Jennifer is one of our dedicated members of the Board of Directors at GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne. When putting together a quick biography for the organization, Jennifer’s words were a wonderful reminder that sometimes, we get caught up in everything we want to accomplish and forget to remember to celebrate how far we have come.
Bethany, the youngest daughter of Bill and Jennifer, was born after a very fast trip to the hospital in 1991. After she was born, Bill, returned home to take care of the other children. During that time, a doctor who had never met the new mother visited the room. The doctor handed Jennifer a pamphlet about a state-run home for the disabled. He told her she had a mongoloid daughter and should consider sending Bethany to a facility to live out her life.
Bethany’s diagnosis of Down syndrome was like waking up in a foreign country with no understanding of the language or customs. But Jennifer experienced love at first sight and wanted to do whatever needed to be done to do to give Bethany a life of love and her own adventures.
The world has changed since then. It is more accepting of individuals with Down syndrome, thanks to places like GiGi’s Playhouse. Jennifer wants to continue to share how Bethany has had such a positive impact on their family and surrounding community.
Bethany loves to bake, play with babies and snuggle dogs. GiGi’s Playhouse provides a place where she can practice these passions. She can play with the babies of new families and give hope to new parents. Bethany lets her passion for dogs shine as she helps bake dog treats and make dog bandannas that are sold in the GiGi’s Boutique. Bethany and Jennifer volunteer at DSANI, Ronald McDonald House, Hope for Animals, Come2Go Ministries, and of course GiGi’s.
GiGi’s is a place of support and hope. It is a place to have fun, learn new skills, make new friends and go out into the world. It is also a place to invite everyone into the adventure of learning to celebrate the beauty of our diversity.