Volunteer Spotlight – Colleen

Collen Moran is a familiar face at GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland, as she has been volunteering here for six years since January 2017. Her passion for making meaningful connections, educating, and inspiring others aligned perfectly with our mission. That alignment is evident in her tenure at our Playhouse, as she has been involved with our Teen Tastic and Fantastic Friends social programs. She is quick to make everyone feel comfortable by meeting each individual exactly where they are, while also challenging them to achieve their Best of All at each program. For those reasons and a nomination from our Board Member and Fantastic Friends Program Lead – Molly, Colleen was selected as our Volunteer of the Month!

Colleen and former student - Jessica! Colleen attended our March Project Pulse performance at the Westlake Community Services Center.

Molly shares, “Colleen is a true-blue volunteer! She is dedicated to GiGi’s mission and shows up ready to help out in any way possible. She takes initiative and assists with our Fantastic Friends program each month. Colleen often brings extra snacks and materials for our Fantastic Friends. She has been volunteering for six years, always with a warm smile on her face for each participant.  So grateful for her dependability, positivity, work ethic, and dedication! Colleen really is FANTASTIC!”

Read more of Colleen’s story below!

Tell us about you! What do you do for fun, work, and in your free time?

I am a retired Lakewood City Schools Teacher and Coach. I am married to Frank Moran and have four grown children whom I raised in Lakewood. I now live in Avon, Ohio!  Even though I am retired I do part-time daycare for my three grandchildren, which I just love.  My favorite activities are working out, swimming, riding my bike, walking in the Cleveland Hiking Club, doing puzzles, and spending time at the beach during the summertime.  I also love watching High School Girls’ basketball and softball games – mostly at Lakewood High School.

What got you involved at GiGi’s Playhouse?

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for my friends with varied abilities! At the middle school I taught at, there were three Special Education Units and I always had a bond with those students and would help out whenever I could.  So when a very close friend of mine, Linda Lodge, had a grandson who had Down syndrome – Ryan Lodge, (which many of you know) I began to get involved in supporting him and his family. Then Megan, Ryan’s mom, helped start GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland and I started volunteering the summer after it opened.  I like to think of myself as a giver in this world. 

What programs have you volunteered with?

When I first started at GiGi’s, I volunteered with the Teen Tastic and the Fantastic Friends programs.  After closing during the pandemic, I only returned to the Fantastic Friends program. 

Do you have a favorite memory at the Playhouse?

I have many favorite memories from the Playhouse – marching in the parades, yoga in the park, picnics, New Year’s Eve parties, Bingo games, and Karaoke – just to name a few. 

Why do you love volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse?

Being a part of GiGi’s brings such a great feeling to one’s heart. To watch my friends interact with one another and the adult volunteers and experience their capabilities just brings sheer enjoyment to my world. I always leave GiGi’s feeling better than when I arrived.  I’ve always said – “I need them more than they need me”.  As Brian Daw would always say “They are the Real Deal”.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new volunteer?

Keep coming back!

As a volunteer, what is one thing you’d say to a new family who is curious about GiGi’s Playhouse?

Come be a part of a Bigger Family. There will be no regrets!

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Click the button below to find out how you can get involved!

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