Volunteer Spotlight: Abigail Smith
GiGi’s NYC is honored to highlight long-time volunteer, Abigail! She currently volunteers as our GiGiFIT Program Leader and has filled this role for over a year. She is the perfect balance of motivational, kind, caring, strengths-based and loving — a recipe for an exceptional volunteer! We are so lucky to have her in our community! Read below to learn more about her:
How and when did you first get involved with GiGi’s NYC? I initially started with GiGi’s NYC by taking pictures for the Fashion Show we put on once a year, and taking pictures for other classes to document special moments. I believe I started volunteering around March of 2018, and from there got more involved as I got to know the community and how amazing they all are.
Why did you decide to volunteer with GiGi’s NYC? I think it’s important to give to people who can’t repay you, to get involved in organizations that exist for the sole purpose of enriching the lives of others, and to help people that would otherwise be overlooked and left out. It’s important to me to be involved in things that go beyond yourself, that will have a lasting impact in creating community, helping people feel a part of, loved and seen. I also think it’s important for everyone to do their part-big or small-to help the people within their sphere of influence and to play their part.
How did you find out about GiGi’s NYC? I live in the neighborhood and walked by it one day and decided to do a little research to see what it’s all about.
What does GiGi’s NYC mean to you? GiGi’s NYC means inclusion, community, placing value on everyone, opportunities for growth, relationship building and bringing joy to everyday moments.
What do you do as a volunteer? I now lead our GiGiFIT Program. It is a wonderful program that allows participants to be physically active in a fun & enthusiastic group dynamic, learning exercises that can be done at home alone or in a group environment, as well as holding conversations about healthy choices and ideas on how to do that in everyday life.
What is your favorite thing about the GiGi’s NYC community? I love that the community is really such a family, celebrating birthdays, big moments in life and creating an environment for lasting friendships and space to do life with each other.
What does Down syndrome awareness and acceptance look like to you? I think what’s so important to me is that people with Down syndrome are given opportunities to learn and grow just like anyone else. People with Down syndrome have such a special place in the world, and a purpose to play, and I like that GiGi’s NYC is conducive to this purpose.
What is the best part about volunteering with GiGi’s NYC? I would say my students at GiGiFIT bring me a lot of joy, and provide a different perspective on life that I otherwise wouldn’t get. They’re a lot of fun!
How do you enjoy spending your free time? I love to do spin classes, travel, seeing friends and family, going to live events whether it be concerts or professional basketball games, working through my booklist, studying all home improvement shows like it’s my job, and reading through style/fashion blogs.
What have you learned as a volunteer? How have you been impacted by being a volunteer? I think one thing that stands out to me from my time working with my GiGiFIT students is that we all want similar things in life- joy, meaningful relationships, love, purpose, and an opportunity to be seen and loved for who we are. No one is an exception to those things, and this community is providing that in such a cool and dynamic way for these students.
What do you want the GiGi’s NYC community to know? Anything is possible! You’re capable of achieving your wildest dreams. There aren’t too many things that hard work, focus, and a lot of passion won’t accomplish. Invest in this community, the relationships and opportunities it provides, and your life will be all the richer for it. 🙂