Making a Difference: Introducing Blind Alive, and Its Creator, Mel Scott
Patty L. Fletcher
03 12 2017
Hi CAMPBELLSWORLD VISITORS! Happy Good News Sunday! To You! I’m real glad you stopped by! It’s been a really stressful week. As you know we have been cleaning and clearing, and just when we thought we’d have the week-end to rest, relax, and try something new…
Campbell got sick. I’ll tell about that in an upcoming post.
For now, I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine, and let you in on some really awesome info.
Introducing Mel Scott, in her own words…
Contact Mel Scott 267-474-0996 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frustrated with Inaccessible Workout Videos, Visually Impaired Woman Creates Descriptive Audio Options
Chalene Johnson, Jane Fonda and pretty much every exercise aficionado has at one point taken up space on Mel Scott’s shelf. And that’s the common end place for the vast array of Pilates, yoga, cardio, callanetics and every other exercise home video that Mel has bought – and shelved.
Determined to stay in shape, Mel, 58, of Doylestown, Pa. would buy and try each only to discover time and again that home workout videos truly aren’t designed for the visually impaired.
“They would say things like ‘look at me, watch your form,’” Mel said, who worked for more than 30 years as a massage therapist. “I couldn’t follow what was going on.”
Mel was diagnosed at age 7 with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease which causes severe vision impairment. By age 11 she began learning braille.
“I have a little bit of vision left,” she said. “I can actually still use my vision to get around. But I prefer walking with Jingles, my guide dog.”
Using her limited sight to read or watch DVDs is no longer possible.
Mel hasn’t visually read anything since age 21 when she took the GRE for Graduate school and during that last reading she recalls “getting physically ill” from straining her eyes.
Fast forward 35 years and Mel has formed her own company, BlindAlive LLC, and worked with a team of fitness instructors – as well as visually impaired music composers – to create a series of descriptive exercise workouts as part of her BlindAlive ™ Eyes-Free Fitness® offerings.
“I’ve been whining and moaning for a long time about them not being accessible,” Mel said of traditional at-home workout videos and DVDs. “When I was riding my stationary bike I just got this huge energy flood. It said ‘stop whining and create it yourself.’
My heart was pounding. It was one of those moments that I knew was a before and after moment.”
Within a day of her epiphany, Mel had a fitness instructor and Website developer in place. In the first nine months, Mel and her team, in addition to establishing a limited liability company, created six descriptive audio workouts, a Website, blog, podcast, a sound tag composed by accomplished composer Doug Katsaros and a voice on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Besides being the visionary, Mel provides detailed exercise descriptions to complement each workout, which are recorded by Mel herself. Workouts are available as hard copy CDs, thumb drives, SD cards, or as digital downloads from her Website.
At the root, Mel said she created the workouts for herself and other visually impaired people.
“I just felt like my community – the blind community – didn’t have anything out there that I could find that was respectful and dignified,” she said. “It made me feel like I was compelled to listen to some silly woman talking to a room full of 3 year olds. It was degrading.”
In addition to catering to blind and visually impaired people, Mel sees the workouts resonating with sighted people as well.
“What I’m doing would be so good for people with sight,” she said. “You’re not distracted by what’s on the TV screen. You’re not distracted from what’s going on in your own body.”
If nothing else, the workouts give vision impaired people choices they did not have before now.” Mel said. “We’re responsible for our own body.”
And she practices what she preaches.
When asked, which are her favorite workouts, Mel said, “I do all of them. I modify to whatever I feel like doing. They’re all my favorites. I told my husband if nothing else I’m going to have a very expensive library of workout programs I can do all by myself.”
Her library continues to expand.
“It’s all coming out of my head. These are all things I want,” Mel said. “I’m doing this for me. This is what I want for myself. I know that other people want them too, so I’m creating them for all of us.”
The mission of BlindAlive is to create top-quality, well-designed fitness programs for the blind and visually impaired community that are completely accessible. Instructors describe each exercise so that blind people can follow along easily.
The entire BlindAlive team is motivated by a driving passion to deliver fitness products for the blind to everyone who wants to be healthy and strong. BlindAlive creates more choices for more people. For more information, visit http://www.blindalive.com.
Hi, Patty and Campbell back to say… Don’t you think that’s just the most awesome idea you ever heard of? I have not yet tried any of the described workouts mentioned, but I have looked at the site, and joined the Eye-Free-Fitness Email Discussion List. It is a wonderful group of goal oriented, supportive people. I’m most blessed for having checked out this site and invite and encourage you to do the same. If you should choose to take my advice, make sure to tell them Patty and Campbell sent you.