Creating Communities without Barriers
Ability Beyond Sight was founded as a New Jersey 501 (c)(3) Its core objective has always been a committal to building a world that works using a global $1.9 trillion wellness industry to empower blind adults to achieve self-sustaining independence as licensed massage therapists.
ABS invested resources in a worldwide campaign pursuing successful occupational training models within the wellness industry; specifically, ABS sought models that have successfully led blind adults to economic empowerment and effective participation in society. ABS identified one style that transcends national borders: Blind massage, carried out by visually disabled massage therapists making use of their “seeing hands.” For centuries, other countries such as China and Japan have long recognized the abilities and enhanced sense of touch of individuals who are blind in the field of massage therapy, and have devoted training for such individuals.
2013 was the year it was put to test. Ability Beyond Sight launched its very successful inaugural pilot program called, “I-AM Possible.” Blind therapists provided free therapeutic chair massage services to more than 1,000 New Jersey residents over a two year period. The won high praise from clients, and ABS gained significant analysis and understanding of the positive effects and barriers facing these individuals as they seek mainstream employment. The most conclusive evidence….this idea was not only feasible, but had been proven, these results were the motivation behind the innovative development of Ability Beyond Sight’s Train-to-Hire Program, purely based on highly successful models in the Far East. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey.
Since the inception of Ability Beyond Sight, the organization appeared on WFME Radio was featured online Massage Magazine as a “Groundbreaking Nonprofit” empowering massage therapists who are blind. Most recently, ABS has received the 2016 Bergen County Salute to Champions honoring individuals who demonstrate a commitment to Inclusion and Changing Attitudes.
Ability Beyond Sight is an ambitious model of action; bringing the largest pool of unemployed Americans fully within the scope of opportunity. ABS seeks to challenge the limits of what is deemed possible for young blind adults and strives for a “no boundaries” quality of life; promoting equal access to integrated employment.
Leading the team, Founder, Nancy De Siervo, and Master Massage Therapist/Clinical Trainer, Shaleek Stewart, are ready for the world and all it has to offer and actively fundraising preparing to launch an Apprentice/Community Wellness Center, with goals to increase outreach, providing hope, training and self-sufficiency for massage therapists who just happen to be blind.