When people ask me about what I do with Playing for Others (PFO), I let them know that I am an advisor with the Slam Poetry committee. I almost always feel the need to follow that statement up with everything else that is PFO. That, however, would be impossible. So, I typically try to focus on how we work in the arts. I tell them about all of the committees and the products that we produce. I tell them that the teens are empowered to be leaders, and that I am really just there to support and guide them. I tell them that ultimately PFO is living proof that the arts have the power to restore, heal and connect our community.
Every time I leave a PFO meeting, retreat, or event; I leave restored. I leave with the feeling that I can use creativity to change the world. In meetings with the other Advisors, we aren’t just there taking notes or listening to someone talk at us. We are collaborating and sharing our vision for the organization, and essentially for the world. In these meetings, we are a community. We are growing and building together. The meetings, these moments, are art; and they inspire me to create.
I perform spoken word poetry and write and produce live storytelling events. In my personal life, the PFO belief that the arts have the power to restore, heal and connect helps me to stay grounded as an artist. I know that my art is supposed to mean something. It is not just about me. It hasn’t been for a long time. My art fills me up when it is connecting strangers, helping people understand and accept each other with passion and humility, and when it is healing hearts and creating community. I want my work to challenge me to be a greater, kinder, more in touch version of myself every time.
When I ask myself about what I “do” with PFO, the answer is, I create. I have found in this space a place to grow as an artist, an advisor, and a human. I have found In this space, a place to connect with others through our unique talents and gifts. I have found in this space, the inspiration that I need to continue to connect others through the power of the arts. I have found freedom of expression. I have found community.