#FacesOfAbilityFriday – James G.

This week on #FacesOfAbilityFriday we’re featuring James G. James receives contracted case management through Mt. Olivet Rolling Acres. We sat down with James and his mom, Maarie, to talk about all the stuff he has going on in his life!

James doesn’t have a paying job now, but he’s very active in community theater! James performs with the Eden Prairie Players and the Chaska Valley Family Theater. He’s involved in productions year-round and is currently starring in “Beauty and the Beast.” This theater work is voluntary and involves a lot of work (rehearsals for 3 hours at a time, multiple nights each week, and much preparation), but James is passionate about this and loves it. He recently volunteered at VEAP, where he did data entry. James has taken some IT classes and is waiting to get into the next one to continue his education in this area.

James grew up in Eden Prairie. He has an older brother, who he spends time with. He’s still living in Eden Prairie today, with Maarie.

Music is something James loves and is passionate about. He loves to perform, but he also likes to go out and see live music. He and Maarie have seen a lot of shows together, including Paul McCartney, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the Guess Who. James told us that his favorite time of day is the evenings, because this is when he can either listen to music or can go to concerts or musicals.

If James could tell the community anything about himself, he’d want to discuss the time he got to perform on stage with the Guess Who. In 1998 he performed “Johnny Be Good” alongside the group, at the Iowa State Fair. The event was broadcast on Channel 5 News in MN and IA.

Maarie had some special things she shared with us about James. She describes her son as a “natural born performer.” When he was six months old, James was with his grandma and she had the radio on. She noticed that James was moving to the beat, and asked him, “are you hearing music?” James nodded at her, and it stunned her and the family. James has always been musically inclined. He would use random household objects as microphones and sing at the top of his lungs. Without even trying, James achieved the perfect rhythm and perfect tone.

Maarie also told us about James’ proficiency with maps and navigation. James will occasionally join his dad at what Maarie refers to as the “old folks bike club.” If a lot of people show up for the ride, the group splits up, and James is always asked to lead one of the smaller groups, because he is so great with directions and navigation.

James is very involved in his community. Both theater groups he participates in are community-based, and he’s been able to foster many relationships through this. James has also made connections with audience members who come out to see the shows. He does volunteer work and gives back to his community. And a totally fun part – James is a regular for karaoke night! He and his mom will go, and James will do Motown performances there.

James and Maarie invited Christina and I out to see “Beauty in the Beast.” We attended a performance on June 22, at Staring Lake Park in Eden Prairied. Not only did we get to experience James’ talent first hand, we also got to spend some time with Maarie. The theater group did an amazing job and the outdoor venue was fantastic. We’d like to thank James and Maarie for inviting us to enjoy this event with them, and for giving us a glimpse into this piece of James’ world.



Quick facts about James:

James loves pizza (especially pepperoni!), Chinese, and seafood.
He doesn’t care for mushrooms, bread, or green beans.
When it’s time to relax, James enjoys going in the hot tub.
James’ favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. He loves the fireworks and attending an annual pool party that day.
His favorite clothing is t-shirts.

Check out the MORA Facebook and Instagram pages for more info on James!
Written by Nikki Storebo