Impact Story of GiGi’s Playhouse – Twin Cities written by Erin Long, Volunteer:
“Whenever Benjamin, a little boy that attends GiGi’s Playhouse – Twin Cities programming, realizes that he’s going to GiGi’s, he hooks his fingers together like they are giving each other a hug. This is the sign for friends in sign language, and I think that’s the perfect way to describe GiGi’s Playhouse: friends. GiGi’s is a place for everyone, and it’s a place that everyone needs.
I first started attending GiGi’s in the fall of 2017 because of the volunteer hours I needed for school, and honestly, I planned on volunteering there until I got my hours; however, once I set my foot in that building, I knew that GiGi’s was going to impact me for a very long time. I ended up spending my Thursday nights, my Friday nights, and my Saturday morning at GiGi’s, and honestly, I wished that I could have spent the whole week there!
It’s a place of laughter, love, and pure happiness. I look forward to going to GiGi’s and I dread leaving. I smile with the babies, I run around with the toddlers, I play tag with the kids, I sing karaoke with the teens, and I cook with the adults–– oh, and I end up dancing with all of them.
Everyone at GiGi’s is amazing. I think GiGi’s is so fantastic because GiGi’s strives to make everyone feel comfortable, involved, and important, and I mean everyone. I came to GiGi’s thinking I was going to help others feel comfortable and loved, but it was the exact opposite –– GiGi’s has made me feel so incredibly loved and special and important. GiGi’s has transformed me and is an incredibly significant part of my life. I know it’s incredibly significant for other people as well.
At the Volunteer Appreciation Night, the adults from EPIC gave speeches about what GiGi’s means to them. I remember Brian gave a speech about how GiGi’s has changed his life and he didn’t know where he would be without it, and he was crying, and the volunteers were crying, and I think that moment really captured what GiGi’s is: a life changing place where you will be loved, supported, and appreciated.
Everyone needs a GiGi’s in their life. Everyone needs a place where they dance their (really bad) dance moves and just have a great time.”