Imagine eating a lovely meal at a beautiful restaurant and not being able to see a thing?
Diners at three South Florida restaurants will have that experience in October as part of Lights Out, a program to help people understand the challenges of being visually impaired.
“People are blindfolded from going to their seats, to dining and drinking,” said Jourdan Kaufman, chief marketing of Stand Among Friends, a non-profit organization that helps students with disabilities to seek employment. “Everyone have the opportunity to dine in the dark and live life as a visually impaired person for a few hours.”
The three restaurants that are participating are Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge in Fort Lauderdale, Rosso Italia in Boca Raton and Red, The Steakhouse in South Beach. The meal at Red will be on Oct. 24th.
“It is all about using your senses,” said Rosemary Staltare, chief marketing officer at Red, The Steakhouse Restaurant. “Your taste, smell, touch, and everything is so different when you don’t use your eyes.”
Stand Among Friends partnered with Florida Atlantic University to create Lights Out as a fundraiser to build awareness in the community and provide resources for individuals with disabilities.
The program started in 2008 after Shawn Friedkin, founder of Stand Among Friends, was paralyzed in a car accident 20 years ago.
“Since its foundation, Stand Among Friends has placed over 460 individuals in employment and over 1,200 people have sought services,” said Kaufman.
The net proceeds from these events will go to Stand Among Friends to support existing programs, such as Assistive Technology, Employment Services, Independence and Inclusion.
“The idea is to raise awareness of what it is like living with a disability and hopefully change people’s understandings and acceptance,” said Kaufman.