Fargo Playhouse Reopens Better Than Ever
On May 11, 2021, tragedy struck the GiGi’s playhouse network. The Fargo playhouse burned down, and we were all heartbroken. It would have been easy to feel defeated by this event, but that just isn’t the GiGi’s way. The National Office team jumped into action handling all legal and insurance needs so that the local team could focus their time and energy on seeking ways to serve local families out of a temporary location and building a capital campaign to raise funds to rebuild. The National Office team also used this instance to make the entire network stronger. They worked on operations & risk management best practices and used this very real-life example to teach all other playhouses how to be safer and more prepared in case of an emergency.
Playhouses across our network jumped in to help these members of their GiGi’s family by donating goods and making financial contributions to Fargo’s rebuilding efforts.
The local team worked tirelessly to raise funds and was determined to turn this tragedy into an opportunity. So, they decided to ask their families how the playhouse could be even better than it was before! They were thoughtful with each decision they made in the redesign, all the way down to what sinks and toilets to purchase! The National Office was behind the scenes offering continual support for those 18 months in preparation for opening their doors again. When the grand reopening finally happened on October 3, it was a celebration across the network! The Fargo playhouse had literally risen from the ashes, and they didn’t forget about all the incredible people who helped them along the way.
Due to the team’s successful fundraising efforts and the incredible generosity of countless donors, the Fargo Playhouse went back to their sister Playhouses this month with handwritten notes of gratitude and refunded the donations sent to Fargo 18 months ago. They knew those donations were hard-earned from the other locations’ fundraising efforts. The heart, generosity of spirit, and tenacity to persevere for our mission were shown through this moment in GiGi’s Playhouse history.
As if this wasn’t enough to be proud of, we also celebrated with the Cincinnati team to open playhouse #56 on September 24! This team, like all startups, leaned heavily on the support and guidance of the National Office team while they worked tirelessly at a local level to open their playhouse doors. This team had a dream and a passion to create lasting change for families that have loved ones with Down syndrome. Following our tried and true (yet ever-evolving) systems and processes to launch a new playhouse, the Cinci team could do it!
Both the Fargo and Cincinnati playhouses will continue to get support from the National Office as their playhouses become pillars of acceptance, belief, and perseverance in their communities!
With the teamwork between National and local efforts, together we can accomplish so much!