Contact GiGi's Playhouse Rockford


Meet the Playhouse Staff

Paula Capone, Executive Director 
It has been a joy to serve as the Executive Director for GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford. It is an honor to be a part of such an inspiring organization. I am a Rockford native with aspirations to make it a better community by making it a community where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced. It is my job to increase positive awareness of Down syndrome through national campaigns, educational programs and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. Come see what we are all about at our 5200 sq. foot facility. Please email me at or give me a call at 815-654-7529, ext. 211

Stacey Bonetti, Administrative Assistant

stacyI am a Rockford native who has a background in Administrative work. I answered an ad for Administrative help here at GiGi’s, not knowing much about Down syndrome. I have now been here since January of 2013, and my administrative duties pale in comparison with the interactions I have with the many participants of the various programs. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and I was meant to be here…not as much for my help to run GiGi’s office, but to learn about people with disabilities and what a wonderful addition they are to our community! These people are warm, caring and wonderful and I am proud to call them my friends. GiGi’s Playhouse has given me much more than I have given it, but I believe it is a wonderful partnership between us. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have and I can be reached at or by calling the playhouse at 815.654.7529.

Erin Hickman, GiGi U and Tutoring Coordinator

I am so blessed to be a part of GiGi's Playhouse. I came to GiGi's as the GiGi U Coordinator and have recently taken on the role of Tutoring Coordinator, as well. Everyday, I get to work with phenomenal individuals and watch their confidence grow! I love making a difference in people's lives, and that is what we do here. Working with individuals who have special needs has been my passion for the past 15 years. I was born and raised in the Rockford area, and worked for many years as a para in the Harlem School District. I love to see some of my former students at the playhouse! I have a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. At home, I have 5 (yes, 5!) little ones. Grant (7) is the oldest and the only boy. Then there is Riley(7), Bella(5), Gabby(4), and Maggie(2). If you stop by for a visit, you may see them helping me out. It is wonderful to know that my children enjoy GiGi's as much as I do and are always ready to come visit my students. If you have questions about GiGi U or tutoring, I would be happy to answer them for you. You can reach me by email, or by phone, 815-654-7529 ext. 212

Alexandra Bergsten, Summer Program/Volunteer Coordinator

I will be a senior at Miami University (OH) in the Fall and I am studying Speech Pathology and Audiology. I was born and raised in Rockford and graduated from Rockford Auburn in 2015. I led Teen Time last summer and had such a blast! I was so excited when Paula called and offered me a summer internship. I feel so grateful to have this opportunity and I am looking forward to getting to know all of the individuals and their families this summer. Contact me at 815-654-7529 ext. 214 or

Board of Directors

Michael Dalke
Assistant Deputy Chief, Rockford Police Department

Penny Wirtjes
Found Board Member

Ellen K. Poppen
EKP Solution Source

Jerry Guinane
VP, Swedish American Health System

Past President 
Pam Maher
CEO, KMK Media Group

Colleen Cyrus, Retired
Former Executive Director, Special Education
Rockford Public Schools

Julie Gustafson
Mercy Health System

Fred Muehlfelder
Fitzgerald Funeral Home

Ben Bernsten
Director of Retail and General Counsel, Goodwill Industries

Contact Us

8801 N. Second St. Suite 2
Machesney Park, IL 61115

(815) 654-PLAY (7529).