ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Direct Occupational Training Zone is a subsidiary of Clearer Vision Ministries Inc., a not-for-profit organization providing spiritual and educational opportunities for the blind or visually impaired.
DOTZ is a small, self-service coffee and snack bar in downtown St. Augustine designed to give its client the opportunity to explore the possibility of running a business of their own through personal, hands-on experience.
"The purpose of DOTZ is to get blind or visually impaired individuals to think outside the box and do something a little bit different," said Sam Thompson, founder of DOTZ.
Training is individualized and is designed to help an individual prepare for the work force. Customer service is a priority.
"I was stereotyped," Thompson said. "There were assumptions about me that were not necessarily true about my limitations, my capabilities and even my intellect. And so I had to convince people that I was worthy of being hired."
The DOTZ's shop at 251 E. San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine is open to the public.
"It's amazing how people can live in this town for 12-15 years and never encounter a person with a visual impairment or blindness," Thompson said. "We want to break down as many of those barriers as possible."