GiGi’s Impact – Long Lost Friends Find Each Other at GiGi’s


Every single day across the country (and in Mexico) amazing things are happening in the 33 GiGi’s Playhouse’s, …..Today we are sharing one story, that we promise, will make you smile and feel ALL the feels.  Please welcome Lizz from GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland as she shares an incredible story….


Donna walked through the doors one day a few weeks ago, drawn in by the beautiful children on the windows and the colorful sign that read “achievement center”. After our introductions, she shared with me her desire to volunteer here. She said she was drawn to this place for some reason and would be willing to help in whatever way was needed. I shared with her all about GiGi’s Playhouse and the amazing moments that take place here. Donna started to share a story from her childhood. She said when she was young, family friends of theirs would come over to her house to swim in their pool. She said she remembered the family had a little girl with Down syndrome who loved to climb up on the diving board of their pool. Donna retells the story with a big smile, “Oh how she loved the diving board. My father yelled out to her one time, ‘Amy! Please get off the diving board!’ and there she went into the pool! She just loved…” I stopped Donna at this moment and asked her if she remembered what Amy’s last name was. “I sure do! Amy Smith!” she exclaims and went on to talk about what a delight Amy was in her life and how they lost touch over the years. I was bursting at the seams at this point. I excitedly told Donna, “Well, you’re in for quite a shock today. Amy is our intern here at GiGi’s and she’s actually over in our Education Station right now organizing the puzzles!” Needless to say, the reunion between these old friends moved me to tears. They embraced, then sat and reminisced, sharing laughter over the pool story. To see Amy’s face light up as these memories came flooding back was truly a sight to see.

As I sit here in my office today, they are relaxing on the couch, sharing pictures of their families and reading through some fun memes. The best part? Donna is now looking forward to continuing her visits with Amy here and helping her hone her reading skills. Stories like this are why I am so thankful for GiGi’s Playhouse. This is just one example of what motivates me to continue serving this amazing community.

I think we all know exactly why Donna was drawn here that day…



Thank you Lizz! This is just the perfect way to start off a new week! Amy is also being featured today as Day 126 of 321 Days of Acceptance.

Amy – 46 years old – Amy loves working at GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland  as an intern! She helps keep the Playhouse clean and organized and plans healthy snacks for the programs. She works hard and takes great pride in her work. She is a valuable team member! She was one of Cleveland’s first participants in TEAM!  Thank you Amy for being YOU! We are all so proud to have you in the GiGi’s family and we are so glad to see that you found an old friend. 


educate. inspire. believe.



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1 Comment

  1. Richard Reilly on July 27, 2017 at 6:47 am

    “Amy, please get off the diving board !” Our population with Down syndrome want to jump off and feel the freedom of buoyancy. GiGi’s Playhouse is a place where the individual hones the skills to make that leap and experience independence. And now we have GiGi University! GiGi’s is that place, too, where parents can practice the concept of “letting go”. Liz, Donna, Amy, you are each touching lives in an important way. Big Love! Richard Reilly – The Grandparent Connection.

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