I have been an intern at GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford since January of 2018. I have worked with students in the GiGi U program, tutored students in literacy, coordinated events, and I am conducting my own handwriting event. GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford has given me many opportunities that I would not have been able to have elsewhere. The autonomy that I have been granted in developing my program has been phenomenal, and it has allowed me to build upon and showcase the abilities and knowledge that I have been gathering throughout my educational experience. Paula has encouraged me to take the reins of my projects, but she has also provided guidance when needed.

The participants at GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford always make me smile, and I would not want to be anywhere else. I truly enjoy working with the participants and families at GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford, and every day is a new and exciting challenge that I am eager to tackle. Interning here has been an incredibly unique opportunity, and the experience that I have gained while with GiGi’s Playhouse has been unlike that of many other programs with which I have been involved. At GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford, I feel as though I make a difference in the lives of the participants and their families.

My time at GiGi’s Playhouse will serve me well in my future career working with children and their families in the healthcare setting. Healthcare serves many populations, and I would like to have knowledge and experience in working with the various populations that I will encounter in my future career. My experiences at GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford have prepared me for further interaction with those with Down syndrome, and I cannot wait to see what else I will learn during the rest of my time here!

GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford is a place where those with Down syndrome and their families can access resources, guidance, education, fellowship, programming, and much more. This is a place where our families can be and feel heard, involved, supported, and accepted, which are things that families may not always experience outside of our doors. GiGi’s Playhouse assists families in reaching their goals, whether that be learning to add or learning how to cook; GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford offers a wide range of programming and resources for families to access.

Our families also get to be a part of a community that is unlike any other. The bonds and friendships that I have seen between our participants is immeasurable; they have a keen way of relating to one another that is marvelous to witness and hard to replicate. The smiles on everyone’s faces says it all: GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford is really the place to be!

Marianna Galligani

GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford Intern

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