GiGi’s Kitchen: Cultivating Confidence and Health, One Recipe at a Time

One of our favorite things we do here at GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo is celebrate our participants and December brought a lot of celebrating. For the past twelve weeks, our teens and adults meet one time per week in the heart of our Playhouse to work together to create a healthy recipe and have quality conversations.

Unique Programming

Participants in GiGi’s Kitchen try new foods every week. Since most of our participants eat gluten free, our GiGi’s Kitchen program now focuses on making 100% gluten free recipes. We also have partner with NDSU Dietetics department who helps create recipes and provides dairy alternatives for several participants.

Tailored Approach

Individuals with Down syndrome learn best on repetition, routine, and expectations; therefore, our goal is to practice here at GiGi’s and continue to develop these skills at home.

A Lasting Impact

Our participants cannot wait to share what they created with their families members at home. The joy of this program is that not only are our participants able to cook these recipes in the Playhouse, we also equip them with the resources and skills to go home and share a meal with their families. Through a generous grant from the FM Area Foundation, we were able to gift our participants Kitchen Kits that allow them have the same kitchen tools used at our Playhouse, in their homes. On a network program call we heard other playhouses providing “cooking kits” to their participants to encourage cooking outside of the playhouse. GiGi’s Playhouse Madison shared their “cooking kits” list with us and we modified to match what we had in the playhouse to have the replica model at home.

Community Support

GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo was a 2023 grant recipient from the FM Area Foundation where they fully funded the GiGi’s Kitchen program the fall of 2023 and spring of 2024. This grant provided us the opportunity to ensure we could keep our programs free for our families, purchase gluten and dairy free ingredients to explore new recipes, obtain additional cooking equipment such as additional knives, cutting boards, etc. and create take-home kits which were presented December 2023.

Over these last two years we have had numerous donors make contributions to our GiGi’s Kitchen program. Thank you to The Barry Foundation PaY students, Blue Cross Blue Shield ND Caring Foundation, Corwin Brothers, FM Area Foundation, Easy as Pie – Andrew Schwengler and all donors who have helped us grow this educational, social and life-skills program for our kids, teens, and adults.

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