Award Winning Positive Social Change Programs In The Dark
The Blind Cafe is a positive social change organization, that uses the concept of darkness to create innovative and imaginative events held entirely in the pitch dark ( no blindfolds ). Our events are facilitated by professional trained 'legally blind staff'' and designed to change the way you 'SEE' the world! The Blind Café does not try to perfectly recreate blindness. Instead, it allows people to interact, trust each other, and experience community in an entirely new way. In the dark, there are no uncomfortable glances, no self-consciousness about what you’re wearing or what you weigh, no distinction between the sighted and blind.
Challenge and inspire your students to 'look' at the world without sight, through this award winning, fun and inspiring social change discussion, dinner and music concert all held in the complete in the dark & facilitated by legally blind keynote speakers and guides. Students perspectives on life and blindness will be blown open by this innovative and life changing experience in the dark, and will leave with unforgettable memories.
Your students will develop essential skills such as trust, confidence, teamwork and problem solving; as well as uncovering their own potential and challenging their limitations. These programs are tailored specifically for students to break down their normal social barriers and see life, themselves and others in a new and inspiring way.
The Blind Cafe Experience for Colleges and Universities
( 12 - 150 + persons )
The Blind Cafe Experience: Positive Social Change In The Dark Dinner® program curriculum is as follows:
- Gathering In The Light
- Journey Into The Darkness
- The Breaking of Bread
- Group Discussion / Question and Answer Forum
- A Music Listening Experience
- Back To The Light
- Debrief: Back To The Darkness
Pre - Assessment
We will work with your lead staff to design a Blind Cafe Experience event that aligns with your schools values and desired outcomes.
Gathering In The Light
First we will start off with a reception in the lighted lobby area where the participants will have a Gathering In The Light, before they enter the darkness. This is where we give participants the ground rules and prepare them for their darkness experience. At this time we often serve appetizers and drinks before entering the darkness at this point. This is where you can communicate any intentions of the event to your students.
Into The Darkness
Then the students are lead into the pitch dark by our professionally trained legally blind staff. Participants will have to work together to find their seats at their tables and get situated in the dark. The facilitator will challenge the participants by bringing attention to spacial awareness and navigation skills for being in the darkness.
The Breaking of Bread
The audience will literally break bread together at large tables, the audience working together to navigate & share food & drink in the dark. The participants will be challenged to learn new ways of communicating and socializing without their sight.
A Community Awareness Discussion In The Dark
The audience will participate in a community awareness discussion, Q & A format, between the audience and the blind facilitators. We use a Tibetan singing bowl to bring all 100+ of the audience together to practice active listening as a group, encouraging them to practice being present, listen to others and also to speak out as inspired. This is facilitated by our blind staff and is one of the most powerful aspects of our program as the participants learn how to participate in a group experience without sight. The students hear the stories of our blind staff and are encouraged to ask any questions around blindness or relating without sight. *This is flexible and we can add students discussions or speeches from any one in your staff to this component of the event.
A Music Listening Experience
This is when dessert is served. The audience then is empowered to practice active music listening as a group, encouraging the audience remember what it was like to listen to music without the distraction of their visual conditioning, social etiquette and cells phones. A music performance in the dark allows the audience to move away from their thoughts and into feeling experiencing the group experience deeply in their bodies through listening to the music. The music is performed live by one or two of our professional darkness musicians Rosh & The Blind Cafe Orchestra &/or Richie Flores of The Constellation Prize.
Back To The Light
Finally, after several hours without sight...we bring the participants back to the light with a very special moment we can't reveal till we are in the darkness! ;)
Debrief: Back To The Darkness
After participants have had a chance to go to the bathroom, adjust back to vision again, we will hold a discussion where they will share their experiences, challenges and insights, in the light. We'll identify takes a ways and lessons that could be brought back to the work place and to life in general.
Overview of Logistics
- Time: 3 - 4 hours in length / can be designed to fit your companies schedule and time frame. We offer both daytime and evening events. The event can be held around a dinner or lunch time or late afternoon.
- Number of Participants: 40 - 150 + persons
- Event Space: The event can be held at an on-site or off-site location such as a conference room or an alternative rental space, specifically chosen for it’s ability to be blackened out and accommodate the number of guests desired. We may have a designated venue space in your city or our Blind Cafe event coordinator staff can help find an appropriate venue space for the event.
- Food / Beverage Options: If the venue chosen does not have catering we can help find a cater to suit your needs. The client is responsible for the catering costs of the event separate from The Blind Cafe fee.
- Creating The Darkness: Our darkness team will create the darkness several hours before the participants arrive. If done on-site, we will need access to the space 4 hours before the program begins.
How to plan an event with The Blind Cafe for your company.
Our Blind Cafe event can be tailored specifically for schools needs and desired outcome. The sky is the limit with what we can explore in the dark so welcome your creative ideas and support you in creating one of the most memorable college events ever. You choose the level of class with both catering and event space and we'll bring the darkness. We will work with you event planner to help choose the appropriate venue space for a Blind Cafe event.
Our The Blind Cafe services include:
- Planning and coordinating with your companies event planner to find an appropriate event space that can be made dark.
- Preparation, set up and break down of darkness setup.
- Providing an event coordinator the day of the event to coordinator the seating in the dark process
- 1 - 4 professionally trained Keynote Blind Staff to guide your companies guests into the dark and provide a powerful keynote discussion in the dark along with food service.
- Live music if desired for the music component of the event
Our colleges entertainment / sponsoring group planners typically handle all areas of event planning not related to the darkness.
- Rental of event space
- Catering for event.
- Invitations for student guests
- Any other needs not related to the darkness experience.
Since our Blind Cafe events are a one of a kind experience, it’s important we get some preliminary questions answered about what your college desires so we can best serve you and send you a proposal.
How do I bring The Blind Cafe to our school?
In order to host a Blind Cafe atany given college, we have to be invited by a group, club, or office / department from that school. That organization becomes the primary organizer, and may work with other groups or offices on campus to sponsor the event. So if you're part of a group or work in an office that organizes events and brings in speakers, great!