3rd Annual Get Down With Down Syndrome a HUGE Success!

Get Down With Down Syndrome 2017:  A Fun Filled Afternoon of Dancing and Inspiration!

The 2017 Get Down With Down Syndrome Dance-A-Thon was a success on many levels.  With nearly 300 people in attendance, it was our largest event to date!   We raised over $31,000 and contributions are still rolling in through matching donations, friends and supporters.  While we surpassed our attendance goal, we are still working on our fundraising goal and are keeping the event page open until October 31.   Click HERE if you’d like to make a donation to GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago.

We have so many people to thank for making this event such a success! First and foremost, thanks to our partner DePaul College Prep for graciously hosting the event. A special thanks to Mary Dempsey, President of DePaul College Prep and Flo Merkl-Deutsch, Director of Mission & Values, for being our champions in our efforts to grow the event.     We look forward to a long-lasting relationship (and great news, we’ve been invited back for next year).

Thank you to Nancy Gianni, the Founder and visionary leader of GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, and her daughter GiGi, for attending our Dance-A-Thon!   GiGi rocked her speech and Nancy moved the crowd to near tears when she called for true acceptance, not just awareness, of Down syndrome.


Thank You to Our TEAMS!

Our top five fundraising teams include:

  • Emma and Kelsi BFFs By Birth raised $13,152 to date!
  • Super Troupers raised $4,798
  • GiGi-A-GoGo raised $2,189
  • Colin “CB” Bear raised $1,265
  • Need More Cowbell raised $998

We thank everyone who registered, created a team and attended the event:

Colin “CB” Baar, Emma and Kelsi BFFs By Birth, GiGi-A-GoGo, GiGi’s Danceathon ,Groove is in the Heart, Need More Cowbell, Rising Phoenix, Sammy’s Dancers, St. Viator Girl Scout Cadettes, SUPER TROUPERS!, Tacos Tacos & Party, Team Bee, TEAM MOLLY, Team OMG, The A Team, The Havin A Good Times

Awards GO TO………

  • Largest Team:   Super Troupers!
  • Best Team Theme:  St. Viator Girl Scout Cadettes
  • Most Money Raised:   Emma and Kelsi BFFs By Birth


Thank You to Event, Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors!









Thank You to In-Kind Sponsors

We had over $7,000 in in-kind donations for this event!!    Where to start?   A huge shout out to our fantastic DJ, Tony Gonzalez (aka Tony GOGO)!  He would love to host your next party.   We LOVED having Picture Day at the event and their photo booth photos are the BOMB!!   Two additional photographers, Courtney Scheimann and Jerry Alt, both donated a full day of their event photography service.  Sandra from Take Me Away did the amazing balloon columns, arches and centerpieces.  Thank you to GoGo squeeZ, Skinny Pop, Trader Joe’s and Costco for the water and healthy snacks.    Chicago Event Graphics provided the amazing backdrop with the GiGi’s Chicago logo on it for the photo booth.   And last but not least, a big thank you to Fast Signs – West Loop for printing our 2017 posters and to Triumph Books for drafting and sending press releases.

Thank You to Our Raffle In-Kind Sponsors








Thank You to Our Volunteers!

We could  not have done the event without the leadership of our event co-chairs, Jo Dee Walsh and Colleen Rock Mueller — THANK YOU!  We also thank the committee members:  Mae Skoglund, MIchelle Maurer, Carrie Chase, Grace Gibbs, and Amy Archer.

Our day-of volunteers were amazing and did a terrific job of setting-up, selling raffle tickets, checking-in guests, and much more.   Your support is truly appreciated.

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Our Dance-A-Thon donation page will remain open until October 31.    

You may be able to increase the impact of your donation to GiGi’s Playhouse. Many employers sponsor matching gift programs to match charitable contributions made by their employees. Gifts from retirees and spouses may also qualify for a match. To check if your company DOUBLES your Impact, go to gigisplayhouse.org/company-match!

GiGi’s Playhouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization funded solely by donations.  FEIN # 45-0648741. Your gift is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Teen Tastic!  Ready to Dance at 3rd Annual Dance-A-Thon

Teen Tastic! Ready to Dance at 3rd Annual Dance-A-Thon

GiGi’s Teen Tastic group has been hard at work learning a new dance.   During Teen Tastic, which meets every other Thursday, they selected the song, My Type, and created an original dance routine.  They can’t wait to debut it at our 3rd annual Get Down With Down Syndrome Dance-A-Thon on September 23rd at DePaul College… Continue Reading

We Are GiGi’s! We ARE Teen Tastic!

We Are GiGi’s! We ARE Teen Tastic!

The teens at GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago have been hard at work this year and it definitely shows in their new video. This video project started out as a self-reflection and an introduction to the Teen Tastic team. During this process, teens made autobiographical posters that described their likes, dislikes, their interests, future plans, and dreams.… Continue Reading

GiGi’s Chicago:  Furnishing our New Playhouse

GiGi’s Chicago: Furnishing our New Playhouse

This past year, GiGi’s Playhouse in Chicago underwent an expansion to help meet the needs of our growing community.  Our previous space was small and did not have the proper furnishings needed to implement our free educational and therapeutic programming to individuals with Down syndrome.  When it came time to furnish the newly expanded space,… Continue Reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Grace Gibbs

Volunteer Spotlight: Grace Gibbs

Purposeful Programming:  How do we do it? GiGi’s provides purposeful programming for all ages. We have an amazing team of highly qualified and passionate volunteers who lead our programs. This month, we’re going to shine a spotlight on Grace Gibbs, a teacher who runs our Saturday LMNOP program. She is also the Math Tutoring Coordinator and Vice… Continue Reading

Namaste at GiGi’s Get Fit

GiGi’s Get Fit is a fun-filled fitness program for teens and young adults that focuses on promoting strength, coordination and endurance through introduction to yoga, interval training and dance amongst others.   This session we have been learning about yoga and its role in promoting strength, endurance and flexibility. Some of our favorite moves to… Continue Reading