Beau Bates: GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago Impact Story
What brought you to GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago?
I first got involved as a volunteer to support the build-out efforts of GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago. I felt that this is something that I could really help with and continued to stay involved as a Facilities Chair on the Board of Managers. Making GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago spaces best fit the needs of our participants and volunteers is something that I continue to think about as we expand and add new programs. Last year, we added a washer-dryer combo and finished upgrading our Career Hub. In the upcoming year, I want to think about how we can make the best use of these spaces to make sure they are serving the needs of our interns. I also really enjoy working with the outreach committee, while I don’t go to the meetings I try to volunteer for things and join outreach events at the schools and farmer’s markets.
What is your most memorable moment of impact in 2023?
For me, the most memorable moment of impact this year goes back to work we’ve done at the Farmer’s Markets. I feel that Farmer’s Markets offers a great next step in career-readiness for GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago interns, and I am excited to see how this opportunity continues to expand in the coming years. Our participants love going to the Farmer’s Markets, seeing their friends and being there to help with the booth. I hope to see these efforts grow, and have our interns continue to build on their skills in customer service as they get more comfortable doing outreach and merchandising for GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago. I think that is a great opportunity for them to get more involved in a leadership role through these types of opportunities. Ian has gotten a lot out of going to the Farmer’s Markets, and I can see him getting more organized each time we go. He gets along with his friends, stays focused, and I can see that he really enjoys being there and helping out. We have a lot to offer during those events, so seeing the next level of sales job training would be awesome. Ian will be 18 next year, and I can see that he has really established strong friendships among the other teens and young adults at GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago. It’s noticeable that the older participants are immediately drawn toward supporting and mentoring younger participants and newcomers, and I can see Ian starting to take on that role as well.
What is your vision for 2024?
My focus and vision for 2024 is on expanding opportunities for participants who are in their transition years. I want to try to think of new ways that we can serve them. We got the career hub, and thinking about how we can fully make it work in the future, like getting more opportunities to lead outreach events.