GiGi’s Playhouse: Reaching Around The Globe

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and all in-person programming had to be discontinued, we faced the challenge of how to fulfill our promise of a lifetime commitment to our families. So we thought big, and we developed an array of on-demand and live virtual programming, meeting families right where they are — and has shown us an even larger need we need to fill!


adult man with DOwn syndrome cooking with GiGi's Playhouse virtual Programs


This leads us to the need for a virtual playhouse community, where families who do not have a local GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center can build community… no matter where they are in the world. We will continue to enrich lives and spread the message of global acceptance while also directly connecting families!

Building those connections within the Down syndrome community is so important. Here’s one recent example of why. A mother in Turkey named Burcu, and her 2-year-old son with Down syndrome, Atlas, used GiGi’s at Home to help with speech issues. Burcu was so grateful for the support and so proud of Atlas’s progress! Then, shortly after we began corresponding, we received this email from a friend of hers:

We lost Burcu last night. The pain is so deep. Her sudden death has shaken me up so badly. But I want you to know that I want to make a change for her and Atlas in some way. I am more passionate than ever before about volunteering actively at GiGi’s Playhouse events. I want to help other families impacted with Down syndrome in the USA and in Turkey. She dreamed about setting up a new GiGi’s Playhouse in Izmir in a few years’ time … she touched so many lives via her Instagram account, changed so many people’s  lives for the better. She was wowed by the work of GiGi’s Playhouse. She wished Turkey had the same as the USA had. She was only 35 years old when her journey ended with us, leaving behind a 6 day-old newborn baby, she could not even see Atlas’s 2nd birthday.   
I need your help so I can help Atlas and other families. Many thanks in advance.   

Pictures of son with Down syndrome and mother

This is such a touching story, and it made us realize that our programs really are truly transforming lives worldwide! We’ve been so successful scaling our programs in the United States, but now to see the impacts in these other countries, we see there’s a whole new level of “success” possible!





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  1. Richard Reilly on September 17, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Dear Friend of Burcu: Know that we at GiGi’s Playhouse are more than a Village, we are a Global Family! Your deep caring has touched many of us and we help carry the sadness of your loss. Your words of tribute, about making change and volunteering, are the very beginning rays of celebration of your friends life. We stand beside you in your necessary grief and embrace growth for the future. It is the way of Love. Richard Reilly – The Grandparent Connection, Norwalk, Connecticut – USA

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