GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center has received a $12,000 grant from Variety- the Children’s Charity to fund the expansion of their wellness program GiGiFIT to include children, teens, and adults. GiGiFit is a FREE fitness program aimed at helping kids with Down syndrome develop lifelong patterns for healthy living.

GiGi’s Playhouse is a nonprofit organization serving individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community in Central Iowa that provides FREE life-changing therapeutic, educational, and career development programs for all ages. Many families are blindsided by a diagnosis of Down syndrome in pregnancy or at birth. GiGi’s programs aim to support families through their diagnosis and develop high expectations for their child with Down syndrome to achieve success in social, educational and employment opportunities in the future.

Funding from Variety the Children’s Charity for GiGi’s Playhouse will allow us serve 250% more people in fitness and expand our therapy options to address lifelong health challenges and needs of each person we serve with Down syndrome. One mother of a teenager with Down syndrome who completed the pilot at another playhouse gleamed, “Through GiGiFIT, I have seen my daughter Julie grow as an athlete and a leader. Julie has always loved to work out, but at GiGiFIT she is exposed to more high intensity workouts each week and her endurance and strength has grown tremendously in a short period of time. She has also taken on a leadership role in the class, encouraging the others to push themselves to try new things, work harder and participate in all of the activities, because my daughter has the opportunity to be a leader her self-confidence and commitment to her goals are shining through!”

Variety- the Children’s Charity is dedicated to improving the lives of children who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill or living with special needs. Grant funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children. For more information on Variety grants and programs please visit varietyiowa.com.

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