Challenge Accepted!

GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne is ecstatic to announce that we are a Think Tank Challenge partner with the incredible Amp Lab at Electric Works students! The challenge is to grow produce that can be used in GiGi’s Genesis Health Bar and come up with recipes to add into GiGi’s Genesis Health Bar or our growing GiGi’s Kitchen programs. Challenge accepted!

Students toured the Playhouse to learn more about who we are and the demographic we serve. Insightful questions on Down syndrome were asked, which furthers our mission of changing the way the world views Down syndrome. Playhouse Ambassadors loved showing the space and inviting the students to create wraps and smoothies, so they could see the process that is currently in place and what ingredients are frequently used.

Student dancing with participant at GiGi’s Playhouse.

After the visit, the Community Coach at Amp Lab asked the students what is going to make them worker harder on the challenge, one student stated, “We now have names.” Putting a face and a name to a diagnosis made all the difference. Seeing the changes in the students in such a short amount of time with the way they present questions, engage the Playhouse Ambassadors, and continue to seek out more education on the disability community is inspiring. The students state that they are inspired by us, but we are equally inspired by them.

Playhouse Ambassadors planting seeds at Amp Lab and tasting new smoothie recipes.

A month after starting the challenge, the friendship and understanding between the Playhouse Ambassadors and Amp Lab students began to grow. Recently, when we went to Amp Lab, Playhouse Ambassadors worked side-by-side planting seeds that will grow into various produce that will make its way to GiGi’s Playhouse. The high school students have been pouring into research about vitamins that would be beneficial to add to smoothies, common medical concerns for individuals with Down syndrome, sensory concerns, and more. Students put their research into practice by offering two different pods when planting seeds, as they thought sensory concerns may arise for some Playhouse Ambassadors. A cherry powder was added to a smoothie recipe, as cherries have so many health benefits. We look forward to watching this collaboration and plants grow!

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