Concordia Students: Aisha, Anna, Jordyn, Lauren, Taylor – Volunteer Spotlights


A Recent Leaps and Bounds!


Mentors to Concordia Students

We are so honored to have our phenomenal Concordia students: Aisha, Anna, Jordyn, Lauren, and Taylor be an important part of our GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities community. These Doctoral students are pursuing a DPT or Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree, while at the same time are leading up every Twin Cities Virtual Leaps and Bounds this 2020-21 school year! Erin, MS, PT, their Concordia Professor of Physical Therapy, and Joni, PT, MA, DPT, a Community Volunteer at Concordia, have both provided tremendous guidance to all the students.

Leaps and Bounds is a program that promotes social, emotional, large, and small muscle group development. Children participate in fun and engaging activities that require movement and interaction with their environment. We offer this program through GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities for ages 3-6, and siblings are always encouraged to attend.

In late summer/early fall of 2019, GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities, was connected to the Concordia Physical Therapy Department professor and students through one of our founding mothers, Basma. We immediately realized that the brand-new Leaps and Bounds program at our Hudson satellite would be the perfect match with our Concordia physical therapy students. For the first time, Hudson was able to offer monthly in-person Leaps and Bounds to their community during the 2019-2020 school year. The students came to our St. Louis Park location to plan with Tawnya, the in-person Leaps and Bounds leader in St. Louis Park, and Santi, the Program Manager, to plan out curriculum and navigate what would be needed to implement an in-person monthly Leaps and Bounds program for Hudson. The students then planned closely with volunteer leaders out in Hudson, Jenna and Tara, to navigate supplies and space needed for each month. The program was instantly a big success – consistent families turned out each month for a well-organized and fun Leaps and Bounds organized by these incredible volunteers. Then the pandemic hit in March 2020, and the Concordia students suddenly had to stop offering their in-person Leaps and Bounds, and we did not quite yet know how to immediately pivot with this program virtually for the last few months of the Concordia school year. & at the same time our new crew of upcoming Concordia students, for the 2020-21 school year had gone through some training from these veteran students – discussing the in-person Leaps and Bounds program. Erin and Santi stayed in touch during the spring with ways we could still work together, and both agreed to get back in touch in the summer of 2020.

So, in mid-summer of 2020, Erin reached out to GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities about still being interested in the new crew of students helping us out with Leaps and Bounds – and planning for us to implement it virtually. We brought together students Aisha, Anna, Jordyn, Lauren, Taylor – along with Erin and Joni, to begin our brainstorming for how a virtual Leaps and Bounds could look. The students figured out how an Opening/Closing could work, ways to incorporate Gross Motor and Social Development, and then creating videos to offer families that they could watch on their own time to assist with two Fine Motor Development activities per month.

From there, the students carefully planned out their first virtual Leaps and Bounds lesson. They led a practice virtual Leaps and Bounds with Sarah and Scott’s daughters – Maddie and Riley, to be part of test run of Leaps and Bounds. Following the test run, Concordia students shared their own thoughts on how we could keep improving virtual Leaps and Bounds, as well as Erin, Joni, and Santi providing constructive feedback on how we can keep making this program even better next time.

& then this crew of Aisha, Anna, Jordyn, Lauren, and Taylor were off to the races with leading virtual Leaps and Bounds program. Every month, they kept making improvements. Working on how to incorporate encouragement to our participants, using more visuals to assist in portions, creating a system for their format of virtual Leaps and Bounds, and navigating smooth pacing for a quick thirty-minute program for young children were just some of the improvements that happened from month to month. They have now reached the point where their virtual Leaps and Bounds program really is a model for how a well-planned out, highly structured plan – along with enthusiastic and positive leaders make a HUGE difference with our community.

There are still two more virtual Leaps and Bounds remaining for your family to attend this school year with this crew of tremendous volunteers, check out our calendar to sign up for the next one this upcoming Saturday, April 10th, 9am, as well as signing up for any of our other local programs: HERE

We are honored to have Aisha, Anna, Jordyn, Lauren, and Taylor as incredible volunteer leaders at GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities. We are also honored to have Erin and Joni making this all possible for us to partner with Concordia in offering the Leaps and Bounds program to our community, as well as providing mentorship to our tremendous volunteers. Thanks to all of you from Concordia for your contributions to GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities. Thanks for making a difference!

Interested in watching the video from our Virtual Gala “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” this year on February 20th? Watch: HERE

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 

Details and more information about our Local programs can be found: HERE


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