High school junior Justin Bachman spreads the word of tolerance to others


Justin Bachman
Junior at Solon High School

After being disqualified from a cross-country race in 2010 by a starting line official who didn’t understand his Tourette’s syndrome tic, Justin Bachman has been spreading his mission — education overcomes ignorance — so others don’t have to feel the way he did.

Through public speaking and other volunteer activities, he began to educate people about tolerance. His biggest success came in March 2011 when he hosted the first Tolerance Fair. Bachman got 48 charities and advocacy groups to participate at the event, offering information on how to get involved or how to get help. More than 1,000 people attended that first year.

Following the success of the first event, which is presented through Honor Good Deeds, a 501(c)(3), Bachman knew he had to do another bigger and better fair. This past March, he did just that. More than 3,000 people participated in the Tolerance Fair of Northeast Ohio at the Cleveland I-X Center.

Bachman does it all — he not only came up with the name and concept for the event, but he also served as emcee. He even succeeded at making the fair a totally free event, by approaching corporations for sponsorships and individuals for donations — raising $42,000 so that anyone could attend, regardless of financial limitations.

Bachman has plans to expand the Tolerance Fair nationwide, and established a Tolerance Fair Leadership Academy to plan the 2014 Tolerance Fair of Northeast Ohio. His goal is to  sign up 250 groups for next years event. ●