About GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa
GiGi’s Playhouse is a network of non-profit Down Syndrome Achievement Centers with the mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome through community campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome and their families. GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa makes a lifetime commitment to support and empower families from prenatal diagnosis, birth and through to adulthood by offering no-cost therapeutic, educational and career development programs. Founded by a mother in Illinois in 2002, GiGi’s Playhouse has grown to more than 55 Playhouses in the U.S. and Mexico with plans to open another 10 in the next year. Tampa is the 3rd Florida location.
In early 2016, a group of impassioned parents and individuals formed a start-up team with the goal of opening a GiGi’s Playhouse in the Tampa Bay area. After demonstrating the commitment and need in the community, the Tampa location was approved by the national non-profit organization to open an affiliate to serve the estimated 3400 individuals with Down syndrome living in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties.
The Playhouse opened on August 18, 2018, in the Greenhouse Shoppes, located at 3611 West Hillsborough Ave, Tampa. The 3700 sqf center provides programs specifically designed for how individuals with Down syndrome learn, delivered by a workforce of trained volunteers, many experts in the therapeutic and education fields. The center currently serves over 500 registered families 5 days a week.
GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa offers one-on-one literacy tutoring, math tutoring and speech therapy. In addition, a daily schedule of signature and specialty programs for all ages are offered on an ongoing basis with new programs being added periodically. Therapeutic and fitness-based programs build self-esteem and strengthen low muscle tone, advance gross and fine motor skills and speech impairment while encouraging social skills. Career and life-skills programs for teens and adults empower generations of a trained workforce and the opportunity to pursue a more independent lifestyle. A culinary kitchen gives participants an opportunity to learn life and workplace skills expanding options for independence and employment.
GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa is fulfilling the dream of the Down syndrome community of having a location where individuals with Down syndrome of all ages have a place to call their own, where they feel safe and can explore their abilities through proven programs with support and celebration. Parents no longer feel the anxiety of finding a place where their loved one will be unconditionally accepted and offered opportunity to become their best of all. Each participant grows with the programs at their own pace and interacts with their peers in an environment of celebration and achievement. No matter the age, individuals with Down syndrome are offered the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills. Families experience support and learn that they are not alone and are part of an amazing community that appreciates the joys and celebrates the positive.
All programs are delivered by a team of trained volunteers and offered at no-cost to families so that cost is never a barrier to receiving support and services. GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa is a non-profit and is sustained through the support of community partners, generous donors and fundraising events.
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Our Mission and Purpose:
To change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all.
To see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and communities.
We change lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model.
A lifetime commitment to families.
With over 57+ brick-and-mortar locations across the United States and Mexico and 200 inquiries to start new locations all over the world, GiGi’s Playhouse is the ONLY network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. Every day, we provide FREE, life-changing therapeutic, educational, and career training programs for 30,000+ individuals of all ages.
Down syndrome is the largest chromosomal disability in our country and yet, it is the least funded. From a prenatal diagnosis to career skills, we make a lifetime commitment to remain by their side. Families are empowered with all the tools their child needs to succeed!
Through free programs and through our Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, we EMPOWER families by maximizing opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance. To ensure lasting acceptance, we must show the world what individuals with Down syndrome are truly capable of achieving as students, co-workers, volunteers, friends, and valued members of their communities. Our program outcomes help advance this vital social impact goal.