Looking Back: Elevating the Down Syndrome Community in 2023!

Each year we like to reflect on the ways our community has lived our mission of ‘changing the way the world views Down syndrome and bringing a global message of acceptance for all’.

From celebrating the introduction of innovative programs, the initiation of powerful collaborations, and the heightened success of our fundraisers-together, we’ve made strides in uplifting the Down syndrome community.

These highlights are a testament to the impact of our collective efforts:

  • Our network of Playhouses celebrated 20 years of advocacy
    • Locally, we celebrated 7 years of direct impact in the greater Madison area with a party and fashion show with the now Miss Wisconsin, Lila Szyryj
    • Our playhouse families grew to over 380! We are reaching more families than ever before
    • Learn why our volunteers and families choose GiGi’s HERE
  • We provided a record-breaking, 900+ programming hours in March
    • There were 18 different programs offered- all free of charge as always!
    • This was only possible with the hard-work of our staff and dedicated program volunteers for their commitment to provide the life-changing programs.
  • The physical therapy based, GiGiFIT, program was offered for toddlers, kids, teens and adults!
    • We partnered with CI Pediatric Therapy centers to have physical therapists lead the program to make this program even more impactful for our youngest participants.
  • GiGi’s Kitchen was introduced for kids, teens and adults and resulted in increased life, social and fine motor skills
  • Our partnership with the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic allowed us to provide 40 families with 1,200 hours of free Amina Grace speech and language therapy
    • Special thanks to the Amina Grace Memorial Foundation for continuing to support us with a $5,000 grant
  • Our three major fundraisers, Dash for Down syndrome, Go FORE It golf outing, and Generation G Gala, were more productive than ever before

The 2nd annual Dash for Down syndrome welcomed 500 people to all celebrate acceptance together and raised over $60,000!

  • Our donors, grantors and sponsors provided the gifts that allowed 22 different programs to run FREE OF CHARGE to all our families
    • To see a list of our largest supporters, please visit our DONOR PAGE
    • Our Friends of GiGi’s program was our largest yet, with 7 supporters! Visit our page to learn more
  • Our staff and volunteer Board of Directors grew to keep up with the growth of our Playhouse!
    • The hard-work was recognized at our annual leadership conference where we were awarded 7 standards of execution awards. 5 of those were at the Center of Excellence of level- an achievement that is only possible with the team working together.
  • The strength and reach of our Playhouse work showed with the continued partnerships through Waisman Center and the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin-South Central
    • We are stronger together when we can all work for the common goal of better serving our Down syndrome community
    • Check out the Day with the Experts- Down syndrome here
  • The most important accomplishments are the Best of All celebrations which happened the entire year
    • We celebrated World Down Syndrome Day, the end of Summer, the holidays (with 170 people!) and all the work our volunteers and participants put into every program.
    • Best of All= doing a little bit better than the time before and this is how we will be entering 2024 as well

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