Volunteer Donates a Staggering 2,300 Volunteer Hours

Volunteer can be a scary word.  Not knowing how you can contribute or the amount of time you can give is overwhelming to many people. At GiGi’s Playhouse we are 99% volunteer run and we are grateful to the hundreds of people that have shared their time and talents us whether it was for one hour or thousands of hours!

The volunteer we would like to brag about is Judy Heil.

Judy is an incredible human being and we have been so lucky to have her as a key part of our Playhouse since we opened in 2016. In fact, she has given 2,300 volunteer hours to date! 

Judy is a retired public school Speech/Language Pathologist and has volunteered in key roles at our Playhouse for over 6 years!  She has been on the Program Committee since its inception at and has been a program leader for various GiGi’s programs, including LMNOP, Leaps and Bounds, and the S.M.A.R.T. Adult program.  Most recently, her primary focus currently has been with the Literacy program as a Literacy Co-coordinator.

When COVID happened in 2022 Judy was ready to step down as the Literacy Coordinator. Our Site Director, Kelly, literally begged her to stay on so we could continue serving our incredible families virtually. Judy graciously agreed and has helped us serve 100 students just since Fall 2020! The first fully virtual session we did in Fall 2020 we served 21 families!

Technology was not something Judy was excited about but her dedication to our families and her love for literacy powered her through.

Judy training a volunteer tutor

Judy goes above and beyond while training our volunteer tutors!

Judy will be stepping down in her official role of Literacy Co-Coordinator to focus on her family.  She has offered to serve as a consultant for us and will serve as a literacy tutor for her adult son, Matthew.

We don’t have the right words to thank Judy for her incredible volunteer service to the Down syndrome community.

Kelly shared “Judy is a huge reason why we were able to not skip a beat during Covid and why our students are making so much progress in our Literacy Tutoring program. Her insights and best practice sharing has allowed our tutors to achieve their very best and help our students continually celebrate their ‘Best of All’s’. I am personally very grateful for Judy!”

Our Math Coordinator, Anne Ernst, will be stepping in as Literacy Co-Coordinator until we can recruit another volunteer to fill this important roll. If you are interested in learning more about our Literacy Program and what the Literacy Coordinator role entails fill out a volunteer form by clicking HERE and check out our Literacy page HERE.

Help us thank Judy for her incredible service!

Judy and Anne: our math and literacy coordinators


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