“Our House filled with Laughter” with GiGi’s At Home Programs

By Lisa Moore

“My daughter, Amanda, is a young woman of almost 36 who happens to have Down Syndrome.  Amanda has a very positive outlook.  I told her once that someone asked me if I’d change that she has Down Syndrome if I could.  Before I could tell her my response, she said, “No way!  I love my life.”  That is her take attitude about everything.

Amanda has one of the busiest schedules imaginable.  She has worked full time at a grocery store for 13 years, participates in Special Olympics sports, enjoys programs and activities at GiGi’s Playhouse in Annapolis, and also volunteers at GiGi’s with the Teentastic group.  When the need for a quarantine arose, everyone faced changes in their lives and routines.  For Amanda, it brought all her activities to a screeching halt.

Although grocery stores are an essential business and the store where she works has remained open, Amanda had to stop working due to an underlying health condition.  Her routine of 13 years ended.  For the sake of everyone’s health, all activities with Special Olympics and GiGi’s Playhouse also stopped.  While this quarantine is hard for all of us, this is even more difficult for people who are used to being active.  Amanda missed her coworkers and customers, her GiGi’s Playhouse friends, and her ‘boss’, Judy.

When GiGi’s Playhouse started offering “At Home” programs, Amanda suddenly had many things to do.  Our house filled with laughter as she started having virtual “Lunch Bunch” get togethers with GiGi’s Playhouse Fantastic Friends.  They play bingo, do scavenger hunts, and play other fun games. Amanda and I co-hosted a virtual tea party for the Fantastic Friends group.  Many of the guests dressed up, and they shared what favorite teas and snacks they were having.  It was a fun time, and it was awesome that even the gentlemen joined us for the party.

She is participating in weekly Fantastic Friends PiYo using her iPad.  I love hearing everyone greeting each other as they sign in for the class.  I also always hear a lot of laughing, too, which has made me peek to see if she’s really working out.  She is, but she is also enjoying every minute of it.

Of most importance to Amanda is that she is getting to continue her volunteer work with the Teentastic group.  She is excited to be able to help her younger friends with Down syndrome.  It makes her feel good about herself that she can take on a leadership role.

Thank you, GiGi’s Playhouse, for helping to make this crazy time easier for Amanda.  The chance to stay connected with her friends from GiGi’s Playhouse and the wonderful volunteers there has meant the world to her.  Seeing her happy means everything to me.

Amanda’s cardiologist has said she can go back to work on June 1, which is both exciting and a little scary.  I can promise, though, that she’ll still be coming to GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis virtual PiYo and taking advantage of the GiGi’s On Demand programs.

We love GiGi’s Playhouse!


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