Nancy and Aaron (Big Guy) – Volunteer Spotlight

From the very beginning of our opening for GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities in 2013, Nancy and Aaron (Big Guy) have always been here. Families and participants, especially our teens and adults, as well as families of teens and adults, always know that they can count on Nancy and Big Guy to be there for them.

Nancy and Big Guy created an amazing Theater program that has grown to such popularity over the years, that we now have two performances each fall with hundreds of guests attending each performance filling up the gym so every seat is filled — to the point that we can’t even order enough chairs while we still end up having people standing around the edges of the gym. Nancy and Big Guy rally their volunteers to help bring out the best in all the actors.  Danny and Taylor, their adult children, have volunteered enthusiastically with the theater program too. All the actors feel immediately connected to Nancy and Big Guy because of the trust and respect that has been built and earned from day one, as well as pride of what they have accomplished together – with every single actor having an important part.

Nancy and Big Guy, plus their entire family, including again Danny and Taylor, have DJ’d our dances for teens and adults four times a year. It started in our former, “gym”, area which is currently where our storage closet, volunteer office, and tutoring office is now located — and it has been packed with participants from the beginning. Now our dances, taking place in our huge gym, have grown to hundreds of teens and adults showing up from all over the metro area every single dance. With their energy and enthusiasm at the dances, everyone has fun, and they again both make immediate connections with all the teens and adults.

This past winter, we wanted to try out a Teen/Adult/Family Choir – which ended up being called, “GiGi’s Family Singers”. Nancy and Big Guy were right there to try out this novel idea with a group of teens, adults, and their family members. They also helped to organize all the members of the choir to go to a recording studio to record their song where the video was then presented at the gala. The “GiGi’s Family Singers” video can be found on our GiGi’s Playhouse TC YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW_0RYDaMpM

Nancy has actively volunteered with other programs for teens and adults over the years, including: Literacy tutoring, Social Skills for Teens and Adults, and EPIC. Every single program that Nancy volunteers for, she is always making immediate connections with all the participants, as well as doing her very best to support the leads for each of these programs.

Big Guy helped us out this February at our annual gala – Big Time, from our Big Guy! About a week before our gala was about to roll out, our MC had to cancel due to family issues. Big Guy stepped up to MC and led our evening magically with his deep understanding and appreciation for our entire community. He was also the glorious voice behind our gala video, that brought our message home to all attending – as well as bringing inspiration across our entire GiGi’s network, as more and more playhouses have recently discovered this video. Our gala video, with Big Guy’s amazing voice, can also be found on our GiGi’s Playhouse TC YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liXSWmcccZY

Since our doors closed temporarily on March 13th due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Nancy and Big Guy, have been an integral part of the solution to what we can do right now for our community. They immediately offered some videos for us from their family that could be used to share with our community to bring joy on our social media, and can be found on our GiGi’s Playhouse TC YouTube channel, click “Uploads” to see all: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxS0gynJ82prvC1n4W9RswA?view_as=subscriber Nancy and Big Guy created and fundraised for a GiGi’s Family Singers team for Step to Accept this spring. Finally, they have both creatively found a way to bring their theater program to our local teen virtual program, Teen Tastic, as well as our local adult virtual program, Fantastic Friends. They have been consistently in the rotation of our leaders, once a month, for each of these two programs, to bring the joy of theater as well as continue the amazing connections that they have built over all these years with all the participants and their families.

Just as both Nancy and Big Guy have been an important part of our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities from the very beginning of us physically opening our space in 2013, they have also been key to helping us out from the very moment we had to physically close our space temporarily in 2020. They have helped us create new solutions for providing programming virtually, continued to bring their passion for theater to our community through thoughtful planning, created joy in interactions with everyone, built on previous connections with participants and families, made new connections with brand new participants, and are an important reason that GiGi’s continues to succeed today.

It is an honor to serve alongside Nancy and Aaron (Big Guy) as leaders in our community, and we continue to be inspired by their endless work through volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities. We can’t wait to see what Nancy and Big Guy will come up with next, as it’s been quite a wonderful ride! Thanks Nancy and Big Guy for being you, and for your tremendous contributions to GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities over all these years.

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