Karen – Best of All

Preparing for the 2020 GiGi’s Fundraising Marathon, October 24th – #Best of All

Previous Marathons

Marathon route on October 24th — for GiGi’s

Partners for Step to Accept

Violet’s Elementary Graduation – Summer 2020, Karen, Tim, Violet

Karen is one of our Founding Moms for GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities – St. Louis Park. She is one fierce and fantastic human being, exemplifying #Bestofall for GiGi’s. We are honored to have her leadership in our GiGi’s community.

From the moment her daughter, Violet, was born, over 11 years ago, Karen quickly shifted from being in shock about her baby with Down syndrome, to becoming a tremendous activist in the Down syndrome community. She immediately reached out to other mothers who also had new babies with Down syndrome. Together they all decided they wanted a GiGi’s to be in our Twin Cities community.

Karen and the founding moms worked together from the beginning of having this initial idea, to quickly making it a reality by February 2013, which is under four years from Violet’s birth, where we opened our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities – St. Louis Park doors. Our community was forever inspired when our playhouse was open and available to offer FREE, progressive, therapeutic, and educational programs for infants through adults with Down syndrome. GiGi’s also immediately provided many opportunities for volunteers to get involved with our community which built incredible awareness and acceptance for people with Down syndrome.

Karen’s efforts with the founding moms included: researching locations and finding a spot that would work for the Twin Cities, massive fundraising efforts including searching for donors, creating the foundation for our systems and processes for GiGi’s Playhouse – Twin Cities, figuring out every detail of what was needed – from paint to furniture, creating a Board and being part of the first many years of the board, heading up the initial galas, plus massive marketing campaigns to get the word out about a place called GiGi’s for our community (even before it was an actual place), and also leading efforts to go from being 100% volunteer run to fundraising enough to have our first staff member hired, which then included navigating what that site coordinator position would look like for our community.

Once our GiGi’s finally opened, Karen’s work still continued through board and committee meetings, continued massive fundraising campaigns, helping with many projects such as building projects: a gym, conference room, classrooms, tutoring rooms, putting together tons of furniture, a kitchen….just to name a few. She also was the founder and coach for Team G, GiGi’s Special Olympic Team, as well as bringing Special Olympics Young Athletes to GiGi’s.

& for these eleven years since Violet was born until today, Karen serves as a GiGi’s ambassador and ambassador for Down syndrome everywhere she goes – serving as an activist everywhere. She has continued to lead up fundraising campaigns, including many connected to her personal passion – marathon running. Over the years she has personally run many miles and raised thousands of dollars on behalf of GiGi’s, to keep the mission going for what we are accomplishing here in the Twin Cities.

Consider contributing to her current marathon campaign that Karen initiated to raise more money for GiGi’s. Her personal goal is $10,000 – and you can read her personal message with all the details. Her marathon will take place on October 24th. All donations go directly to our local GiGi’s. You can find the link with all the details here: HERE

Video of her October 24th kick off: HERE

Check out our previous blog, “Karen, Tim, and Violet – A Family that inspires!” July 2019: HERE This family definitely keeps inspiring all of us over the years.

We are honored to have Karen, Tim, and Violet be part of our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities community. Thank you Karen for being an amazing leader and volunteer for GiGi’s. Thank you for not only being part of founding GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities – St. Louis Park, but also continuing to be fierce in your continued advocacy for people with Down syndrome – helping to build awareness and acceptance in our society, while also helping us to be sustainable through your many fundraising endeavors. Thanks for exemplifying #Bestofall!

Are you interested in volunteering virtually at GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities?

The first step is to sign up: HERE

Are you interested in getting a family member involved with our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities Programming?

The first step is to sign up for our local newsletter: HERE

Then, check out our Local calendar: HERE 

Also, check out all the details for On Demand and Live National virtual programming: HERE

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