10 ordinary people making a BIG difference in Cincinnati

We heard from so many brilliant Cincinnatians tonight – genuine changemakers, working to make a difference in their own big and small ways. Here’s a glimpse at 10 (okay, 10 plus their team – no one does this stuff alone!) of the many great people who we will be hearing from over the next two days. Hope you can make it!

1. John Orr

John will speak to his journey with mindfulness practice. Mindfulness, he reminds us, is both a simple and ancient practice that can have a strong impact on our sense of connectedness, happiness, and overall well-being. John will be giving a crash-course on how to integrate this into your own life.

“Mindfulness can move you closer to the beauty of life.  It can give you the power to choose how you respond to fear and cynicism when it does arise.”

starfire 3 day community

Mindfulness guru

2. Judi Winall

Laughter yoga was developed by a medical doctor in Mumbai in 1995, and is now a world-wide movement. Judi will instruct on how to laugh as an exercise, not as an emotion, so you can do it anytime, anywhere, with anybody.

“Laughter is one of the most powerful way you can counteract the stress in our lives — it makes us happier, healthier, and wise. And plus it’s free.”

community, 3 day starfire

laughter yoga guide

3. Aaron Kent

Owner and operator of DIY Printing, a silk screening coop for artists and the community.  Aaron will be hosting a screen printing class at his shop in Essex Studios, where people will be able to design, print, and bring home a 3Day t-shirt! People are invited to bring their own t-shirts, and DIY will be donating a box of their own.

“DIYs doors are open to artists and community-oriented businesses and people.”

Cincinnati, Starfire, 3day gathering

artist, screen printer

4. Kathy Wenning

Hear from a powerful mother who has been on a journey that began down the service-centered road, and has recently turned a new corner toward gifts and potentials. Now, what disability once meant to her son’s identity and their family’s life has changed, and she’ll share what it’s been like to be on that ride.

“No matter who you are, you can contribute and help someone that you already know, have a better life.”

starfire, 3 day community

parent and community builder

5. Denny Burger, Daniel Kilcoyne, and Jess Linz

Telling stories about the good people they have met this past year as community interviewers, this group will discuss what it’s like to seek out the gifts of your neighbors, and “find the sweet spots” that exist in our neighborhoods. You can find them and other interviewers each month at Starfire’s gatherings where they share the stories that they’ve collected.

“We’ll impart to you secret knowledge about how to network, how to connect in our greater community.”

starfire, roving listeners,  cincinnati

Starfire’s community interviewers

6. Vonceil Brown and Jori Cotton

Vonceil and Jori will be talking about their work together as spoken artists at the organization Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center. The two collaborated with Public Allies Cincinnati last year to create a spoken word showcase in the city, and hope to continue the event forward in future years.

“I think of it as revolutionary, because a lot of spoken word artists talk about things that are going on in the world.  It’s a great way to speak up for the underdog.”

vonceil brown, starfire, elementz

spoken word artist

7. Roanne Lee

Leader at the Awesome Foundation — an organization helping to fund awesome ideas. Roanne will be hosting a session to help people brainstorm awesome ideas together. ‘Nuff said.

“The crazier it is, the weirder it is, the better it is. We can all think of really awesome ideas, really there’s infinite possibility.”

awesome, cincinnati, starfire, community

awesome person from the awesome foundation

8. Kristen Barker

Working to create “family-sustaining jobs” in Cincinnati. She is involved with supporting a range of community efforts, from a farm in College Hill providing food to families and the neighborhood, to a healthy bakery initiative called “Yucky Cookies.” A model passed on from the Mondragon Corporation, Kristen is helping Cincinnati be a leader in the worker-owned cooperative movement.

“It’s about putting people above profit.”

kristen barker

leader of Cincinnati Union Coop Initiative (C.U.C.I)

9. Kim Popa

Building community through movement and dance, Pones Inc. dancer will be inviting people to – well, dance! Headphones will be offered that playing really simple dance instructions. May take place at Starfire- or out in public for more of an adventure!

“If you’re nervous, and you feel like, ‘I’m not a dancer, I’m not gonna do it,’ then I invite you to definitely come.”

pones inc, kim popa, starfire, cincinnati, community

Dancer, mover, shaker enthusiast

10.  Dustin Lee

Dustin is helping to lead the urban garden movement in Avondale. Community and home vegetable gardening discussion – that will be starting at Starfire, then move on to Gabrielle’s Garden to “get our hands dirty!”

Gabrielle's Place, urban gardening, cincinnati, starfire, community

urban gardener


story, community, starfire 3-day

your story.

 Join us tomorrow and Thursday – there is still plenty of space and time on our calendar for you to fill it with your own story of hope, community, and love!


Wednesday, Aug 28th from 3p-8:30p

Vinyl Listening Party & Record Swap
Valued Social Roles

Cincinnati Naturalist Society
Positive Thinking
Listening Partnerships
Valued Social Roles (continued)
Art & Painting
How to Start a Neighborhood Bike Ride

Free Dinner!

Faith Inclusion
Awesome Ideas by Awesome Foundation
Cincibility Podcasting
Pones Inc. Dance Community
Fantasy Football
Values in Action

Intentional Family Building
Laughter Yoga


Check back in for Thursday’s schedule: Aug 29th from 3p-8:30p

Where: 5030 Oaklawn Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45227

Find out more on Facebook


About katiebachmeyer

I like to collect stuff. But non-material stuff-- like friendships, stories, and wisdom from older people with smile wrinkles. This kind of stuff isn't always well organized or labeled in boxes, but it makes up who I am.
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18 Responses to 10 ordinary people making a BIG difference in Cincinnati

  1. Dave Hasbury says:

    What an incredible collection of people, stories, vision, and experience!

  2. Wendy Partridge says:

    Relishing the thought of it all.

  3. tiger tom says:

    good article but you don’t count very well

  4. Andy says:

    “…making a BIG difference in Cincinnati.” Maybe 2 out of your 10 have practical, measurable degrees of success and social impact. The rest sell themselves as touchy-feely New Age specialists, with no relevance for the average work-a-day Cincinnatian.

    • “Numbers numb, jargon jars, and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart. If you really want to reach people and change the world, tell them a story.” – Andy Goodman

      I appreciate your comment, but I wonder where it lives (among the people? or somewhere in the big pie chart in the sky?)

      Tonight was amazing– you should come see it in action tomorrow. Everyone is welcome!

      Here’s our schedule for Thursday:
      Crochet & Knit Circle
      Insights & Solutions
      Intentional Community Living
      Dream Intrepretation

      Waddie Welcome Reading
      Drum Circle
      Our Journey with Kathy Wenning
      Data, Outcomes and Measures
      Art & Meditation

      Free Dinner!
      Making Social Role Valorization Your Own
      Drawing Cincinnati
      Poetry Workshop

      The Sister Friends House Story
      Fashion “Find Your Style”
      Love In Action
      Cincinnati Naturalist Society
      Bellevue Community Garden

      A New Way of Doing Church
      Cincinnati Union Co-Ops
      Community & Neighborhood Building
      Carnegie Records Music Festival
      Scarecrow Making
      Amateur Astronomy
      Screen Printing DIY Printing
      Garden Tour & Swimming

      Closing at MadTree Brewing

      • Anonymous says:

        You should exercise caution when dismissing pragmatism. Crocheting, couponing and scarecrow-making are all well and good, but I’m sure none of these activites caused people to “march in Washington”, either. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs needs to be followed in the correct order; you need bread before ballet.

        I did not attend this event despite the your claim that it featured “10 ordinary people making a BIG difference in Cincinnati.” That boast got me to read your blog, and thus my original comment. (And, no, my comment lives neither in an airborne pie chart, nor with “the people”, excepting those who read it.) Straight talk is appropriate at times, because not everything is poetry. Sorry, that’s just how it is.

        BTW, you really shouldn’t quote ANYONE who had ANYTHING to do with the TV show, “The Nanny.” The IQ points lost by people who watched that program was criminal.


      • hahah! The Nanny. Well I guess you wouldn’t understand unless you were here, because then you could have seen why ordinary people doing ordinary things like scarecrow-making, crocheting, couponing, and all the rest were radical, radical acts during those 3Days. But I won’t argue with a self proclaimed straight talker pragmatist for any longer than 2 comments on a blog thread. That’s my limit, any more would be quite counter-productive.

  5. Rex Lai says:

    Awesome, fast, well-written blog. Keep the stories coming!!! Can’t wait for your/Lauren’s session…

  6. Andy- I’d love to see your list of 10 people in Cincinnati. (Honestly, not being facetious.) This list was generated by including people willing to make a contribution to Cincinnati, tell their stories, and include people with a label of disability in their life and work.
    Would you be willing to write about 10 different citizens who you feel are making a big difference in Cincinnati? We gravitate more towards stories of ordinary citizens, people we know, individual people’s actions that affect positive change in the lives of people who experience social isolation. I’d love to hear the stories of other people that you might be thinking of, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know “10 ordinary people making a BIG difference in Cincinnati.” That’s why I read the article in the first place, and then was so disappointed that I offered my original comment which, according to Ms. Bachmeyer, resides as a quantitative graph in the atmosphere (yeah, I don’t get it either!).
      PS: What do you mean by “social isolation”?

  7. Pingback: 3-day “un”-conference! — Cincinnati, August 26-28th | Cincibility

  8. Pingback: 12 of Cincinnati’s Most Passionate Citizens | Cincibility

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