Ability beyond Sight is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization providing volunteers who, since 2011, have collaborated to improve occupational training and career advancement for young blind adults in the health and wellness field as licensed massage therapists.
Since the organization launched its first massage studio, (donated by Paul Kapal, owner of Outshine Salon & Spa, located in Totowa New Jersey,) Ability beyond Sight was immediately inundated with requests from young blind adults nationwide inquiring how they could participate and become part of the organization. These encouraging results were the motivation behind the innovative development of the Train-to-Hire Program, based on highly successful models in the Far East. Ability beyond Sight’s Train-to-Hire Program will provide a powerful vehicle of life-changing training skills and expands possibilities so young blind adults can achieve full potential as licensed massage therapists. Just as important, the program offers continuing education, and a two-year paid apprenticeship culminating in flexible part-time or full-time employment and potential entrepreneurship.
Moving forward, Ability beyond Sight will serve as a unique catalyst by opening a dual-purpose facility serving as an apprenticeship site and community wellness clinic. This collaboration will allow blind massage therapists to earn a salary; serve the community and transition seamlessly from apprentices to experienced self-sufficient massage therapists. This effort brings affordable therapeutic massage services to the community and emphasizes the valuable contributions people who are blind bring to businesses and organizations.
Ability beyond Sight’s ability to grow, sustain and enhance the scope of services provided to young blind adults is dependent upon contributions from its supporters. An on-line fundraiser has been launched and a Gourmet Food Tasting /Art Auction Fundraiser planned for October promises to advance the nonprofit’s goals.
Ability beyond Sight is committed to empowering young blind adults to achieve self-sustaining independence through career advancement as licensed massage therapists. People who are blind can do extraordinary things if given a chance with the appropriate conditions attitudes and encouragement, and should be recognized as equals in the workplace. The organization strongly believes that as the hidden talents of young blind adults is unveiled, the community will continue to realize their value, misconceptions about their work capabilities will dispel and artificial barriers created by fragmented initiatives and organizational boundaries will be overcome
Ability beyond Sight’s initial service area is Northern New Jersey with projected expansion throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and will eventually serve as a nationwide model program.