Sally moved to Charleston in 2008 to attend the College of Charleston where she double majored in International Business and Arts Management, and double minored in International Studies and Studio Art. Born and raised in Greenville, SC, Sally is proud of her hometown, but Charleston's charm stole her heart.
A full-time artist in the Charleston area, Sally thrives through creativity and connectivity in the community. Her background also specializes in marketing with a focus on eCommerce. Her son, James, received a prenatal DownSyndrome diagnosis in 2019, and from that, she feels she has found her greater purpose through the gift of becoming a mother and advocating on behalf of the Down Syndrome community. Her choice for advocacy is living by example and taking action to create the change she wants to see in the world. Sally's first step in action was creating a law in the state of SC (Bill 4597 aka James' Law) that, if passed, will protect those with disabilities from being discriminated against when an organ transplant is needed/available. After learning about GiGi's Playhouse, Sally didn't hesitate to get involved with the team to bring one to SC. She feels that a GiGi's Playhouse in Charleston will be beneficial for further educating and creating opportunities statewide.
Erica is a mother of two children. Her youngest has Down syndrome and gave her exclusive membership into the local DS association. Erica is now the President of that organization and loves welcoming new families onto the fold. As a former teacher and environmental scientist, Erica hopes to use her skills to make GiGi's Playhouse of Charleston a sustainable and impactful addition to the lives of our local DS community.
Kristin Clontz has been a registered nurse for 15 years. She has worked in many different areas of healthcare with newborn nursery being her passion. In 2020 at 14 weeks gestation with her 3rd child, she received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Despite being a nurse, her experience with Down syndrome was very limited. She immediately threw herself into research (not the dreaded google search we have all been warned against) but research into the world of other families that had children with Down syndrome and what their experiences had been. Through social media, she made contacts and was able to embrace the beautiful world that is the Down syndrome community. While the path was full of unknowns and worries it was also full of amazing and compassionate people that were willing to walk that path alongside you. When her daughter Emoree arrived, and she was able to experience that immeasurable love and joy for herself she knew it must be shared with the world. Through this community, she learned about GiGi's playhouse and the fact that one did not exist nearby. She was instantly drawn to that task and knew that she wanted to be a part of bringing GiGi's to Charleston. She would love nothing more than for Emoreeand all of her friends to grow up having GiGi's playhouse as not just a resource but a place that feels like home with friends that feel like family.
Kim Jenkins is an accountant by trade with a passion for creating awareness and supporting inclusion for the Down Syndrome community. This passion was brought to light after she gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte, in January of 2020. Before learning of Charlotte's prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, Kim had extremely limited knowledge and awareness of Down syndrome, and while she still has much to learn, she enjoys sharing her family's journey with friends and acquaintances. Kim graduated from The University of North Carolina-Wilmington with a Master of Science in accountancy in 2011. She has worked in both the public accounting and private internal audit industries before settling in her current industry of captive insurance in 2015.
Shannon McSwain is a mother of three children and has been married to her husband for 27 years. Shannon graduated from Charleston Southern University with a degree in Business. In 2014, she received a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome of her youngest son, Eli. Overwhelmed with the unknown, Shannon remembers relying on her faith, family, and friends for support. Once Eli was born it was clear he could and would do what her older children were able to do. Eli has been a blessing to the McSwain family; and, always reminding them to live in the momentCharleston has a supportive Down Syndrome Association of the Low Country and a GiGi's playhouse in the area would be even more empowering and beneficial for the Down Syndrome community. A dedicated place for families to celebrate their children and benefit from the free resources would be another way to help families go from being overwhelmed with the unknown to having a feeling of joy and acceptance.
Marie and her husband Tommie have a blended family of five beautiful daughters with ages ranging from 29 years old to3 years old. Their youngest daughter Cameron-Jean (CJ) is rocking an extra chromosome. Marie became aware of Cl's Down Syndrome diagnosis through early prenatal testing. Having no experience and very little knowledge of Down Syndrome, she spent the duration of her pregnancy soaking up information. It became her goal to ensure that CJ was given every opportunity to live her best life. Marie is a fervent advocate for acceptance and inclusion for her daughter and other individuals with Down Syndrome. She strongly believes that acceptance and inclusion are personal rights of all people, regardless of ability level. She has always been passionate about advocating for children in need. Marie served as volunteer guardian ad litem for children in foster care due to abuse and neglect. Additionally, she had led several community service projects assisting low-income schools and families. Marie has an Associate's degree in Paralegal Studies from Midland Technical College and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Drexel University. She is a Senior Project Coordinator for Johnson Controls Fire Protection.
Lynze is a devoted wife and mother of two girls, Mati and Carly. She has always had a love and passion for individuals with special needs. While studying Special Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she became an active member of the Beyond Academics program. This amazing program's volunteers educate and mentor young men and women with special needs. In her position as a mentor, she taught these men and women important life skills and helped them with attending college classes with their typical peers. After college, Lynze had a career shift and ended up working in the hospitality industry for several years. She held management roles in fine dining establishments, and she also helped bring a new restaurant concept to life before starting her dream job as a stay-at-home mom. The news of Carly's prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome was undoubtedly shocking, but believing everything happens for a reason, Lynze knew that this was a calling. This would be her life's calling, in fact. She has a deep love for advocating, educating, and meeting the wonderful people within the community. Bringing a GiGi's Playhouse to Charleston is what this momma feels she was destined to do to make her mark in the world. Her hope is that Gigi's of Charleston can become a home away from home for our local community. Here, everyone will be accepted and adored for who they are, not by how many chromosomes they may have.
Ronni Myers is the mom of a sweet little boy, Colton, and her yellow lab Luna. She is a paralegal at Resnick & Louis. Ronni became involved in the Down syndrome community to support her little sister, Cameron-Jean (CJ). She is excited to join the GiGi’s Playhouse Charleston Startup team to help bring this amazing organization to the greater Charleston area. With a 20-year age difference, she has been actively involved in all aspects of CJ’s life since birth and understands the incredible opportunities GiGi’s Playhouse will bring to CJ and all of her friends.
T is a mother of 4. Her youngest daughter Katie has Down Syndrome. Katie’s arrival introduced her family to a whole new world. T quickly became Katie’s biggest advocate; pushing the boundaries to help Katie reach her goals. Through a lot of hard work Katie was able to realize her dream of college… Go Tigers!! T has held several positions in the local Down Syndrome Association over the years. T has been active in the Special Olympics community coaching bowling and most recently basketball. T has an MBA from from Southern Wesleyan University. She currently works in Human Resources / Training.