Enactus students aim to bring accessibility to area restaurants
As part of their national competition project, Flagler Enactus students have teamed up with local Dotz Café owners Sam and Ann Thompson to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the visually-impaired and blind in our community when they go out to eat.
“I feel rushed when I don’t have the tools I need,” said rising junior and Enactus member Bailey Smith when talking about her experience of going out to eat and trying to read a menu. Smith is legally blind but doesn’t walk with a cane, “since I realized I could stumble through life.”
Flagler Enactus has assembled a packet of training information called “Made to Order” for employers and employees on how to make accommodations for customers who may need assistance. As a tourist city with 706 locally-owned restaurants in conjunction with an aging population and a large community of blind or visually-impaired, the students felt this was the prime place to launch a project of this type. In addition to menus, there can be other challenges for this population when entering a public space such as receiving directions to a restroom or using a self-serve counter. When students surveyed local restaurants, most cited cost as a prohibitive factor in choosing not to offer large type or braille menus. The students also realized that other challenges which could be addressed with little to no expense were unknown to most of those they surveyed.
At this point in time, 13 restaurants have committed to the packets. From a customer standpoint, Dotz Café owner Sam Thompson says having these types of menus available says to the customer, “I have enough value.” With hopes for more packets to be purchased, the team wants people in the community to recognize the need and “be accessible to everyone,” said project leader Cheyenne Goodale.
For more information about Flagler Enactus or the “Made to Order” project, please contact Cheyenne Goodale at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Enactus team has also made a promotional video which can be viewed here.
Enactus was also recently recognized by a News 4 Jax and Fields Auto Group joint program called Positively Jax, for making a positive difference in the community. See them receive their award here.