Meet our Associate Board: Mansha Sharma
GiGi’s NYC is super excited to introduce Mansha, a member of our Associate Board (AB)! Mansha started as a One-to-One Literacy tutor and later joined our AB. As a board member, she provided assistance at our 5th Annual Fashion Show this year, and most recently, she stepped into a leadership role for our 9th Annual Dancing For Down Syndrome event. GiGi’s NYC is thankful to have Mansha as part of our team, and we have enjoyed getting to know her. We hope you do, too, by reading more about her below:
How did you find out about GiGi’s NYC? For many years, I had been looking to volunteer with the Down syndrome community. When I moved to NYC, I actively searched online for volunteering opportunities in this space and came across GiGi’s NYC. The more I read the GiGi’s NYC website, the more I fell in love with how they support their participants. I couldn’t wait to sign-up for volunteering!
How and when did you first get involved with GiGi’s NYC? I wanted a role that would allow me to interact with the participants and lucky for me, the role for one-to-one literacy tutors was open at the time. However, without any formal training on how to be a tutor, let alone to those with differing abilities, I was very nervous at first. Thanks to the awesome team at GiGi’s NYC and all the training materials, I was able to plan my sessions effectively and tailor them to my student’s needs, while enjoying getting to know them.
Why did you decide to join the Associate Board? After the tutoring semester was over, I decided to pause and reflect on other ways I could contribute that aligned with my strengths. Having both education and experience in business roles, I thought that serving as an Associate Board member would best utilize my administrative and organizational skills. The best part about this role is working with the deeply passionate and wonderful team on the Board of Directors and the Associate Board who go above and beyond to nurture the community.
What does GiGi’s NYC mean to you?
A step toward my life’s purpose: Although I like my full-time job and I am career-oriented, it’s volunteering with GiGi’s NYC that adds a sense of accomplishment and purpose to my days. Be it in small ways, I feel it’s important to play one’s part in giving back to the community.
Connection: Coming from India, my first cousin, who happens to have Down syndrome, is nothing less than a brother to me. Today, I’m in a different country more than a thousand miles away but through volunteering with GiGi’s NYC, I feel I am growing closer to him.
What does Down syndrome awareness and acceptance look like to you? When I moved to the US, I tried to change my Indian ways in order to fit in, which I found to be quite taxing. I decided to just be myself and realized that as I accepted the difference, so did my friends. They appreciate the difference in perspective and vibe I bring to their lives.
Down syndrome acceptance to me is a world in which people with Down syndrome attend the same schools, share the same workplaces, participate in after school / after work activities together along with everyone else. They are appreciated for being different because they enrich the lives of others by being that wonderful friend who is honest, vibrant and playful, has a pure heart, makes no judgements, shows truly unconditional affection, exudes positive energy and, we’ll all agree, is super chill and cool to hang out with!
GiGi’s NYC thanks Mansha for her dedication to the Down syndrome community, and her commitment to GiGi’s NYC. We can do what we do because of YOU!