On collaboration, passion and projects


The stories below are what’s coming out of this year’s Collaboration Projects (follow the link and you’ll find a wonderful “How T0” on beginning your own project written by Candice). But, what exactly is a Collaboration Project? It sounds a little non-profit jargony, right? Here’s the gist:

  1. All of our projects begin with a singular person’s passion.

  2. They wind-up as a group of passionate people creating together.

  3. The result, we hope, is that everyone involved feels less socially isolated, more connected, and valued for their (often simple, but unique) contribution.

And in case you’re wondering where we got the term Collaboration from, here’s a little history. The first year we launched these projects at Starfire, we called them “Capstone Projects.” It made sense because it was the member’s last year at StarfireU, our day program, and a Capstone is what many college students do before they graduate. But that sounded too final, like an “end,” when really we see these projects as a beginning to many things: friendship, creation, and imagination. And it takes the work of many. So, we re-named them Collaboration Projects, to signify the ongoing togetherness we are trying to build!


There’s another term for these projects, maybe you’ve heard of “Passion Projects.” It’s the closest definition we’ve found to our own projects that really makes sense (I’ll be quoting this article a couple more times in this post) :

passion project (or, a collaboration project) doesn’t mean a side business, although it could grow into one. A (collaboration project) is often an indulgence of your deep inner desire to create. A drive to bring your ideas to life, whatever form they may take.”

So, a collaboration project could be a local story slam going on at a coffee shop (Margot’s story), or a pop-up choir group happening at a bar once a month (Jordan’s story), or simply spending time with other sports fans watching games. It could be working with neighbors to start a community garden (Bridget’s story), or starting a walking club (Rachel’s story, to be continued). The point is to embrace that inner part of all of us that wants to create, and to connect:

“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.”


Margot’s Story

The Cinci Story Slam project is an effort to gather local people with ordinary lives to share their experiences in front of an intimate audience. Unlike the Moth Project, a popular story slam in NYC, the Cinci Story Slam is free, and open to a wide range of storytellers who may or may not have previous experience on the mic. It was through Margot’s love for the stories found in cinema that the story slam project began, and since she and a committee of passionate storytellers have gathered to plan these events. Here are a few of the stories told at the first Cinci Story Slam, themed #itscomplicated, that took place at a local coffee shop in January.

Jordan’s Story

I can often hear songs from the Toronto vocal group, Choir! Choir! Choir!, streaming from Youtube out of Tim’s office in the afternoons. When Tim’s obsession (fair to say, right Tim?) with this group collided with Jordan’s passion for song and choir, the idea to form Sing! Cincinnati was born. This is a group of people who come together once a month to learn a song and its harmonies, and perform it in the span of a few hours. The first choir lesson is February 19th, if you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it. Even if you’re not a singer, but you love to sing, this is the place for you! Check out the videos to learn more about what Sing! Cincinnati is, and watch their debut performance Christmas Caroling on Fountain Square.

To follow these stories, and the others coming out of this year’s projects, subscribe to our Youtube channel! And, if you’re wondering what all of our projects are this year, check out Candice’s posts 1 23, & 4.

katie bachmeyer