Volunteer of the Month – Sierra
At GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland, we have a spectacular team of volunteers who lead our GiGiFIT programs. Volunteers who commit to three programs, back-to-back-to-back. They don’t commit to an evening at GiGi’s because they have to, they do it because they WANT to. Sierra is one of those volunteers. She started out as an intern to fulfill a school requirement, but long after that internship Sierra is still walking through our doors for GiGiFIT and logging on to virtually tutor each week. When you meet Sierra, you encounter a gentle soul who is so incredibly kind. She pushes each participant to achieve their Best of All while celebrating their growth week after week. For those reasons and many more, we selected Sierra as our Volunteer of the Month!
Tell us about yourself!
I work for Rec2Connect as an aquatic specialist and bike instructor. In the water, I see individuals of all ages and abilities in 1:1 or 2:1 sessions where we focus on swim skills, swim safety, and aquatic therapy. Bike is also for individuals of all ages and abilities where we focus on bike safety and skills both on and off the bike. I am also about to enter the Cleveland State University Doctorate of Occupational Therapy program and am super excited to take the next step in advancing my education!
What got you involved with GiGi’s Playhouse?
I first got involved at GiGi’s Playhouse as an intern from Cleveland State University. I have continued to volunteer and have been coming to the Playhouse for over a year!
What made you want to stay and volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse after completing your internship?
After completing my internship, I chose to stay and volunteer because the second you walk into the Playhouse you are greeted with so much love and support. It’s like no other place I’ve been to before. Seeing the progress that is made week by week in programs like GiGiFIT and math tutoring is so inspiring and motivating I just couldn’t stay away.
What programs do you volunteer with, and what is your favorite part about the programs?
I volunteer with GiGiFIT kids, teens, and adults on Wednesdays and I am also a virtual math tutor. My favorite part about the programs is being able to incorporate silly time while also encouraging Best of All and taking those extra steps to work hard and make progress. The joy that these programs bring is so incredible to see. I also LOVE the peer support during GiGiFIT.
Why do you love GiGi’s Playhouse?
I love GiGi’s Playhouse because it feels like a home away from home. I moved up to Cleveland for school, therefore I don’t see my family as much as I used to, so entering the Playhouse and feeling like you’re part of a family is so heartwarming.
Do you have a favorite memory at the Playhouse?
I think my favorite memory from GiGi’s Playhouse was when I was an intern. It’s a bit of an embarrassing story, but when I was doing some organizing around the Playhouse, I squatted down and completely ripped my pants. When I told Amy and David who were there for Friday Coffee Chat, I had never seen them laugh so hard. It was such a funny and silly moment. Thankfully I had an extra pair of pants, too! Also, one of my favorite things is when the kids come running in for GiGiFIT and have the BIGGEST smiles on their faces.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new volunteer?
To not be afraid to go up to every person and say “Hi, what is your name”. The amount of friendships and memories that can be made just by saying “hi” is incredible. Put yourself out there!
As a volunteer, what is one thing you’d say to a new family who is curious about GiGi’s Playhouse?
Take time and experience GiGi’s because you will be surrounded by so much love and support from volunteers and families. Also, the programs are FREE! How could you not love that?
Sierra, thank you for your consistent presence at the Playhouse. Our friends see you, know you, and love you. What a beautiful impact you have on so many!