Newton man goes on 'Blind Date' to celebrate BlindNewWorld week

Mark Kalashian and Jen Brissette toast at their table at Not Your Average Joe's

Blind Newton resident, Mark Kalashian, inspired a blind date with NYAJ's Director of Marketing Jen Brissette.

March 16, 2017

As the state of Massachusetts and Perkins School for the Blind partnered up for BlindNewWorld Week this week - six days dedicated to creating more inclusion and opportunity for the Commonwealth's 125,000 residents with vision loss – a Newton man had a 'Blind Date' in Watertown to culminate the week's activities.

Mark Kalashian knew what he wanted. He wanted to be able to read the special offer emails from one of his favorite eateries, Not Your Average Joe's (NYAJ's). Kalashian began a years-long email correspondence with NYAJ's Director of Marketing Jen Brissette who personally emailed text-only versions of coupons and specials to him.

"Our founder and CEO [Steve Silverstein] has made accessibility and inclusion a priority for our restaurants," said Brissette, "But Mark got me thinking that we could do more to make our marketing more accessible, too. We've been talking and emailing for years, but never met in person."

Then came BlindNewWorld Week, a weeklong focus on inclusion as part of the BlindNewWorld social change campaign sponsored by Perkins School for the Blind. The week's capstone is a range of "blind date" offers at NYAJ's, Showcase Cinemas, Saks Fifth Avenue Boston and major area museums that encourage blind and sighted Massachusetts residents to make a special point to socialize on Saturday, March 11. Read the full story here.