From time to time, we like to invite guests to share their stories with us. Today’s guest blogger is Katie Bachmyer, Researcher Storyteller at Starfire Council.–Ed.
The first thing Josh does when he gets the newspaper is read the sports section. He sits down, pen and pad, and lists all the dates and times of upcoming games he’d like to watch. Being such a committed sports fan, Josh wanted to find a way to not just the watch games–but to give back. He decided to start volunteering at the Xavier University Cintas Center’s concession stands in order to help raise money for a local girls basketball team.
Three years into the gig, he can lead you through the back entrance of the gargantuan sports complex with a confidence that only seasoned VIP members exude. Navigating through the back elevator and hallways that are unseen to the typical ticket goer, everyone he passes greets Josh by name.
“People like Josh really make people want to come back to the Cintas Center,” said Matt Kelley, concession manager. “He really has a huge part in this whole operation.”
Once behind the concession stand, apron tied, the other volunteers who have worked with him for years will tell you that Josh is a well-known fixture. Come game time, fans will come by looking for Josh, or wait longer in line just so they can say hello. Starfire’s role in this has been to support Josh in building ties where he can become known for his strengths and commonalities.
“The biggest thing, is I’m just one relationship. I want it to be a lifetime of relationships for Josh and I to have and to share together,” Alyson Tsiominas said, Starfire staff who connected Josh to the Cintas Center role.
“In my phone, I’ve got Alyson on speed dial.” Josh said. “Building friendships is something good.”
Josh also volunteers weekly at a local food charity, attends regular yoga classes, and has held a job at a local food chain for the past two years as a result of Starfire’s support and his family’s commitment to his personal journey.
Every year he and his family attend Starfire’s Final Four FlyAway, an event that Josh has said has all of his favorite things in one night: basketball, beer, and food.
We’d love it if you’d join him, and support this work to build lasting, meaningful connections into people with developmental disabilities’ lives.
JOIN: Buy your tickets to the Final Four FlyAway.
WATCH: Click to view Josh’s interview with Alyson at the Cintas Center.
BUILD: Get in touch to find out how you can become part of Josh’s story.
STARFIRE COUNCIL is a visionary organization working to build better lives for people with disabilities. The data is clear; people with disabilities grow increasingly lonely and isolated as adults. Working with one person at a time, Starfire connects people to relationships and uncovers a person’s talents and passions – so they can thrive in their communities alongside their neighbors.