Nikki Booker and Krista Brinkmeyer are using their creativity to send a powerful message about inclusion, friendship and community building. As senior members of
, an organization that works to empower individuals with disabilities, Nikki and Krista are surrounded by people who truly believe in them.
“Everyone in the world has gifts. Sharing those gifts makes a vibrant community,” says Executive Director Tim Vogt. “A disability does not define who someone is. Starfire empowers individuals with disabilities to focus on strengths, not labels.”
Both Krista and Nikki are working on yearlong capstone projects that build on their personal interests in photography, production and community. Starfire facilitates these for their senior members, providing them with a unique opportunity to showcase their passions in a way that engages the entire community.
With the guidance of supportive staff and the partnership of Public Allies Cincinnati
and some dedicated artists and photographers, Krista has merged her love of photography and community to create the Cincy Story Mural Project
. Her collection of photographs of the people and places of Cincinnati will be transformed into murals in various areas of the city. Communities can apply for the murals through ArtWorks
or by contacting Starfire.
Krista’s project has brought people together from many Cincinnati communities, as evidenced by the Mural Launch Party held at The Mound Café in Norwood, Krista’s hometown. “Seeing so many friends has been the most fun thing about this project,” Krista says.
Nikki Booker was inspired by the book Waddie Welcome & the Beloved Community
, a true story about how a man with cerebral palsy rallied an entire community to help him achieve his dream of living independently. With the help and guidance of playwright Catie O’Keefe, designer Jeni Jenkins and Candice Jones Peelman of Starfire, Nikki is realizing her dream of writing and producing a play based on the book. Traveling to Waddie Welcome’s hometown of Savannah, Georgia, Nikki had the opportunity to meet some of Welcome’s supporters firsthand.
The community is invited to attend a special reading of the book on Jan. 14. Nikki’s play will be performed at the Emery Theatre on May 12. “I would love to star in the play as well," she says.
Starfire works with more than 100 volunteers each month to work with teens and adults, and is actively seeking members.
• Attend a community reading of Waddie Welcome & the Beloved Community, Saturday, Jan. 14 from 11:30 am – 2 pm at Coffee Emporium (Central Parkway), or Avenue Brew in Bellevue, KY.
• Submit photos for Krista’s Cincy Story Mural by visiting www.cincystorymural.org.
• Become a member of Starfire. Find out how; contact Candice Jones Peelman at Candice@starfirecouncil.org
By Deidra Wiley Necco