The Beginning of a Vibrant and Meaningfully Inclusive Youth Community in Cincinnati!

This afternoon, my 16-year-old son Ben, left the house with his younger sister Grace to go see Mariemont High School’s production of “The Odd Couple, ” starring their friend Ellyse Winget.  When they left the house, leaving me with a few hours of time to spend with my mom, who is visiting, I felt this huge sense of relief.  It was the relief that we all feel, when responsibility is lifted from us, and it was the sense of relief that we feel when our children are doing things they want to do, with the people they like.

I could have gotten some respite by dropping Grace off somewhere, I suppose, at an event or an outing, with other similarly abled people.  However, I wouldn’t have that same sense of relief, because I know that Grace would not necessarily be doing what she wants and with whom she wants.  Furthermore, she wouldn’t really be growing and I’m not sure that she would really be developing meaningful relationships that way. Knowing Grace, she would develop a relationship with the volunteers, who would really just be temporary volunteers.

Today would not have happened, without a group of people who work across various agencies in Hamilton County, who spent time getting together to talk about what they have done well and what they want to do better in the future.  Within that meeting, these leaders each wrote down one area they want to work on, and then where there was like-mindedness, they came together and started brainstorming.  In this case, the area of interest is “youth inclusion.”  Being wise leaders of their own organizations, they recognized that they are not the youth and that this needed to be youth driven.  So they tapped a few young people they knew and got them together and got them meeting and talking.  Like all good and important movements, it is starting small and slow, but each meeting has more meaningful discussion and brings one or two new faces.  The results are already beginning—Grace is at Elysse’s play, with her brother today. 

If you are an interested youth, or know an interested youth, the next meeting is Saturday, 12/15, at 11:30 a.m., at Awakenings, in Hyde Park Square

katie bachmeyer