Thank You. From, The University of Missouri
In early January, a group of 11 strangers loaded up a van and drove 14 hours to Raleigh, NC to spend a week of service at GiGi’s Playhouse. We had no idea what the week had in store for us. However, I can assure you this- none of us knew just how rewarding and exciting the week was going to be.
This service trip was part of Mizzou Alternative Breaks which sends students all over the country to serve in a variety of disciplines. Ellen and I met in May of 2017 during site-leader reveal and planned our trip to GiGi’s from there. We drafted 11 spectacular students to come on our trip and had weekly meetings in preparation.
Ellen and I came up with the lesson plans for the week. The staff was extremely supportive and gave us full control for the week. It was inspiring to watch the GiGi’s participants take part and appreciate these lessons we worked so diligently to plan.
We got to spend the week leading programs for groups of all ages. From the babies we met at LMNOP to the adults we befriended at Fantastic Friends, the week was full of laughter and learning. We did crafts, made snacks and played so many games.
Everyone you encounter at GiGi’s is full of love. Friendship and affection radiates off the walls. The families, the staff and the participants all have such big hearts and a longing to love.
Site-leader, Ellen Skala stated, “GiGi’s Playhouse provides love and support to everyone in the Down syndrome community. I can honestly say my heart was touched by every individual there and will never forget the people I met in Raleigh, NC. I hope to continue to be involved in GiGi’s Playhouse upon graduation and hopefully make it back to the Raleigh location”.
Overall, thank you GiGi’s for all of our new friends. You single-handedly changed our perspectives on so many aspects and left us with full hearts. We will never forget our time at GiGi’s, it truly changed our lives.