With multiple cases of our kids being abused, disrespected and attacked last week, it made me reflect back on why we started GiGi’s, and ask “are we making a difference?”
That is when I realized we have spent 17 years providing free programming to get our individuals ready for the world, but now WE must get the world ready for them! This is our responsibility and I am asking you to take the pledge and say “I can and will accept you as you are” and ask others to do the same. Sit down with your family, co-workers, neighbors, anyone you know and watch this video and say this is not OK. Please don’t just take the pledge. Share it, live it, and commit to moving for acceptance on June 5 as we unite 1 million people in hopes of bringing us closer to global acceptance, and giving our kids a voice in this world. Each playhouse will have an event, but you can also host your own in your home. Use this opportunity to talk about how you are
Globally 70,000+ people and counting have taken the pledge.
GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo
GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo, our 25th Playhouse, burnt down Tuesday, May 11. Everyone made it out safe but it is a total loss. The image below says it all, as you can see the firefighter was so moved by the last remaining beautiful pictures in the windows, with the words, “I am Courageous.” What could be more fitting as the team digs deep for all the courage they can muster to start fresh?
As one of the Playhouse dads stated, “A community is made up of people, not buildings, so even though this fire is devastating, our GiGi’s family will stay strong!”
That is the GiGi’s community, YOU are the GiGi’s community, together we will stay strong!
Prayers to GiGi’s Fargo and all of the amazing individuals who courageously wear this beautiful diagnosis on their face every day. We know you were sent here to teach and to love and we will never stop fighting for you.
Meet Ashley Williams on our latest episode of A Little Something Extra
After learning that 80% of people who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome do not give birth, Ashley knew that it was her purpose to become a mother to Ever. On our newest episode of A Little Something Extra, we sit down with “Super Mom,” Ashley Williams from @EverandMom (Instagram).
Ashley is a Down syndrome advocate, influencer, and mom to her daughter Ever. In this episode, Ashley and Nancy dive into why Ashley felt the need to share Ever’s story with the world, her reaction to receiving the diagnosis, Ever’s modeling career, and so much more!
Check out our special Mother’s Day episode featuring
NBA star Justin Jackson, model Amanda Booth, actor
John C McGinley, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and more!
In the spring session for our GiGi’s Amina Grace Speech & Language program, we paired 182 individuals with Down syndrome to Speech and Language Pathologists, that met for an hour lesson each week! During this session, these families saved a total of $191,000!
More than 400 tutors and participants have been paired for our Literacy Tutoring Program for weekly hour-long lessons, saving these families a total of $240,000!
215 pairings for GiGi’s Math Tutoring program were made for the spring session, saving these families a total of $129,000!
This is a total savings of over $560,000 to our families in just three months!! While our programs are FREE to our families, they are not free to deliver!
Since we launched GiGi’s At Home (3/2020), we have hosted nearly 6,000 virtual live programs, more than 10,000 one-on-one tutoring lessons, and more than 1,300 on-demand programs for FREE to our participants! Nearly 40,000 people have joined the GiGi’s Playhouse network and we’re serving more than 50 countries!
In total, we have had nearly 35,000 hours of participation from January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021 for FREE therapeutic and education-based programs! This includes in-person and virtual purposeful programs like LMNOP, Destination Discovery, Fantastic Friends, GiGiFIT programs, GiGi’s At Home, and more. We are proud to continue to serve families despite the ongoing pandemic!
Nancy and GiGi on the road again!
One thing is for sure – nothing can slow GiGi’s Playhouse and our amazing community down! Last month, we opened our 53rd location, GiGi’s Playhouse Miami. This month we opened GiGi’s Playhouse Sacramento. These were our first LIVE events in more than a year and we can’t wait for more!
“I have been blessed with a wonderful life and I want to share that in a way that benefits others. I hope my students gain the love of reading…I would like their time to be educational, but also fun.” – Aleene, Literacy Tutor,
GiGi’s Playhouse is 99% volunteer run – and we need your help! We have something for everyone – from hands-on tutoring to office help at a GiGi’s Playhouse location and everything in between, we couldn’t do it without our volunteers! Join us for an upcoming orientation.
A big THANK YOU to the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation for their commitment to our GiGi Professional training program and to funding our Learning Management System! They even hosted their annual board meeting at GiGi’s (pre covid) and we cannot wait to have them again. Our business model of 60+ locations and start-ups, each 99% volunteer-run, allows us to deliver free, purposeful programs to our families, but also places a heavy burden on training the army of volunteers delivering those programs on the very limited staff. We desperately needed a mechanism to deliver trainings on all of our operations, programs, and mission in a unified platform and in a self-serve manner for our volunteers. This is a true game-changer for GiGi’s and was made possible by the caring
individuals at Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.
From January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021, 98 million people saw GiGi’s Playhouse in print, online publications, on television or heard about us on the radio, for an estimated publicity value of $2.3M! What’s more, we hosted a media tour in which Nancy and THE GiGi interviewed with more than 20 TV news stations, focused on acceptance for all! Keep an eye (or ear) out for GiGi’s Playhouse and share with your family and friends. The more people that know about our mission, the more people can help us achieve acceptance for all!
March 2021 Newsletter
March 13, 2021
GiGi’s Playhouse is launching the GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge as part of our World Down Syndrome Day celebration! Beginning 3/21, we’re calling on people worldwide to MOVE for acceptance. Join one million of our closest friends as we work together to make the world a more accepting place for individuals of all abilities! When...
Sustainability against all odds
February 24, 2021
Whenever I read that quote, I get a flutter of excitement in my stomach and a sick feeling at that same time! Absence of fear?? It was the fear of watching 17 years of groundbreaking work crumble that propelled me to action throughout 2020 and catapulted us into 2021! When...
Navigating the Challenges of Virtual Learning
January 20, 2021
Every parent with a child in school understands the obstacles related to virtual learning - whether that child is in participating in school from home part of the week or full-time. After nearly a year of virtual schooling for some students, there are many questions about how to best address...