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Sara & Jill go to Conference & wow did it have some impact!

The 2017 Bigger Better Stronger Together International Conference is over! WOWZA! It was a jam packed 5 days, we got inspired, we got trained and we meet our peers from aroudn the country and in Mexico who work so hard in their communites to change the way the world sees Down syndrome!


260 attendees, 47 cities, 2 countries, 1 voice


This year we were thrilled to send Sara, our brand new Site Coordinator, &  Jill, our brand new Programs Coordinator, to confernece for all 5 days of training and inspiration. They were ready & exicted to gleen all they could from this jam packed time!  So we asked the ladies three questions…What was a big take away, what was a fun connection, please share a “stand out” moment?


GiGi's Playhouse

Sara Says…

My big take away from conference is that we have so much potential here. Seeing what other Playhouses do, tells me that we can do all of that and so much more. We are a determined and creative team in Syracuse and I know we will grow and be bigger and better very soon. The hard thing will be taking those baby steps to make sure we do everything as top notch as I know we can.

My fun connection was with Sara Van Deurzen from Milwaukee. We spell our first name the same, we are both Site Coordinators, our husbands are both named John (different spellings though), they are both in the IT field, and the lightbulb went off at the same time for the both of us in one of the Salesforce sessions with something that will make our lives so much easier. We are soul sisters!

A stand out moment for me…..I’m not sure there was just one! The wheels were turning in my head as soon as we started watching the circuit training in our GiGiFit observation. I immediately had it set in my head that we could do it and got a lot of information on the spot from Daniell. I got our host set before we even hit day 2 and I can’t wait to roll it out in the Spring. Another moment, that really is multiple ones put together, was seeing the teens and adults thriving and so happy to see us and show us what they could do. The satisfaction they have with being able to accomplish the tasks in front of them is so inspiring. I also love the fact that everyone attending the conference was so genuine. There was no judging. Every person there truly embodies the acceptance that we hope from the rest of the world. It was a welcoming and energetic group of teammates willing to share for the betterment of our participants and Playhouses. That is #generationG at it’s best!



GiGi's Playhouse

Jill says…. 

Big takeaway, how really incredible that one person’s passion for her daughter has sparked a movement that oozes positivity and love for not only  members of the Down syndrome community but all children and adults with different abilities.  How celebrating the Best of All in everyone helps so many people.

Fun connection, my fun connection was hooking up with the New York Playhouses staff and board members….connections that will last a lifetime.  Talking with both Daniell and Liza about programming and just life…..getting to know the people who train us…putting a name and a personality to the phone calls and emails that they send out.  Making connections was wonderful.

Stand out moment, a stand out moment was watching a young lady at GiGi Fit who was so proud of her accomplishment, doing sit ups (as well as she should be) who couldn’t even do one when she started the program and realizing that  “Best of All” can be me as well.   I now know that next year at conference my picture will be very different…. that I can change years of the damage emotional eating has caused in my life.  I can say that this is now behind me because I have found pure joy in what I do here at GiGi’s  Playhouse.  I am surrounded by so much “positivitea” (and I have the mug to remind me) both at our Playhouse and across the nation.   Helping our friends here at the Playhouse find their Best of All moments is something that I can not wait to do every single day!


Ladies! GiGi’s Playhouse Syracuse is blessed to have your leadership, passion and excitement! We are all looking forward to an amaizng 2018!

GiGi's Playhouse


Reminder to all our families, volunteers and friends, we will be celebrating 5 Years on November 12th and we would love to see YOU! Join us at GiGi’s Playhosue Syracuse, Sunday November 12th from 2-4pm, click HERE to RSVP


Generation G






1 Comment

  1. Daniell on November 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    You guys are going to kill it! I can’t wait to help be a part and to watch your growth. Thank you for being inspiring and believing! I love being a part of this ‘crazy’ family and journey! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for the families in your community and around the country…and Mexico!

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