Have I mentioned how much I admire a local non-profit organization called Playing For Others?
They’re an extraordinary group, providing a space for teens to explore and answer the questions, “Who Am I?” and “How will I give of that?” through programming in Personal Development, Service, and the Arts. Their leaders, staff and teen participants alike – Charlotteans of diverse ages and backgrounds – are doing amazing work.
Last year, at their “Connecting Charlotte” event, the teens honored The Ivey with a powerful spoken word piece that moved me and most of the audience to tears and cheers.
And last Saturday, they honored The Ivey yet again, at a signature event they called “HeARTbeat” – highlighting 12 local nonprofits through music, dance, slam poetry and visual art. The Playing for Others teens created and performed original works of art in honor of The Ivey, as well as other Charlotte organizations like 41percent, Behailu Academy, Bright Blessings, Changed Choices, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, InReach, Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, Queen City Forward, RAIN, Safe Alliance and Teen Health Connection.
This time, their tribute to The Ivey came through the power of dance! In a really fun and gorgeously choreographed 1950s swing number, the teens brought our organization and our members to vivid life on the stage!
As the teens danced their hearts out in front of an excited audience at the McGlohon Theatre, they were really honoring everyone living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Through their fancy footwork, they spoke on behalf of each and every person battling the disease. As if to say: I’m still here. I have a rich and storied personal history to share. I’m still doing what I love to do.
At The Ivey, we keep this mindset top-of-mind along every step of the care journey with our members and their families. Even if communication becomes difficult, even if physical abilities are hindered, a vibrant life exists inside. Memories are there, and lifelong loves are not lost.
In a way, the PFO performance on Saturday night reminded me of what I’ll call the “dementia dance” – the one in which we move through time with our loved ones, take turns leading, and celebrate life in every step.
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