For the Klyczeks, Volunteerism is a Family Affair

From left to right: Elizabeth Klyczek, Tony Klyczek, Kathy Klyczek and Emily Klyczek

If you’ve been to GiGi’s Playhouse Tinley Park, then you’ve probably had the pleasure of meeting someone from the Klyczek family. Not just one Klyczek, but everyone in their family generously donates their time here: from our Literacy Coordinator Kathy, her husband Tony, and their twin daughters Emily & Elizabeth. They are a very special and kind family, and we are so fortunate to have them. We took some time last week to ask them what they love about volunteering for GiGi’s Playhouse Tinley Park.

Kathy, our Literacy Coordinator, began volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse in 2017. She says “I have volunteered for the LMNOP Program and EPIC (Achievers) Program. I began tutoring in 2018, and I’m currently tutoring a middle school student. After I retired from full time teaching, I was fortunate enough to get a part time position as the Literacy Coordinator. I love being a part of the GiGi’s family. Getting to know the families, and especially the participants, has been a wonderful experience and truly enriches my life.” We are so grateful not just to have Kathy leading our tutoring services here, but also continuing to volunteer as a Literacy Tutor and bringing her amazing family to volunteer as well!

Kathy’s husband, Tony, is also a volunteer tutor since last year. He says “Since I’ve retired, Kathy asked if I’d be interested in tutoring, and I’ve been involved in the program for the past year as a Math Tutor. I’ve worked with several young men so far, and the experience has been both rewarding and interesting. My students have great attitudes, and we celebrate each step as they learn new math concepts. It’s fun to try new ideas during the tutoring sessions to see what works well.” Thank you Tony for stepping up to help our students learn math. He remarks that he “also particularly enjoy[s] meeting each student’s family and getting to know their life outside GiGi’s”!

Kathy and Tony’s daughter Elizabeth has been volunteering with us since the summer of 2019. She says “I started volunteering with my mom at Preschool Prep and really enjoyed it. I also participated in LMNOP that summer where I met Barb and decided to participate in Literacy Tutoring for a very special student that I am so beyond proud of and grateful to know. I still tutor her today, despite the pandemic challenges we were able to make it work and also do virtual.” Aside from tutoring, Elizabeth also helps lead the Summer Preschool Prep Program “…with my dear friend Laurel, one of my favorite times of year to help the children learn and grow. I also like helping with the photography for various events surrounding GiGi’s. I originally wanted to volunteer to try something different and help special needs students but as I continued my volunteer work my why for joining turned into wanting to make a difference the children’s lives by helping them strive to do their best and reach their potential. My favorite part is watching them grow and achieve. All of the children I’ve met at GiGi’s have a very special place in my heart.” Wow, that’s so powerful, and thank you Elizabeth for always being our resident Playhouse Photographer.

Elizabeth’s twin sister Emily also joined to start volunteering at GiGi’s last September of 2022. She comments “I started volunteering with the adults participants at Fantastic Friends and EPIC. I found I really enjoyed this particular age group and was so grateful I took the time to find volunteer opportunities at GiGi’s. I have loved getting to know all my new friends and the constant joy they bring me. Spending time with them can turn into rough day into a good one.” And she adds, “I currently volunteer for the All Ages Yoga and Social Skills for Adults: Dance Party! and both are truly two of my favorite days of the month.” We’re so appreciative to have such a dedicated volunteer for our adult programs!

As you can see, every member of the Klyczek family is passionate about coming to the Playhouse to make a difference, each in their own unique way, and we appreciate them for showing up and changing lives. The next time you see them, or anyone who graciously volunteers here at GiGi’s Playhouse Tinley Park, make sure you give them a big THANK YOU for all they do!

If you or someone you know would also like to volunteer and contribute to the success of our Playhouse and our participants, please visit our website: https://gigisplayhouse.org/TinleyPark/volunteer/ . As the Klyczeks mention, it is certainly a worthwhile and rewarding experience.

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