A sister’s impact

Many of our volunteers come to us because their lives have been personally touched by knowing someone with Down syndrome. We have many volunteers who have a sibling with Down syndrome and choose to give back by volunteering through our virtual 1:1 tutoring program or virtual group programs.  Their passion for the Down syndrome community is clear and they have a deep desire to spread acceptance and create change because of their sibling relationship. We asked one of our tutoring volunteers, Lily Hanna, to share with us about her relationship with her sister and how that inspired her to become a virtual tutor. 

“Fifteen years ago, my younger sister Jade was born with Down syndrome. My family got involved with our local playhouse in Lincoln Park, and the literacy tutoring program initiated my family’s relationship with GiGi’s Playhouse. Since then, we’ve moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, which does not have a playhouse nearby, so Jade participates in the programs offered through GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse. I’ve witnessed how Jade has benefited from attending GiGi’s virtual cooking classes (GiGi’s Kitchen), Math tutoring, and GiGiFit. Seeing Jade’s growth inspired me to train to be a math tutor through GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse, and it allows me to do so whether I’m at home in Crested Butte or in college,” Lily tells us. 

“Something that’s important to understand about Jade is her impact on the people around her. Jade has many attributes that I admire, but perhaps the one I strive to apply to my own life the most is her ability to deeply emotionally connect with people. Jade is quick to light up a room with her smile and she loves to make people laugh, but she is also one of the most caring and compassionate people I know. Healing is a core part of Jade’s character. She recognizes when someone is feeling down, and she is so genuine about trying everything she can to make them feel better.”

Jade has made me realize how good it feels to be truly cared for, and she inspires me to turn that feeling outward and be more caring to the people around me,” Lily shares. 

Thank you, Lily, for sharing your story with us and changing lives through our tutoring program! Anyone who has volunteered with GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse or has a loved one with someone with Down syndrome in their life, understands the incredible impact that our participants have on those they meet. May we all be so lucky to have someone like Jade in our lives who cares deeply about our wellbeing and inspires us to show love to others we meet.   

“I would absolutely recommend volunteering with GiGi’s! Meeting with my math student is one of the best parts of my week, and I love customizing each lesson just for her. There is such a strong sense of community with this organization, and it is a privilege to be involved.”  

Become a math tutor or a literacy tutor and see for yourself why so many volunteers find joy in their volunteer role and are eager to continue changing the way the world views Down syndrome and send a global message of acceptance for all.  


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