Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blind and Unplugged A Tech Free Weekend May 22-24

Ultimate Reality Show: 48 Hours… No Phone… No Internet… No Car—IN L.A.!
April  __, 2015—LOS ANGELES:  EmpowerTech Executive Director Joan Anderson and current EmpowerTech Board Chair and former student of the Blind Program Keith Breaux will attempt to navigate a series of trips and tasks throughout Los Angeles over the course of an entire weekend, without using any technology whatsoever.  The weekend challenge, which will raise money for EmpowerTech’s program offerings, will be streamed live online, making it the ultimate reality show.

Joan Anderson stated, “The idea behind the Tech Free Weekend Challenge is to demonstrate to the world how much we take technology for granted, and to give people a small taste of what it is like to live with a disability that prevents you from using everyday technology like driving a car or surfing the web.   When I first shared this idea with our students, I told them that I wanted to walk a mile in their shoes. They responded, “Oh, you’re going to be walking a lot farther than a mile!”

The weekend’s itinerary and series of challenges will be drawn up by EmpowerTech students who, through the use of Assistive Technology at the EmpowerTech facility in Los Angeles, overcome obstacles presented by their disabilities every day.  Examples of activities could include: going parasailing in Marina Del Rey, visiting the Getty, or shopping at Ralph’s.  Joan and Keith will be followed by camera operators who will film their exploits in 8-10 hour shifts.

Keith Breax commented, “I’m certainly not looking forward to a weekend without my IPhone, but if this weekend challenge can raise awareness of the difficulties that persons living with disabilities like myself a blind man, face every day—and raise awareness of EmpowerTech and its programs—then it will be worth it.  But still, no Assistive Technology? All weekend? Seriously?”

Beginning May 22th at 1:00 pm, Keith and Joan will check into a Hotel in Westchester and hand over all of their technology devices, including car keys.  They will then be presented with their weekend itinerary and the cameras will start to roll.

As part of the Tech Free Weekend challenge, donors will make cash pledges to EmpowerTech, contingent upon Joan and Keith successfully completing the challenge.