Written by: Camille Manuncia, GiGi’s Communications Intern

This is GiGi’s Annapolis-style! Matthew Gregory has been living on a boat shortly before quarantine began and has been living the Annapolis dream! He lives on a 46′ Grand Banks Trawler with his dad Claude and stepmom Suzy. They spend the winter months in Florida and the summers in Annapolis. They have travelled up and down the coast and are able to cruise through beautiful waterways. Not only have they gone up and down the Intracoastal Waterway but they even ventured farther into the ocean! However, the transition from living on land to living on a boat was a challenge for Matthew at first.

Matthew’s stepmom Suzy says, “When Matthew first got on the boat, he was unsure of his footing and anxious and nervous. Being one month on the boat he gained a new level of confidence and ability to move around the boat. He will sit on the fly bridge, sit on the bow, and we even do yoga on the fly bridge together.”

Since they travel up and down the east coast every year, they have visited many different cities and states. He makes sure to log all the places they have been to. Some of Matthew’s favorite spots include St. Augustine, FL, a historic plantation in Charleston, Beaufort, SC, and Amelia Island. He has even encountered an assortment of different animals like dolphins, alligators, wild turkeys, turtles, fox squirrels, and birds of every color and variety. But their favorite place to be is of course Annapolis!

Matthew loves riding into ego alley in downtown Annapolis on their dingy. Seeing the new boats docked and waving to all the visitors is one of Matthew’s favorite past times. He has met some of the friendliest dogs on others’ boats! They even have a tandem kayak that Matthew loves to use – and wave at everyone passing by!

Matthew’s stepmom Suzy is a native of Annapolis and had heard of GiGi’s before. They moved onto the boat in December, so they headed down to Florida before joining the Playhouse. But as soon as they returned to Annapolis in July, Matthew got involved in the Fantastic Friends program. He has also joined the Fantastic Friends: Sign Language group. “Matthew really enjoyed the class.  We have been using the highlighted signs all week. Thank you for including him!”

 Living in a boat and having GiGi’s at home became an amazing combination! Matthew is able to meet new friends while still being able to travel wherever his heart desires. “Virtual GiGi’s has been a great way to continue to challenge Matthew in a safe space. The program leaders are engaging, fun and full of energy,” says Suzy.

Matthew has recently enrolled in the fall session of GiGi’s 1:1 Amina Grace Speech and Language Program as well.

Today was our third session and I found tears rolling down my cheeks as Matthew was learning to form stronger sounds and enunciate more clearly.  Simple words… but music to my ears.  He is engaged and enjoying the learning opportunity.  We cannot wait to see (and hear) what the coming weeks will bring. Thank you to the Baxley Foundation and Loyola University Maryland-Loyola Clinical Centers.”

Every day on the boat is always a new adventure and Matthew has been loving every minute. From the gorgeous Annapolis sunsets to the new friends he’s made through GiGi’s, Matthew is certainly living in a fantasy. GiGi’s at Home has provided Matthew a safe way to interact and meet new people at the Playhouse and we couldn’t be more excited to meet him in person soon. Enjoy the “Live Aboard Life” Matthew! His Mom shares, “Thank you GiGi’s, and your generous supporters, for all that you do!”

To learn more visit: GiGi’s Amina Grace Speech & Language Program

 

4 Comments

  1. Suzy Sundius on October 7, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Matthew is the BEST and Suzy too!

    • judyco on October 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      Yes! We agree, this is such an awesome set up. We love Matthew and Suzy!

    • Chris on October 16, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Matthew,

      You are a true inspiration for others. You don’t look at what you can’t do but what you can do. I can see from the photos of you and your wonderful stepmom Suzy you don’t wait for life you go after it. I love how you show others by example not only must you take time out your day to learn but to exercise. I wish you lots of fun and love ❤️ filled days ahead with your family. Keeping Reaching for the stars ⭐️.

      Chris
      West Chicago, IL

      • Suzy Kennerly on October 17, 2020 at 9:44 am

        Thank you for the kind encouraging words Chris. Make no mistake, Matthew’s Father and Mother are both overly connected to a Matthew’s development and his daily activities. It has been fun for me to connect Matthew to some activities that I know and love in Annapolis. GiGi’s Playhouse has been a big part of that!

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