Why GiGi’s? | Kristin Daniels
I have never been to a GiGi’s Playhouse, so why join in on the efforts to bring one to Orange County? Of course one of the main reasons is because I have heard how incredible the playhouses are, and I would love nothing more than to have my own son with Down syndrome experience the love, support, and community found through GiGi’s Playhouse. It will be so awesome for him to have somewhere to go where he is fully accepted and included for exactly who he is, and to receive support to help him live his best life!
My main purpose – my “why” – is much bigger than me and my family. Until I had my son, I never knew anyone personally who had Down syndrome. I wasn’t exposed to anyone with Down syndrome in my schools, at my church, anywhere in my community. I saw people with Down syndrome occasionally but never knew any personally and definitely didn’t have a relationship with any of them. When I received my son’s prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, my heart was shattered and I was terrified. I know that if I’d had a personal relationship with even one person with Down syndrome, I likely wouldn’t have been so scared and heartbroken. I would have known my life wasn’t over – it was only just beginning and it was about to be so much more fulfilling, full of purpose, joy, and love!
I think having a GiGi’s in the community is essential so that it will be a permanent place that will provide exposure to Down syndrome for all who see it. I believe it will help normalize Down syndrome and help more of our community realize we are all more alike than different. I also think it is imperative for Orange County to have a place that parents can reach out to right away when they receive a Down syndrome diagnosis, whether prenatally or at birth. I wish I had a place like that where I could have dropped in while pregnant to tangibly see the love and joy in the Ds community, and to receive support and resources on moving forward to provide the best life for my son.
Thank you to all who have supported us so generously! We cannot wait to open the doors to our OC GiGi’s!!