We are incredibly appreciative of the amazing volunteers who immediately stepped up to lead GiGi’s Playhouse new virtual programs. These programs are reaching families at their homes during the pandemic. Meet some of the amazing GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis online volunteer leaders… Thank you!




Michele Caldwell – Leaps & Bounds LIVE Leader – National GiGi’s At Home

GiGi’s Playhouse is a place where every family and child impacted by Down syndrome is loved, served, included, and can just have fun.  I love being a part of helping children grow and I get to have a blast while connecting with some truly amazing individuals.”

Michele has served as our Leaps and Bounds Leader for nearly two years. In her professional life she is a Physical Therapist for a local school district. She is smart, fun, knowledgeable and professional. Michele has just completed her Doctoral Defense – we are so proud of her! Michele prepares fantastic purposeful lesson plans and practical take home materials for families. The Leaps & Bounds program was so popular we had to start a waiting list as we couldn’t fit everyone in the room! Following the “shelter in place” order, Michele immediately offered her services to help with online programming. She will be leading on the National LIVE platform. We are so excited to reach the 3-5 year old population! Michele says she is “honored to volunteer with GiGi’s,” we are the ones who are honored.


Tracy Eklof – TeenTastic Leader, Annapolis LIVE At Home

Volunteering for GiGi’s Playhouse TeenTastic program meetings, events and celebrations, always uplifts me. I love that teens are benefitting and finding a sense of “togetherness” with their friends, particularly during this time.

Tracy has the enthusiasm of ten energizer bunnies and the word “effervescent” perfectly describes her! Tracy comes to us following a career in the airline business.  She has such a genuine heart to work with people and is a gifted conversationalist. She wanted to make a difference for others, and that she is! We are so grateful to have Tracy volunteering as the TeenTastic Program Leader. Tracy plans creative and purposeful programs where everyone can engage. We have seen such growth and confidence bloom in our teen friends over the year.  She also felt unprepared to go LIVE, but went for it anyway, go GiGi’s! Tracy is very creative, knows how to let everyone know that they are important and valued, as indicated by the peer volunteer involvement, typically 1:1! Tracy’s son serves on the Youth Board and her daughter assists when she is in town.


Erin Rice – LMNOP Leader, Annapolis LIVE At Home

Leigh, a parent wrote; “Thank you so very much for starting the LMNOP virtually today! It was so wonderful.  Even though it will never compare to being in the Playhouse with you all and all of our friends it was such a welcome distraction to the craziness and realities of right now. Erin, as always, was amazing!!  She always brings so much energy, makes learning fun and her smile was truly magical today.”

Erin is an amazing GiGi’s supporter! She is a Speech Language Pathologist for the local school district and has wonderful skills to coach and share with families. Erin didn’t miss a beat volunteering to lead Annapolis LMNOP LIVE. Her son and daughter also serves as GiGi’s volunteers. Erin is thoughtful, thorough, and incredibly engaging. We are so appreciative.

What brings me the greatest joy and happiness is seeing all of our Playhouse friends, on the video screens and connecting when we can’t be together in person. I truly love watching my own children help with the lessons at home, asking how the little’s are doing and of course helping with the technology piece. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to give back what I love to do.”


Janet Tierney – Fantastic Friends PiYo Leader, Annapolis LIVE At Home

Janet has been an amazing volunteer leading our Fantastic Friends PiYo workout for nearly two years. Janet is a kind and gentle person. She is so reliable meeting weekly for an evening stretching, strengthening, motion and movement program. Janet is a Certified PiYo Instructor and wanted to share her passion of fitness with our participants. She has a core group of participants that attend weekly and are following the routine and building muscle and balance. Sharing fitness is Janet’s “love language.” She also has a following of volunteers who work out side by side with our Fantastic Friends all working to improve their health together! Janet did not hesitate joining the GiGi’s LIVE program – she has a heart of gold!


Thank you again GiGi’s volunteers for taking on the role of providing online purposeful programming and keeping friends connected while families are physically distancing. You are making a difference!

Stay tuned for more volunteer spotlights…

1 Comment

  1. Joan Blum on April 30, 2020 at 10:07 am

    I so miss the students I tutor and can’t wait for this isolation to end…but I’m realistic and don’t want to rush into the change back before it is medically wise. I miss Judy also!!

Leave a Comment