Volunteer Perspective – What GiGi’s Playhouse is All About

Giuliana Maestre posing by a tree.

Guest Blogger, Guiliana Maestre

Hi! My name is Giuliana Maestre, I am currently a graduating senior at Monona Grove High School. I’m part of a state-certified program at my school called Youth Apprenticeship where I’m working in the Hospitality industry while earning school credits. After graduation I’m planning to attend college and double major in International business and marketing!

Young women sitting on the floor playing with a bubble machine.

Initially I was introduced to GiGi’s Playhouse by my Youth Apprenticeship Career & Technical Education Coordinator. I not only was looking for more experience in the Marketing Industry, but also for more volunteer opportunities. I was fortunate enough to be able to join this organization and what I discovered was much more than I envisioned. 

GiGi’s Playhouse is a warm, welcoming community of individuals with a dedication to change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all. 

More About the Playhouse

Through my short time here I’ve been able to see how open this community is, and how people dedicate their time to help individuals and make a difference in the community.  

Guiliana Maestre

GiGi’s Playhouse offers free therapeutic and educational programming to individuals with Down syndrome of all ages and their families too. Through my short time here I’ve been able to see how open this community is, and how people dedicate their time to help individuals and make a difference in the community.  

 Through a couple of meetings with Kelly Antonson, Site Director, I have been able to learn more about GiGi’s Playhouse and what it’s all about. I’ve also learned about the various events that the organization offers for Down syndrome awareness.

Group of children running a field for the kids dash at the Dash for Down Syndrome on a sunny day in April.

One of the most recent events that was introduced to me was the “Dash for Down Syndrome” which is a 5k run, 1 mile walk and a kids Dash for Down syndrome. Something unique and fun about this event is that in the months leading up to it, families are able to share a bit about their motivation for participating and are spotlighted in the Playhouse blog. Not only is this a fun way to connect with the families but it also gives each individual/team a shout out. 

I’d like to give a big thanks to everyone at GiGi’s Playhouse, it’s been a wonderful and enjoyable experience! I’m truly grateful for the impactful experiences I have had with GiGi’s. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of such meaningful work!

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