Volunteer Spotlight: Playhouse Grandparents
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.
Mike Dotta, Susan & Greg Moore
The Playhouse exists to serve those with Down syndrome and their families, but so many of our participants and families end up serving the Playhouse. Some of the most special volunteers are our Playhouse families. This blog showcases three Playhouse grandparents who can frequently be seen at Playhouse events and fundraisers, and each give of their time in unique ways.
Why did you decide to volunteer with GiGi’s Playhouse?
Mike Dotta: I got to know GiGi’s Playhouse through my granddaughter, my little princess, Addi, who has Down syndrome. GiGi’s is an amazing place, and I wanted to help out.
Susan & Greg Moore: Our seven-year-old grandson Jacob LOVES GiGi’s Playhouse, so we wanted to help support the programming.
How long have you been a volunteer?
Mike Dotta: Since February of this year.
Susan Moore: Two years
Greg Moore: Three months
What programs, committees or events have you volunteered with?
Mike Dotta: I am a literacy tutor. I currently have two wonderful students.
Susan Moore: I do the birthday cards and perform general administrative duties, as needed (whatever Kelly [Site Director] needs!).
Greg Moore: I am a math tutor.
Can you share a favorite moment from your time volunteering?
Mike Dotta: I have had several favorite moments! I think the moment when students connect with me and we make progress, the Best of All moments, are truly the Best Moments!
Susan Moore: My favorite moment was when a mother told Kelly how her daughter carried her GiGi’s birthday card around with her for a week and would not let go of it!
Greg Moore: I feel good every time I walk through the door – it’s such a positive place!
What is the most impactful thing you have learned from your time at GiGi’s?
Mike Dotta: Everything truly does happen for a reason. Be accepting, be generous, be kind and you will feel it!
Susan Moore: It takes a lot of people behind the scenes to provide and support this caliber of programming.
Greg Moore: When you have met one person with Down syndrome, you have met one person with Down syndrome.
What advice would you give to someone that is new to volunteering or considering volunteering with GiGi’s Playhouse?
Mike Dotta: Spend some time at GiGi’s Playhouse, pay close attention and you will know what you want to do.
Susan & Greg Moore: Do it! You are going to meet interesting people every time you are involved with GiGi’s. It has been a very rewarding experience getting to know the staff, participants, parents (and sometimes grandparents) and volunteers that make this such a unique place.
Thank you, Mike, Susan & Greg! 🧡