Community Connections – Interns Through Local Universities

Here in Indianapolis, we are surrounded by dozens of higher learning institutions that are home to hundreds of thousands of eager students waiting to gain education within their discipline. Many will say that the best way to learn is to be immersed in the paired environment. This is the exact reason why we value our community connections with local universities such as University of Indianapolis and IUPUI.

Each semester, we connect with our university partners and provide them the necessary info to pass to their students who are seeking an internship experience. It is very common for us to have 1 or 2 interns per semester. In 2019 when the world was virtual, we hosted 9 virtual interns! We are very lucky to be a site that is accepting of both in-person and virtual internships.

In the fall of 2022, Sydney Hicks began her internship with us! As a student of IUPUI, she was required to complete an 8-month internship, adding up to a total of 560 hours. Please take a moment to read Sydney’s reflections of her time spent at GiGi’s Playhouse Indianapolis

“Hi! My name is Sydney Hicks, and I have been lucky enough to intern through GiGi’s Playhouse Indianapolis since August 2022. Most of my time has been spent with our adult friends through SMART and Fantastic Friends, but I have also been a literacy tutor for three different friends. When I first started at GiGi’s, I had never met an individual with Down syndrome. I didn’t know what to expect! I never knew what I was missing out on. I have learned how to improve my interactions with a community I had little knowledge of, and I was able to learn more about how I can best serve the Down syndrome community. I am so grateful for the friendships and connections I have made with both participants and staff here, they truly are the best!”

Projects/Programs I was involved with:

  • Tutoring
  • Volunteer Hub
  • Fantastic Friends
  • Event Planning (Halloween Sing Along, Pizza and Pajamas, WDSD Rock Your Socks)

When Hayley joined our team in January of 2023, she quickly became involved in programs and development. Her capstone project through the University of Indianapolis focuses on our E.P.I.C. program. She successfully finished her internship and is awaiting graduation!

“Within the last 14-weeks here at GiGi’s Playhouse, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with the most amazing individuals. Over the course of my rotation, I have had the pleasure to work with the toddler music class, GiGiFIT Toddler, and LMNOP. I’ve loved getting to work with the early learners and getting to know them and their families. I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with our adult participants on Wednesdays at E.P.I.C.. I looked forward to my Wednesdays starting with Adult: Music, leading GiGiFIT Adult, and getting to volunteer in our community with our adult advocates. I’ve been able to learn so much while I’ve been here while completing my capstone experience and project with the E.P.I.C. program.” – Hayley Martin

Projects/Programs I was involved with:

  • EPIC
  • Music: Adult
  • Being a Literacy Tutor
  • Music: Early Learners
  • Leading GiGiFIT Adult
  • Co-lead for GiGiFIT Toddler
  • Prepping and helping with the Gala
  • Updating the EPIC binder and resources

We are always very grateful for the dedication that our interns show throughout their time at the Playhouse. If you or anyone that you know are interested in an internship at the Playhouse, click HERE to learn about next steps!

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