Board Member Spotlight: Luke Tyrrell

Today we are delighted to recognize one of our highly esteemed board members:

Luke Tyrrell: Self Advocate Extraordinaire

Luke is a kind and bright young man, whose positive spirit is contagious and is ALWAYS down to help! As a teenager, Luke was part of the founding team that brought our Playhouse to fruition, and since then he has spoken and performed at countless events, represented GiGi’s in media interviews, sponsored fundraisers through bottle drives, and volunteered with our programs. He is an absolute delight and loved by all.

A powerful slogan of the Disability Rights Movement is, “Nothing about us without us.” As an organization committed to supporting people with Down syndrome, it is imperative that we have self advocates in leadership positions to represent the needs and desires of their community. We deeply value Luke’s voice and presence on our board, and are so grateful for the many ways he contributes to the Playhouse.

Please take a moment to learn more about Luke and how he experiences GiGi’s Playhouse below!

Hi Luke! Will you tell us a bit about your daytime occupation?

My occupation is to work at Kroger and get paid.

What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

My interests are hanging with friends and meeting people that are new to the Playhouse.

What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise us?

I’m really good at making new friends, even though it’s scary to meet someone for the first time. 

When did you first get involved with GiGi’s Playhouse?

I gave a speech at the 2018 fashion show to open our doors to the Playhouse.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your experience as a member of the Down syndrome community?

My mom always looked out for me, and she was scared to have a child with DS. I didn’t know about DS. I was scared to not have friends. But I have tons of friends everywhere, especially at GiGi’s.

What is your specific role on the board?

My role on the board is a Self-Advocate and I am also a sponsor of events. I’ve returned bottles and cans since 2020 and donate all the money to GiGi’s.

What inspires you about the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse?

The mission is to have fun and hang out with friends while working toward our goals.

Do you participate in programs and/or events? If so, which ones?

I participate in Drama Troupe, Fantastic Friends, and Epic. I also volunteered with GiGiFIT Toddler and go to all the events.

How has volunteering here impacted your life?

Volunteering is fun and a great way to make friends. That’s how it impacts my life.

Do you have a favorite memory from your experiences at GiGi’s?

My favorite memory is all the friends I have made there who are really cool to hang with. 

What would you say is the biggest misconception about individuals with Down syndrome?

If you want to meet someone like me, I am a great friend and lots of fun.

Why do you believe people with Down syndrome are an important part of our community?

It’s the love that we have and how we enjoy the community we live in. 

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse?

I would say, do what you believe and inspire the love in our community. 

Do you have a favorite quote?

My quote is to never give up on your dreams. Don’t let hate get to you. 

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself, your family, your background & interests, your values, etc.?

I have a family here at the Playhouse. This right here is GiGi’s family. 

Luke, you are a strength and asset to GiGi’s Playhouse Detroit. Thank you for the many ways you show up to support. We are so grateful for you!!

Stay tuned for more Board Member Spotlights in the coming months!

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