By Joan Peddicord
I’ve been part of the GiGi’s Annapolis family since May, 2018, when I volunteered for the Literacy summer pilot and then the Fall program. A few years earlier, I had learned about GiGi’s from a segment on the national news and knew I wanted to volunteer. Fast forward to retirement, and I found GiGi’s in Annapolis!
My brother, Tony, who died in July, 2014, had Down syndrome and was a central part of our family’s life. He brought so many gifts to us and to me personally that permeate our lives still, so I knew I had to be a part of GiGi’s in some way.
From the get go, my biggest challenge would be the drive from Timonium to Annapolis each week. And that certainly proved to be true since the Baltimore Beltway presents construction delays, accidents and congestion on a very routine basis.
Friends and family would say, “Wow, you are going so far!” But each week, I was going TO something really special – an organization and individuals who have blessed my life in so many ways and shape the person I want to be, as Tony did for so many years. I always believe in the providential “intersection” of our lives so I was determined that the Baltimore Beltway would be secondary as my life intersected with individuals like Judy and Karen as the literacy program took shape; and then as I participated in the program, individuals like Jamie, Timmy, Robert, Mark, and Ainsley came into my life. I also met so many others who are part of the GiGi’s family in Annapolis. And each week as I made the trek to THEM and from THEM, I reflected on the blessings they offer me just in being who they are.
It was a struggle to tell Judy and Karen that the road trip for weekly literacy tutoring is too tough and so for now, I’ll take a break from that commitment. However, this summer, my spouse, Sharon and I initiated a four-week Summer Bowl that was successful and fun! Tony may have been the inspiration for that idea because he loved to bowl. I also passed the Annapolis bowling alley each week on my way to GiGi’s and thought, “Hmmm, let’s do some bowling!”
I have no doubt that my life will continue to intersect with the GiGi’s family as Sharon and I bowl with some of our Fantastic Friends in October and November and look for other singular events to lend a hand. Thank you to all of you in the GiGi’s family as we continue on life’s journey together.