Each month a few of us from Starfire put together a newsletter to send out to about 2,500 subscribers. We try to make it worth the read, and we think we’re getting better at portraying our stories and our message. So we want to start sharing the stories from our newsletter on Cincibility every month, and keep you in the loop about what’s going on at Starfire. Below is our March addition, abbreviated from the original newsletter format for easy digestion! Periodically, I will also post some of our archived newsletters that you may have missed. Enjoy!
Starfire’s march update
One question we’ve been asked lately is:
We think the stories in below can help people understand the “why.” It boils down to people’s value in their community. When people can be known by others while being shown in the best possible light of their gifts and passions, instead of their labels like disability, they can start to be seen as respected and valued citizens, able to contribute.
Here are a few of the reasons why one person, one family at a time is the way to go:
- More flexibility to strive for each person’s unique goals
- People become known as people in their communities, and are safer for it
- Families can get stronger and feel more supported
- Serving the person, rather than the organization’s needs, is what matters.
“It means getting off Starfire’s page, and onto the person’s page.”
-Starfire Board Member, Kathleen Cail
building a life
Megan has chosen to start coming to StarfireU two days a week instead of four. This choice wasn’t easy, because as she will tell you, she loves Starfire. But Megan also loves volunteering, particularly with the elderly and at food pantries, and told us she doesn’t want her only options at the end of her four years with StarfireU to be attending another day program for people with disabilities. So, with the help of Brenda, a Starfire staff who lives in her neighborhood, Megan has found other opportunities.
First, Megan spoke to the women at SEM, a food pantry in Mt. Washington right down the road from where she lives. She told them about how she volunteered at CAIN, a food pantry in Northside as a StarfireU member. Excited to hear all about CAIN’s model of success, Judy and Linda asked Megan to join as a valuable part of their team. With her prior experience, Megan could jump right in and do the same tasks that all the other volunteers do.
She also sought out a position at the Recreation and Senior Center down the road, where she and Brenda had been attending Zumba classes together. Through her connections, she found a spot volunteering with the elderly, and even carpools to and from with the friends she has made.
As she transitions out of StarfireU’s day program to take on these opportunities in her community, Megan is still being supported by Starfire, and Brenda. The two continue to work together, finding more ways to get deeper ties in her community with the support from her family and neighbors. This is when we know leaving the StarfireU program is the best option for someone like Megan: when our work together leads to a newfound sense of belonging in her community and she is “springing” out of the world of disability day programs, into a good life.
singing, just for the sake of it
Jordan loves singing, but until lately, his experiences were limited to watching other people sing on TV at home. Now as a fourth year StarfireU member, he is working on a project called Sing! Cincinnati, based off of the Canadian group Choir! Choir! Choir!. This pop-up community choir brings together anyone who loves to sing to perform a pop song each month, even if you’re not a great singer.
All sort of singers have come out of the woodwork to join Sing! Cincinnati alongside Jordan. Many admit they never had the chance to be part of a choir before. While their regular lives are spent at day jobs at Proctor and Gamble, hospitals, and schools, joining Sing! Cincinnati has linked them into a community of people who love to sing. As one attendee, Leah Hoechstetter, commented on Facebook after their first event, “That was Total Fun!”
The next Sing! Cincinnati choir event is March 19th at 6pm at the Northside Tavern. If you go:
What should I expect?
A relaxed, playful choir lesson lasting around 2.5 – 3 hours. A song director will teach you the three part harmonies to a pop song previously selected by the group. You’ll get a song sheet with a breakdown of each harmony to help you. By the end of the night, you will perform the song together for a video that gets posted on YouTube!
How much does it cost?
The entry fee is $5 per person.
Who will be there?
Every month new people join, and some people will become regulars. If you’re new, don’t worry, it’s an open group so you’re not the only one!
What if I can’t sing?
That’s the point! This is a group less concerned with the technical aspects, and more focused on the enjoyment of singing together. And trust us, when everyone’s voices come together, you’ll sound great!
and lastly, don’t miss our Final Four FlyAway this month!
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