Why GiGi’s-Amy

Amy is the fearless leader of the GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati startup team. She also serves as our board president.  

Amy lives in Cincinnati with her husband Adam and their three children: Gage (14), Kyle (11) and Kennedy (9). Kennedy has Down syndrome; she’s the reason that Amy is so passionate about bringing GiGi’s Playhouse to Cincinnati.  

Professionally, Amy has an undergraduate degree in psychology, earned her MBA, graduated from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy and now works as a police sergeant at UC Health Hospital.  

When she’s not working in law enforcement, Amy is working tirelessly to open GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati for the benefit of her daughter Kennedy and so many other people with Down syndrome in and around Cincinnati. Amy and Kennedy frequently visit GiGi’s Playhouse in Indianapolis and take advantage of their tutoring programs, including literacy and math. Amy says that ever since their first visit to GiGi’s Playhouse in Indianapolis, Kennedy constantly asks when they can go back! Because COVID has put restrictions on in-person tutoring, Kennedy currently enjoys learning through GiGi’s At Home programs.  

Keep reading to learn more about Amy and how she’s helping our GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati startup team with her leadership and determination. 

  1. Why did you join the startup team?  

    I started the startup team because our family did not have programs or support after Kennedy was born.  Kennedy was the first person I met with Down syndrome and I was left to fend for myself in many ways.  Although medically we have an amazing Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, in our area we didn’t have a DD that provided much for our age group. For everything we drove a minimum of 45 minutes and the costs added up with 2 other children who needed childcare because they were not welcome at the therapy and other visits.

    Having a place and the fact that it is 100% free and includes our entire family is incredible. If we had all of that with GiGi’s Playhouse when Kennedy was born, it would have made the adjustment much easier as well as connecting to the Down syndrome community and resources. Families really have no idea what they are missing out on.  It is worth all the work to open the Cincinnati Playhouse. I really felt at the time when this started that if I didn’t do it, no one would. I am saddened no one has picked up the torch prior to me because we missed out on so much that GiGi’s could have offered our family already. 

  2. What is your favorite thing you get to do as part of the startup team?

    I have made lifetime friends I would have likely never crossed paths with if it wasn’t for GiGi’s Playhouse. I have also been forced to break out of my comfort zone, which gave me an opportunity for personal growth. I’ve learned so much about myself, leadership, nonprofits, advocacy and so much more. 

  3. What is your favorite memory, event, or activity you participated in with GiGi’s?

    This is a tough one. I have so many and we are not even open yet. My favorite event was the Brew HaHa. I had been dreaming of that one since attending the Canton Brew HaHa years prior.  Breaking out after a difficult year with COVID and so many lives touched in 2 hours was incredible. Plus, the Improvaneers brought down the house with their performance!!!! 

  4. What is the thing you look forward to most with GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati? 

    I look forward to the day we can open our doors and let the community in on our secret. Just like Ds is the diagnosis you never imagine you needed so much, GiGi’s Playhouse is a place you don’t know you desired so much. It is AMAZING not only for the participants and families, but also for the volunteers and community! I just can’t wait to share it with everyone! 

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