On April 7, 2018, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers had the pleasure of hosting The Blind Café Experience for about 70 of our incredible #CVVAlum and current volunteers. It was a powerful evening of dinner in the dark, rich conversation, an active music listening experience, and of course, lots of companionship. It was all held entirely in 100% darkness with no blindfolds and facilitated by the Blind Ambassadors.
We hope you enjoy reading these reflections from the night of this unique and unforgettable experience.
Having a shared experience of the unique and intentional Blind Café with CVV alum from various years, led us to a place nearby to have theological reflection on the night after the formal program concluded! The opportunity for a common experience was a beautiful spark of a new bond with other alum.
For me, the power and value of one’s name especially struck me. The three individuals who were blind, Esha, Richie, and Garrick, facilitated the entire evening by reiterating names – asking ours as they led us to seat, supporting us when we called their name out at any moment, and facilitating their own story-sharing by speaking one another’s names without missing a beat. The facilitators also recommended when we meet someone who is blind that we introduce ourselves, share our name, and ask theirs; the worst emotion as a blind person is to feel invisible. The sense of identity in our names remind me of how much of our stories are held in it. Addressing someone by their name allows them to be seen. I need only remember the name of a youth from the shelter during my CVV year to be taken back to the struggles, joys, and journey he or she shared with me. It reminded me how important it is in my current work at Emily Griffith High School; even though there is a sea of 400 faces I walk the halls with each day, their names hold their story and their names allow them to be seen.
by Haley Todd, CVV 16.