It can be hard to find information regarding disability organisations, activities, products, etc. Not knowing where to look or even if it is suitable for you, can be the hardest thing, and that’s why organisations like Fun 4 The Disabled is so important. Here Vanessa Harris, creator of Fun 4 The Disabled, talks about resources, people, products, activities, events and organizations for people who have ability challenges, their families and friends so they can enjoy themselves.
What was your motivation for starting up Fun 4 The Disabled?
Well, I’m a wheelchair user, a cancer survivor and an artist and engineer. Before I retired, I was an executive with an oil company and also founded an engineering consulting firm. I decided to do something else as a second career to start a legacy. Last year, as I was taking a documentary class, I did a video about artists with very inclusive exhibits. That was my first video.
When I talked to one of the artists, she said she wanted her art exhibits to continue being very inclusive for people with all kinds of disabilities, so that her family could enjoy them.
That inspired me to do something like that. Since I really enjoyed making that first video, I did another video on “How to Buy a Car if You’re Disabled”. You can find this video below.
How long have you been running Fun 4 The Disabled? Did you start your blog and YouTube channel at the same time?
I’ve been running Fun 4 the Disabled for a little over a year. I started the blog and the YouTube channel around the same time.
The documentaries have also been showing on the Chicago Access Network Television Station for the last nine months.
Now we have over 5000 followers worldwide on my bi-weekly newsletter list, which we managed to do in just a year’s time.
You can sign up for the newsletter on our website, fun4thedisabled.com. All we need is your name and email address. We have 19 short documentaries and five additional blog posts on our website right now.
What is your process for connecting with people to share their stories?
I find people all over the world who have interesting stories. Sometimes I find them on social media, sometimes through the books I read, and in the newspaper. People also contact me about someone they know or they tell me that they themselves have an interesting life story. One video I’ve done is about Farida Bedwei, a female entrepreneur who lives in Ghana. Farida has cerebral palsy, and is a world leader in banking according to MasterCard. She also writes a comic called Kharmza. Kharmza, the main character in the comic, is a super hero who also has cerebral palsy. She flies with her crutches! I think Farida is a real-life super hero.
Is it just yourself that runs Fun 4 The Disabled or do you have a team of people?
I am the founder, but I have four other volunteers. They do all kinds of things from video directing and post-production, to market research. They help me write the newsletter and also with social media. One is in Denmark, one is in Turkey, one is in Nashville, and one is in Dallas. We are hoping to get our next volunteer from Singapore or Poland.
Some services are paid for, like our information technology and our closed captioning service.
Do you have any plans to expand Fun 4 The Disabled in the near future?
Yes, I do! About two months ago, I formed a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization called Strategy for Access. Our mission is to provide educational and entertaining documentary subjects and inspiring stories for the disability community so that they can become aware that they are an integral part of a much larger global society and that they have much to share, not in spite of their disability, but because of who they are.
Strategy for Access is the umbrella organization under which fun4the disabled.com will reside. We plan to get funding and expand our team. We already have a Board of Directors who is directing the programs which will strengthen the brand of fun4thedisabled.com and Strategy for Access.
Thank you Vanessa for answering our questions, don’t forget to follow Fun 4 The Disabled on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the handle @fun4thedisabled. Their always looking for new subjects to share with their followers, so if you have suggestions please contact them following this link.
Fun 4 The Disabled is such a great resource for finding information, does anyone know of a service like this in the UK?