This is part 5 in our 5 part series of traveling down memory lane with the panel of speakers from the recent gala where we celebrated 10 years here in the Quad Cities. We hope you’re still with us because this 5th and final part holds some very exciting news about the future of our local Playhouse.
The 5th speaker for the evening was Chad Johnson. Chad shared a view of the past, the present, and a glimpse at the future too!
I’m honored to be here celebrating our 10th Anniversary of GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities.
I’m Chad Johnson or Mila’s Dad and I am the current Vice President for the Board of Managers that helps oversee the Playhouse. My family has been part of GiGi’s over the years and became more involved in the past 5 years.
When our daughter Mila was born, my wife and I were introduced to GiGi’s Playhouse. We were taken back by all the welcoming families there and since then, 10 years ago, the number of families has grown from just 50 families to over 200.
Many of the families here tonight know GiGi’s Playhouse is more than a resource center for individuals with Down syndrome. It’s informative, supportive and they provide Free Programs such as Speech, Literacy, Math, GiGiFIT, and many other programs to all our friends who have Down syndrome. Many of you here in this audience have helped to make this happen in many ways through volunteering and or donating.
Our daughter participates in many of these programs with her friends which has shown us how impactful these programs are and how they have helped our daughter and her friends at GiGi’s excel. We saw the importance and changes it was making in our daughter’s life which propelled my wife and I to get involved in many committees and inspire me to assist on the board.
When I was invited to attend a board meeting 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to help and be a part of something great, which would allow me to give back to our friends here at GiGi’s. This opportunity has been a great experience for me and has impacted my life in ways I am unable to put into words. I know by serving I am making a difference in my daughter’s life, her GiGi’s friends, and helping the efforts to strengthen and expand the growth of the Playhouse. It has been a blessing to our family and we are grateful for being a part of the GiGi’s Family
As you are probably aware being on the board means making decisions for the best of the Playhouse. Some are easier than others. We recently made a big decision that I would like to share. Of course, this decision has not been easy, but it has been years in the making.
Over the past 10 years, the number of families we’ve served has grown, the number of volunteers giving of their time and talents has grown, the number of programs offered has grown, and now it’s my pleasure to announce that……
the Playhouse itself will be growing!
We are expanding into the vacant space next door to allow us to continue growing and serving our loved ones and friends with Down syndrome in the best ways possible.
We are excited about this change and look forward to many years ahead.