From Nancy Gianni, President and GiGi’s Mom:
I always struggle to describe GiGi’s because each location and each connection means so much to so many people – all in very different ways. To some families it is a learning center, to others a support center, to others a place to volunteer, but to all it is a place to belong. We have helped kids learn to walk, talk, read, do math, fitness, learn careers skills, facilitated adoptions, helped families through bereavement and the list goes on. And for so many families, we’ve happily offered them congratulations on the birth of their beautiful baby.
A couple of years ago a family from San Diego came to tour the GiGi’s National Achievement Center. They had recently lost their 27 year old son Sumi who had Down syndrome, and wanted to be around the special love that only individuals with DS can give. They fell in love with the Playhouse and are now leading a start up team in San Diego to bring a GiGi’s Playhouse to California.
Uma, the mother, reached out to me recently and asked if they could spend what would have been Sumi’s 30th birthday at the Playhouse. They needed to be around that special love. On that Wednesday GiGi U and GiGi Prep were in session and of course Hugs & Mugs was open for business. Everyone enjoyed a crazy morning of Bollywood dancing, cooking and classwork. Afterwards some of the GiGi’s team suggested taking Uma and her husband to lunch at Macaroni Grill. There was silence for a moment after the invite, then Uma smiled and said that was one of Sumi’s favorite restaurants and they had not been there since he died.
All I can believe is that this was carefully planned from one of our angels up above. Our angels continue to keep the Playhouses alive through their spirit. I feel so blessed and honored to be a part of their miracles.