Down syndrome Awareness Month

October is right around the corner which means it is almost Down syndrome Awareness Month! To celebrate we are hoping to hear from our families about their story and journey of their child with Down syndrome. We hope to hear everything from the celebration of birth to their Best of All moments! A "Best Of All" moment is a daily challenge to do a little better than you did the day before and it is always celebrated! It can be from saying their first words, their first steps, to the first time they write their name! Everything is a celebration!...

There’s a Birthday Party in Hugs and Mugs!

You're invited!! Do you have a birthday coming up? Have your party at Hugs & Mugs! We have a wonderful cafe space and a gym to run around and have fun! Everyone is also served a cup of gelato. Our gelato flavors are Birthday Cake, Mint Chip, Lemon, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Sea Salt Caramel. We also have gluten and dairy free flavors which are Coconut, Strawberry, and Peach! So many choices to mix together! Our Basic Package is $10 per person where each person gets to design their own mug or water bottle! What will you design? Our Premium Package...

Golf “FORE” Steven Wittkowski

This year GiGi's Playhouse was honored to be a part of the Steven Wittkowski Golf Classic. We were able to set up our booth at the first hole and were educating all the golfer's about GiGi's as well as see if they were able to aim their golf ball onto our banner to win some more raffle tickets. All the golfers there were incredibly accepting and understanding. They gave part of their tee time to learn more about our playhouse and Aubrey, who is one of GiGi's Ambassadors. Aubrey went up to each group of golfers, introduced herself, and told...

Volunteer Spotlight – Jose

GiGi's Playhouse would not function if it were not for our volunteers. Our volunteers are always willing to give a helping hand and give their best efforts to give everyone a positive experience from the moment a family, friend, staff member, donor, or any member of the community walks into our playhouse. All of our volunteers are the friendliest people you will ever meet! Their willingness to dedicate their time and effort for others is what makes our playhouse such a loving and welcoming place. One of our many volunteers has gone above and beyond and his name is Jose....

Get Your Toddler Moving in GiGiFIT

In GiGiFIT Toddler we are make every movement fun! From walking, crawling, rolling, to running, jumping, and bouncing! In a fun environment we are purposefully progressing on improving areas of fitness through activities in strength, endurance, and joint stability. Our exercises are created by a physical therapist and are specific towards 3 to 5 years old with Down syndrome. GiGiFIT Toddler takes concepts of foundational movements, mobility activities, visual-vestibular activities, and reflex integration to the next level in a fast-paced, super fun and socially interactive atmosphere for young children who have recently mastered the ability to walk on their own. ...

Lots of Love for Hugs and Mugs

Today we were very lucky to get to know more about our very own Ramsin who interns at Hugs and Mugs. He has been interning for over 4 years. Ramsin earned all of his career skills when he graduated from GiGi Prep and GiGi University. At our GiGi Prep and GiGi University, our students learn how to count money, make change, greeting customers, and other skills for them to prepare for their job field. At Hugs & Mugs, Ramsin works on tasks such as working the register, making coffee, serving gelato, cleaning up after a shift, and how to act...

Getting to Know Farzin

Our GiGi's Ambassador Program continues to work on creating their own blog for readers to get to know our participants a little more. Farzin has been a part of GiGi's for over 10 years. He said he has gained a lot from our tutoring program and working with our very own volunteer Tom. Megan, who is our Career Program Manager, says that Farzin was chosen to be a part of Ambassador Program because of his willingness to work and give his all! The following was written by Farzin: My name is Farzin Sharyari. I am 36 years old. At GiGi’s...

A Familiar Face at Hugs and Mugs 

For over a year now, GiGi's has been entirely grateful to have an incredible volunteer at our Hugs & Mugs. Miguel is such a hard worker and a great person all around. He is always willing to give a helping hand and has even offered delicious food to some of the staff! I was able to get to know Miguel a little more from asking him a few questions about himself as well as the impact GiGi’s has had on him.   Miguel found out about GiGi’s from his previous job as a forklift driver. Miguel has been superb in...
Aubrey

Getting to know Aubrey

If you have attended LMNOP, GiGi Kitchen Adult, or even stepped into GiGi's Playhouse in Hoffman Estates, you may have seen Aubrey's smiling face around the playhouse. Aubrey is one of GiGi Ambassadors and she has a heart of gold. She is always willing to give a helping hand and participate in any program at GiGi's. We had the privilege to ask Aubrey some questions and our first question was, "Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement at GiGi's?" "My name is Aubrey Soukop! I am 26 years old. At GiGi’s Playhouse, I have participated in GiGiU,...

Welcome Sabrina, our new speech pathologist

Happy Friday, GiGi’s Playhouse! We hope you all had a great week and are enjoying your summer. We have another new staff joining our family! Sabrina Brucato is a speech pathologist who graduated from Columbia University in New York City. Her passion for speech therapy began watching her younger sister Alyssa, who has Down Syndrome, thrive from speech treatment. She is deeply committed to helping clients and families grow in communication and to living the GiGi's playhouse mission. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, bike riding, and spending time with family. If you are interested in scheduling a speech...
Lauren

Welcome to Lauren Scudieri

This month has brought many new staff, including our new Community Education Manager, Lauren Scudieri! Here are a few words from Lauren: “My name is Lauren Scudieri and a little bit about me, I recently moved from Arizona and very happy to be back in my home state! I have two googly-eyed dogs named Gunther and Penny. In my spare time, I enjoy camping, creating art, and everything and anything Harry Potter. I always knew I wanted to help others since volunteering at a camp with children with special needs along with growing up with a brother with Autism Spectrum...
Jennifer Spencer, Hugs & Mugs Store Manager

Hugs & Mugs Welcomes New Store Manager

Happy 4th of July everyone! This week, GiGi’s would like to introduce you to our new Hugs & Mugs store manager, Jennifer Spencer! Jennifer has been with GiGi’s for just over a week, and we have been so grateful to have her be a part of our team. Here’s a little bit about her:   Jennifer Spencer, Hugs & Mugs Store Manager “I was born and raised in Minot, North Dakota. I went to college in Chicago and then some further studies at Olivet Nazarene University. While I was in college in Chicago I met my...