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A Tribute To My Dad, John

As you may be aware, over the past 16 months, I have been the primary caregiver for my father, John, who has bravely fought against lung cancer. On Good Friday, he peacefully passed away, surrounded by his beloved children and grandchildren.  Upon relocating from Scottsdale in 2022, my father eagerly...

Leaps & Bounds Best of All: Tsubaki

Tsubaki (5) and her parents recently made the move from the East Coast to Irvine, California, where they were active participants in the New York City GiGi’s Playhouse location. Now, Orange County is delighted to welcome the Yamazaki family as part of our community. Tsubaki enthusiastically engages in our Leaps...
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Perspective: by Maddie Garza, 1:1 Literacy Tutor

Today, we are embarking on the journey of recognizing that letters have names and sounds that, when put together, can create words. Rhett has shown an immense love for learning in the most unconventional ways. As someone who works professionally in the pediatric neurodiverse community, I could not love this...

Kid’s Club Best of All: Elisa and her brothers

Elisa, alongside her brothers Jacobo and Rodrigo, epitomizes the essence of family values at GiGi’s Playhouse Orange County. The mission of GiGi’s Playhouse revolves around "transforming lives through the consistent provision of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the broader community."...
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Amy Ghalwash: A FANTASTIC FRIEND (and volunteer, mother, wife, daughter, sister…)

Charlie Horner and Amy Ghalwash during the Fantastic Friends program at GiGi's Playhouse on Wednesday nights. Amy Ghalwash epitomizes the spirit of volunteerism at GiGi's Playhouse Orange County, having dedicated herself to its mission since its inception. From helping with the Grand Opening to contributing her efforts to the Gala...

All in the Family: Jack and his mom, Katie

Jack Gresko is the heart and soul of our Teen Tastic program. Sometimes walking into the Playhouse in a Chewbacca costume and sometimes shoeless, you never know what fabulous presentation Jack will wear to participate in that night’s program. Jack started with GiGi’s Playhouse in Hoffman Estates, Illinois as a...
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Fantastic Friends Best of All: Karina

Karina Piraino has been an active participant in our GiGiFIT Adult and Fantastic Friends program since July 2023. The first time she walked through the doors, however, was 4 months prior. Karina and her mother, Lisa, came in for a tour. They loved learning about our adult classes, but just...
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Welcome to my Rhett Talk | Kristin Daniels

I did not have the pleasure of knowing someone personally with Down syndrome until Rhett was born. Since October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, here are some things that I have learned since his wonderful arrival four and a half years ago: People-first language matters! Rhett has Down syndrome (not...
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Teen Tastic Best of All: Bella & Nana

Bella (14) has been living with her Grandmother, Maureen, this summer, while her house is beingremodeled. Since Grandma’s house is just a mile away from the Playhouse, Maureen brought Bella in for a tour, with the hopes of her meeting new friends and becoming more social. After a marvelous tour...

“Hello” from Suzanne the Site Manager

Hello. My name is Suzanne Scott, and I have the extreme privilege of being the Site Manager of GiGi's Playhouse Orange County. I discovered GiGi’s Playhouse not because I have a child or relative with Down syndrome, but due to the ripple effect of knowing and loving my friend, Charlie...
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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...
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Why GiGi’s? | Kim Horner

So, many have asked "Why is it that we are working towards bringing a GiGi's Playhouse to Orange County?"  A better question is "why not?!"  Why not provide a place for our families to gather? Why not build a place that will enable our kids to learn life skills through cooking and exercise...