Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Dukin


Dedication and Passion

April is volunteer appreciation month and while we like to celebrate our incredibly dedicated volunteers every day, we are thrilled to take a moment to truly celebrate Susan!

In January 2022 Susan stopped in with a donation from her family and immediately signed up to be a volunteer. She literally filled out all the volnteer paperwork before leaving.  In three short months Susan has become a very familiar face around the Playhouse. We are so grateful that she chooses to spend her time with us.  Susan is engaging, laid back and willing to dig in wherever she is needed. Read below to hear from Susan about why she came to GiGi’s Playhouse.

For Christmas, my son-in-law asked his friends and family to make donations in lieu of gifts.  When I asked him where to donate, he suggested the Special Olympics and GiGi’s Playhouse in memory of his Uncle Kevin.  He didn’t know what GiGi’s Playhouse was about but when my grandaughter was born, my mom chose to be called “Gigi” so it seemed like a great fit for a donation.

I had never heard of GiGi’s Playhouse, but after reading about it, visiting, and experiencing Site Director Kelly’s infectious enthusiasm I was hooked.

My family and I are originally from New Jersey and moved to Wisconsin in 2013 following our younger daughter, her husband, and our grandchild.  As a bonus, we ended up being closer to our older daughter and her husband who live in Minneapolis.  While in New Jersey, I spent over 40 years teaching both children and adults with special needs with the majority of my time focused on grades K through three.

GiGi’s playhouse was a dream come true, offering me an opportunity to leverage my experience, engage with the local community, and be around wonderful people.

  GiGi’s playhouse was a dream come true

I volunteer every Friday morning in the LMNOP program.  The program, which is planned by 4 outstanding Edgewood students, provides programs to babies and toddlers up to 3, their parents and siblings.  I love seeing everyone have a great time participating in a wide variety of activities including circle time, sign language, lessons and free play.

Once a month on Saturdays, I volunteer at the Dynamic Duals Program. It is a wonderful program run that is focused on individuals with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism. We’ve seen so much progress in their connection with the volunteers in just 3 sessions.

While I’ve only been volunteering for a little while, it’s obvious Kelly is the HEART of the center.  She recruits volunteers easily with her fantastic personality, passion, and dedication.  The recent addition of some part-time help will only make her more effective in ensuring everyone gets the most they can out of the programs.

GiGi’s Playhouse brings such JOY to everyone

GiGi’s Playhouse brings such JOY to everyone – children, parents, staff and volunteers.  It’s an exceptionally successful program that we should all be proud to be a part of and share with as many people as possible.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in it and to all of those who welcomed me with open arms.  I can’t wait to see what great things we accomplish together.

1 Comment

  1. Judy on April 8, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you, Susan, for all you do!! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

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