GiGi’s Playhouse – “We Fell In Love”
By Doni Donero
Back Home in Maryland
After living in Utah and Hawaii, David is back in Maryland and loving it. David was raised in Maryland, but had the opportunity to live in other states before returning. He now lives with his sister. He participates with two organizations that bring him joy: GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis and interPlay Orchestra at The Music Center at Strathmore.
David and his two sisters, Beth and Ellen, discovered GiGi’s through the Facebook group Parents of Children with Down Syndrome of Prince George’s County, where they live. At the time, the family did not know any other adults with Down syndrome, and when one of the group’s members suggested the Annapolis organization, they thought it might be too far, but they went ahead and registered David for an activity, and that was it. They were all hooked.
David’s sister remarks about the experience, “The whole vibe from the minute you enter the hallway at GiGi’s is magnetic. David fell in love! We fell in love! We knew that driving 25 miles to Annapolis would be worth every minute David could spend in such a positive environment.” He also had the opportunity to volunteer as a Program Assistant Leader at GiGi’s.
She says about the recent challenges, “GiGi’s has even kept the fun going during the pandemic closures in creative ways. The staff and volunteers are truly talented and giving people who want to make the world a better place for everyone.”
David reinforces the sentiment when he says, “I love the holiday parties and the dances too. I liked the Friends Thanksgiving, the Halloween Dance, and the Christmas Around the World party. I have friends like Mark, Valerie, and Amanda, and the Naval Academy friends. I do PiYo with Janet. Oooh and I love karaoke.”
David’s love of music extends beyond karaoke, however. He has always loved music, passed along from his mother, and after discovering interPLAY Orchestra at The Music Center at Strathmore, David has been able to focus that love on drumming. The orchestra David plays in has 67 performers, with and without special challenges, and they play professional percussion and traditional instruments from all over the world in addition to performing vocals. His sister Ellen says about David’s nine years with the orchestra, “We see a dramatic change in David’s rhythm. He’s learned so many percussion instruments and so much about performing. He loves his band and bandmates and hates missing a single Monday night rehearsal at Strathmore.” Ellen notes that whenever a gift is in order, birthdays or Christmas, David always asks for something music related.
Being a well-rounded man, David also enjoys swimming, biking and working out. In 2019, he went on a cross-country road trip that included Arches, Canyonlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks.
David has increased his exercise and over the past few years he has lost 110 pounds and he is not stopping! David and his family and friends will participate in the Step to Accept Challenge this Saturday, June 6th, Noon.
Join, support or donate to Team Dee Tees for the Step to Accept Challenge!