By: Mary Kenion

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” conveys new meaning for parents who have a child with Down syndrome. As one of those parents, I struggled to create such a village for Mylo that wasn’t totally dependent on doctors, specialists, therapists and immediate family along with his twin brother Mason, who doesn’t have Down syndrome. While every piece of our village is important, life changed when GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis opened in 2018 and our village became whole. Mason serves as Mylo’s translator since he is still learning to talk and on Saturday mornings he says, “I want GiGi’s Playhouse mommy.” The responsibility of raising children doesn’t rest with parents alone. GiGi’s continues to offer us a place where our entire family can hangout, learn, play, make new friends, grow and most importantly – just be.

As Fundraising Chair, you might expect my blog to be all about raising money, but it’s not. I am a firm believer that there is no greater privilege in life than to be of service to others. I found myself wanting to support GiGi’s in some capacity because it’s mission is so important to my family and me. For nonprofit organizations, the two months in between Halloween and New Year’s transforms into a season of service for many. I volunteer as Fundraising Chair because want to ensure that GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis can operate programs and expand opportunities for children, youth, adults with Down syndrome and their families.

Of course, it takes money to run and increase programming, but the individual investment of time is equally as important. With the holidays approaching, consider donating your time to GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis in support of our free and purposeful programming. I challenge you to come and get to know us. Come meet our participants and support our therapeutic, educational and career development programs. Help us break down barriers and change the way the world sees individuals with Down syndrome by fostering acceptance and hope for everyone. Once you come and see for yourself, take the Generation G promise which is a simple and conscious decision to be better – be accepting, be generous, be kind. That’s it.

If you are unable to donate your time but interested in supporting us, consider becoming a 321 Champion and make a monthly recurring donation of $21 per month. 321 is a special number around GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis as individuals with Down syndrome have a third copy of their 21st chromosome. Click here for more information. 3/21 also happens to be World Down Syndrome Day – if you’re more interested in a one-time opportunity, consider supporting us on March 21st at our 2020 “Seas” the Day Gala.

-Mary Frances Kenion, mommy to Mylo & Mason & GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis Fundraising Chair

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