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.”

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.”

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.”


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.”


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’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.”

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 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.”

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.”

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!”

urban gardener


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

Where5030 Oaklawn Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45227

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katie bachmeyer