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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Mar 28, 2020

Local Mom Creates App to Promote Inclusion and Positivity

By Shanna O'Mara

Dara Weislo

Leaving the pharmaceutical industry behind, she decided to focus on her family and her community. This summer, she took a huge step in conquering that mission. Meet Tinton Falls’ Dara Weislo.

Weislo is a Monmouth County local, mom of three and creator of The Blurbb Spot. The Blurbb Spot is a social, location-based app that allows users to recommend and rate their experiences at local establishments. It was launched this past summer after a year and a half of development.

In the app, users can praise locations and/or business establishments that have accommodations such as dim lighting, low noise, sensory rooms, Braille menus, hearing loops and closed captioning. For example, users can commend AMC Theaters for hosting sensory-friendly film nights for autistic or hypersensitive viewers, Marriott Hotels for having Roloff Stools to accommodate little people, or Dorbrook Recreation Area for having an accessible playground for children of all abilities.

Users can post a photo with a description and/or a 15-second video to show other locals how an accommodation is presented or used at a place. They can also chat with each other through the app.

“It was designed with compassion, and we hope to encourage a more accessible world,” Weislo said. She was inspired to patent this technology after becoming a mother and realizing not every place is tailored to every person. Through the eyes of her 13-year-old son, Noah, and 8-year-old twins, Kai and Christian, Weislo’s vision was broadened.

“Not every restaurant has changing tables in the men’s room,” she noted. “Some places are more kid-friendly than others.”

But the app isn’t just for parents with small children.

“Say you have parents with mobility issues,” Weislo said. “I took my parents to see a Broadway play, and I put them up on the balcony. But when we got there, they didn’t have an elevator. So they placed them down in the mezzanine area. They’re more expensive seats, but they allowed them that because my mom had trouble getting up the stairs.”

Weislo said The Blurbb Spot is designed for parents with small children, children of elderly parents, people with hearing or sight impairments, those with physical disabilities or sensory modification needs, and more. The app’s users are largely based in New Jersey, with some in California, and encompass all ages.

Weislo said this has been a passion project for her after she realized she sought more purpose from her work. She said she recently resigned from the pharmaceutical industry where she worked with immuno-oncology drugs.

The Blurbb Spot app

“Big companies have different programs like diversity inclusion,” she said. “While I was working in the industry, I wanted to be in that space so bad because I wanted to just love people. I wanted to help on a more personal level. I really kept thinking, ‘What can I do?’ That’s when I started thinking of an app for kids.”

But her inspiration changed, especially under the influence of social media.

“I saw behaviors in my own kids, but social media also allows us to peek through the window into the lives of others,” she said, noting that she is often touched by videos of customer service employees going out of their way to help those who may be struggling in a public space.

“Disney has been so accommodating, and you see videos online of characters laying on the floor with someone or just making them more comfortable,” she said. “With my sons, once we went to Target, and my son was so upset he couldn’t activate the sensor to open the door. It’s really nice when an employee comes over and says, ‘Hey, buddy, it’s OK.’ I want people to be able to share those experiences.”

Users can post about exceptional service and provided accommodations or they can filter through their needs to see local places recommended by others.

For more information, visit TheBlurbbSpot.com, call 1-888-542-7004 or email info@theblurbb.com. The Blurbb Spot is currently available for free on both Google Play and the App store for download.