From the Special Needs Family Hour, May 25, 2018 | Volume 4 Issue 22
The Special Needs Family Hour Presents:  Gigi's Playhouse!

Join us this Sunday afternoon on the Special Needs Family Hour at 1:00 pm!

This week's show will feature Gigi's Playhouse, a network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. Gigi’s Playhouse is an organization that empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by providing no cost programs to those in Hillsborough and surrounding counties.

Their mission is 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 will make 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.

P.S. Gigi's Playhouse is going to be a great addition to our community. The Grand Opening Date is to be announced soon!

November 2018
Save the Date
Rappelling Fundraiser - Over the Edge
Scale the side of a Tampa Bay building  & help raise money for Gigi's Playhouse Tampa! Stay tuned for more details.

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Pictured left to right: Doreen Altieri, Programs Coordinator, Julie Ames, Nick Altieri,Team Leader Advocacy & Inspiration Team, Nicki Rawlings, Outreach Team Leader


Mission: To provide a place where special needs families can find the answers they need to be successful. Learn More.

Valerie Smith is a huge inspiration to us all! She is a 25 year old with Down syndrome who is achieving her Best of All by running Tough Mudders with her dad, an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10–12 mile-long obstacle courses that test mental as well as physical strength!

Valerie is participating in the upcoming Miami Tough Mudder to support GiGi's Playhouse Tampa. Please consider becoming a part of her GiGi's Playhouse team and supporting her incredible journey by donating to and sharing her fundraising page. Let us show Valerie the support of our community and let her know how proud we are to have her as a part of our GiGi's Playhouse Tampa family!
Valerie, there is nothing you can't do!! Thank you for inspiring us all!…/val-runs-for-gig…/valeriesmith40

Congratulations to Nick Altieri, Community Hero!



TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Nicholas Altieri as the 17th Lightning Community Hero at the December 21st, 2017 Tampa Bay Lightning Game against the Ottawa, Senators. Altieri, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to GiGi’s Playhouse, Tampa. Nick Altieri was nominated by Richard Escobar of Escobar and Associates, Attorneys at Law.

Nick was born with Down syndrome, but he’s never allowed this to limit him. He was the gold medalist in the Special Olympics Florida State Aquatics, competes in track and field and is currently employed at the Hillsborough County Public Defenders Office in an administrative capacity. He strives for other individuals to not feel limited by their disability, and does so by actively volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse. This is a national network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers with the mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome though community campaigns and educational programs. From volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse, he spearheaded the formation of the Advocacy and Inspiration Team as part of the Outreach Committee and recruits teens and adults with Down syndrome to join to become spokes-members, mentors and representatives for the organization. .

GiGi’s Playhouse will open a location in Tampa that will serve the estimated 3,400 individuals with Down syndrome living in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. This initiative will offer one-on-one math and literacy tutoring with curriculum and materials customized to the unique learning style of individuals with Down syndrome. Therapeutic and fitness based programs will work to build self-esteem, strengthen low muscle tone and advance speech and motor skills. In addition, career and life-skills programs for adults will empower individuals to pursue a more independent lifestyle. Nick has already started to formulate programs for the Playhouse that he will mentor and participate in, such as culinary classes, where he intends to advance his own needs but also teach others.

Nicholas Altieri becomes the 288th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. In total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $14.5 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa thanks Nick Altieri, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Mr. and Mrs. Vinik for their amazing generosity and for believing in GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa.