Jono has had a long history with StarJam, firstly as a Jammer and most recently as a tutor for Southern Supreme Singers. In between those roles, he has performed for numerous StarJam gigs and fundraisers, including StarJam's Annual Gala Dinners, and has also run a number of StarJam corporate team building sessions. Many of you may also have seen him busking in Auckland city centre, wowing crowds with his impressive keyboard skills and incredible singing talents.
“StarJam aims to unleash the potential of young people with disabilities by giving them a chance to express themselves through performance. The private and public gigs StarJam puts on give audiences a chance to break out of their own misconceptions about disability and realise that, with a little communication and mutual effort, people with disabilities can not only function as valuable members of a progressive society, but offer unique and liberating perspectives on life and work that their disability allows them to develop.
This is a drastically different idea from the long-prevailing assumption that the non-disabled have a duty to give their charity to disabled people because they are blessed and we are not.
It's a two-way street. When people invest in the workshops and young people who are part of StarJam, it is genuinely an investment into a society that enthusiastically explores the potential of each human being, rather than writing off those who are different.
How many people would be liberated by a paradigm shift that allows a wheelchair user to dance alongside their peers, one that celebrates the unfettered joy of a person with Down Syndrome, one that embraces with curiosity the singular perspective on the world that blindness gives you?
That's what StarJam is doing. Reversing the paradigm, making disability cool. Given the fact that one in four New Zealanders live with a disability, it seems to me a pretty worthy goal”.