2022 Gala – A Night to Celebrate the Dreams and Achievements of Individuals with Down syndrome

June 10th, 2022 — GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis made a splash at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel at our 2022 Gala. Roughly 250 guests, including our GiGi’s family and community members, joined us for a night that honored our participants and all of the magic that happens here at the Playhouse. 

As attendees entered the hotel, they were greeted by Valerie Custer, one of our fabulous participants, who was looking absolutely stunning in her sparkly black dress. Upstairs, guests made their way to the terrace that overlooked the sailboats in the bay. “It was truly a magical night,” said Sarah Brown, our board president. 

After guests made their way to their seats, the show began with a special performance from the talented, Robert Wallop, who inspired a standing ovation. “Robert’s performance was electric!” said one of the Gala guests. Robert is a certified LaBlast instructor who leads our Friends, Fun, and Fitness class every Wednesday night. 

Following Robert’s solo show, Carmen and her mother, Ginger, took to the stage to share their experiences during our GiGi Prep program, our career development class that assists our participants in building communication skills, money management, customer service skills, team building, and health and wellness. The duo really highlighted the impact that this program has on our participants, as Carmen shared her experience as a participant who graduated from our prep program and Ginger underscored the benefits she saw as both a parent and the volunteer leader. After graduating from the GiGi Prep class this past Spring, Carmen was hired at Mod Pizza where she has recently been promoted to a shift trainer. We are so proud of Carmen!


After the program, attendees had the opportunity to participate in our silent and live auction, as well as a wine-pull. The hottest item of the night was a special painting created by our Fantastic Friends participants, including Jamie Herman, Sharon Dondero, Emma Adams, Ronnie Woods, and Valerie Custer (as pictured from left to right). 

Overall, Gala goers left feeling inspired and proud of the accomplishments of GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis. This event raised over $130,000! With this financial support, our Playhouse will be able to expand our GiGi Prep programming to ensure that more of our participants will have the supports they need to pursue a career and become more independent.

We would like to give a special thanks to all of the people who made our 2022 Gala a success: Rachel Brown, Katie Baker, Katie Pinkham, Kim Eckert & the rest of the 2022 Gala Committee. 


Check out the rest of the photos from this magical night here.

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