by Christy Bouziotis
When he’s not hard at work as a computer programmer for United Healthcare, George Graham trades in his laptop, technology manuals, and coding algorithms for turntables, mixers, speakers, and headphones as he transforms into Count Graham, Special Needs DJ!
For more than 13 years, George has offered FREE DJ services to any area organization providing services to special needs individuals. Beneficiary organizations include the Rotary Club, Somerset County’s Therapeutic Recreational Program, Mount Bethel Village, Bethel Ridge, Becca’s Friends, Special Kidz….and (lucky us!) GiGi’s Playhouse Hillsborough!
George has DJd numerous events and dances for GiGi’s Playhouse, including our annual charity 5K. And all he asks for in return is for everyone to have as much fun as he does – if that’s even possible! We wanted to go one-on-one with George to learn about what he does and why he does it.
Q: What is it you offer as Count Graham, Special Needs DJ?
Count Graham: I offer free dances to any organization that provides services to special needs individuals. I’ll play for as long as they need me and whatever specific songs they want. I’m also very enthusiastic and get up and dance with the participants! My wife knows that the sweatier I am when I get home, the more fun I had!
Q: How did this all start?
Count Graham: I’ve actually been DJing for about 40 years. I started dedicating DJing for only special needs about 13 years ago when I realized that those individuals were not having the same kind of experience as other people. My son is 24 and has autism, so I experienced it firsthand.
Q: Why do you do this? What motivates you to provide this service?
Count Graham: For me, it’s giving back to the community and knowing that the participants truly enjoy the service I provide. I can tell that based on the smiles on their faces. I actually have more fun doing these dances than any other dances I’ve done in the past.
Q: What do you enjoy most about doing this?
Count Graham: The participants!! I always say that I could have a horrible week at work, but if I have a dance that weekend, it makes up for it a thousand-fold! I’ve made a lot of friends of the participants through the years, and I treasure each and every one of them. They always ask me when I’m coming back! It makes me feel so loved.
Q: How many events do you DJ a month? How many GiGi’s Playhouse programs annually?
Count Graham: It depends on the month because February, October, and December are the busiest! In those months I typically do four dances. Other months typically range from one to two. For GiGi’s Playhouse, counting events, I usually do four or five a year. I’m always willing to do more!
Q: What’s the most memorable moment you have had while DJing for GiGi’s?
Count Graham: I was playing a song from Grease and got up to dance with the participants. I ended up having three of them on each side of me dancing and singing along with me! What a great time that was!