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 2020-2021
Erin Alexeff – Youth Board Facilitator
I am a proud graduate of the University of Toledo, where I received my bachelors degree in Recreation Therapy. I currently work for the Cleveland Clinic and another non-profit called Rec2Connect Foundation. I have been volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse since 2016. In that time, I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of leading and assisting a variety of programs offered at our Playhouse, including Teen Tastic, Fantastic Friends, TEAM, and GiGiFIT. That being said, Youth Board Facilitator has been my proudest role yet. I am privileged to be able to volunteer alongside some of the most passionate, generous, creative and hilarious teenagers across the network. They effortlessly make a positive impact amongst their peers and community members while being completely inclusive- and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
Katie Gale – Third Year Member
I’m a senior at 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 – Third 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 two years 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 – Third 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 – Third Year Member
I go to Avon Lake High School. I have been part of Oberlin Choristers for ten 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 – Third Year Member
I am a senior at Saint Joseph Academy. I am on the varsity basketball team for my school and play AAU basketball. I am involved in Yearbook Club, Academy Ambassador, and a service club called L'Arche. 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 – Third Year Member
I am a senior at Hathaway Brown. This is my third 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 am thankful for the opportunity to be on the board!
Inga Wilhelmy – Third Year Member
I am a junior at Lakewood High School. At school, I play softball and take art classes. This is my third year volunteering at the Playhouse. I absolutely love the positive uplifting environment, and the friends I've made at GiGi’s! GiGi's Playhouse is the happiest place to be!!
Clare Black – Second 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 – Second 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 – Second 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 – Second Year Member
I am a senior 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 – Second Year Member
I go to Saint Joseph Academy. I play basketball and AAU basketball. I’m also a Student Ambassador, a member of Glamour Girls Club, and I’m in the Health Science Honors Program. I love GiGi’s Playhouse because I get to learn many things from the participants. These friends of mine 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.
Anya Krishnan – First Year Member
I am a junior at Strongsville High School and I play tennis and cello. I am a member of the Optimist Club, Key Club, Student Council, Spanish Honors Society and the Strongsville Youth Commission. I also enjoy listening to music and volunteering at the Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. I joined the Youth Board because I wanted to join an organization that works towards bettering the community while connecting with other teens.
Kate Carey – First Year Member
I am a junior at Strongsville High School. I am an honors student, run cross country, and play in our school’s symphony and chamber string orchestras. I am involved in the French Club, Key Club and Yearbook Club at my school, as well. I also enjoy volunteering at Camp Cheerful, gardening and playing the viola and piano in my free time!
Timmy McGlynn – First Year Member
I go to St. Edward High School. I work at a bakery and I like to hang out with my friends, play video games and watch sports. I am also a basketball team manager for St. Ed’s.”
Brennan McGurer – First Year Member
Hi. I’m Brennan! I am a junior at St. Edward High School and I run cross country. In my spare time, I like to work and spend time with my friends and family.
Ellen Martin – First Year Member
I am a sophomore at Saint Joseph Academy. I play lacrosse, I am in French Club, Health Science Honors Program, I am an ambassador, and I am in the Free to Smile Club. I love being a part of GiGi’s Playhouse because of the awesome volunteers. I also love talking to the kids and the parents because they make me laugh and tell me stories. I love the welcoming and happy community of people!
Susie McGowan – First Year Member
I am a sophomore at Saint Joseph Academy. I play lacrosse and basketball, I am in French Club, Model United Nations, SDA, Newspaper Club, the Health Science Honors Program, and I am an ambassador. I love being a part of GiGi’s Playhouse because of the amazing volunteers and events. I enjoy the opportunity to help others grow and the chance to be a part of the wonderful community of people at GiGi’s Playhouse!
Ella Nosse – First Year Member
I am a junior at Magnificat High School where I run track and field. I am also involved in the Sign Language Club, an ambassador, and a service club called Outreach. I love being a part of GiGi’s Playhouse because of the amazing community and the help it provides.
Claire Khoury – First Year Member
I go to Magnificat High SChool and I enjoy running track. I am part of many clubs including Outreach, a service club. I joined the Youth Board at GiGi’s Playhouse because I think it’s a great way to support the Down syndrome community and make everyone feel included. I am so excited to see all the good we can do for the community this year!