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  • Writer's pictureBarrio's Living Library

MSC: Jay Fritshaffer

In our continued efforts to tell our own stories and evaluate our impact, we have started using the Most Significant Change Framework. We implemented this framework in 2021 and in the first year we identified four domains of impact: personal transformation, leadership development, business/entrepreneur development, and community building.

Jay Fritshaffer story highlights the Business/Entrepreneur Development domain. You can listen to the whole story in the audio file above.

Note: This is part of Barrio Alegría’s Most Significant Change process. The stories in this series share the stories of individuals in our community and the changes they perceive in their lives by being a part of Barrio. The interviews are designed to be heard so that the listener hears the story directly from the storyteller. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Jose: We'll move forward with the first question of the interview, which is, please tell me how you first became involved with Barrio Alegría and what your current involvement is.

Jay: All right, so my story, when it comes to Barrio, I met Daniel because I was looking for ways to start my recording business. And I was looking for space. I had no studio, I just had a bunch of recording equipment that all fit into a backpack, bit of a mobile rig. And I was looking for places, businesses that would be willing to open their doors. I'm trying to figure out, like, what rent would be or “Hey, if you guys closed down, would it be possible I could pay you whatever your rate would be?” So somebody said, “Oh, well, if you're looking for a space like that, definitely hit up Barrio.” And gave me Daniel's contact information.

And Daniel was like, I didn't have to pitch anything to him. He's just like, “dude, if you want to come in and use the space, just do it.” And I was like, “alright, well, what's the charge?” And he was just like, “no charge,” and I'm like, “Excuse me, come on, you're no charge?” But he was completely serious. And the day that I met him in person, I kid you not. And I don't even know if you want to share this part of it or not, but he gave me a key to the place. And he was just like, “Alright, I gotta go. have a good time.” The day that I met him!

And I was like, “Who is this guy?” like, you've got to be kidding me. This is so wild that he's this trusting. But I was just so moved by that. And of course, I did leave money for him at the end of the night, every time I used the space for a session. It was immediate, just chemistry and like I was just you know, trying to give back as in any way that I could just because I was so grateful to him, and the space and it was because of all that that I was able to start my own business. I was able to build clientele that way and now I have my own brick and mortar establishment.

So, my current involvement with Barrio is you know, I help them out with the performance every year they do Storytelling Through Dance. And I'm always available for audio questions and any of their live events if they need sound reinforcement or anything like that, I'll come through run the equipment. And I also have been trying to work with them on putting a podcast together and I think they ended up running with the podcast on their own. But I was able to consult with them on how that would best be done and kind of walking them through what it would take to get all of that started and help them purchase the equipment and stuff like that.

So, I don't know if I'm officially the Barrio sound guy, but I sort of, at least unofficially, refer to myself as the Barrio sound guy.

Jose: I think it’s safe to say that. All right. Um, so the next question here is what do you think is the most significant change in your quality of life since you started working with Barrio?

Jay: Yeah, I guess I kind of skipped ahead and I told that story basically. I have a business now. My own business running a recording studio, which would not have happened if I couldn't have dove into the community the way that Barrio allowed me to. That's really the true power of Barrio I think- the connection to the community you know, the community itself. Barrio is community. And that's just how we all grow together. Right? So it just kind of speaks to the power of when you reach out to your neighbors and you seek to work together great things happen and you know, I was able to start my business and I've also been given plenty of opportunities to give back not just through Barrio, but through the business that I was able to create with Barrio’s help.

Jose: That's awesome. No, change is possible with them while you work together. All you got to do is work together. Alright, so our last question here is why is this story significant to you?

Jay: The story is significant to me because I have never been so humbled by anybody's kindness and generosity as I've seen through Barrio. Just being a part of this organization has just opened my eyes to just how powerful, kind gestures are, and just what they can do. It changed me as a person knowing Daniel and Arleny and all the all the folks who work over Barrio. It has shifted my perspective greatly, you know what I mean? And I am forever a different person just for knowing all the great folks over there and, and getting a chance to work with them.

Jose: That's awesome. And I'm honored to be a part of the team as well now. I can see this thing since working with them, they're so supportive and so encouraging. And it's just great, because you don't really get too much of that from the inner city projects. Here we are trying to make that difference and that change. And it's all the proof right here. The proof is in the pudding.

Jay: Amen, man, yeah, they've really been building and like their consistency is really the thing that I find the most astounding. Not only are they out there doing all this great work, but they’re consistent, year after year, year after year, and it's not an easy task. No. It's probably one of the most difficult things we could have ever asked anybody to do. And yet here they are time and time again. You know, I feel like normally a project built like that just kind of tends to fade into the background at some point. But Barrio just continues to just show up and remain at the forefront. It just continues building and doing great things here.

Jose: Yeah, that's a big difference between Barrio and a lot of other organizations that want to do community change. You're right. I think this year will be the seventh year and Barrio’s up and running. So, a lot of places do start up but then they fizzle out, you know, within the first year or two. I think Barrio is here for the long run.

Jay: I think so too. And happy to say that for sure.

Jose: Well, Jay, I really thank you for your time. Thank you for being a part of this interview.

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