Cheers to a Successful Summer!

Summer Recap

We have so much to be proud of this summer! GiGi’s Madison welcomed 10 New Families and over 100 Returning Families during our last three months of programming. We’re serving more families, running more programs, and celebrating more ‘Best of All’ moments than ever before.  

During our Summer Session we were able to provide Amina Grace Speech & Language Therapy to a record 14 families and saw so much joy each day. Our Playhouse was also able to bring back 1-1 Math Tutoring! We matched 12 participants for 1-1 Math and Literacy Tutoring and we’re so proud of the progress our students made. Congrats to all participants and volunteers for their hard work! 


7 Group Programs were offered this summer, bringing tons of energy and laughter into our Playhouse week after week. Fantastic Friends traveled ‘Around the World’ this summer, studying a different country from various parts of the world each week. They learned about some of the key cultures, languages, foods, and holidays of India, Italy, Senegal, China, Mexico and the United States! The TeenTastic crew brought their spirit and competitiveness each week, starting & ending each program with a round of football, soccer, basketball or tag. They enjoyed making new friends, doing crafts together, and their favorite- decorating sugar cookies! 

Creativity and self-expression were brought out during Art Explosion. A special thank you to Arts for All Wisconsin for leading our Art program each week and bringing us new opportunities to learn new crafting skills. Friday mornings at the Playhouse were full of cuteness and giggles from our LMNOP family. We loved watching our birth to 3 kiddos explore new textures, learn new signs, and connect with one another. A highlight for this group was receiving a ‘Go Baby Go’ retrofit car, donated from UW-Madison community partner. This car allows young people with lower mobility to drive the car with a power button steering wheel or a remote control that parents can use to drive. We exercised every Saturday morning with our Special Olympics Young Athletes and learned tons of cool new moves! Each week, participants focused on learning basic sport skills and supported each other while playing inclusive games. A highlight for our young athletes was our end-of-summer ‘Closing Ceremony’ where we crowned each athlete with a medal, t-shirt and special bag of books and supplies.  


End of Summer Celebration

We onboarded 31 new Volunteers this summer and collectively, our volunteers logged over 1,300 hours in the Playhouse. It takes the dedication of our committed volunteer leaders and assistants to empower our participants and engage them in activities each week. We celebrated our amazing volunteers and families at our first ever End of Summer Party this past week. Our Fantastic Friends crew did an amazing job helping us plan this party and volunteered to run the Dance Floor and Arts & Crafts table during the party – THANK YOU Fantastic Friends! We gave an overview of Fall Program Offerings, had a few snacks & drinks, and Rockin’ Ryan’s Ice Cream Truck gave us a sweet-treat fix with their delicious ice cream and popsicle treats!


Fall Outlook

We’re on track to run 8 total Group Programs this fall, including a second session of GiGi FIT for ages 5-12 years old, and GiGi Kitchen for Teens & Adults. One of our Playhouse’s top priorities for programming has been to bring the GiGiFIT and GiGi Kitchen series to life; this summer we launched GiGi FIT for Teens & Adults! 

Our free GiGi FIT programs combine physical therapy with a strong fitness focus with an ultimate goal of improved movement and health.  GiGiFIT was created in collaboration with skilled Physical Therapists who work specifically with individuals with Down syndrome. This dedicated group is learning safe ways to move and important healthy eating information during the program at the Playhouse. They then work on what they learned in-person and keep track of their movement and healthy habit activities at home.

The GiGiFIT programs are truly life changing and we’re so excited to be offering a second session of GiGi FIT this fall for School-Age Participants, ages 5-12 years old! In addition to offering TWO GiGiFIT programs, we’re on track to launch the Madison Playhouses’ first GiGi Kitchen Program for Teens & Adults. This program emphasizes the importance of health and wellness through nutrition education, kitchen safety, food preparation, social activities, and weekly shared snacks. Participants will learn about and progress through skills including measurements, food handling, knife skills, ingredient identification, palette expansion, and nutrition. GiGi’s Kitchen promotes self-esteem and self-confidence building through nutrition and wellness activities.  

A final THANK YOU to all of our incredible families, volunteers, and other supporters. We wouldn’t have had such a successful summer without you all.  



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