Our Team


Megan Vance - Site Manager


Megan Vance has been a lifelong advocate for the Down syndrome community from the time her brother was born with Down syndrome in 2001. "He has been my biggest influence and best friend in life, and I have strived to make the world a better place for him and so many others."

Megan's commitment to this advocacy followed her through her college career as a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University. During her undergraduate experience, she was president of a student organization that strived to promote inclusion and acceptance of the Down syndrome community and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work in 2018, then went on to pursue her master’s in social work and graduated in 2020. During graduate school, Megan continued to make connections when she received a scholarship from a family who has a daughter with Down syndrome, who she is proud to now call her friend, and later learned she is involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Canton!

Megan is a licensed social worker with experience in the mental health field, non-profit mentoring, and program development. She also shares that she has four pets and counting, enjoys painting, cooking, baking, and spending time with friends and family, and has a knack for finding 4-leaf clovers!

Megan's wish for the Playhouse is to have signage that can be seen from the main road, or maybe even a billboard!


Ben Morrett, Board President


Ben Morrett and his wife, Nicole, were married in 2013 and they currently live in the Jackson area. They are actively pursuing the adoption of their first child, a little girl in China (who happens to have Down syndrome). They can’t wait to travel and be able to bring her home to be a part of their family and the GiGi’s family, as well! 

Ben graduated from the University of Dayton with his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology. He currently works at The Timken Company as a Product Manager. Ben joined the Canton board to be a part of creating a more inclusive and accepting community for his future daughter to grow up in.  

Ben wishes we can get more picture frames to add more photos all around the Playhouse!  

woman with blonde hair wearing a GiGi's Playhouse shirt in front of a colored background

Jessi Korpi, Board Vice President


Jessica (Jessi) and her husband Fred were born in Colorado and met in college. They married in 2009 and made their way to Missouri in 2011. Jessi is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. They are proud parents of 3 OHIO children, Blaiden, Adilene, & Kallie. During their second pregnancy they learned that they had a beautiful girl with Down syndrome. Jessi looked for resources and support and found comfort in the love of GiGi’s Playhouse. When she learned Canton was opening a GiGi’s Playhouse, she was immediately enthused and has been involved since it opened!

Adilene was diagnosed with cancer just before her 2nd birthday. “Without the love, support, and the absolute unrelenting strength our family would not have survived.” – Fred. Adilene is not only cancer free but has prospered! Jessi is a rock and anchor for the entire family. Since that day she has been raising a beautiful family and devoting her life to improving Adilene’s life and the lives of every parent and child with Down syndrome.

Jessi wishes to have a dropdown projector at the Playhouse to use for new family and volunteer orientations.


Sierra Crow, Board Treasurer


Sierra currently resides in Jackson Township with her S/O Kyle and their two cats, Daisy & Duke (pun intended). She received a BBA (2018) & MSA (2019) from Kent State University and then became a CPA (2020) through the state of Ohio’s Accountancy Board. She uses her educational background in her personal life when working on tax returns, at her place of employment as a senior accountant at Diversified Energy PLC, and as a volunteer for the board at GiGi’s Playhouse Canton. Sierra began volunteering with GiGi’s in 2021 serving on the finance committee and as the treasurer during 2022 and 2023. Additionally, during 2022 Sierra kicked off the Generation G Youth Board at GiGi’s Playhouse Canton, where she encourages middle and high school students to get involved, serving as the Youth Board Facilitator. Sierra was drawn to GiGi’s Playhouse because she believes in the Generation G mission to be accepting, generous and kind. If Sierra could wish one thing for GiGi’s Playhouse beyond monetary restrictions, she would wish for building ownership/free rent!


Stacy Jackson, Past President


Stacy Jackson and her husband, Rick, were married in 2005 and have seven children, 6 boys and their youngest, a girl, who was born in July 2016 with Down syndrome. Their daughter, Maleah, has changed their perspective on life in so many ways that they are 100% on board with the concept of celebrating that extra chromosome. 

Stacy graduated from Kent State University with her bachelor’s degree in sign language interpreting and later from the University of Akron with her master’s in special education. Stacy has spent the majority of her career in education as a teacher and interpreter.  She was honored to join the GiGi's Playhouse National Office Staff in June 2022 as the Regional Director of the Eastern Region. 

Stacy has been part of the GiGi's Playhouse Canton team from the very first start-up meeting in March of 2017 and has served in several capacities. 

“Being a part of bringing GiGi’s Playhouse to Canton was truly one of the most exciting things I have ever been involved in! The relationships that have been established has been life-changing for our family. I know, without a doubt, that the impact GiGi’s Playhouse will continue to have in the Stark County area will be nothing short of incredible!”  

Stacy’s wish list for the Playhouse would be an actual gym area for GiGiFIT.  


Genevieve  Boja, Secretary


Genevieve (Genny) became involved in the Down syndrome community when the family she babysat for had a beautiful daughter with Down syndrome, named Monroe, to round out their wonderful family. Since the first GiGi’s start-up meeting in a Panera, Genny has been committed to changing the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all!   

Genny graduated from the University of Akron with her Bachelor's in Child and Family Development. She currently works as an elementary teacher at The Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children, working primarily with students on the Autism spectrum.   

Genny was a part of the Start-up Committee and currently sits on the program committee and the marketing committee (as the fastest proofreader in the East) for GiGi’s Playhouse Canton. "This whole journey has been so wonderful, and I've learned so much. Finally having this dream come true for so many people is one of the most spectacular things I will ever be a part of."  

If she could have one item for the Playhouse, it would be a large sensory tube.  


Charlie Dear, Board Member


Charlie Dear is a Jackson High School Alum and graduate of the University of Mount Union where he double majored in Finance and Business Management. At Mount Union, Charlie was a two-time team captain, member of the 2015 & 2017 National Championship teams, and 2017 AP All-American Linebacker. Charlie is a financial professional/Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES) with Equitable Advisors and has been an active board member with GiGi’s Playhouse- Canton since August of 2020. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, hiking, fishing and playing frisbee with his fiancé Brittany and German Shepard Bear.
Charlie’s wish for GiGi’s Playhouse is to have a turfed area for our GiGiFIT programming, or any program that would allow the participants to be outside and be active.


Nicholas Doyle, Board Member


Nicholas "Nick" is a 2007 graduate of GlenOak High School in Canton, OH.  Born with Down syndrome in 1988, Nick has been an overachiever since the day he was born.  Nick is the National Sales Executive for the Improvaneer Method, the first all Down syndrome improvisation troupe, sits on the Board of Stand Up for Downs as Vice President, and is very involved as a self-advocate on the GiGi’s Playhouse Canton Board and leading our gratitude committee. Nick was an honoree of the 2021 Twenty Under 40! in Stark County and recognized for is leadership and social responsibility.

Nick’s wish for the Canton Playhouse is to one day expand and have our very own Hugs & Mugs café and career training program.


Christine Gray - Board Member


Christine (Christy) Gray has had a passion for helping others since a very young age. She has especially been a huge advocate for all individuals with special needs, as she has seen first-hand the incredible value they bring to this world. Christy graduated in 2015 from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a degree in Elementary Education as well as a degree as an Intervention Specialist. When she is not volunteering at GiGi’s, she is a High School Intervention Specialist in Loudonville, Ohio. She has been volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse since the winter of 2019 and then decided to take her passion a step further by also joining the board. 

In her free time, Christy enjoys traveling, hiking with her rescue dogs, camping, volunteering at her church, good coffee, yoga, and spending time with those she loves. She is always looking for a new adventure or dog park to visit with her boys. Christy believes that by growing understanding and acceptance of individuals with special needs, we will be able to one day make the world a better place. 

One thing Christy wishes for when it comes to our Playhouse is to have automatic, accessible entryways. 

Steven Hykes

Steven Hykes, Board Member 


Steven Hykes grew up with family friends who had a daughter with Down syndrome, which gave him a small glimpse into the future when he and his wife Aidelni (eye-dell-knee) learned early into their pregnancy their daughter Zoë was highly likely to be born with Down syndrome. Zoë has been a bright light for their family of 5 and keeps her two older sisters on their toes. Zoë was born in Tucson, Arizona and there was a lot of non-profit and government support for families of children with Down syndrome but no GiGi's Playhouse in that area. When they moved to Phoenix a few years later, Steven and his family discovered GiGi's Playhouse and loved that there was an intentional community of parents with a lot of wisdom to share and guide each other forward. When Steven and his family decided to move to northeast Ohio, GiGi's Playhouse was central in the decision of which community they wanted to call home. 

Steven graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelor's degree in accounting and started his career in public accounting in New York and Chicago before moving to Arizona in 2010. During his time in Arizona, he worked for Tucson Unified School District; United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona; and Academies of Math and Science, a charter school network, where he leads their finance and growth teams. Steven currently works remotely in Ohio for Academies of Math and Science and is an inactive Certified Public Accountant. Steven joined the GiGi’s Playhouse Canton board not only because his family is a part of the GiGi's community, but because he knows how important it is to have financial expertise on a non-profit board.  

If Steven could wish for one thing for GiGi's Playhouse Canton, it would be to someday have a new GiGi’s building (rent free) that had a dedicated space for all of GiGi’s menu of program offerings, including a a GiGi’s Studio Café space and GiGiU 


Kim Labriola - Board Member


Kim lives in Canton and currently works for Summit Educational Service Center as a Community and Family Partner Liaison. She works directly with families to assist with connections to local community resources to help improve children’s developmental, social-emotional, behavioral and mental health functioning. Before joining SESC, Kim worked for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health as an Early Childhood Program Manager/Early Childhood Consultant.

Kim graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Family and Community Services, with an emphasis as a Child Life Specialist. She later earned her master’s degree in Education and Curriculum from Ashland University.

Kim is a past board member for Domestic Violence Inc., The Palace Theater Board, and was a committee member for Wine Women and Shoes for Mercy Service League. She is currently part of our outreach and fundraising committees.

In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her two nephews, traveling, volunteering for non-profit organizations throughout Stark County, spending time with family and friends, and her dog Mollie. Kim is excited to have recently joined GiGi’s Playhouse and to be a part of this passionate board that provides services for the Down syndrome community.

Kim’s wish for the Canton Playhouse is to have a van that will allow us to transport participants to and from various program opportunities.


Christina  Ziga-Budd, Past President


Christina Ziga-Budd and her husband, Tim, reside in Green with their three daughters McKinley, Reagan and Monroe.  “Our youngest daughter Monroe was born in August 2015. She surprised us when she was born with a full head of dark hair and Down syndrome.  We always say Monroe was not only a gift to us as parents, but she was meant to follow behind her awesome big sisters. They are her best teachers and advocates.”

Christina is a graduate of Kent State University where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and later got her master's in Educational Leadership with a Principal’s License and Superintendent’s License.  Christina currently is the Special Education Director in the Springfield Local Schools.

Christina posted on Facebook about Gigi’s Playhouse in February of 2017.  In March 2017, a group of passionate strangers brainstormed if this was needed in our community.  It is amazing that it all began in the corner of a Panera!  “We obviously decided that this was the way to go and was a needed icon in our community!  Come visit us we cannot wait to meet you!”

One wish Christina has for our Playhouse is to have an enclosed trailer that can haul our event


Melissa Quinlan, Board Member 


Melissa Quinlan and her husband, Justin, both grew up in the Canton area and attended Jackson High School. They were married in 2009 and had their first child, Piper, in 2015 and second child, Aria, in 2017. Both girls keep them busy with sports activities including gymnastics, cheerleading and swimming. The Quinlan family also has two golden retriever mixes named Clara and Roxy.  

Melissa graduated from Kent State University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Minor in Marketing. Throughout her career, Melissa has held various marketing and communication roles. She currently works at The Timken Company as a Marketing Communications Manager.  

In her free time, Melissa enjoys long distance running, especially on the local towpath, and participating in half marathons. She also loves Disney and traveling in general.  

Melissa believes the only disability in life is a bad attitude and that everyone deserves to pursue their passions and dreams. She joined the Canton board to be a part of an organization that supports acceptance for all. Melissa hopes her young children will eventually volunteer at GiGi’s and live in a world that supports kindness and acceptance.  

Melissa’s wish list for the Playhouse would be more equipment and activities for GiGiFIT.