The equation for success 

GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse has an incredible 1:1 math tutoring program where our math tutors are empowering their students by promoting a positive experience of learning mathematics with a sound foundation of basic number understanding. Our volunteers choose to become tutors for many reasons. One of our math tutors, Paul Guglielmo, told us “Volunteering was always important to me as I have been given many blessings throughout my life and I want to give back to those who may need a little assistance.” Allison Wetmore shares “My brother has autism and cerebral palsy, so I grew up close to the special needs community. Watching the difference volunteers were able to make in his life, and his classmates’ lives, made me pursue opportunities to make that impact on others.” 

Our program is built based on the ways in which individuals with Down syndrome learn best.  Knowing that our participants vary greatly in their abilities and challenges in comprehensive math, we combine multiple approaches that utilize multi-sensory teaching. Graduated levels of purposeful progressions lead to an increase of skills and self-confidence. These methods are aligned with topics taught in the classroom, to provide a comprehensive and cohesive program.   

“I make a PowerPoint presentation for all my sessions, trying to personalize them to each student by using their favorite colors as the background and using their favorite things in word problems. When our meeting starts, I’m able to write on the screen, move things around, highlight, draw arrows, etc to help teach. One of my students is nonverbal, so we’ve developed our own system of hand signals/facial expressions/dances to communicate how she’s feeling and what her answers are. My other student does well with a whiteboard and holding it up to show me her work,” Allison tells us.  

“While I strive to have my student gain understanding and show improvement from the previous lesson that’s only part of our session. Giving positive reinforcement through praise and enjoying some laughs while we are learning is another element in our session. I want my students to look forward to our sessions. Incorporating something of relevance to my student into our lessons makes the session more fun and interesting. My current student is a big Disney fan so we use magnetic Minnie and Mickey figures on our whiteboard while learning math. I also love learning about my student’s life outside GiGi’s. My guys have jobs, participate in sports, play instruments, participate in their church etc. I wish everyone would realize these guys and gals are just like the rest of us.” Paul says.

There has been some magical best of all moments in the tutoring sessions here at GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse, reminding our tutors that they are doing so much more than teaching math; they are instilling confidence and building relationships each time they log on. “I’ve been tutoring Audrey, who only speaks to her mother and grandmother, for almost two years. About a year in, I was puppy sitting and pointed the camera to show her the puppy. Suddenly, she spoke, telling me the dog was cute. Over time, Audrey started speaking more and more and I was able to learn more about her and favorite things through our chats. I’m so glad I was able to build that trust with Audrey and she feels comfortable using her voice around me,” says Allison.

We are so grateful to all our tutors who are changing the way the world views Down syndrome and sending a global message of acceptance for all. If you are interested in becoming a tutor, enrollment is open and you can apply here! Weekly lessons last 45-60 minutes for 10-15 weeks at a time. The Summer session will run from June 3- August 11, 2024! With our math program increasing in number of students who are applying, we need you to join the volunteer team! Student enrollment opens April 22 for any families that want to have math tutoring for their loved one with Down syndrome. Stay up to date with all information about our 1:1 tutoring program, or group programs, by following us on Facebook!

“I am honored that GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse allows me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others while having the individuals make a difference in my life.”  

Paul Guglielmo

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Registration is NOW OPEN for the GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge! Join us in advocating for acceptance within the Down syndrome community. Let’s demonstrate that everyone deserves acceptance, regardless of differences in race, gender, diagnosis, sexual orientation, or religion! Our goal is ACCEPTANCE for all!   You can register today with your local playhouse or through the Virtual…

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of our lives were upended. But amidst the challenges, opportunities for connection and growth emerged in unexpected places. For Cindy Marie, this opportunity came in the form of GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse. When the pandemic closed physical locations, Cindy Marie found herself eager to continue supporting the…

The equation for success 

GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse has an incredible 1:1 math tutoring program where our math tutors are empowering their students by promoting a positive experience of learning mathematics with a sound foundation of basic number understanding. Our volunteers choose to become tutors for many reasons. One of our math tutors, Paul Guglielmo, told us “Volunteering was always important to…

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