Justin Bachman is a 10th grader at Solon High School which is a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Justin knows first hand what it is like to be different. He has Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes his body to make strange movements and noises that he cannot control. He also deals with severe ADHD and dysgraphia which is a fine motor skills disorder resulting in an inability to write legibly.
Throughout his life, Justin has faced many challenges. He was constantly picked on in grade school and for two years, he was not allowed to go out for recess because he was thought of as a behavior problem.
Through great strength and courage, Justin has used his experiences to rise above his challenges. He regularly volunteers for the Solon Blue Ribbon program which provides opportunities for special needs people to participate in typical types of activities. This past summer, Justin was a coach for one of the teams. Justin also participates in Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) program which is a prevention program in the community.
In 2011, he planned and hosted a Tolerance Fair in which 1,000 people had the opportunity to interact with 48 charitable organizations to learn how they could get involved in community service. Justin received the Barnum Gold medal award for community service in 2010. He was recently recognized as a Bronze Medal winner for the Prudential Spirit of Community award and he received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barak Obama and the Council on Service and Civic Participation. Justin was named as the emcee for Project Love’s Kick off for Kindness event in November, 2011 where 2500 students and administrators from schools across Northeast Ohio were in attendance.
In April of 2011, Justin was named as one of two Youth Ambassadors for the State of Ohio by the National Tourette Syndrome Association. His mission is to speak in as many schools as he can to educate people not only about Tourette Syndrome, but about Tolerance and being the best possible person you can be. He doesn’t ever want some of the things that happened to him to happen to others. Justin is now part of the leadership team for the Youth Ambassadors and is working to develop new programs.
Justin has also become a public speaker. Over the past two years, he has given over 50 speeches to audiences including middle schools, high schools, teachers, camps, clubs, etc. This past year, Justin began traveling to speak in schools across the country.
Justin runs for the Solon High School Cross Country team and plays the Alto Sax in the High School’s marching band and Jazz Band. He enjoys playing video games with friends on the weekends, as well as shooting hoops, dancing and riding his bike. Justin loves going to camp in the summers, expecially Camp Twitch and Shout! He loves swimming, kayaking and high ropes courses.
Most of all, Justin loves to make a difference.