Each month we’re featuring a guest blog post from one of our board members and volunteers! This January, Lorri Meyer, Board Secretary, shares more about her experience with GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne.
For 27 years, I’ve been friends with Cindy Atkinson. After the birth of her and Doug’s first grandchild, Charlotte, Cindy called and asked if I would like to help run a Gala to raise support to bring GiGi’s Playhouse to Fort Wayne. I didn’t know anything about Down syndrome, but I couldn’t say YES fast enough.
I joined the GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne Board because I enjoy making a difference for our kiddos. I’ve always “rooted for the underdog” and as a board member, I support our mission by advocating for our participants. I’ve made wonderful friends through GiGi’s Playhouse and love connecting with our city’s leaders and others who love helping the nonprofit community.
I enjoy using my skillsets as the board secretary. Before I had children, I served as an executive secretary for years, so transcribing the meeting minutes is something I can do with my hands tied behind my back (whereas most people dread the thought of doing minutes). This is one way I contribute to the organization each month.
One of my favorite memories at GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne is meeting GiGi U graduate and Genesis Ambassador, Matt. I discovered his passion for our country, veterans, and the flag – one that I share. We bonded immediately. Around the time I met Matt, I saw a news article on Shepard’s House in Fort Wayne (a long term, residential/transitional housing center for men – the majority being veterans – who are alcohol and chemically addicted). I asked our Board President Doug Atkinson if it was possible to take Matt to Shepard’s House to meet some of the veterans and thank them for their service. Doug thought it was an excellent idea, and I’m not sure who enjoyed the visits more, Matt or the veterans! On our first visit Matt asked all of the veterans if they would sign his fatigue jacket with a permanent marker, and after the veterans did, they shook Matt’s hand and gave him a hug. After a few visits, the veterans presented Matt with his very own dog tags, which they paid for themselves! Matt and I designed and painted several of the flag items hanging on the walls at Shepard’s House and painted a massive American flag made out of pallets which still hangs in their serenity garden to this day.
As a board member, I would like to invite others to volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne. Volunteers are extremely valuable to our organization and you can make a real difference in the lives of adults and children with Down syndrome. As an organization that’s 100% dependent on donations and 99% volunteer-run, hundreds of people give their time, talent, and treasure to help us fulfill our mission. By giving your time, you’re joining a wonderful community of people and will learn many new things.
GiGi’s Playhouse meets the diverse needs of the Down syndrome community, and we help advocate for those we serve. In the past five years, individuals with Down syndrome in our community have thrived, in part, because of the passionate people who are involved with GiGi’s Playhouse. Our valuable educational, therapeutic, and career training programs are possible because of our volunteers and donors.
I hope you will consider joining us in our mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome!