About GiGi's Playhouse Madison
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The inspiration to start a GiGi’s Playhouse in Madison was sparked by the love of grandparents, Zane and Sue Torgrude, for their grandson, Noah, who was born with Down syndrome.
“I realized that I needed to learn as much as possible about who Noah is and be able to support him to realize his full potential.”
Grandfather and Founding Board President
In 2013, after learning about GiGi’s Playhouse from Brenda Ray (Luke’s* mom), and their daughter, Jennifer (Noah’s mom), Zane and Sue set out on a mission to make a Madison playhouse a reality. They were thrilled to have the support of Patrick and Alison Ryan (Grace’s* parents) along with many other key board members and volunteers to establish GiGi’s Playhouse Madison.
The Madison Playhouse opened in May of 2016, becoming the 30th playhouse in the North American network. Our community celebrated a big grand opening party with original founders, Nancy and GiGi Gianni.
“We were so proud when it opened because people like us, who get the Down syndrome diagnosis, will drive by and know there is a place for them to get support and for their child to grow. Patrick, who was Grace's biggest fan, passed away recently. I know that he is looking down on us and wants Grace, and all of her friends with Down syndrome, to enjoy GiGi's.”
Mother and Founding Board Member
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Our Mission and Purpose:
To change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all.
To see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and communities.
We change lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model.
A lifetime commitment to families.
With over 57+ brick-and-mortar locations across the United States and Mexico and 200 inquiries to start new locations all over the world, GiGi’s Playhouse is the ONLY network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. Every day, we provide FREE, life-changing therapeutic, educational, and career training programs for 30,000+ individuals of all ages.
Down syndrome is the largest chromosomal disability in our country and yet, it is the least funded. From a prenatal diagnosis to career skills, we make a lifetime commitment to remain by their side. Families are empowered with all the tools their child needs to succeed!
Through free programs and through our Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, we EMPOWER families by maximizing opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance. To ensure lasting acceptance, we must show the world what individuals with Down syndrome are truly capable of achieving as students, co-workers, volunteers, friends, and valued members of their communities. Our program outcomes help advance this vital social impact goal.