This month’s volunteer spotlight is shining on Kate and Kathy Rudkin, an incredible mother and daughter duo!

Kate is a Literacy Tutor bursting with high energy, high expectations and bursting positivity. She found GiGi’s Playhouse through her daughter Kathy, who is also a GiGi’s volunteer.

Kate describes herself as a “natural born teacher”, with a 25-year career as an educator. She shares, “Being able to tutor in person has been so rewarding after teaching virtually for the past year for the public school. Virtual school is hard on the teachers too!”  Kate’s expertise as a seasoned teacher brings tremendous knowledge to each tutoring session. Cindy, participant Samantha’s Mom reports, “In my opinion, having Kate, who is also an English Teacher in the County, as Sam’s tutor has been wonderful.  Sammi really looks forward to coming to GiGi’s to see Kate.  One of the benefits has definitely been that Kate was able to “evaluate” Samantha’s levels and compare that to her IEP present levels.  In addition, Kate has been great in tailoring the tutoring sessions to work on IEP goals.”

Kate works at Annapolis High School teaching IB English and AP Literature. “During this dark and down period, no matter how hard a day I’ve had in my life, when I leave GiGi’s after tutoring, I am reminded of so much light in the world and I feel connected again to my fellow humans!”

Kate says she receives so much joy from Samantha’s presence, it’s so much more than just teaching, it’s socially rewarding. Sammi says about her tutor, “I love Kate because she is my friend. She makes me work hard, but that’s ok because brain breaks are fun!”

 

Kathy is a dynamo, leading GiGi’s Hip-Hop Dance, serving as a Literacy Tutor, assisting with TeenTastic, Yoga, Fantastic Friends and helping to coordinate the upcoming GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge. Kathy brings her beautiful smile and high-octane spirit to all the programs she is involved in. In her time outside of GiGi’s, Kathy is the Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach at The Severn School in the Annapolis-area, a middle school advisor, and a fitness instructor.  She has a relative with Down syndrome that is her “bright light”!

“I found out about GiGi’s Playhouse in Annapolis simply through word of mouth in my local community and workplace. Throughout my life, I have always been passionate about service and giving back and I knew that the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse really resonated with me.

Lisa, a GiGi’s parent wrote; “My daughter was so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Kathy. From the moment they met, they were best buddies. Kathy really made Valerie feel like she was an integral part of the planning and teaching. Valerie has an innate sense of people’s character, so suffice it to say, Kathy passed the Valerie test with flying colors!  GiGi’s Annapolis is so lucky to have her.” Valerie  gushes, “I love Kathy, she’s a good friend to me, she’s in my heart. She’s my BFF.”

I volunteer because building relationships with people has always been something that fills me up. There is no better feeling than leaving a positive impact on someone else and the impact it has on me is powerful. Fostering spaces where acceptance shines is amazing as well! I have absolutely loved getting to know everyone at the Playhouse so far and I can’t wait to start doing more in-person programs and activities in the future as well.”

Thank you to these amazing women making a difference by sharing their time and talents at GiGi’s. When these gals walk in the room, you immediately feel their bright light. Thank you Kate and Kathy, we could not be more thrilled to have GiGi’s Playhouse be a Rudkin family volunteer affair!

 

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