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Justin, 16

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Justin, Ohio

Justin grew up aware of intolerance, but he was still surprised when at a track meet he was disqualified due to his Tourette’s syndrome.  Although he was upset, he realized that the intolerance he experienced was the result of lack of education. He recalls realizing that, “if I was facing intolerance, others must be as well.” This motivated Justin to start a Tolerance Fair for his community of Solon, Ohio in 2011.

During the Fair, various charities and advocacy groups set up booths for participants walk through and learn about how to get involved or get help if they are experiencing discrimination or intolerance.  In the first year of the Tolerance Fair, 48 charity and advocacy groups exhibited and over 1,000 people attended. That year Justin raised $45,000, which covered the costs of the next planned fair. In next year’s Fair, there were 129 exhibits and over 3,000 attendants. Justin strives to continue to grow his program and would like to hold tolerance fairs all over the country and to provide online resources for attendees. Justin sums up his work this way, “If I can make it so one less person has to experience intolerance, I have been successful.”

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