupons or products.

They showed us their binders full of coupons and talked about how organization is the key to couponing successfully.

And what do we do with expired coupons? Well they recommend sending them to the troops, who can use them for six months after the expiration date. Troopons is one group which gives the coupons to soldiers and their address is:

Support Our Troops

PO Box 70

Daytona Beach, FL 32115


The class will evolve into a support group for people trying to save money on groceries using coupons and the pair has created a Facebook page for those interested.




Wrapping Up Vegetable Talk with Lori Kehoe

An image of carrots, tomatoes, apples, strawberries, and peaches

Lori Kehoe from the Vitamin Cottage came to talk with our consumers about the best ways to eat healthy and use the veggies growing in our garden.

She focused on the best ways to cook and prepare vegetables. Steaming is best for broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and asparagus. Sauteing with broth instead of oil is recommended for most vegetables. Boiling tends to not be recommended for any veggies other than chard, spinach, and beet greens. Roasting is a good cooking method for root vegetables, tubers, onions, brocolli, and brussel sprouts.

Eating your veggies in a smoothie was also highly recommended as an  easy way to mask the flavors of some vegetables which you may not like, but which are nutritious.

She also discussed managing blood sugar levels throughout your day. By eating a balanced breakfast of 2 eggs, spinach,  cheese, berries, and tea instead of cold cereal, orange juice, milk, and coffee you can make sure you keep your blood sugar levels within normal levels.

Lori works in Fort Collins and is willing to do free consultations for anyone interested. Her number is (970) 266-9919.

What we Learned at Cooking With Cori

Cori Layton sits smiling with cooking tools to help those with low vision or blindness
Picture of Cori Layton

She brought some tools she recommended using to stay safe in the kitchen:

A glove which can replace a traditional oven mitt to keep you safer in the kitchen    Ove-Glove

One of them was the Ove-Glove, a heat-resistant glove which is thicker than a traditional oven mitt and protects you better than a traditional oven mitt or hot pad. It also has grip pads to prevent slipping.

Other tips for using heat include using the front burners on your oven, ensuring handles are positioned to the side, pull out the racks of the oven when removing baking pans, and use an audible large print timer.

Black measuring cups and spoons can be used to create high contrast when measuring light colored ingredients   OXO Softworks measuring cups and spoons

A major topic was measuring using high contrast, for example the black OXO SoftWorks measuring cups and spoons create contrast with light colored ingredients.

Top view of a OXO liquid measuring cup which has markings visible on a slant inside the cup     OXO Liquid Measuring Cup

This measuring cup allows you to see how much of an ingredient you have while you are pouring from above. It also creates contrast with any dark ingredients you may be using.

Other tips for measuring include using raised markings. Measuring in your hand can also be useful.

This manual chopper can be used to chop ingredients instead of using a knife.    Chopper

This tool can be used to chop ingredients instead of using a knife. The blades are inside the housing on the bottom and are operated using a button on top. It protects your fingers from potentially cutting them using a knife and helps you dice foods easily. Find one on Amazon.

Picture shows a knife with a second metal guide to help cut slices of even thickness.    Knife with slicing guide

Knives with slicing guides can be used to slice food without putting your hands and fingers at risk under the blade. They can help cut beautiful slices, but also hold food and guide it to the cutting board easier.

Other tips for cutting include using a vegetable peeler instead of a knife and cutting away from you.

The final tips that Cori suggests include using meat thermometers to ensure doneness, and as always be safe and have fun in the kitchen!


New Therapeutic Yoga Instructor

We’re excited to introduce our new instructor for the Adaptive Yoga class at the Recreation Center:

Tandra Kirkpatrick is a certified yoga teacher with more than 500 hours of training with and assisting Master Instructor Tias Little. She has worked in the health and fitness field for 15 years and is experienced in helping people with a variety of health challenges. Tandra uses props and hands-on adjustments to help each individual adapt yoga poses to suit his or her body.

Tandra worked for several years with the Special Olympics in Farmington, with Thompson Recreation Park, and with the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. She has taught in yoga studios and assisted in several Prajna Yoga workshops. She is currently studying for her associates degree in physical therapy. Says Tandra, “My belief is that yoga is for everyone. With the proper support and help anyone can do it and can experience great healing benefits.”