What Has 2023 Meant to Us?

The GiGi’s vision has always been to see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and community. We are so grateful for the incredible relationships we have built in our community this year. Through the support of a strong and inclusive environment, challenges can be transformed into opportunities for growth, learning, and meaningful connections.

GiGi’s ‘Free Programming’ business model is what makes us unique and allows us to support EVERY family, regardless of financial status or insurance. However, this model is also a continual challenge – since our programs are not fee-based, there is never a guarantee of funding. It makes decisions like expanding to a larger playhouse and taking on increased operating expenses very difficult. Yet our commitment to our families endured. We knew that we were out of space and that there was so much more we could offer if only we had a place that would allow us to grow. So here we are, at the beginning stages of construction, building big dreams for the future and continuing to believe that our community will stand beside us on this journey. The families that we work with deserve the best. They are some of the bravest people you will ever meet. Parents face the diagnosis and overcome the fear, celebrate their children’s wins, hold each other up when the days are hard, and never stop believing. And we will never stop believing in them.

We are constantly inspired by the remarkable strength and resilience demonstrated by individuals with Down syndrome and their families. It is their strength that propels us forward to provide new and improved programs with increased opportunities for our participants.

We are so close to welcoming everyone in to the new playhouse. The Believe in Our Build campaign has raised $175,000 to date but we are still short $50,000 to complete the playhouse the way we know would be best for our families. Please consider a donation this holiday season if you are able. Every dollar goes to creating a purposeful, therapeutic space for all of our loved ones to achieve their #bestofall. We thank you so much for your ongoing belief and support of our mission.

Donate HERE.

Thank you for being a part of our Deerfield playhouse family. Every donation, every volunteer, every visit, every “like” and “share” on our social media makes a difference. Everyone one of you makes a difference. We are so thankful for our amazing community who share our vision. Together we are changing the way the world views Down syndrome.

In 2023 we…

  • Negotiated a NEW LEASE for a brand new playhouse space! Worked with KTGY Architects and RTM Engineering consultants who generously donated their time to help us design the perfect layout for maximizing programs success!
  • Continued our winning streak at the top of the leaderboard across the network for the GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge, coming close to that 100K milestone with our highest number of attendees.
  • Welcomed FOUR TIMES the number new families this year than ever before.
  • DOUBLED the number of new volunteers supporting programming, events and outreach.
  • Have a BRANDED TRUCK! Thanks to an incredible donation and collaboration with EDP, we now have a fully wrapped and branded bobtail driving around sharing our mission. In honor of two amazing babies, this truck will be promoting awareness and acceptance for all for the next ten years! We can’t wait to see this new connection grow over the upcoming years. (Photo below)
  • Became AWARD winners! Each year at the GiGi’s National Conference Core Value awards are given out to playhouses that go above and beyond the call of duty. This year GiGi’s Deerfield was the winner of the BELIEVE award for using our passion and belief to think BIG and forging community partnerships to expand our reach!
  • Continued on a winning streak, receiving the DEERFIELD SCHOOL CHEST grant through Deerfield High School. This incredible opportunity brought in $65,000 to help with building out the new playhouse. After 7 years of applying we were honored to work with the amazing teens this year to make our dream come true!
  • Created a strategic plan to guide us through continued growth and development for the next five years!

Every single one of you helped us to accomplish these incredible feats this year. Thank you for believing in us, believing in our mission and believing in the amazing capabilities of all individuals with Down syndrome! Happy holidays!

Donate HERE.

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