For the last 3 months, we have had the pleasure of welcoming Jenna into our community. Jenna attends Iona college and interned with us this Fall. Late September, she trained and became our Virtual Program Host for the majority of our programs.

We asked Jenna to blog about her experience with us, especially as she hadn’t seen the Playhouse in action pre-covid, Jenna’s only experience of GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester was virtual.

What did you think about GiGi’s Virtual experience?

“Even in the middle of a pandemic GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester brings the Playhouse to you! Using GoToMeeting all of GiGi’s wonderful programs are accessible to families at the click of a button. All programs are … virtual for the safety of all participants and program leaders. The programs include yoga, dance, GiGi kitchen, art explosion, and so many more! Throughout all the virtual programs the participants are actively engaged and able to carry on with the class as they would if they were in the playhouse. The same GiGi’s comradery and positivity is set in stone in every class … Every participant leaves the class with a smile on their face and having learned a new technique … whether it’s a flexible yoga pose, cool new dance move, or learning a new recipe GiGi’s At Home is creating great memories for everyone involved!”

How do you feel the programs impact our families?

“GiGi’s Playhouse of Westchester has such a positive impact on all that are a part of the organization. Whether you are a participant, volunteer, program leader, or director if you are a part of GiGi’s Playhouse you have been changed for the better. You can see it on everyone faces and see it in their attitude with the positivity they bring to the programs each day. Everyone who is a part of the organization is motivated to make every day the best day … The program leaders center the programs around the … participants always making sure to check in on how they are doing and building personal connections with them even though we are virtual! Program leaders are constantly asking the participants “how are you feeling?” “How was school?” or “how was your day?” Through the effective communication between the program leaders and the participants, a real bond is created, and continues to grow week after week, class after class. GiGi’s impact is unlike any other, it is a safe space …”

In your opinion what are the 10 BEST things about GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester?

  1. The staff – the program leaders & directors at GiGi’s are so welcoming and encouraging! They have such positive attitudes that show in every class or discussion you have with them.
  2. The participants – the families that come to GiGi’s are so amazing, they are so invested and happy to be a part of the organization!
  3. It feels like home! – even through a virtual platform you can feel the love and warmth everyone at this organization has for one another! It is a home away from home for sure.
  4. No judgment zone – everyone is always encouraged to be themselves!
  5. Emotions are OK @ GiGi’s – we are all experiencing difficult times that can trigger a lot of emotions. GiGi’s is a safe place to express those emotions and learn how to cope with them.
  6. Family-centered– at GiGi’s family is valued and it is so nice to see so many families bonding during the different programs!
  7. The programs – yoga, dance, cooking, art and so much more is offered at GiGi’s! All the programs are so engaging and so fun!
  8. The bonds – the bonds made at GiGi’s are unmatchable you can really see friendships being made in every class!
  9. The experience – every day at GiGi’s is a new experience and each day gets better and better!
  10. Kindness – this is something you can’t get enough of at GiGi’s! Everyone is so kind and it carries over in every program!

How would you describe your experience at GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester?

For the last three months I was the program host intern at GiGi’s playhouse. I truly loved every minute interning at GiGi’s Playhouse, even though I worked virtually with them I still felt like I built a strong connection with the children that are a part of this organization. Every day I had a class with them I was so excited to log on and see their smiling happy faces! GiGi’s is a home away from home, and even I felt that in just 3 short months and being completely virtual.

I highly recommend interning at GiGi’s it truly gives you a new perspective on life … I can’t brag enough about this organization, even in the middle of a global pandemic they are making a difference in these children’s lives by adapting to the “new normal” of the world and giving them the resources and support they need. Intern at GiGi’s Playhouse, you won’t regret it!

While GiGi’s is an educational organization it is so much more than that. It is a place of self-acceptance and where children and teenagers with Down syndrome can freely find themselves and express themselves which is so important for everyone! Everyone involved with this organization is so selfless and it truly shows in the work they provide!

Thank you Jenna and we wish you all the best for the future and hope to see you back as a Program Host in 2021.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Complete this form and attend an orientation in December to discover how you can become involved and have an impact on our community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment