Volunteer Spotlight: Jessie Beversdorf

Volunteer appreciation week is April 16-22, but we have so many wonderful volunteers to talk about it, that we’ll be celebrating all month! Just a reminder, GiGi’s Playhouse Madison is 99% volunteer run – which means we wouldn’t be here without our volunteers. It’s pretty incredible to think back on all of the hours people have given to us – 5,698 hours in 2022 alone! These blogs will be posted in a question and answer format. 

Jessie Beversdorf

Why did you decide to volunteer with GiGi’s Playhouse? 

At the time, I had stepped away from working in special education to homeschool my own children and missed meeting new, unique people. I thought that GiGi’s could give me that opportunity. 

How long have you been a volunteer? 

I’ve been with GiGi’s since the fall of 2018!

What programs, committees or events have you volunteered with? 

As a book lover, I LOVE literacy tutoring! I’m also looking forward to helping out with the Dash for Down Syndrome. 

What is your favorite way to volunteer with GiGi’s? 

Initially, I was highly resistant to my current favorite way to tutor, but now I wouldn’t go back to my old ways. I used to tutor in Monona at the Playhouse and was heartbroken when it closed for Covid. The idea of teaching virtually terrified me because I’m not a tech savvy tutor. But thanks to many, many e-mails and calls and Zoom meetings with our Site Director, Kelly, I’ve learned to LOVE the virtual platform and the unique experience that it affords me and my student. It’s not uncommon for her mother to be cooking dinner in the background during our lessons or her brother to be buzzing around. And my own teenagers and dogs love to pop in and say hello to my student. It’s a lot of fun. 

“We love Ms. Jessie! Belle looks forward to reading with her weekly. The two of them have such an amazing bond because they have had the opportunity to work together for several years. Ms. Jessie is always trying to find new content to keep Belle engaged, while still focusing on her goals.” – Belle’s Mom 

Can you share a favorite moment from your time volunteering? 

At the end of our lesson, my student has “free choice,” where she chooses something fun to read like a buzzword quiz or the lyrics to a Miley Cyrus song. Recently, she chose to perform a musical she had written, and requested that my 14 year old son sing along with her. I think that’s a memory our whole family will enjoy for a long time! 

What is the most impactful thing you have learned from your time at GiGi’s? 

My student is one of the most spunky, sassy, cheerful people that I’ve ever met. She has definitely helped me lighten up and have fun with teaching! I can now say that I’ve been in a rap battle and lost! 

What advice would you give to someone that is new to volunteering or considering volunteering with GiGi’s Playhouse? 

I would say, just do it! You’ll learn along the way and meet some very cool people. 

__________

Thank you, Jessie! 🧡

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