Heather Lorenzen, Executive Director
Heather joined GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo in September 2018 with years of advocacy and leadership experience. Heather believes that everyone has an ability and there are no limits to achieve success with the support of their family, education, and our community. She brings experience in working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with transition age students and adults in seeking meaningful employment within our community. Heather’s heart beats to see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and our community! She is very excited to share this mission and vision with you and cannot wait to share your stories!
Heather lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband Jordan.
Becky Pribula, Program & Volunteer Coordinator
Becky is a retired elementary and special education teacher who upon retirement moved to Fargo. She was very excited this relocation brought her closer to her family and GiGi’s Playhouse! She has been an active volunteer at the Fargo Playhouse as a literacy and math tutor and program leader of Leaps & Bounds for the past year. We are excited for Becky to be joining our team as she believes in the importance of purposeful programming for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Becky lives in West Fargo, ND. She has four grown children and eight grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Lauren Rickers, Playhouse Assistant
GiGi’s Playhouse holds a special place in Lauren’s heart. Lauren started as an active volunteer, transitioned into GiGi’s first intern, and is currently the Playhouse Assistant. Lauren has gained such a passion for GiGi’s mission in creating a more kind and accepting world. Lauren has seen the amazing impact that GiGi’s has made on so many individuals with Down syndrome and their families. She is so excited to inspire GiGi’s families and advocate for acceptance.
Lauren is currently living in Fargo and attending the University of Mary for Occupational Therapy.
Jacob Meyer, Playhouse Intern
As the 2021 Summer Intern, Jacob is excited to explore the many ways which GiGi’s Playhouse serves as an inspiring resource for its families. Prior to joining the GiGi’s team, Jacob worked extensively as a Nursing Aide at a long-term care facility while advocating for patient and resident’s rights. Possessing a love for music and teaching, Jacob looks forward to using these strengths while tutoring, developing programming, and interacting with families at GiGi’s Playhouse.
Jacob recently finished his first year as an undergraduate at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he is studying Pre-Physician Assistant Studies. Jacob’s internship is sponsored by Concordia College’s Swendseid Program.
GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo Board of Managers
Kellie Hamre, President
Kellie has been with GiGi’s Playhouse in Fargo since the inception of the Fargo location with her primary focus of board and leadership, facility design and outreach. During this time, she has led the Playhouse through various stages of growth and development helping make it one of the top performing Playhouses in the network. Her passion to advocate for individuals with Down syndrome started when her family was blessed with Bryn, their daughter who has Down syndrome. She believes all persons, regardless of medical diagnosis, should have every opportunity available to them to reach their highest potential and strives to ensure that GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo makes that happen.
Kellie lives in Oxbow, North Dakota with her husband Brandon and three children, Connor, Bryn, and Isla. She is employed at North Dakota State University as a Senior Lecturer in the field of Interior design.
Kyle Voltin, Treasurer
Kyle is originally from the Twin Cities area and moved to Fargo in 2017. He has been a mentor, coach, and teammate through Special Olympics to his younger brother, Brett, who has Down syndrome. Kyle was impacted by GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo after attending Fargo’s first gala in 2018. Since then, Kyle has served on GiGi’s Walk and Fest planning committee and other special events. In his free time, he is a Minnesota sports fan and plays competitive baseball in the summer.
Kyle lives in Fargo, North Dakota with his wife and two children. Kyle is the Service Manager, V.P. with Starion Bank in Fargo. He is also the founder of Xtra Apparel a clothing line for individuals with Down syndrome.
Andrea Hensrud, Board Member
Andrea first heard about GiGi’s when the Center opened in the Red River Valley. Growing up with an older brother who has Down syndrome, she was immediately hooked on the purposeful programs offered and was the program lead for “Little Finders, Big Plans.” As an occupational therapist in the community, and as a sibling of a current participant, Andrea wanted to get involved in an active role. Because of her personal and professional background, she values the importance of promoting education to our families about the importance of development through the lifespan, and the importance of the development within a family.
Andrea lives outside of Fargo with her husband Mark and their two children, Charlee Jo and Soren. She loves cooking and the outdoors!
Nikki Knodel, Board Member
GiGi’s provides the opportunities and resources for all individuals to reach their greatest potential. Nikki’s son Max inspires her every day. Her purpose with GiGi’s is to help Max and friends reach their fullest potential. Nikki lives in Oakes, North Dakota with her husband, Bobby and two children Max and Kate.
Kristin Nelsen, Board Member
When Birk was born, Kristin remembered feeling like she was on this journey alone and had so many fears of the unknown. She discovered GiGi’s Playhouse online when she was looking for information about Down syndrome. She told her husband that this was her dream, to help bring GiGi’s Playhouse to our community. Kristin was the founding President for two years and continues to serve as a general board member. GiGi’s Playhouse is a place that will bring families together and find the support they need to help their child become the best that they can be!
Kristin graduated from Concordia College Moorhead with majors in Elementary Ed, Social Work, and Child Development and has her Master’s in Education. Kristin is married to Matt and has four kids, Madeline, Birk, Kane and Caroline and lives in Moorhead, MN.
Karly Pierce Lystad, Board Member
Karly was first introduced to GiGi’s in 2019 when she began volunteering with the Playhouse leading GiGi’s Dance. She is passionate about inclusion for all and is inspired by GiGi’s mission of changing the way the world views Down syndrome and acceptance for all. Karly strongly believes that anyone, regardless of ability, can achieve great things through continual education, community, and familial support. While volunteering with this organization for the past year, Karly has witnessed the good that occurs at GiGi’s through their free purposeful programming and the positive impact it has on the community.
Karly lives in Fargo with her husband, Jordan. She is the Communications and Marketing Director of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, a global dance program that provides educational tools for dance teachers who instruct children with individual learning differences. Her niece, Fern, has Down syndrome and is the inspiration for her work within inclusive programs.
Jordan Schroeer, Board Member
From day one, Jordan was taught the lessons of love and acceptance for all people. His oldest sister is a shining example of what can happen when people with Down syndrome are given the support to succeed at home and in the community. GiGi’s has always been on his mind, but the Playhouse’s mission became more of a passion when he volunteered as a literacy tutor at the Playhouse.
When he is not anchoring the morning news at Valley News Live, Jordan can be found tending the flowers and plants at his Moorhead home or causing a ruckus with his immediate family in Perham, Minnesota.
Jill Stroup, Board Member
Jill Stroup is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the talented GiGi’s Playhouse Board! She looks forward to creating awesome new avenues, opportunities, support, and resources for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Jill is an occupational therapist and the Director of Therapy for Pediatric Partners’ Fargo clinics. She enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and their two daughters when they are home from college.
Our Key Volunteers
Janna Curry, Youth Board Coordinator
Janna was introduced to GiGi’s through a friend and believes in the mission. She wants to help teach her daughters the importance of inclusion and acceptance for all people. She has attended GiGi’s Galas and Walks and is excited to be the Youth Board in the Coordinator. Janna is inspired to work with amazing young leaders on the Youth Board who are making positive ripples throughout our community!
Janna is married to Jake and they have two daughters, Summer and Cameron. She is the Human Resource Manager at West Acres Development, LLC, and she co-owns At Your Service Clean & Cuisine with her husband.
Heather Krump, New Family Coordinator
Our journey started with Beautiful Briar at a 20-week prenatal visit when a heart defect was found on an ultrasound and her family was told she may have Down syndrome. Heather and her husband had questions and fears not knowing anything about Down syndrome. GiGi’s Playhouse is a place that brings families together for love, support, friendships, and growth. Briar, who is now four has taught Heather and her family so much about life. She is truly amazing and makes life more beautiful. Heather is excited to welcome new families and let them know they are not alone on their journey as they are now a part of a large, deeply caring and warm welcoming community and family! Heather lives in West Fargo, North Dakota with her husband, Jon and two girls Remi and Briar.
As we continue to our increase our impact in Fargo, we need to increase our team! We would love to have you as a part of our board or committees! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how you can get in involved!