A celebration of service

Last year, I wrote about a cool project we launched in collaboration with the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project

I should have kept you up to date on it, because thanks to the efforts of Candice and Steve Elliott and Roger Grein and a bunch of wonderful teachers and young people dedicated to service, this has blossomed into an amazing effort.  Basically, from the initial discussions, a few of the people in their second year at Starfire U teamed up with some people from Moeller here in Cincinnati and worked on giving out $1,000.  So young people with and without disabilities were working together to analyze proposals from local non-profits and making a decision as to where the funds went.  What a neat way to include people living with disabilities in philanthropy and provide a collaborative experience, huh?  They met many times, got to know each other and got to work.

Out of that partnership grew another very cool collaboration.  Each year, Steve recruits a bunch of teachers and students and they spend a week doing service.  This year, he invited the people entering their third year at Starfire U to join them.  So every day this week, young people with and without disabilities have volunteered all over Cincinnati….together!

I spoke with some of them last night, as they celebrated with pizza and pop at a building on UC’s campus and the place was alive with energy.  They have really gotten to know each other and Steve has some incredible stories of the learning and common experiences they’ve all gotten to share.  They talked about working at a camp for homeless children, a Senior Center, Stop AIDS, a day care, and about 10 other places in small, inclusive groups all over the city. 

I wanted to make sure to post this this morning because they’re working on a surprise project that takes place on Fountain Square today at 12:30.  If you’re downtown already, take your lunch to the square.  You won’t regret it.  It’s a beautiful way to celebrate the culmination of a group of young people who are showing us a picture of a more inclusive and peaceful future.

UPDATE 4:30

Here’s the video to the flash mob they all did today on Fountain Square…This is great, but being there to see it in person in its totality was moving.

UPDATE 7/8/10: 

Another version of the video: 

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One Response to A celebration of service

  1. Jeff Seibert says:

    All too often, people with disabilities are portrayed as only the recipients of service. Statistically there’s some truth in that, but the prevailing negative stereotype is something that ought to be challenged. Starfire U is doing that and we value our partnership with you – never so much as this week. Having your members participate in our Summer Service Program was a very special learning experience for everybody. And when people see others with disabilities performing service in their community – or shaking booty on Fountain Square – it helps to shatter those preconceptions about what is possible and what role each of us should play in sharing our strengths with others through service in the community.

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