GiGi’s Playhouse Indianapolis is excited to welcome its first Diversity and Inclusion Intern to the team! In the 6 years that our playhouse has been open, we have been able to serve as a resource to 524 families. However, we acknowledge that we could expand our outreach even further. With the help of Kelli Caughman and Abby Highland, we will be able to achieve our 2021 goal of bettering our diversity and inclusion systems. Kelli is a board member and mother to our friend Cree. She is committed to helping GiGi’s bring more variety into the playhouse. Abby is our first diversity and inclusion intern joining our playhouse for the next 3 months. We are so thankful to have both of them as part of our team!
Kelli and Abby both have passionate visions of how they plan to bring diversity and inclusion into our playhouse. Abby will begin her work by looking at the diversity and inclusion we currently have while also looking at how to improve for the future. She acknowledges that diversity is much more than race and ethnicity, “everyone is different in their own way.” They have active plans of reaching out to nearby schools, making connections online (i.e. Indiana Moms Group), and planning local meetups at GiGi’s. These efforts will help serve communities near our location. Kelli would love to see more representation when it comes to marketing such as adding images around the playhouse of various cultures. Kelli emphasized that “it is important for everyone to see Down syndrome comes in all different shapes, colors, and sizes.” She would also love for the Playhouse to obtain a more diverse set of volunteers to minimize the barriers we experience with factors such as language, communication techniques, and inclusive learning methods regarding verbal, auditory, and visual learning. Her biggest goal is to establish community connections in order to increase the network that GiGi’s is able to serve. However, with the impact of Covid-19 we want to be realistic and recognize that there may be some challenges to incorporating diversity into the playhouse. Abby realizes that there may be limitations in their ability to reach out to the community however she has confidence that this can still be done virtually. Kelli sees participation as a possible challenge. She wants individuals to know that GiGi’s is being sincere in our efforts to involve a more diverse population.
We would love for all individuals to be a part of this essential effort in strengthening diversity and inclusion within our Indianapolis playhouse. Kelli expressed her passion towards this process in stating “I really like that GiGi’s is taking this step and being purposeful in wanting to diversify the communities that are being underserved…I can feel that it is really genuine.”