National Volunteer Month 2022: Volunteers are Paramount in Helping us Change the Way the World Views Down Syndrome

April is National Volunteer Month! As an organization that is 99% volunteer-run, GiGi’s Playhouse is grateful for the opportunity this month offers to acknowledge and thank the countless volunteers who have helped us empower the Down syndrome community and promote global acceptance of our friends living with an extra chromosome.

“Through her [Jill Rabin], my husband and I found GiGi’s Playhouse.  We were exhausted but she nudged us to go. It was the most significant push we have received,” a GiGi’s Playhouse Family on Jill Rabin, a volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse in Deerfield Illinois. Rabin was GiGi’s Playhouse Volunteer of the Year in 2020!

Since the first GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center opened in 2003 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, volunteers have been our lifeline. The first Playhouse was created to be an inspirational place for families to celebrate their children with Down syndrome and benefit from FREE educational and therapeutic programming designed to promote confidence and meaningful developmental progressions in individuals with DS.

From supporting an expectant mother who has been given a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis to tutoring a GiGi’s student in literacy, to helping an adult with DS develop essential career skills, GiGi’s Playhouse volunteers have been the dominant force in encouraging our friends with Down syndrome to walk with certainty, achieve goals and follow dreams.

Recognizing the importance of volunteerism began in Canada in the 1940s as a means of honoring the contributions of women during World War II. The movement gained momentum in the U.S. in the 1970s and was made official worldwide in the 1990s.

Today, we are happy to report that despite the recent challenges of the global pandemic, our Playhouse network is thriving! We attribute our success to the dedication of the 9,000+ GiGi’s Playhouse volunteers worldwide. Volunteerism is THE reason we are able to provide 4,400+ hours of FREE in-person and virtual enrichment programming per week for individuals with Down syndrome in the U.S. and beyond!

We have made tremendous strides in changing the way the world views Down syndrome, but there is still work to be done!

If you are not already a volunteer, now is a great time to get started. We rely on dedicated people with ALL levels of expertise to keep our programs vibrant, educational, purposeful, fun, and FREE!

Get Involved at GiGi’s Playhouse:

Become a Volunteer: We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities that suit various skill sets and levels of expertise. You can make a difference in the lives of our friends with Down syndrome!

Register for a Fundraising Event: There’s never a dull moment at GiGi’s! Our community of supporters is always ready to rally on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome! Join in on the fun!

Join the #generationG Movement: If social media is your thing, join the 250K+ individuals who have taken the pledge to promote global acceptance for people of ALL abilities!

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