This month we would like to recognize Erica Kirinovic as our Volunteer Spotlight! She has been volunteering here for about a month and has already made a difference. She has been co-leading GiGi Prep and tutoring three students this summer here at GiGi’s Quad Cities. She is from Lockport, IL but is currently living in Rock Island and is a Senior at Augustana College. Once she finishes graduate school she hopes to be an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and work with children/adults with special needs. We asked Erica to answer a few questions about her experience here at the Playhouse.
How did you hear about GiGi’s Playhouse?
I heard about GiGi’s Playhouse from my major advisor at Augustana College and she told me that it would be a great opportunity to look into for a summer internship or to volunteer there.
Why did you choose GiGi’s as a place to volunteer?
I am doing my summer internship here at GiGi’s Playhouse to get more experience with working with children/adults with Down syndrome. Since in the future I want to work with people who have special needs, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to learn more about Down syndrome, work with these individuals, and learn that individuals with Down syndrome are truly amazing people!
What has your experience been here at the Playhouse?
My experience here at the Playhouse has been nothing but positive! I enjoy working with not only Pam and Jen but also everyone in GiGi Prep and tutoring. I could not be any happier with my decision to intern here over the summer!
What do you want others to know about volunteering at the Playhouse?
One thing that I have always been good at is patience, and yes sometimes volunteering can get a little crazy or frustrating, but I would say that what others should know before they volunteer here (or anywhere really) is that you have to be patient. When working with individuals who have Down syndrome, things might not go as planned or do not go the way you want them to, but you just have to remember to be patient. When you are patient with individuals with Down syndrome, they can and will do miraculous things and impress/inspire you everyday.
Tell us about your favorite moment/experience while volunteering.
My favorite experience that I have had here at GiGi’s so far is working with the students in GiGi Prep. Watching them achieve their goals and learning new things has inspired me and taught me so many things that I did not know before. Getting to know each student individually has also helped me know their strengths and weakness and has helped me to push them and make them work even harder to reach their goals. They make me laugh and smile everyday, and I’m really going to miss them when GiGi Prep is over!
We hope Erica will stay on as long as her schedule allows.
If you would like to know more about volunteering at the Playhouse visit the volunteer section of our website.