Andrew – Volunteer Spotlight

Andrew joined GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities in November of 2018, immediately after taking part in a volunteer orientation. He has a brother, Mason, with Down syndrome – and came to GiGi’s with a special interest in helping our participants with cooking and nutrition, as well as a strong desire to work with our teens and adults. He arrived to GiGi’s with an expertise professionally, as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and was immediately eager to pitch in, in any way that GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities could benefit.

He jumped in immediately with our Winter Wonderland Dance, and then quickly became immersed as a consistent volunteer with our EPIC (Adult) program, with his focus on supporting the nutrition/cooking portion.

Within less than a year’s time, he became a natural leader for many of our programs. He first began as the lead for nutrition/cooking with EPIC weekly, which we were getting ready to offer twice a week for twice as many adults this spring and summer, as well as leading two Cooking Clubs this winter for both our teens and children. Many families have communicated to us what a difference Andrew has made in participants’ lives: 1) Opening their minds to new foods, 2)Learning the positivity in having a healthy lifestyle through nutrition, 3) Learning knife and cooking skills, and 4)Building confidence, as well as self-esteem.

Andrew jumped in immediately from the moment our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities was unable to offer in person programming. He helped us with creating videos that include preparation and cooking of healthy meals, along with helpful handout recipes for families to follow along. He also got his brother Mason involved with creating videos, which was wonderful to begin to have videos featuring our self-advocates – which has now inspired many other self-advocates and their families to get involved with this movement. He has been instrumental in our brainstorming what kind of programming we can offer locally in the Twin Cities, virtually for different age groups – and has been willing to help out with being part of Fantastic Friends, possibly in the future Teen Tastic, and who knows – maybe Kids Club by this summer, if needed. Any time that he has been called upon to pitch in to help with any creative new idea we discuss, his answer has always been, “Yes – I’m happy to do whatever we need, whenever we need it done!” This positive approach to our new landscape since March 13th, has helped inspire many other volunteers to get involved, as well as our participants and families being comforted to know that Andrew is consistently here for each of them to help out in any way needed at this time.

It is such an honor to have Andrew be part of our community at GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities. We look forward to seeing what new projects we can all dream up together for our community. Thank you for being you!

To see Andrew’s videos, plus his brother Mason’s videos too, go to our YouTube Channel here, and click uploads: https://www.youtube.com/user/GiGisPlayhouseTC

Too find more resources that Andrew has contributed to GiGi’s Kitchen, go here:

https://gigisplayhouse.org/twincities/uncategorized/gigis-at-home

 

 

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