Charlie Gascich has been a familiar face at the Whatsoever Community Center for going on 25 years.
Located at 1201 Ewing, the center has offered a variety of programs to local youngsters for 104 years.
Charlie began his career as a part-time athletic director, back when the center offered basketball, football, and baseball, in addition to the long-time favorite: boxing.
“Turns out,” Charlie said, “it was closer to full-time; we had games every evening and all day on Saturday.”
When the youth director position became available a few months later, he left his job as an insurance agent to be at the center full-time.
“I grew up in the East Bottoms and attended Assumption School (now St. Anthony’s),” he said. “I played a lot of sports, so some of the teams we played were from Whatsoever, so in a way, it was like coming full circle.”
Fifteen years ago, he took over as director, overseeing all Whatsoever programs.
“We stopped offering football and baseball, now we offer soccer. As the neighborhood changed, we changed too, but the boxing program has been going strong for 41 years. We’ve been able to keep Whatsoever open as other community centers have closed,” Charlie stated. “We’ve been able to be flexible and meet the needs of the community, the parents, kids, and preschoolers, and that’s really important to me.”