GiGi’s Playhouse Launches ‘Step to Accept Challenge’ Virtual Run-Walk-Ride to Spread Message of Acceptance Around the World

When GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers had to close their 48 locations across the country, including the one here in San Diego, due to the pandemic, panic set in. GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego directly serves close to 200 families with free therapeutic and educational programming. Each week, GiGi’s was offering personalized programming to children and adults that had now been halted. The families were devastated.  

Within days, the entrepreneurial GiGi’s team launched GiGi’s at Home Virtual Programming. The site now offers nearly 100 LIVE and On Demand programs, plus resources and up to date information on COVID-19 and Down syndrome. The first LIVE national program was GiGiFIT Kids (physical therapy-based fitness for school aged kids) and they had 156 participants from 14 states. Since its launch, over 55,000 people have visited the site, 308 NEW families joined GiGi’s (including 10 newborns), and thousands have participated in the LIVE and On Demand programming.

Due to the pandemic, GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego was forced to cancel two fundraisers and also had to reschedule their biggest fundraiser, The San Diego Donut Run. However, together with the other locations, they have now launched GiGi’s Step to Accept Challenge, a virtual run-walk-ride designed to send a message of acceptance across the country, and the world. On Saturday, June 6, teams from 60 GiGi’s Playhouse locations and startups nationwide will take to the streets, parks, bike trails and basement treadmills, set on amassing 7 million “steps to accept,” enough steps to span the entire United States. The challenge invites supporters of acceptance, in all its forms, to join the effort by signing up online to begin logging their steps.

“This goes beyond individuals with Down syndrome,” said Nancy Gianni, founder and Chief Belief Officer of GiGi’s. “We’ve been fighting for acceptance since we first conceived GiGi’s Playhouse in 2002 and we aren’t alone in that struggle. Every step matters because every life matters, which is why our initial goal is 7 million steps, but we would love to hit 50 million steps which is the amount of steps to walk around the world spreading our message of acceptance.”

Funds raised through GiGi’s Step to Accept Challenge will enable the not-for-profit to continue its mission of providing free life-changing therapeutic and educational programming, including GiGi’s at Home Virtual Programming for more than 25,000 individuals with Down syndrome.

The culmination event of GiGi’s Step to Accept Challenge is scheduled for 9:00 am PST on Saturday, June 6. Following warm-ups and inspirational remarks, step-off will take place at 9:15 am. Those interested in registering for the Step to Accept Challenge or making a donation can visit Teams and individual participants are welcome. Registration is $21 per adult and $10 for children 12 and under. Free access to Virtual Coaching and the Strava fitness tracking app for monitoring and recording steps is available through the website.

GiGi’s Playhouse is the only international network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers created to provide free life-changing therapeutic and educational programs for all ages. With over 48 locations across the U.S. and Mexico, and a demand to open 200 more, GiGi’s Playhouse is on a mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all. Learn more at

SOURCE GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers

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Mario Lopez and Gigi

Our own San Diego native, Mario Lopez and his daughter Gigi have answered the call to #StepToAccept! Will YOU?! Register by May 20th to receive your event Tee! Enter by Thursday for a chance to win AirPod Pros! See the details 👉 #gigisplayhouse #strongertogether #fitness #giveback #sandiego #sosandiego

Posted by GiGi's Playhouse San Diego, Down Syndrome Achievement Center on Tuesday, May 19, 2020


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