Participant Spotlight: Shining on Brett

When Brett moved from Chicago to Arizona, his family was uncertain if they would find the same opportunities they had back at their old home. Shortly after moving here, the Schatzman family found GiGi’s Playhouse and realized they had the same opportunities for Brett that they used to have and then some!

Brett is 23 years old and works two days a week at Lifetime Fitness alongside his father who also doubles as his job coach. He is an Honorary Board Member, does office work every Tuesday morning at GiGi’s, and helps with younger participants learning sign language as a part of our LMNOP (Learning, Music, N’ Our Peeps) program. Brett is a student in our Literacy Program as well as a participant in Art Explosion and Fantastic Friends. When Brett was asked what his favorite part of GiGi’s Playhouse was, he said that it was the people because they are so nice!


“As parents, we feel that GiGi’s has given Brett a place to feel comfortable and be himself. The people that are involved with GiGi’s are there because they want to be, not because they have to be. The leadership is so amazing, they are in tune with what kids and young adults really need to thrive and grow. They are always looking to the future to have new ideas. This is more than a playhouse, it’s hope and a sense of family. GiGi’s benefits Brett because he feels needed when he works and he feels like the special people who help him are like a 2nd family to him. He talks all the time about his friends; Jen, Cathy, Claudia, Kaleb, and Danica. We really don’t know what our family would do without GiGi’s. We are so grateful to everyone involved with the Playhouse, we love them!”

-Marlene Schatzman, mother of Brett


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  1. Jen Gage on February 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    We Love you Brett and your amazing family!! You are one awesome dude!

  2. Karen Jones on February 25, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    We loved reading this story. We too are moving from downtown Chicago to Tempe, Arizona this summer. My husband is being transferred thru Northern Trust Bank. Our oldest will be starting at Arizona State University and our youngest son, Fletcher who is 16 will be entering his junior year in high school. Fletcher has Down syndrome and is very involved in school theater and a ABLE Ensemble which started as GiGi’s teen theater program. Any assistance with schools and programs for Fletcher would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  3. Cathy Judge on February 26, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    How blessed The Gigi’s Family is to have Brett shine is light at the Playhouse. We truly love the entire Schatzman Family. Thank you for gracing us with your presence! You are truly a special Family! ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

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