David Brown is a force to be reckoned with. He founded the Harmony Project in 2009 on the simple but profound idea that individuals could be bigger than themselves through the power of song and volunteerism.

David Brown is a force to be reckoned with. He founded the Harmony Project in 2009 on the simple but profound idea that individuals could be bigger than themselves through the power of song and volunteerism. Over the years, hundreds of people have heartily agreed with him (and plenty have waited for an opening in the choir). One of the city's biggest hearts and most enthusiastic ambassadors shares a few of his favorite things.

Kittie's Cakes

What could be better than sugar served in the shape of bite-sized cupcakes? My personal favorites are the Banana Cream and the Black and White varieties … oh, and the chocolate Whoopie Pies. I love the aesthetic of the shop, and I am not sure which is sweeter: the treats, or the owners, Kelly and Mollie Fankhauser.

Glean

If you're not paying close attention, you might walk right past this adorable shop in the Short North that's all about creative repurposing. Candle holders made out of leftover planks removed from the old Wonder Bread factory, vintage maps turned into graphic art with post-modern messaging and a strong emphasis on local artists and their wares are just a few of the reasons I consistently venture into Dawn McComb's micro-store near the corner of Hubbard and High.

The Book Loft

When coastal friends come for a visit, this is one of the first places I introduce them to. The maze-like configuration of the shop lends mystery to the browsing experience: You never know what is just around the next set of shelves or up the next flight of stairs. Take your time, visit each room and search the old-fashioned way. From historic biographies to slightly naughty coffee table books, I dare you to get out of there empty-handed.

Hubbard Grille

While it's been around a few years and is no longer on the new and trendy list, Hubbard has established itself as a mainstay in the Short North. It's become my go-to restaurant when I want to enjoy a delicious meal while people watching. The staff pays attention to detail, and the food - cornbread muffins, grits, fried chicken, and to-die-for crispy Brussels sprouts - makes my taste buds sing.

South High School students

When I first met SHS students four years ago, they expressed their perceptions of what others thought of them: poor, stupid, criminal, bad. I could not wrap my head around it. In the four years since, I've discovered that they are in fact rich in talent and passion, bright and brilliant, and they desire to know more and experience more than they had been offered with the limited opportunities that were present. The world we live in makes it easy to write off students like the ones I've met at South High, but we as a collective miss out on becoming the community we hope to be if we let even one of these students go unnoticed.