Ariel Siros serves as the Assistant Banking Center Manager at B1 Bank. On Tuesdays, she dedicates her time to supporting two signature programs, Fantastic Friends and Gratitude Committee. Her commitment continues on Wednesdays when she volunteers at GiGi’s Kitchen. Ariel’s journey of volunteerism began at GiGi’s Playhouse Houston during the summer. Her dedication has introduced our adult participants to the world of banking, generating excitement for an upcoming tour of b1 Bank.

Hi Ariel, what are some of your favorite hobbies and interests? 

I enjoy rescuing animals, giving back to the community, and being able to support others in time of need.

How did you find out about GiGi’s Playhouse Houston? 

Our company provides all employees with time for volunteer, and the Houston’s management team worked collectively to find volunteer opportunities across the Houston Market. One in particular, GiGi’s Playhouse Houston, caught my attention. With my experience with working at the YMCA I figured it would help with participating in GiGi’s Playhouse Houston.

What about the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse Houston appeals to you, personally?

 I love that GiGi’s Playhouse Houston was created for Down syndrome children, teens, and adults to feel accepted and understood with the surrounding community. I hope that the growth of GiGi’s Playhouse continues because of the incredible changes they bring to the families, participants, and community.

What do you love about being at GiGi’s? What keeps you coming back?

GiGi’s participants, staff, and mission are what keeps me coming back.

How has volunteering here impacted your life? 

Volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse Houston has given me the opportunity to meet incredible people with Down syndrome who are loving, caring, and supportive. I plan on continuing to volunteer with GiGi’s Playhouse Houston and hope to meet more amazing people along the way.

Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering? 

My favorite memory from volunteering was when my adult group grieved of passed loved ones. It touched my heart to see everyone come together to support all that were grieving. I lost my father about 5 years ago so I could I understand the heartache they were feeling. All the emotions from grieving and the support they were giving one another brought me to tears I could no longer hold. Sandy, a GiGi’s participant, saw me crying and asked me why. I told her it was because I miss my dad too. She quickly grabbed my hand and took me outside. As she held my hand and pointed to the sky and said talk to your dad. I treasure every moment I have with my adult group, but this memory will be engraved in my heart forever.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about individuals with Down syndrome?

I would say the biggest misconception with individuals with Down syndrome is that they lack understanding and are not capable of doing things on their own. In reality, people with Down syndrome are capable of anything. All that is needed is practice, patience, and persistence.

Why do you believe people with Down syndrome are an important part of our community?

I believe that people with Down syndrome are an important part of our community because they provide a different point of view that many can learn from. They are people just like everyone else, the only difference is how they process life experiences and emotions.

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse? 

I would say GiGi’s Playhouse Houston creates a positive and safe atmosphere for staff, volunteers, participant, and their families. It will also expand your knowledge about different ways to communicate, support, and understand people with Down syndrome.

Do you have a favorite quote? 

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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