Our Team

 

Karen Falk, President

Karen lives in San Diego with her husband and three young children. Her youngest daughter, Lindsey, has Down syndrome. Karen has worked as a civil engineer in the water resources industry for over 15 years and has past experience volunteering on a non-profit Board. She is very excited about all of the wonderful programs and opportunities that GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego will offer her daughter and all individuals with Down syndrome in Southern California.

Vice President - Vacant

Jennifer Candelario, Secretary

Jennifer lives in San Diego with her husband and son Mateo. She worked as an athletic trainer and educator for over 15 years. She currently teaches at a high school in San Diego. She is very excited to be a part of GiGi's Playhouse San Diego. After taking part in many of the programs they offer, she thought she would join the team! She is excited to build relationships with families and to make a difference in the down syndrome community. She has made many friends through GiGi's and want to continue global acceptance and inclusion for individuals with down syndrome.

Molly Kimpel-Borska, Treasurer

Molly lives in San Diego with her husband and two young children. She worked for several years in different areas of the legal field, most recently as a family law paralegal. Her previous volunteer experience served women and children in crisis, children with special medical needs, and households facing food insecurity. Molly is so excited to serve as Treasurer and to be involved with the wonderful people in our community with Downs Syndrome and their families

Stephanie Rais Ortiz, Events Committee Chair

Stephanie resides in San Diego along with her husband Chris and daughter Annette. She worked in the advertising industry for numerous years and currently works as a business consultant for a diverse group of clients. She is very excited to be a part of Gigi’s Playhouse San Diego and she strongly believes it's a great environment for her daughter and others with Down syndrome to be in. It’s a place where confidence is built, skills are gained and friends are made.

Denise Montero, Office Administrator

Denise was born and raised in Mexico. She’s been living in California for over 15 years. She has a BA in Marketing and has also done vast volunteer work at the Make-A-Wish-Foundation San Diego and Casa de Las Madres in San Francisco. She enjoys spending time with her son and going out for walks with their dog, hiking and swimming – pretty much any outdoor activity!

Phifer Crute, Site Manager

Phifer is a North Carolina native who moved to San Diego via Washington, DC, 13 years ago. Her entire career has been in the not-for-profit sector. She has worked with an array of organization including Carolina Ballet, NC Museum of Art, and most recently as the Director of Development of the UNC Children's Hospital. Since moving to San Diego, she has been involved as a volunteer in various organizations including Voices for Children, St. Germaine Children's Charities, the Bird Rock Elementary Foundation, and Home Start. She is extremely excited to be part of the GiGi's Playhouse San Diego family and looks forward to using her experience in support of their mission.

Kelci Wilner, Fundraising Chair

Kelci lives in San Diego and as a financial advisor, she is passionate about helping people. Although not a parent yet, she has been an active volunteer in the special needs community with school-age kids for several years. Kelci is very excited to be a part of Gigi’s Playhouse San Diego and is looking forward to growing our playhouse and community!

April Villafana, Outreach Committee Lead & North County Committee Lead

April lives in North County, San Diego, with her husband Luis, and two daughters Isabella and Emma. Her oldest daughter, Isabella, has Down syndrome. April works full-time as an advocate for children with special needs and disabilities. She is an active member of various special need and disability organizations, non-profits, boards, and special education groups. She has a passion for the Down syndrome community, inclusion, and assisting families in obtaining the services, supports, and benefits their child is entitled to.

Andrea Pereira, Marketing and Outreach Committee Lead

Andrea lives in the Long Beach area with her husband and two dogs. The owner of Rocket Science Branding, a branded merchandise company, and with over 15 years in marketing on both the agency and corporate sides, Andrea is passionate about building brands and cultivating communities. Prior to volunteering with GiGi's Playhouse, Andrea was the Los Angeles County Chairperson for the Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program. She is excited to join the GiGi's San Diego family and help nurture a community around inclusion and belonging so we can all thrive together.