Our Team

 

Kim Eckert, president, keckert@gigisplayhouse.org, Kim brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from her years of experience in the non-profit sector. Having served on several boards and also as an executive director, she has experienced various aspects of the non-profit world. In July 2016, Kim learned that her grandson, due in December 2016, would be born with an extra 21st chromosome. ” I wanted to learn as much as I could about Down syndrome so that I could support my son and his family. I attended the GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis Believe in the Build and was immediately propelled into action”

Kim’s grandson, Jeremiah, born in December 2016, continues to inspire her everyday. “ It is a privilege to lead our board, to open our Annapolis location and bring programs to all of our families “

 

Sarah Brown, vice president, sbrown@gigisplayhouse.org, Sarah is an attorney in Annapolis and ardent supporter of GiGi’s Playhouse. Sarah’s cousin, who is also her best friend, was born with Down syndrome and has motivated Sarah to find additional resources and programs so all individuals like her cousin receive the best education and support.

 

Shawn Valentine, Treasurer, svalentine@gigisplayhouse.org, Shawn received his Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Loyola College in Baltimore, MD and earned a Master's degree in Accounting and Financial Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. Shawn has over 15 years of non-profit experience including his current role as Director of Finance for New Hope Housing. Shawn became an advocate for Down Syndrome awareness when his daughter, Sydney, was born with Down Syndrome. Shawn believes Gigi's Playhouse provides another educational resource to further support Down Syndrome Awareness.

 

Andrea Dantinne, events committee chair, adantinne@gigisplayhouse.org, Andrea was born and raised just outside of Annapolis, Maryland. She currently resides in Severn, Maryland with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Andrea was so excited to get involved with GiGi's Playhouse after the birth of her youngest son, Parker. She says "He inspires me every day and I know that GiGi's Playhouse Annapolis will be a place for him to grow and learn all while having fun."

 

Rachel Bucceri, volunteer committee chair, rbucceri@gigisplayhouse.org, Rachel was born in Washington, DC. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband and six children. Her youngest, Corrina, has Down's Syndrome. She received her Early Childhood Education Degree at Mitchell College in Connecticut. She owns her own childcare in Maryland. "I am super excited about GiGi's because I want every individual with Down's Syndrome to have the opportunities that my daughter has gotten. I have been fortunate enough to have access to the best of everything for Corrina. Not everyone has that opportunity. I really believe in GiGi's".

 

Krystle Foy, outreach committee chair, kfoy@gigisplayhouse.org, Krystle was born and raised in Maryland and she is the proud mother of Grace, who is Krystle’s daily inspiration. Krystle recently left a ten year career as an insurance agent to return to college for her Masters Degree in Elementary Special Education. She is currently attending University of Maryland, College Park as a full time student, and working part time at a Learning and Development Center. Krystle and Grace spend their free time with her boyfriend, Ryan, and his two boys. She and Ryan enjoy taking the kids on all kinds of adventures, from trips to the beach to dinner dates. Krystle has been working with GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis from the very beginning and cannot wait to see our impact in the community.

 

Florence August, programs committee chair, faugust@gigisplayhouse.org, Florence August has imagined a GiGI’s Playhouse in Anne Arundel County ever since she read about GiGi’s five years ago. It has been literally around her kitchen table that a core group of dedicated volunteers have spent many hours to make this shared dream come true.

With the support of her husband, Todd, and their four children Tierney, Toby, Mary and Olivia, she has been involved with the Down Syndrome Connection for the last 10 years and is excited to see how the two organizations will complement one another in our community. The August family resides in Arnold, Maryland.

 

Jenn Andriany, communications committee chair, jandriany@gigisplayhouse.org, Jenn received her bachelors degree from East Carolina University and later earned a CAE designation for non-profit management. After an over 10-year career working in the non-profit sector, Jenn shifted gears and is now working for an insurance carrier in a sales and development role.

Jenn’s four-year-old niece, Hailey, has Down syndrome which has motivated her to help other families and individuals like Hailey, obtain the resources they need to ensure they live the most positive and encouraging lives possible.

 

Ryan Peters, head of IT, rpeters@gigisplayhouse.org, Ryan has been a lifetime native of Maryland and currently resides in Pasadena with his two kids, Connor and Camden, and three dogs. Ryan and his girlfriend Krystle enjoy fostering dogs, GeoCaching, and adventuring with the kids. He has a BS in Computer Science from UMBC and enjoys all-things tech, music, drumming, and some amateur gardening.

 

Catherine Fonfara, facilities chair, Cfonfara@gigisplayhouse.org, resides in Annapolis, MD with her two daughters, Charlotte and Noelle. Charlotte, now 14, was born with Down syndrome. Since Charlotte’s birth, Cathy has been involved with many organizations that exist to help individuals with Down syndrome. She understands the importance of making resources available to all individuals with Down syndrome so they may reach their full potential. Catherine is also very passionate about spreading awareness and acceptance; knowing that every person, regardless of abilities, is part of the community.

 

Becky Berger, bberger@gigisplayhouse.org, Becky was born and raised in Maryland. She currently resides near Annapolis with her husband and two children. Her Godson, Parker, has Down Syndrome and his beautiful blue eyes stole her heart immediately! She feels blessed to be part of such an amazing group of people at GiGi's Playhouse Annapolis. Becky has a Bachelor of Science degree from Towson University and owns a medical billing company. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at her kids' school and taking her rescue dog for walks.