Changing Children’s Lives Together
An Interview with Jennifer Gasque and Juelle McDonald
Jennifer and Juelle both serve on the Board of Directors for Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT) and for CFRT’s Blues & Brews Committee. Furthermore, they have served in the Junior League of Fayetteville (JLF) for the past 4 years. This year, Jennifer and Juelle served as JLF’s 2015 Holly Day Fair Chair and Exhibitor Chair, respectively. CFRT and the JLF have a great partnership history supporting CFRT’s youth education and outreach programs as JLF focuses its community efforts on children’s mental health issues. Most recently, CFRT and JLF partnered to produce The Bluest Eye in 2014. Both Jennifer and Juelle grew up in the theatre, share a love for the Fayetteville community, and were excited to participate in CFRT’s 25 Days of Giving. Here is an interview about their perspective.
How did you get involved with Cape Fear Regional Theatre?
Juelle: As a child, my mother would bring me to the theatre to watch plays. I have always loved the theatre! After watching many shows, I decided to pursue acting in high school. My love for theatre has only continued to flourish since. I now serve as a Board Member.
Jennifer: When I returned to Fayetteville, I had the pleasure of meeting Carole Goforth – longtime Fayetteville advocate and CFRT Board Member. She sparked my interest to return to the “that theatre on the corner” from my youth to determine if it still had the magic it once did. Of course, seeing the yellow lights as I topped the hill had lost no excitement. So, I was proud and honored when asked to serve on the Board. Specifically, I help with our annual fundraiser by serving as the Blues & Brews Committee VIP Chair.
You both have a unique perspective of the community since you serve both CFRT and the Junior League of Fayetteville. What relationship do you see between these agencies?
Juelle: Both organizations strive to give back to our community.
Jennifer: For me, both agencies hold similar missions, values, and purpose for the community. The Junior League of Fayetteville is very fortunate to have a community who strongly supports our sole fundraiser Holly Day Fair which provides grants to organizations that serve JLF’s focus area – children’s mental health and wellness. CFRT has proven its established commitment to the youth in our community and has been a recipient of one of these grants.
Tell us about your experiences with CFRT.
Jennifer: I love that CFRT stretches the limits to tell stories that truly make an impact on the community and works hard to reach audiences that haven’t been touched before. A perfect example was last year’s production of The Bluest Eye. I have never seen a production in this community allow for so many conversations to be held among audiences young and old. When I was recognized as a CFRT Board Member in the community, I welcomed the excitement around this production and loved to discuss the wonderful impact it had on our youth and community.
Juelle: Having the opportunity to serve on the CFRT Board of Directors allows me to serve with passionate people who love Fayetteville and who love giving back through service. As a child, I benefited from CFRT’s programs and services. It is my hope that, in the same way the theatre shaped my life as a child, my contributions to CFRT will continue to make a difference in many more young lives in our community.
How does CFRT influence youth in our community?
Juelle: In so many ways! CFRT provides numerous opportunities to shape the lives of the youth through summer camps, Classic Theatre Series performances for 11th grade students, providing opportunities for youth to audition and participate in plays, and many more.
Jennifer: Having been in theatre growing up, I understand the value the arts have on our youth. It has a lasting impression and creates lasting life lessons to children. CFRT provides an outlet that may not otherwise exist for youth to express their love of the arts. I can’t put into words the value of the high school outreach program that works with local schools to provide students an opportunity to see a live theatre production. As part of this program, curriculum taught in the classroom comes to life! I can’t help but think of that student, who without CFRT, would never experience the “Great Stories Told Here.”
Thank you to all who have participated so far in 25 Days of Giving. We are almost 40% to our goal of raising $25,000 for youth education and outreach programs. Your gifts help ensure students have the opportunity to experience the “Great Stories Told Here.” Please donate today!by