Accessibility Panel
710 Fourth Street • San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 459-6245 / (415) 459-7027 TTY

“Without assistance, I wouldn't have been able to pursue my interests.”

by Shoshana Brand

Shoshana Brand

Shoshana Brand
& Dara Kaufman-LeDonne

My name is Shoshana Brand and I stopped living with my parents when I was 22 years old, almost eight years ago. This is me in my home in San Rafael, California with my friend, Dara Kaufman-LeDonne, who helps me out when I need it. We just finished hosting a playwriting group that has been meeting for years. I have a longstanding interest in music and drama. I am, however, most excited about my new business, a rental audio-described film business, Blue Rose Video.

This idea started when I was younger. Because it is difficult for me to see hardly anything, my parents would buy me an audio-described video and it was so wonderful for me. But they are expensive and I thought that they should be available for rental. We needed a "Blockbusters for the Visually-Impaired." So I went to the Department of Rehabilitation and got the technology training and assistive technology I need to accommodate my vision issues and my cerebral palsy. I did focus groups bringing together people to discuss what kinds of films they wanted, what to charge, and how they would want to interact with this new company. Some of my visually-impaired friends worked on the pilot projects. We are now in the marketing phase and have a couple of hundred audio-described videos to rent and a customer base of 25 clients. This process took eight years to get to this point, and we have been taking orders for 1½ years now.

I have had many assistants over the years, several of them from the Attendant Referral Registry at the Marin Center for Independent Living. This program is very important. Without this assistance, I would not have been able to pursue my interests and build this new independent life. Building this kind of support system is decisive for me to be able to figure out how to live a useful life.