Volunteer Spotlight: The Woodards!

Justin and Jade Woodard

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

Jade: I am a blessed mom to a special boy that rocks his extra chromosome. I was born and raised in Kentucky. Justin and I got married in 2008. I taught Special Education for almost 7 years in Virginia and Kentucky. Justin’s job brought him to Northeast Ohio in 2011 and we officially moved to North Canton in January of 2015. Currently, I am a stay-at-home-mom that tries to volunteer at the Playhouse several times a month.

Justin: Born and raised in southwest Virginia. I went to college in Kentucky at Alice Lloyd College on a baseball scholarship where I met Jade. We got married in 2008. I started working in Northeast Ohio in the oil/gas industry in 2011. We officially moved up here in January of 2015 and our son Kasen made his debut in February 2015. I currently work for FirstEnergy. In my spare time, I enjoy hunting and farming.

We want to get to know you! What are some of your favorites? (food, color, season, activity, restaurant, place to shop, etc.)

Jade’s favorites 🙂
Food: Mexican
Color: Teal
Season: Summer
Activity: Sitting on the porch or playing in the yard- just enjoying the day together
Justin’s Favorites
Food: Steak
Color: Blue
Season: Deer season 😉
Activity: Spending time with my little man (Kasen) helping at the farm

How did you learn about GiGi’s and what prompted you to become a volunteer?

Jade: I first heard about GiGi’s Playhouse in 2017 and I joined the startup team immediately! I believe in our mission and knew the difference that it would make in my own family. We are so lucky to be part the Down syndrome community and the GiGi’s Playhouse network.

Justin:

Through my wife…I want to do whatever I can with the skills and resources I have to help GiGi’s Playhouse. It is an amazing opportunity and blessing for my family and our friends in the Down syndrome community!

What is your role at the Playhouse?

Jade: I have done a little bit of everything, I believe. I started as Volunteer Coordinator. I am/have been part of the outreach committee, Volunteer committee, operations committee, Ladies Night Out event committee, board member, programs assistant, covered playhouse hours, a host family, various administrative hours, and cleaning and maintenance hours throughout the Playhouse.

Justin: “Whatever Megan or Jade tells me to do.”

From installation of the new cameras, building the stage for the MPR, changing lightbulbs, putting equipment together, shoveling snow off the sidewalks, anything manual labor.

What is your favorite experience you have had at the Playhouse?

Jade: I can’t narrow one experience at the Playhouse as my favorite. It feels like home every time I walk through the doors. It’s where I belong, as a mom and a volunteer.
Justin: Seeing it the doors open in 2019; when I got to watch Kasen get up on the stage that he and I built to play and dance with his friends!

The Woodard family has given countless hours (over 400!) of time and effort to GiGi’s Playhouse to make sure our facility is functional, upkept, and safe; for special events to make sure they run smoothly and everyone has a great time; and to meeting and welcoming new families and being a friendly face any time they are at the Playhouse. The words THANK YOU do not do enough to show our appreciation for you both!

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