#52Tuesdays: Anna Gaeckle and Playing for Others | SHARE Charlotte

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#52Tuesdays: Anna Gaeckle and Playing for Others

Written by Nicole Copsis    on January 8, 2019    in


Local nonprofit organization Playing for Others (PFO) believes that the two most important questions we can ask in our lifetime are “Who Am I?” and “How will I give of that?”

PFO not only poses these questions for teens and young adults, but also helps to answer them through programs focused on Personal Development, Service, and the Arts. One of PFO's signature programs is their Buddy Program, where teens partner with children with disabilities (“buddies”) to build genuine friendships - but don’t take it from me, take it from Anna Gaeckle.

Anna Gaeckle is a native Charlottean who came to PFO as a teenager herself. After experiencing firsthand the incredible transformation that the program creates, she returned to PFO as an intern, then a part-time employee, and, currently the organization’s Program Coordinator.

As Program Coordinator, Anna has not only strengthened the aspects of the organization’s programs that she already knew and loved, but has also helped to create even more opportunities for teens and buddies to grow their friendships. Anna created a new aspect of the Buddy Program known as The Dinner Club.

The Dinner Club is an opportunity for buddy families and buddies to break bread together among people who have a shared experience of having a child with a disability. Because it can be isolating to have children with a disability, it is a chance for people in similar situations to meet for a meal where everyone at the table sympathizes and understands that conversations may be a bit challenging and table etiquette may look a little different.

While the Buddy Program provides a place where children and young adults with disabilities can come and are welcomed with open arms, the Buddies are not the only ones who benefit from participating in the program, the teens, like Anna herself, also get tremendous value out of the friendships that develop through this program. Through cultivating a friendship with someone who thinks, acts, or see the world a bit differently than themselves, the teens learn that people are people, regardless of ability, condition or diagnosis.

In Anna’s own words: “Playing for Others has so many sides to it, not only does it give teens experiences like making friends with someone different from themselves or getting up on stage and performing for an audience, it changes lives. Some people only see the performance side and it's so much more than that. It gives teens a space where they do not feel alone. where they are heard, and accepted, no matter who they are what they love or who they love." 

Playing for Others participated in #GivingTuesdayCLT this past November and through 253 generous gifts raised a total of $24,405! PFO is proud to say that the solid majority of donors were new to the organization, an incredible accomplishment! We cannot wait to see all of the GOOD things that this life changing organization does with the funds they raised. 

Didn’t get a chance to support PFO during #GivingTuesdayCLT? Donate money, time, or shop for GOOD for this organization NOW