The Accessible Planet, Inc.

Our Mission About The Organization Marketing Tap Activities

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation providing a broad spectrum of services, information, and accessibility solutions that enable people with disabilities to live more productive lives and equally participate in society. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff is largely comprised of people with disabilities who are motivated to provide vital services to others in their community in the following areas:
  1. Job skills training and professional mentoring in accessible media production.

  2. Government and private contracts to improve access to books and educational videos.

  3. Support for parents with vision loss.

OUR MISSION
To improve the quality of life of people with disabilities by discovering, promoting, creating, and delivering accessibility solutions for products and services related to education, employment, entertainment, family, health, and independent living.

WHY WE EXIST
Legislation such as The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are valuable tools for people with disabilities to affect public policy and overcome some forms of discrimination. However, societal attitudes about disability remain as the most significant barrier for people with disabilities developing careers, purchasing common goods and services, and living a full, productive life. The Accessible Planet, TAP, serves as a platform or infrastructure for the formulation and exchange of solutions to accessibility barriers of all types. Since the global news and entertainment media can have the greatest impact on societal attitudes, our job skills training and career support services are primarily focused on media related careers. The intention of TAP is to influence the employment practices of the industry toward more inclusive policies by hiring professionals with disabilities to produce accessible audio books for consumers and audio described educational videos for students. TAP will positively affect perceptions of people with disabilities by acknowledging groups that have traditionally gone unnoticed. For instance, parents who have vision loss often lack essential support and information, while disproportionate attention is given to parents of children with vision loss.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
The Accessible Planet, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Northridge, California. The organization has an audio video production facility in Los Angeles and plans to establish a similar facility in New York. The organization was founded by a small group of individuals (most have disabilities) who have decades of experience providing accessibility solutions and advocating for equal access to employment and public and private services. Our staff and board members have opened doors to employment for people with disabilities as audio engineers and voice over artists, brought live audio description to theaters in Los Angeles, and raised awareness of the need for inclusion of people with disabilities in the arts and media.

More than simply stating that The Accessible Planet, TAP, is "of, by, and for" people with disabilities, we utilize a multi-pronged approach to collect data about the needs and priorities of the disabled population and pursue suggestions submitted from people with disabilities. The talented, experienced staff (most have disabilities themselves) also generate ideas for solutions to accessibility barriers. Most importantly, we measure our progress in multiple ways to ensure that what we do really matters to those we serve.

PROGRAMS
The following programs have been selected as current priorities for the organization according to identified needs and available expertise.

  1. Career Services

    The Accessible Planet offers two types of career services: (A) job skills training and (B) professional mentoring. The Accessible Media Production Training, Employment, Mentoring Program, AMPTEMP, IS the nation's first ongoing job skills training center dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to develop successful careers in audio/video media production. The program is based on a very successful pilot program conducted in 2002 and 2003 in cooperation with the Media Access Office in North Hollywood, CA, and funded by a grant from Workplace Hollywood. The philosophy behind the program is that when more people with disabilities work in the news and entertainment industry, the media will begin to include more accurate images of disability and shift common societal attitudes. In addition, specific professional mentoring programs such as the International Society of Blind Audio Engineers, ISBAE, support professionals with disabilities who are employed by providing a community of experts and a knowledge database to maintain current information and relevant skills for developing careers.

  2. A/V Contract Services

    The Accessible Planet effectively competes in the audio book publishing and audio description industries by offering the highest quality production services with the integrity of employing professionals with disabilities who themselves are also consumers of the media being produced. With cooperation from the American Foundation for the Blind, AFB, The Accessible Planet expects to obtain federal contracts from the Library of Congress to produce audio books (a.k.a. talking books) for the National Library Service for the Blind. For the first time, blind audio engineers will be employed to produce audio books for people with vision loss. Additionally, The Accessible Planet is a leading company in the audio description industry, providing recorded audio description for broadcast television as well as for educational videos shown in K-12 schools and universities. The U. S. Department of Education regularly provides grants to fund audio description production. The Accessible Planet's inclusive employment practices, and the experience of its staff, establishes the company as a leader in the industry.

  3. Services for Parents with Vision Loss

    Parents with vision loss need access to resources and information that sighted parents can readily access such as books, articles, catalogs, reports, and specific product information. The Accessible Planet gathers such resources and information and makes it available in accessible formats such as audio recordings, Braille, large print, or electronic formats. Parents with vision loss indicate that information specific to parenting without sight is also needed. According to needs identified in surveys and focus groups, The Accessible Planet creates a knowledge database and social interaction platform to facilitate the exchange of such information.

MARKETING

OUR PARTICIPANTS

The Accessible Planet is a solutions driven organization with the flexibility to serve people of any age with any type of physical disability. Programs are designed, operated, and funded according to identified needs in the disabled population as well as available expertise, talent, and ideas about how to eliminate specific accessibility barriers. Youth who have disabilities and are preparing to enter the job market are particularly well served by our career services. K-12 and university students with sensory or learning disabilities benefit from our audio described educational video production. People with vision loss or learning disabilities of all ages are served by the accessible audio books we produce. Other participants include parents with vision loss who, for the first time, will have an exhaustive resource to meet their need for information and services related to raising children. All Americans with disabilities will benefit from the programming and the societal impact of our participation in a 24-7 captioned and described television channel.

Most estimates suggest that 17% of Americans have disabilities as defined by the ADA. That percentage is expected to increase dramatically as the baby-boomer generation continues to reach advanced age. The incidence of age-related vision loss is already increasing measurably. Current demographic data indicates that the disabled population possesses over a trillion dollars in spending power and over 220 billion in discretionary income.

PERSONNEL

TAP does not implement demographic quotas for employment, but the majority of our staff consists of people with disabilities, because the knowledge and expertise in eliminating accessibility barriers can primarily be found within members of the disabled population. TAP is committed to hiring the most qualified and suitable individual for each position. TAP has formed a Board of Advisors and Consultants which consists of the most knowledgeable, experienced individuals from a range of business and advocacy backgrounds. Our board of Trustees primarily consists of professionals with disabilities who have knowledge and expertise in areas related to TAP activities. The Accessible Planet's core principals include:

  • Rick Boggs, Executive director (PWD)

    Rick Boggs is best known for his work as an actor/musician, motivational speaker, disability rights advocate, and entrepreneur. His success as an actor includes over 35 television commercial appearances, roles in multiple films and television shows, and various roles in stage plays. As a motivational speaker, Boggs has addressed tens of thousands of people of all ages across the United States, speaking on topics that include diversity and equal opportunity employment, careers in the arts and media, corporate culture and team building attitudes, and eliminating unintended, negative impacts in support services. As an entrepreneur, he co-created a sports radio program that aired on 23 Dodger Radio network stations, co-founded CatchItCam, the hands-free video system supplier for sports television, and founded We See TV, the company that created employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the field of accessible media production. His history of providing accessibility services to people with disabilities includes experience as Director of Described Media for one of the largest providers of closed captioning for network television. As an advocate for disability rights, Boggs efforts caused utility bills in Los Angeles County to become available in accessible formats for visually impaired consumers and dramatically improved accessibility and usability of the public transportation system in Los Angeles County.

    Rick Boggs believes strongly in community service and serves on various Boards of Directors for nonprofit organizations. He co-produced the Media Access Awards for four consecutive years, at the request of the California Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He currently serves on the Consumer Advisory Board of KCET, the Los Angeles PBS television affiliate. Additionally, Rick Boggs served as co-vice-chair and is a current member of the Tri-Union National Performers with Disabilities Committee (a SAG/AFTRA/Equity advisory entity).

    Rick Boggs has received awards and commendations from numerous national organizations and government agencies for his civic leadership and social responsibility in his business. The Mayor of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the California Legislature, and the Governor of California have all commended Rick boggs for his community service activities. In 2003, Rick Boggs was recognized by the American Association of Disabled People (AAPD) as one of America's top 30 emerging leaders. In that same year, he received the California Governor's Trophy at the National Business Leadership Conference.

  • TERI Grossman, VP Career Services

    Teri brings 13 years of live description experience in theatre and the Rose Parade and seven years as a description writer to TAP. She has trained describers in both areas and co-taught a ìtrain the trainerî workshop for the 2005 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference. Teri is one of the co-founders of the California Audio Describers Alliance (CADA) which advocates for description in the state. In 2006, CADA adopted standards that its members use in California. These formed the starting point for the national Audio Describers Alliance standards and were provided to the Described and Captioned Media Project and AFB to assist their development of standards for education materials under a grant from the US Dept of Education. Teri also served as an instructor and coordinator of the Media production training for people with disabilities conducted at the Media Access Office in North Hollywood in 2002 and 2003.

  • Jack Patterson, Board Chair / COO(PWD)

    After many years working as an advocate for Native American organizations in Arizona, Jack became co-producer and video editor for 21st Century Native American, the longest running Indian public affairs program in the country. As a freelance producer he wrote and directed live corporate shows and video projects for such clients as Delta Airlines, Coldwell Banker and Western Savings. Upon moving to Los Angeles Jack expanded his career to include performing in front of the camera. His numerous guest star appearances on network television set a benchmark for non-tradtional casting in Hollywood. All but one of his roles were originally written as non-disabled characters. Jack has more than ten years service on the Screen Actors Guild Performers With Disabilities Committee including four years as Co-Vice Chair. For four years he-co-produced and co-wrote the Media Access Awards. In 2002 Jack joined WeSeeTV recording and editing on Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro workstations. His post production work and voice over performances have contributed to over seventy audio described programs for network television.

  • Chris Snyder, VP Audio Book Production (PWD)

    Chris Snyder studied audio production under John McJunkin a staff member of the Arizona Conservatory of Recording arts and Science. In doing so, Chris overcame the industry-wide discrimination against audio engineers with vision loss. In 2001, Chris was hired by We See TV in Los Angeles where he produced dozens of broadcast audio described movies for ABC and FOX television networks. Chris is a professional voice over artist and recently appeared in "Handy Manny," a children's program on the Disney Channel. He has 7 years of experience as a sound designer, technical producer, and executive producer for nationally distributed audio books and audio dramas, working for leading companies such as Blackstone Audio and colonial Radio Theater. Chris is somewhat rare as blind audio engineers go, because he is competent on both Apple Macintosh and Windows platforms. He is the proud father of three children.

  • Tom Sullivan, Development Consultant (PWD)

    Tom Sullivan is known to many as an actor, singer, entertainer, author, and producer. Tom started out playing the piano in summer resorts and eventually gained national prominence with appearances on The Tonight Show, a major recording contract, and a steady stream of gigs in Las Vegas and resorts around the country. In 1975, Tomís autobiography, If You Could See What I Hear, co written with Derek Gill, took him on yet another journey this time as an author. Tom composed and performed much of the music for the film. Tom has gone on to write childrenís books and several additional biographies. As a special correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America, Tom has become a regular morning fixture in millions of American homes. As an actor, he's made a number of guest starring appearances, and he also helped write and develop many of these stories. Tom has also been nominated twice for Emmy Awards. Recently, tom co-created a private venture that now offers affordable life and health insurance policies for people with disabilities who historically have faced many challenges acquiring such services.

  • Dr. Bill Takeshita, Parents Services Consultant (PWD)

    Dr. Takeshita established the pediatric low vision program at the Center for the Partially Sighted in 1988 and established the Dr. Bill Takeshita Foundation to help children and their families to purchase visual aids after he lost his own vision in 2003. Dr. Bill wanted to be able to continue to help underprivileged children and realized that many children cannot afford the visual aids that will help them to learn to their fullest potential. The Dr. Bill Takeshita Foundation awards scholarships to underprivileged children who are visually impaired to help them to receive low vision aids and services at the Center for the Partially Sighted, a non profit low vision rehabilitation center in Los Angeles, California.

TAP ACTIVITIES

  1. (AMPTEMP) Accessible Media Production Training, Employment, Mentoring Program

    Description: Job skills training for youth and adults with disabilities pursuing media-related careers; includes work experience, job placement services, and professional mentoring services.

  2. (NLSTB) National Library Service Talking Books

    Description: Employ disabled and non-disabled professionals to produce recorded books for a special service of the Library of Congress, via federal contract.

  3. (ACVP) Accessible Classroom Videos Project

    U.S. Department of Education Contract Description: Employ disabled and non-disabled professionals to produce audio description for educational videos used in K-12 and university classrooms, via grant funds commonly provided by U.S. DOET.

  4. (APA) Audio Publishers Association Contracts

    Description: Employ disabled and non-disabled professionals to produce commercial audio books for major book publishers.

  5. (TADS) TAP Audio Description Services

    Description: Employ disabled and non-disabled professionals to produce audio description for a variety of public and private entities including government agencies and broadcast networks.

  6. (TMS) TAP Media Services

    Description: Employ disabled and non-disabled professionals to provide commercial audio/video production services for a variety of private entities, e.g. music artists, ad agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

  7. (ISBAE) International Society of Blind Audio engineers

    Description: A. To facilitate communication and exchange of information between professional blind audio engineers around the world. B. To accumulate and distribute information of particular interest to blind audio producers and engineers. C. To match experienced blind audio engineers as mentors with visually impaired youth who aspire to develop careers in audio production.

  8. (BPSA) Blind Performers Support Association

    Description: A. Accumulate and distribute information of particular interest to blind actors, voice over artists, and musicians. B. Facilitate the development and maintenance of an online directory of blind performers as a resource to employers in the entertainment industry.

  9. (BPR) Blind Parents Resource

    Description: A. Accumulate and distribute a wide array of information of particular interest to blind parents. B. Provide accessibility solutions for products and services used by blind parents. C. Provide a social network for blind parents.

    Copyright 2009
    The Accessible Planet, Inc.
    9301 Tampa Ave. #18
    Northridge, CA 91324
    Phone: (818)882-7733