The Tolerance Fair
Intolerance is everywhere. Education overcomes ignorance. The Tolerance Fair connects people to volunteer opportunities and to resources for support.
What’s the Background?
Justin Bachman is a 15-year-old 10th grader at Solon High School. He has Tourette Syndrome (TS), a neurological disorder that causes his body to make involuntary movements and sounds which he cannot control.
After being disqualified from a cross country race in 2010 for having tics while the officials went over the race rules, Justin had some hard choices to make. Either be a victim, or enact change. He chose the latter.
Justin met with Mayor Susan Drucker of Solon, Ohio, and explained his Tolerance Fair concept to her. He wanted his hometown to be known as one that accepted people for who they were, regardless of their differences. He also didn’t want anyone else to have to experience the intolerance that he had at the cross country meet.
His theory was that intolerance is caused by ignorance, and the way to overcome ignorance was through education. The plan – hold a fair where 15 charities could show people how to get involved through volunteering. This would educate people about the differences that we all face, and that would lead to tolerance.
On March 13, 2011, something special happened. The first Tolerance Fair was held at the Solon Community Center. Justin’s small list of 15 charities grew to 48 charity and advocacy groups exhibiting. We had hoped to get between 100-200 people, but the result: over 1,000 people attended! The fair also featured interactive exhibits (wheelchair obstacle course, special needs presentations, etc.), and more than 50 volunteers. The event was free and open to the public, and drew attendees from many other communities.
After receiving numerous calls of thanks and hearing stories of people who began volunteering and got help to cope with their differences, we realized that not only do we have to do this again, but we have to do it everywhere.
We hope to create accepting environments and enact our mission by introducing people to ways they can get involved in their community as well as introduce them to support systems that can help them achieve personal growth.
Honor Good Deeds (our 501(c)3) was formed by the Bachman Family – Justin, Konnor, Stefanye, Lisa & Ron
Our next Tolerance Fair is being held on Sunday March 10, 2013 at the Cleveland I-X Center. It is from 2:00pm until 7:00pm. Admission and parking are free.
Our goal is to have 150+ charities and advocacy groups sharing information with over 5,000 people on how to get involved and/or how to get help.
There will be interactive activities such as wheelchair basketball and obstacle courses, as well as breakout sessions and many other surprises.
The keynote speaker is Kyle Maynard. A 2 time ESPY award winner and best selling author; he is not to be missed. Check him out at kyle-maynard.com.
We are using this fair to create a model that can easily be replicated anywhere.
Our long term goal is to take the Tolerance Fair concept to cities across the country. We are currently talking with 3 other cities to host Fairs. Unfortunately, intolerance happens everywhere, so we really need to get the word out – everywhere.
It costs money to hold these fairs, and that’s where your contributions help.
Our longest term goal is to not need to have these Tolerance Fairs anymore, because we have become a more tolerant and accepting society. For now, unfortunately, we have much work to do.
Why Should I Get Involved?
Because you are involved. We are all different, all unique. If you or someone you know has been treated differently because of skin color, race, sexual orientaion, weight, phyiscal ability, religion, ethnicity, etc., or deal with a medical or physical condition such as depression, anxiety, AD/HD, Down Syndrome, Autism, OCD, Tourette Syndrome, Cancer, etc., then you need to get involved. The more we can learn about the differences in others, the more we can start embracing those differences and becoming a more tolerant society.
Other Ways You Can Help
Sure we need money, but there’s more that you can do to help.
First and foremost, spread the word. Pass our information on – to your family, friends, co-workers, people at your place of worship, acquaintances, even people on the street – just pass it on. Use any method that shares the message – facebook, twitter, email, snail mail, whatever.
Also, try to really embrace the concept of tolerance. Don’t just talk the talk; you really have to walk the walk. Be a more tolerant person and don’t accept intolerance.
Finally, share your experiences with others. Did someone do something nice for you? Conversely, did you make someone’s day just a little better? Please visit our facebook page at facebook.com/honorgooddeeds and tell us about it. Give someone else the opportunity to learn from your experience.