Friday, October 7, 2011

Teens spend time 'Playing For Others'

School, sports, clubs, part-time jobs, it can all get a bit mundane for the teenager who tries to tackle it all.

But no need to worry, I've found a nonprofit that will take the routine out of the school day and spice it up with a little song and dance.

It's called Playing for Others, a nonprofit centered around teens passionate about the arts and community service. It focuses on three main components: committee work, buddy program and the arts experience, said founder Jen Band.

During the nine-month program, 70 teens pair with about 35 “buddies” from other local nonprofits that aid children with disabilities and attend monthly buddy events.

The teens wrap up the year at the end of April with an Arts Festival that showcases their months of hard work.

"The (original) idea (for Playing for Others) was, 'Let’s raise money for somebody else and let’s use theater to do that'," Band said. "So once it finished the first year it was awesome, we donated $22,000, and then all of a sudden the teens and the parents were like, ‘You’re doing it again, right?’"

Since then, Playing for Others has seen tremendous growth, with participating teens this year representing 19 different schools. You can find out more at an open house 6-8 p.m. Oct. 15 at Whitehead Manor, 5901 Sardis Road.

Look for an upcoming story in the Observer about Playing for Others, including teen co-presidents, Daniel Morrice and Kaitlin Wightman-Ausman. The two will share their experiences about working with the organization since it first began in 2006.

How you can get involved:

Teens in grades 8-12 interested in applying for Playing for Others for next year can find information on, or by emailing Because of the demand, there is an application process and teens must be accepted to participate.

Want to help? Check the website or email