Do you have or want to have experience organizing and planning an event? Do you want to give back to your community? Do you want to make new friends and connections?
If you are a high school student and answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider joining the GiGi’s Playhouse Youth Board.
This past year, 16 students from seven different schools joined together to make things happen through hard work, determination, cooperation, and yes, fun. Youth Board members learned that they were also able to continue with other activities, jobs, and school work, but had to manage their time in order to pull their weight and meet commitments. This life skill is great to master before heading to college or a full-time job.
“Above all else,” says Youth Board facilitator Sarah Brown, “we need people who will embrace and live the Generation G promise: to be accepting, to be generous, to be kind.” Sarah continues, “At GiGi’s we focus on offering programs and events for individuals with Down syndrome, promoting acceptance and inclusion for those individuals, but the Generation G promise goes beyond that. It is for people to treat ALL individuals with kindness and compassion.”
The Youth Board, as do all GiGi’s participants and volunteers, strive to make the community a better place and help to bring community together, spreading awareness that individuals with Down syndrome can do anything. Sarah underlines, “Our Youth Board wants to help make that a reality and help in even small ways to change the way our community and more specifically our youth view and accept individuals with Down syndrome.”
Some of the Board’s projects include in 2018, for example, the Dance-Dance Marathon that raised $7,000 and in 2019 Groovy Dance Marathon raised over $12,000 to support GiGi’s programs. The Board created a GiGi-lympic for this past spring with 10 game stations planned, but due to government-required closures, the even could not be held.
High school graduation means many Board members are headed in different directions geographically, leaving a dozen or more open slots for new advocates. The one direction those leaving the Board will share, however, is their passion for contributing, giving back. Dematha Catholic High School graduate Sam H. who is heading to Stevenson University where he will play lacrosse, says of his two years in the leadership-building post, “I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with individuals with Down syndrome, but I was also able to spread awareness to the greater community.”
Grace M. is leaving St. Mary’s High School and going to James Madison University. She says that being part of the Youth Board has helped shape her career path. “I am so happy I have gotten involved with GiGi’s Playhouse because I have fostered a ton of amazing relationships. My experience at the Playhouse has led me to pursue a career in special education.”
Kelsie McGlynn, GiGi’s Summer Intern, emphasizes that, “Being a part of the Playhouse’s Youth Board is a great experience that leaves a lasting impact on its members and its members leave a lasting impact on Playhouse participants.”
See the Board application below and be sure to submit it before June 30. You’ll be glad you did!
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