About GiGi’s Playhouse Detroit

GiGisDetroitGrandOpening-Lisa Nancy GiGi

The inspiration to bring GiGi’s Playhouse to Detroit began with a couple living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2011. This is where Lisa and Dave Kocab resided when their son, Pj, was born with Down syndrome. After navigating some challenging health scares with Pj, Lisa began looking for resources that would support his growth and development. Scrolling through social media one night, she stumbled across a picture of a beautiful little girl with almond shaped eyes. Clicking on this picture brought Lisa to the GiGi’s Playhouse website, where she learned about the many vital programs and therapies they provide, and she wanted to get involved.

Thus, Lisa and Dave worked alongside several other families to open the first GiGi’s Playhouse in Wisconsin. However, just after the Milwaukee location celebrated their one-year anniversary, the Kocabs learned Dave’s job was transferring them back to their home state of Michigan.

Upon moving back to the Great Lakes State, Lisa was introduced to Denise Moore. Denise has a daughter named Amber who was also blessed with an extra 21st chromosome. While Lisa was new to the Detroit Down syndrome network, Denise was not. As soon as Denise learned about GiGi’s Playhouse, she knew local families needed the resources GiGi’s offered. Denise contacted everyone she knew, and the two women hosted an informational night at Lisa’s parents’ home. That evening, sixteen couples gathered to learn about GiGi’s Playhouse and made the commitment to open one in the Detroit area.

It took two long years of raising awareness about Down syndrome and raising the funds required to build, but on January 27th, 2019, we officially became the 41st Playhouse in the North American network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. Our community celebrated with a big grand opening party, attended by original founders, Nancy and GiGi Gianni - the little girl in the picture with almond-shaped eyes.

Sixteen families came together believing they were doing something necessary for their own child, only to realize the Playhouse would have a tremendous ripple effect that would change hearts and minds throughout our communities and beyond. We now serve over 600 families in SE Michigan with FREE therapeutic and educational programs for people with Down syndrome of all ages. Please contact us at detroit@gigisplayhouse.org for more information!

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Our Mission and Purpose:

To change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all.

Our Vision:

To see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and communities.

Our Niche:

We change lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model.

Our Promise:

A lifetime commitment to families.

GiGi's Playhouse
GiGi's Playhouse

With over 58+ brick-and-mortar locations across the United States and Mexico and 200 inquiries to start new locations all over the world, GiGi’s Playhouse is the ONLY network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. Every day, we provide FREE, life-changing therapeutic, educational, and career training programs for 30,000+ individuals of all ages.


Down syndrome is the largest chromosomal disability in our country and yet, it is the least funded. From a prenatal diagnosis to career skills, we make a lifetime commitment to remain by their side. Families are empowered with all the tools their child needs to succeed! 


Through free programs and through our Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, we EMPOWER families by maximizing opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance. To ensure lasting acceptance, we must show the world what individuals with Down syndrome are truly capable of achieving as students, co-workers, volunteers, friends, and valued members of their communities. Our program outcomes help advance this vital social impact goal.


GiGi's Playhouse is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and is solely funded by donations.


By providing my phone number to GiGi's Playhouse,  I agree and acknowledge that GiGi's Playhouse may send text messages to my wireless phone number for any purpose. Message and data rates may apply. We will only send one SMS as a reply to you, and you will be able to Opt-out by replying “STOP”.

Privacy Policy:

No mobile information will be shared with third parties/affiliates for marketing/promotional purposes. All the above categories exclude text messaging originator opt-in data and consent; this information will not be shared with any third parties.

"I walked out of GiGi's Playhouse smiling, and I feared no more."

-GiGi Family

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