As a religious man, Shane’s church and church community have always been important to him. Seeing an opportunity to meld his passion for God with his experience of disability and inclusion, Shane hosted a planning session with his church elders and congregants. “Faith Inclusion” was developed as a conversation that churches can have to take a critical look at how they welcome people into their flock and how to take next steps to make sure all people hear God’s word among community. Shane is working with his fellow church members to develop talking points for other places of worships to join the discussion.
As a technology expert and gaming enthusiast, Craig is interested in a wide range of electronics. From talking about Iphone hacks to restoring old desktops, and swooning over vintage video games, he has a wide breadth of knowledge about how things work. Drawing from his passion for technology and his interest to support his favorite Deer Park business, The Place Retro Arcade, Craig and others are working on planning a community-wide gaming competition for the Spring.
Damarr and I sat in College Hill Coffee Company a couple of months ago and wrote about what love meant to him. “I knew I was loved when my mom carried me as a baby. I was small and born in 1991. When I was born my mom and dad took care of me and raised me. I knew I was always loved when I was a little boy…Now that I am a man, they still help me with my problems. That’s what love is. We sit in the dining room sometimes, or in the summer, we sit outside. My dad brushes my hair. Then cuts it with scissors or the buzzers. He makes it fresh for me and we’re done. He treats me like a man and a man needs a fresh haircut. Love is when your dad cuts your hair. Even if you’re 22.” In love with the idea of love and what it means for different people, Damarr is hosting a “College Hill Love Project” collecting love stories from neighbors and hoping to have a “gallery” of love next year.
You may remember Douglas from this post a few months back, when Douglas and I attended his first staff meeting at Eli’s Barbeque. For the past couple of months, Douglas has been working Saturdays at the restaurant, learning his role, and enjoying his position. Together, he and Ben (a co-worker at Starfire) are continuing to look for creative ways to build his relationship beyond just “employee.” Last week they attended the Eli’s Barbeque company Christmas party, an all-day extravaganza including breakfast, and dinner and a concert at the Southgate House Revival. Douglas, happy to have been invited and able to attend, loved it. Recognizing the unique relationship an employee has with co-workers and a place of employment, Douglas and Ben are thinking of ways to help build the brand of Eli’s as well as build Douglas’ role at the restaurant. Some ideas they have are outdoor movie viewings on the lawn of Eli’s in the Spring and Summer, as well as designing merchandise with Eli’s approval to sell and promote business.
Josh and a group of friends know there is something wonderful about the simplicity of grabbing a burger and watching a game together. Together the group has gone to Cincinnati Cyclone games, watched the Crosstown Shootout (sorry folks, I’ll never call it the Crosstown Classic) and the long-term plan is to just keep doing that: grabbing a bite to eat, a drink to wet their whistle, watching sports and shooting the breeze. As a committee member for Starfire’s annual Flyaway fundraiser, Josh hopes to host the committee’s thank you party after the event to celebrate a year’s worth of planning with other young professionals in hopes to grow relationships with acquaintances he knows through the planning they’ve done together.
Tyresha loves a good recipe and a good reason to cook and share a meal with other people. Living close to Xavier University, she is partnering with a few XU students to host potluck parties around campus to mix and mingle with others who also love to share a meal together. With her warm hospitality and warm home cooked dishes, she hopes to bring people who lives nearby together over shared suppers.
Lauren has a love of cats, unmatched by most people. While dreaming up ways to get others (humans) involved, Lauren, Emily, Stranda, and a few others, thought a fun event would be much better than volunteering at a cat shelter alone. They asked themselves two questions: What if we watched funny cat videos? What if we made it a party? Seeing other cities have successful “Cat Film Festivals” the crew of feline film followers is working on planning Cincinnati’s first internet cat video film festival.
Zak is a volunteer for Tower A with the Cincinnati Railroad Club at the Cincinnati Museum Center. He is knowledgeable in various trains and the rail lines around Cincinnati. His hope, along with others involved in the project, is to create a new rail exhibit for Tower A, telling the stories of long-term members, those who have worked on the railroad, and other tales for visitors to hear and learn.
All the collaborations you’ve read about from here, here, and here simply ask ordinary people to get to know one other and do something they already enjoy doing, but don’t do it alone: create art, watch sports, sing, tell stories, eat food, go to church, watch ridiculous YouTube videos. Through collaboration projects, we’ve found that people can come together in simple ways, and have an extraordinary effect on someone who’s not usually included, invited, and welcomed into friendship.
If you’re interested in any of the twenty-two happenings for 2014, or have an idea for a different project you’d like to include others in, email Candice@starfirecouncil.org or call 513.281.2100 ext.124 and she can help get you connected to others doing things you already love to do.