Jennifer Cook, Co-President
Jennifer received her BS in Education from Concordia College. She resides in Tuckahoe and works at a commodity brokerage in White Plains. Jennifer became involved in GiGi's when her friend enlisted her to join the Grand Opening Committee in 2014. Since then she has been an avid volunteer most notably serving as the co-chair of the 2016 & 2017 "I have a Voice" galas. She loves spending time at GiGi's and seeing the great strides participants are making as a result of the wonderful programs GiGi's is providing.
Laura Dolan, Treasurer
Laura lives in Nanuet, NY with her husband, Stephen, and their 3-year-old son, Edward, who has Down syndrome. She is currently a part-time bookkeeper with a strong background in Business Management. Primarily, though, she is a full-time mom, advocate, friend, therapist, cheerleader, etc., to Edward.
Laura heard of GiGi's Playhouse for the first time back in the fall of 2014 from a flyer for the First Annual Inspirational Walk/Run/Kid's Dash. After a quick Google search to find out what the Playhouse was all about, Laura was hooked! She was drawn to the prospect of having somewhere to meet other families of children with Down syndrome, to gain much needed knowledge and support.
Laura is truly inspired by all the good work GiGi's Playhouse does for the community by sending out a positive, inspiring message about individuals with Down syndrome. Laura wants to continue to help spread the word that people with Down syndrome are more alike than they are different.
Laura also believes that all individuals with Down syndrome, their families, therapists, teachers, peers and community should "dream big" and reach for the stars! Laura hopes that through her participation as a board member, she can help to change the perceptions and expectations of people with Down syndrome!
Sharon Hart-Fanelli, Secretary
Sharon and her husband Steven have resided in Ardsley, NY and are the proud parents of Ryan, 13 and Emily, 11. With a passion for community service and advocacy for her daughter, Sharon has been on the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC for the past six years and was recently appointed as a Board Member of GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester. In addition to Sharon’s support for GiGi’s Playhouse, she serves on the Board of Directors for Literacy Volunteers of the Tarrytowns at Warner Library, she volunteers with Our Lady of Perpetual Help teaching religious education and was appointed to the Village of Ardsley’s Architect Review Board. Sharon is an Account Director for Cushman & Wakefield.
Eden Anker, Board Member
Eden became involved with GiGi’s, in 2017, when she saw a posting on Facebook seeking literacy tutors. Since then, she has worked with numerous children (17 students for literacy and 9 for math), joined the Education Committee, been a consistent volunteer for GiGiFIT Teen, and helped to pilot the math-tutoring program, which she now leads.
Eden lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband, dog, and at times her three grown daughters. She has a B.A. from Colby College and a M.P.A from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Eden has been active in the education of children her whole life as a swim teacher, waterfront director, camp counselor, mother, P.T.A volunteer and more.
Prior to her time at GiGi’s, Eden was very active with the Friends of the Dobbs Ferry Library, as both Treasurer and head of the annual used book sale. Her other interests include taking her dog Pippi to agility classes, knitting and all sorts of water sports. Eden loves her work at GiGi’s, especially moments where she sees her students accomplish something new, such as making a pattern with math manipulatives, sounding out a word, or reading a book.
MaryBeth Schulze, Board Member
MaryBeth lives in Yonkers, NY with her husband Chris, and their 18-year-old daughter, Samantha, who has Down syndrome and is an active participant at GiGi’s Playhouse. MaryBeth is a Production Specialist for a textbook creator and designer and has extensive experience in desktop publishing. MaryBeth is a graduate of Lehman College, CUNY, in The Bronx.
MaryBeth and her family have always been involved in Down Syndrome based activities and programs since the arrival of Samantha. The family is a dedicated supporter and participant of the Playhouse as well as The Miracle League of Westchester, working to spread the idea of inclusion.
MaryBeth and her husband are very proud of their daughter Samantha's accomplishments and firmly believe that participating in GiGi’s Playhouse is vital in the overall happiness and maturation of their daughter.
Terrence Moduthagam, Board Member
Terrence Moduthagam is an advertising executive with experience in applying data and technology to assist brands globally achieve efficiency and relevancy with their advertising budgets. He has experience in building teams, establishing and executing strategic goals and smart application of advertising technology to achieve results.
At Amazon, Terrence is developing Strategic Partnerships on the East coast and in Europe overseeing growth of technology demand partners integrated into Amazon's technology to help advertisers and publishers. He has a depth of knowledge in marketing, emerging technology and product strategy with additional experience in business development over the past 18 years.
He completed his bachelors at University of Illinois in Economics and studied technology strategy at University of Chicago's Booth
School of Business. Terrence resides in Connecticut with his wife of 6 years and his two beautiful daughters, Leela and Anya. In addition to spending time with his kids, he enjoys playing tennis and travel.
Tracy Smith, Executive Director
Tracy is an experienced school teacher from England who, for the majority of her 15+ years in teaching, has focused on working with Deaf children and those with special educational needs.
Qualified at post-grad level in Deaf-Ed, she loved to use British Sign Language at every opportunity when back in the UK, so learning ASL is high up on her to-do list over here.
Tracy, hubby and their two children, decided to move to America in 2012 , where they lived in Brooklyn for a short spell before moving and settling down in Ardsley.
She first discovered GiGi’s in December 2015 when her daughters Girl Guide troop were invited to host a holiday party at the Playhouse. Initially, she was interested in Literacy tutoring, but pretty soon caught the volunteering bug full-on.
Tanvi Girinath is a Sales Manager & Partner at Indo Star Exports DMCC in Dubai. Originally from India, she loves to travel the world, explore different cultures and opportunities.
She did her Bachelors of Technology in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India, where she also tutored the local government school children in math and computer science during the weekends. A strong proponent for equitable education, she started pro-bono consulting for the Azim Premji Foundation (an educational NGO in India) on policy proposals for educating underprivileged girls. Then, wanting to support her cousin, she wanted to learn more to help the special needs community by empowering children through education. This led her to Gigi’s Playhouse, and she hasn’t looked back since. At Gigi’s, she tutors kids in math and literacy. She also participates as a volunteer during Teen-Tastic, led by Kelly.
Besides these activities, Tanvi enjoys painting, working out, traveling, or reading high fantasy novels!
My name is Sandra Blanco-Recinos. I live at home with my parents, daughter, husband, and pets. I work as a licensed veterinary technician at the Animal Specialty Center in the surgery department, ER and ICU. I have been passionate about animals since the day I was born. I just love making them feel better. I have rescued and adopted hundreds of animals in my lifetime. Many years ago, I had my very own rescue that I called Sandra's 2nd Chance Sanctuary. I was incredibly happy being able to find animals their forever homes.
Many years later my life then changed in the opposite direction (from furry babies to a real human baby) when God blessed me with my beautiful daughter Mia Isabella. I feel that she has rescued me and being her mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I started meeting parents from GiGi’s when I was pregnant with Mia Isabella. They certainly made this journey extremely stress-free guiding me in the right direction and I want to give back all the information that I know now to other families. I am forever grateful for GiGi’s Playhouse.
Fun Fact: My 2nd fur baby's name was Gigi Monster, she was a 4lb Yorkie and I have a tattoo of her name in memory of her!