Inspire to Give

Ro with her daughters Frankie and Danielle

Ro with her daughters Frankie and Danielle

Frankie, a vivacious 20-year-old with Down syndrome, has been part of the GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester community since we opened four years ago. Ro and Frankie have intimate experience with the positive and integral role GiGi’s plays in our families lives.

In 2018, Ro’s husband Michael unexpectedly passed away, leaving Frankie without a father. Having GiGi’s in their lives helped in keeping them moving forward in the face of unimaginable loss and heartbreak. Frankie continued to participate in several programs at the playhouse: Literacy 1-1 Tutoring, Cooking Club, Teen Tastic and Art Explosion. The support and sense of community that Ro and her family received – and continues to receive –  at the playhouse was unparalleled. Ro was beyond grateful for the volunteers and staff who enveloped her family with love and compassion.

“When my family and I decided that we wanted to do something to honor my husband, and to focus on the good in our lives, we immediately thought about GiGi’s. There was nothing more important to Michael than his girls and giving back to GiGi’s for all that the playhouse had given to them.”

After a full year of planning, and with the assistance and steadfast support of family, friends, and the GiGi’s Playhouse community, Ro and Frankie hosted their first event: a dinner/dance on July 13, 2019, the one-year anniversary of Michael’s passing. It was a beautiful and meaningful celebration honoring Mikey’s life all in the spirit of giving back. The event raised $6,000 for GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester.

“My husband would have been incredibly proud. I appreciate every volunteer that works with our kids. It’s wonderful to see people care so much and to give of their time and energy for our kids”

GiGi’s influence in the community extends beyond the playhouse. After watching Frankie’s encouraging progress over the last two years—advancing several levels in her 1-1 Literacy program, a few of Frankie’s teachers signed up to volunteer.

Everyone who walks into GiGi’s is accepted; it is a safe place where friends and family can let their hair down and laugh, or cry, or lend an ear (and a sturdy shoulder) in times of triumph and sorrow.

And in their time of need, Ro and Frankie had a place to go that was just for them.

“Some of us travel long distances to be at GiGi’s,” Ro says, “because we know that when we walk through the front door it’s like coming home.”


Every dollar matters!

All of our programs are offered for free to participants, but they are not free to run. Donations from friends like you help GiGi’s continue to provide therapeutic, education and social programs:

  • 1 on 1 Literacy Tutoring
  • 1 on 1 Math Tutoring
  • 3 and Under
  • Art Explosion
  • Cooking Club
  • Dance
  • EPIC
  • Fantastic Friends
  • Destination Discovery
  • GiGi Fit and GiGi Fit Teen
  • Kids Club
  • Leaps & Bounds
  • Playhouse Pals
  • Teen Tastic
  • Yoga

Click here to make a charitable donation to GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester TODAY!

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