GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland Youth Board
The GiGi's Playhouse Cleveland Youth Board is made up of dedicated and motivated group of high school students who see the importance of increasing awareness for individuals with Down Syndrome, as well as creating an environment that is accepting, generous and kind: the three fundamentals of the Generation G Pledge. The purpose of the Youth Board is to spread the message of Generation G through hosting events for members of the community and GiGi's Playhouse families and encouraging other high school students to commit to signing and carrying out the Generation G Pledge.
GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland Youth Board Mission Statement
The GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland Youth Board is a dedicated group of high school students who strive to spread the message of Generation G; to be accepting, be generous and be kind by educating and involving the community through outreach and awareness. We advocate for a culture of acceptance and compassion towards individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Meet Our Youth Board 2019-2020
Erin Alexeff – Youth Board Facilitator
Erin, a graduate of University of Toledo, is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with the Cleveland Clinic and Rec2Connect, as well as being a certified yoga instructor. She joined our GiGi’s family in February of 2016 as our Program Coordinator and was a recipient of the National Volunteer of the Year Award at the GiGi’s Playhouse National Conference in Chicago after she helped implement and run most of our purposeful programming that year. After a brief move, she came back as our Youth Board Facilitator and Fitness Coordinator. Her Youth Board has set a profound example in the community as they create and hold fundraisers and events for high school students in the area. She organizes, implements and runs our fitness programs (TEAM, GiGiFIT), as well as helps incorporate Recreation therapy into all of our therapeutic programs. Erin has enjoyed being a part of our GiGi’s family for the past four years and loves coming to the Playhouse to see all of her friends!
Katie Gale – Second Year Member
“I go to Normandy High School. I play volleyball and do track and swimming. I am a member of the National Honor Society and I am an athletic training student aide. I am in the medical and career and tech program at Normandy. I started volunteering at GiGi's Playhouse because of my younger cousin, Johnny, who has Down syndrome. I love GiGi's because you make a connection with every single person you meet, regardless of whether or not they have Down syndrome.”
Matthew Mullin-Gray – Second Year Member
“I go to St. Edward High School and run cross country. I enjoy engineering, math, and chemistry. I joined the Youth Board about one year ago but was involved with GiGi's before that. I started volunteering because my brother, Nick, has Down syndrome and I wanted to get more involved within a community where I could help affect positive change.”
Nate Mullin-Gray – Second Year Member
"I go to St. Edward’s High School and run cross country. I love the atmosphere at GiGi's Playhouse. I joined GiGi’s to make people with Down syndrome feel included in everyday activities.”
Ava Rodrigues – Second Year Member
“I go to Avon Lake High School. I have been part of Oberlin Choristers for nine years and have traveled to Costa Rica and performed at Carnegie Hall with them. I also enjoy babysitting and spend a lot of time on Babz, the business I created with my two best friends where we make and sell scrunchies all out of recycled materials. My favorite part about GiGi's is how sweet and kind everyone is and how you always leave feeling very happy.”
Julia Roth – Second Year Member
“I am a junior at Saint Joseph Academy. I am on the varsity basketball team for my school and play AAU basketball. I am involved in Yearbook Club, American Sign Language Club, and a service club called L'Arche. I love road trips, listening to country music, and spending time with my family, friends, and dogs. My favorite thing about GiGi's Playhouse is being able to make the best memories and friendships with all of my favorite people.”
Hannah Ryan – Second Year Member
"I am a junior at Hathaway Brown. This is my second year volunteering at GiGi's Playhouse. I also participate in diving and sing in a choir. I like to hang out with my dogs and study. I love to volunteer at GiGi's because everyone is always so positive and helps to brighten my day. I love my friends at GiGi's and is thankful for her opportunity to be on the board!"
Albert Wilhelmy – Second Year Member
“I go to Lakewood High School and play football and baseball. I will attend Case Western Reserve University in the fall of 2020 to study electrical engineering and play football. I first learned about GiGi's Playhouse when I was interviewing non-profits for a school project my freshman year, and I started volunteering about a year after that. I love volunteering at GiGi's because it gives me pride in the fact that I am helping make someone else's day a little bit better.”
Inga Wilhelmy – Second Year Member
“I am in 10th grade at Lakewood High School. I play softball and paint. GiGi's Playhouse is the happiest place to be!!"
Clare Black – First Year Member
“I go to Magnificat High School in Rocky River. I’m the leader of the Sign Language Club and also the Feminist Club. I also participate in Outreach, which is one of our service clubs. I love GiGi's Playhouse because everyone there is always so nice and happy and it’s a really great group of people. I started volunteering because I really like working with people and making new friends and helping out more in the community.”
Ilana Darr – First Year Member
“I go to Lakewood High School. I love performing at school and at The Beck Center for the Arts and playing the guitar. What I love about GiGi's Playhouse is all the amazing friends and memories I've made! It is impossible to have a bad time at GiGi's!!”
Sarah Harper – First Year Member
“I go to Saint Joseph Academy and play basketball and softball. I also work at Saint Joseph Academy. I love the interactions with everyone and the relationships that I build with the volunteers and the participants. I started volunteering at GiGi’s because of one of my friends and instantly loved it. If anything, I wish I discovered GiGi’s sooner so that I could have had this experience sooner.”
Alyssa Kiss-Benke – First Year Member
“I am a junior at Saint Joseph Academy. I play basketball for my school and I am involved in Chinese Club and Art Club. I heard about GiGi's Playhouse through a friend, and my favorite part of GiGi's is meeting new people and creating new friendships!”
Madison Roth – First Year Member
“I go to Saint Joseph Academy. I play basketball, soccer, and AAU basketball. I’m also a Student Ambassador and I’m in the ASL Club and the Glamour Girls Club. I love GiGi’s Playhouse because I get to learn many things from the kids. The kids always make me laugh and everyone always gives you a hug when you walk in. I started volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse in July of 2017 and still continue to volunteer because I love the environment. I love how welcoming everyone is and I love getting to form bonds with everyone.”