Recently GiGi & I were in New Orleans doing a corporate event for the GiGi’s Playhouse New Orleans start-up team. While we were there we also were doing a book signing, we took an Uber to the signing and our uber driver was 81 years old, had 7 siblings and 33 Grandchildren! One of his brothers had Down syndrome and he died at the age of 65. He was very proud of his brother and was happy to hear about GiGi’s and that there was now a place where people with Down syndrome are celebrated. When we got to our destination he got out of the car and asked GiGi for an autograph!! He was so excited and said that he couldn’t wait to show his mother! Yep, do the math! She is 102!! They have a huge family and cannot wait for GiGi’s New Orleans to open so the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and great great grand kids can all volunteer and learn more about their uncle who is no longer with them!
It really opened my eyes to the fact that we are serving individuals with Down syndrome every day with our free programs BUT we are also giving a voice to the amazing individual who came before us paving the way! Families are so grateful to see their loved ones celebrated and given the tools to succeed!
There are so many layers to GiGi’s that go beyond our programming! Yes, we serve individuals with Down syndrome but we also serve the community. GiGi’s is like a breeding ground for acceptance! Individuals with Down syndrome benefit from the free programming but everyone who walks in our doors learns and grows too; our families, our volunteers, our donors, the community and the world!
While our programs impact our participants with Down syndrome the ripple effect on family members and strangers goes far beyond the Down syndrome community and into the world! I am so encouraged when I hear and read about the amazing volunteers from around the network who give legs to the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse!
I invite everyone to learn how you can great a ripple effect of acceptance, generosity, and kindness by volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse.