My eyes are leaking and I just can’t stop….

March 10, 2016

My eyes are leaking and I just can’t stop…. When I was 12 years old, just 56 days shy of my 13th birthday and that illustrious time of crossing into my teen years and never having to order from the ‘kids” menu again, my grandmother died. I remember her death like it was yesterday. I […]

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When our hearts beat as one…

March 7, 2016

Hello lovely friends! As of the day that I’m writing this blog, it is the first day of the last weekend of rehearsals for HeARTbeat! I’ve been working with the Dance Experience and it has been an interesting experience. Dance is something that I feel everyone has a little bit in them. Whether it’s doing […]

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It’s An AWESOME Party

February 17, 2016

I saw my first show at age 9. I sat on the cafeteria floor mesmerized. It was the first spark among many that would alter the course of my life and – ultimately – change, transform and save lives. I’ve often thought about the title of my memoir…those few words that would sum up my […]

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The More We Love Ourselves, The More We Love Others

February 3, 2016

The More We Love Ourselves, The More We Love Others I’ve been spending a lot of time loving on myself lately. One way that I do this is by giving myself space to be happy. Recently, in a PFO training call with the amazing life coach Pam Burton, I learned about upper limits. As I […]

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One More Good Thing

January 29, 2016

One More Good Thing Playing For Others continues to teach me that there is always one more good thing needed to be done, wanting to be done, calling to be done. Gathering in the energy that is Playing For Others is unlike any other energy that I have experienced. I keep saying it because it […]

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The Most Important Factor

January 28, 2016

Among the most valuable and what I feel can be the most important offering that Playing for Others provides PFO teens, volunteers, and staff is the opportunity to serve in various ways. But more than that, the concept of habit and consistency is what I find to be the most important thing that the teens […]

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A Life of Impact: Enriched and Enriching

A Life of Impact: Enriched and Enriching “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing…It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you […]

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How can I give?

How Can I Give… David Bowie’s passing affected me in ways I didn’t see coming. The sadness and reflections on my own mortality I was expecting, it was the gift in the situation I wasn’t ready for. Bowie, in my humble opinion, was a quiet genius. He affected millions by just being the beautiful artist […]

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How much more good can WE do?

Happy New Year! I hope that this past year has been full of blessings and that this year will bring even more blessings! This year certainly has been a blessing for me. Working with the amazing staff, the other advisors, and the incredible teens from PFO has been a truly awesome experience. I wish that […]

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What’s Giving Us Gratitude

Have you ever written a song, a spoken word piece or even done a drawing about someone who inspires you… Well if you haven’t let us give you a little bit of inspiration. Last week PFO held a very special event at the McGlohon Theatre… “Night of Gratitude” The teens created amazing original songs, spoken […]

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What’s Giving Us Gratitude

Have you ever written a song, a spoken word piece or even done a drawing about someone who inspires you… Well if you haven’t let us give you a little bit of inspiration. Last week PFO held a very special event at the McGlohon Theatre… “Night of Gratitude” The teens created amazing original songs, spoken […]

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The Purpose of Passion

Being an art teacher is not what I expected. I went into it thinking that I would have kids excited to learn and excited to be in art class. For some, that is the case, but for others, it’s not. The school I teach at has students from all walks of life, but a majority […]

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Courage and Compassion…what I learned from a group of teens

December 15, 2015

Courage and Compassion…what I learned from a group of teens Wednesday, November 18, 2015. I stood in the back of the room at LACA (Latin American Contemporary Arts) Projects and was absorbed into the magic that unfolded right before my eyes. Peering over me were photos that hung from the celling’s beam of rafters. Black […]

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The Gift: Shake It Up a Bit

The Gift: Shake It Up a Bit When I was small, I can recall my siblings and I shaking boxes under the tree to see if we could figure out the gift that was inside, little did I know, years later, as an adult, I would have experienced things in this lifetime that would shake […]

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An Update from Malcolm

Today, as I was driving home, I passed by a green Volvo. In the driver seat was someone who resembled a certain Chris Kringle. This is a good reminder that Christmas is near and that Santa Claus coming to town. However, this past week was the PFO Connecting Charlotte event and boy did Christmas come […]

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Inspiring Acceptance

Picture it: You walk into a room for the first time. You feel the heavy flash flood of calculating and quantifying eyes. Immediately, that nasty little voice in your head starts throwing out the albeit distorted, but believed negatives questioning who you are you’re your value in the space. You feel your mind suit up […]

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Authenticity and vulnerability are strengths.

Authenticity and vulnerability are strengths. Last week was the Playing For Other’s (PFO) event Connecting Charlotte. This was a coming out party of sorts for the PFO Slam Poetry Committee. I am one of the Co-Advisors on the Slam committee. I’ve been working with a group of thirteen teens since this summer. All of the […]

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A Time To Celebrate

As I stood in a room of hundreds of engaged diverse people rapt in spoken word performances from the PFO teens, I was struck with the awe of what can happen when a group decides to become a team. No longer a collection of individuals, a team unites for a common purpose, which is usually […]

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This is the kind of email that brings me to tears… Jen, It’s 2:35 a.m. on Thursday, November 19. I was reading through my journal and stumbled upon my audio speech for my PFO graduation in 2012. I thought you might be interested to hear the text, nearly four years later: “Dear PFO, Someone pretty […]

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know. Strange little phrase, that. It requires that you take a moment to reflect during a situation and check your response with all that you know about the event as it is happening- or, at the very least, temper your reactions until you can be in a space to […]

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Update from Alexis and Levin

Dear Loved Ones, Happy Holidays! ‘Connecting Charlotte’ @ LaCa Projects Gallery on this past November 18th was unreal. The sold-out house of 400-plus attendees were treated to an inspiring glimpse into what PFO has been up to this year, and the main event was beyond. The uber-talented Slam Committee advisors Hannah Hasan & Derrick Hines […]

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Rocking my world

November 12, 2015

Rocking my world… I’m often asked the question…what inspires you? The simple truth is people. People who defy human conditions, expectations, stereotypes and the status quo, to expand into their greatness – that is what inspires me most. When asked who inspires you… my answer is simplistically complex – 80 teens, 12 advisors, 3 staff […]

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–Expand, in and on Purpose–

–Expand, in and on Purpose– Flash as defined by dictionary.com is a (n.) “a thing that occurs SUDDENLY and within a brief period of time, in particular.” THAT is exactly what I feel the time lapse has been since my last update! The plot has officially been thickened, the characters are developed, the clues all […]

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Counting on Accountability

Counting on Accountability In my time with Playing for Others, I have learned the four As. They are Attitude, Acceptance, Accountability and Action. If you skipped right over the title of this blog, I’ll give you a hint as to which “A” this blog will be about: it rhymes with schmaccountability. Accountability to me has […]

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With compassion and courage, we increase our connection to others.

Spoiler Alert: I don’t look great in this story. No, really. It’s not me at my best – but it’s honest! So, that’s something, right? And more importantly, I learned something vital, something worth sharing. Almost two months ago, I was sitting on the couch at home when a message came through on my phone. […]

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The “Isms” of Life

“Preparation meets opportunity” – an “ism” that two great business owners hailed as the model of success. I find it to be true. It ties in so closely with the most personally challenging, yet most rewarding core value of Playing for Others: Accountability. When writing this second entry, I am reminded of my own room […]

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Bringing LifeTalks to Life

One of the most valuable parts of getting involved in Playing For Others is the “”LifeTalk”” component. Recently, I sat in on a talk about “”Choosing Stress””. Where does it come from? What is good stress? What is bad stress? Why do we sometimes manufacture it? This was never something that I even talked about […]

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The Little Things

I’m sipping herbal tea while listening to my bandmate’s vulnerable tenor voice being captured over an instrumental we recorded earlier in the week. This is heaven. We’re in Athens, Georgia working with with an engineer/producer we’ve both admired for quite some time (he’s worked on some of our favorite records by some of our biggest […]

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Realizing Gratitude

Realizing Gratitude During the past few weeks, the advisors, Jen, Pam, and Kelsey, have all talked about how we can make gratitude a global entity and not just a PFO core value. Last week, the gratitude I received changed the way I saw myself. Let me backtrack and help you out by setting the stage: […]

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The arts have the power to restore, heal, and connect our community

There is a reason that Arts is the one of the main vehicles that pushes the mission of Playing for Others forward. For most of my life I have been drawn to, consuming or participating in the arts by creating, teaching, administrating and advocating for it. I don’t believe in telling people what art isn’t […]

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Authenticity and vulnerability are strengths.

Authenticity and vulnerability are strengths. In my life I find this statement to be so true. Like so many others I felt like I needed to be in line with what other people thought of me. I went to school and began majoring in Computer Programming because my parents thought it would be best for […]

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The Impact of an Attitude of Gratitude

Hello friends, Wow…so many amazing things going on in our world and PFO is BIG on the list. It’s truly amazing how you never stop learning! PFO has become such a part of our life in Charlotte- being involved with an amazing organization is inspiring and exciting. Having an attitude of gratitude impacts our physical, […]

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The Impact of an Attitude of Gratitude

Hello friends, Wow…so many amazing things going on in our world and PFO is BIG on the list. It’s truly amazing how you never stop learning! PFO has become such a part of our life in Charlotte- being involved with an amazing organization is inspiring and exciting. Having an attitude of gratitude impacts our physical, […]

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Anything is possible, regardless of condition or circumstance.

October 1, 2015

Anything is possible, regardless of condition or circumstance. I’m running around our backyard. The white picket fence surrounds beautifully maintained grass, and I can smell the flowers from the flower garden and see the vegetable garden that is taller than I am. I’m wearing my favorite purple sundress with ice cream cones embroidered on the […]

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Each and every person is deserving of love and belonging.

September 29, 2015

I started my PFO journey back in 2009 when I applied to be a part of the program as a teen. As a 16 year old, I had no idea what to expect from applying, and had many doubts about whether or not I would even get in – applying to Playing for Others was […]

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One Epic Year

Dear Friends, We really want to share with you what we have had the privilege of becoming recently…We have become part of the PFO family. We surely never had any thought that a place like this could have existed, especially under our very noses in our new home in Charlotte. Throughout the last months of […]

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One Epic Year

Dear Friends, We really want to share with you what we have had the privilege of becoming recently…We have become part of the PFO family. We surely never had any thought that a place like this could have existed, especially under our very noses in our new home in Charlotte. Throughout the last months of […]

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The Many Uses of Art

In PFO, we believe in giving of ourselves selflessly in order to make the world a better place. All of the teens, the staff, and the advisors give to the community around us, not just to help others, but to feel whole as human beings. Over these past few, quick months, I have learned so […]

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Anything is Possible Regardless of Condition or Circumstance

A year and a half ago, I decided to take control of my life and start personal development work through a life coach. I always thought that I was a pretty well rounded person who thought positively, acted intentionally, and lived life with a purpose. But now, I realize that I knew those things, but […]

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How? No – why

At this year’s PFO retreat, Jen Band and I led a session called “Start with the Why.” It was a beast of a session, too. Two hours of material with the full PFO group – 80 teens, 12 adult Advisors, 3 other staff members, and 8 alumni. The purpose of the session was to get […]

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Gratitude In My Life

Out of all of the iterations that the path of my life has taken, the only constant is that I have always wanted to make the greatest possible impact with my time here on earth. Easier said than done, I know. Like many people, I have struggled with trying to answer three major questions: What […]

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Connecting the Dots: A Dream Unfolding

Steve Jobs once said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” We often have no idea where a “dot” (I call these situations and experiences) will lead us. That was my case in March of 2009. Dot # 1 – March 2009 I met Playing for Others Founder […]

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Authenticity As Service

I saw a quote on the internet from Danielle La Porte that made me shout out “Yes!” and give wiggly fingers (a PFO tradition that means we support or are excited by what someone has said or done) to! It so clearly has summed up my first two months with Playing For Others: “The bonus […]

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-It’s ONLY Been 2 Months-

September 24, 2015

I am not what I would consider a movie buff, not on the big screen at least. It could just be me, but many of the films that make it to the big screen, all seem to have at least one commonality; the previews give the story away or the highlight reel was the BEST […]

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Dance and you will win!

January 2014, I moved to Charlotte after a huge change in my life. I had just lost my job in Florida and I was going through a divorce as well. I was in a state of depression and not knowing who I was or where I was going. I moved here knowing maybe about 2-3 […]

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Anything is possible.

Hi Journey Group! If you know me at all, you absolutely know that I crave new experiences and love to share them. This year, I have begun new adventures… from beginning a new job, to becoming the first African-American female Publisher in Charlotte, to fulfilling a life-long dream of writing and publishing a book. We […]

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My Attitude of Gratitude

I’m sitting in Rhino Market & Deli struggling to write. I am also hosting an open mic (well, I’m sitting by the P.A. making sure it doesn’t feed back as random people and friends take turns singing and playing guitar: I am loosely orchestrating the event). I might also be keeping an eye on the […]

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Jim Reynolds

September 15, 2015

Action: the requirement for my modality of language to exist. Without it, dance would look and feel like a flipbook of photos, a simple prequel to real moving images. We, by far, are more than pictures and shapes. Our imperfections face forward. Our own breath, a denominator that measures our living existence, is seen, heard, […]

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