The many purposeful FREE programs at GiGi’s Playhouse provide foundational learning opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome, families, and volunteers. In today’s GiGi’s blog, we’d like to tell the story of Nancy Bachmann, a longtime volunteer in GiGi University, as well as showcase the interviewing skills of Brian! Nancy has been with us for a few years and has lots of great insights to share, but we’ll let her tell you herself!
Brian: How long have you been volunteering at GiGi’s?
Nancy: I think almost three years when I retired from teaching. My daughter taught at Hoffman Estates High School and she told me to come help out over here with my teaching skills, so that’s what I did!
B: What all do you do here?
N: I am a program assistant in GiGi U. I teach math to the participants by using math games that incorporate numbers and money, games that would be fun and still use the recognition of numbers. And a lot of dice! We love dice games!
B: What’s your favorite part of being here?
N: The students, people like you. When we walk in, and people give us beautiful smiles, it makes you feel like you have friends and you can’t have too many friends. It’s important to have people who smile at you, hug you, and think you’re special. It’s nice to see anybody anywhere smile, and here especially, there are such happy people. What’s your favorite part of being here?
B: I like writing letters and all the work I do.
N: You know what I like about you? You make sure everyone does their job, but in a nice way. if someone’s not doing their job, you remind them without being bossy. That’s hard to do and you’re good at it. Being a good example is important too. You do your job and it makes other people do their jobs.
B: Thank you. Have you faced any challenges here?
N: Sometimes I get disappointed in my lessons and I wonder how I can adapt them to make them better. At the end of every day, you need to ask, “what could I have done better?” I want to be a better teacher.
B: You are a good teacher. What’s your favorite memory here?
N: Having personal connections with each student in GiGi U and seeing them go on to Hugs and Mugs and GiGi Professional and do amazing things. I love having memories of all those fun times together!
B: What message would you like to share with GiGi’s families and volunteers?
N: The most important thing is helping students learn how to help themselves and giving them the responsibility of educating themselves. They will feel so good about themselves when they’re successful. The more they do on their own and learn to be independent, the more successful they’ll be. Just look at what you’re doing! You’re successful because you’re doing an interview, how do you feel about that?
B: I feel great!
Nancy has such a kind heart and the GiGi U classroom lights up when she is there to teach them every Wednesday. There are wonderful memories to be made and stories to tell when you volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse!
If you would like to volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse, visit our website for more information on how to get involved! https://gigisplayhouse.org/hoffmanestates/volunteer