Popsicle Courses and Best Of All’s This Summer!

This Summer, we had the pleasure of welcoming an Occupational Therapy Graduate Student from Iona College – Hannah. As part of her Fieldwork course, she tutored four students, introduced our first fully in-person program, and created a Parent Workshop Series focusing on different topics such as emotional regulation, self-care, and technology.


Hannah has been with us for 12 weeks and it has been wonderful to witness the fantastic relationships she has been able to develop with our participants and their families. There are many highlights from this summer, but we are going to focus on the amazing bond between Hannah and one of her students – Laura.


Laura is a 25-year-old adult who had participated in our literacy program before the Pandemic. Her family was very excited that we were able to accommodate in-person tutoring this summer, as she had previously found virtual learning a little challenging.

Laura proudly showing us her Forky, which she was able to complete independently.

Previously, Laura took time to develop relationships and maintain eye contact. During her first session back at the Playhouse, we all noticed a huge change in Laura. She appeared happy to be back at the Playhouse, she was maintaining eye contact, communicating, and above all willing to start learning.


Over the 12 weeks, Hannah inspired Laura to write and to become more active. Every week, Hannah would create an obstacle course, or as Laura would say ‘popsicle course’ which would end at the whiteboard, where she would practice writing the letters of her name. By her last session, she was able to jump 25 times on the trampoline, with Hannah right by her side motivating her, she walked across the steppingstones with minimal help and then wrote the letters of her name without very little support at all – Best of All! We loved hearing the pirate sounds when spelling out your name “rrrrr” – brilliant work!

Laura participating in a ‘popsicle’ course before she begins to practice her writing.


A tough ‘popsicle’ course for Laura’s last week of tutoring. Laura – you rocked it! Way to go!


Laura’s fabulous writing! The letters that are circled are the ones Laura thought were the best!

Laura’s parents are delighted at the progress Laura has made during the Summer with Hannah. Laura attends a day program in her hometown and one day when dad went to collect her, Laura had a piece of paper. Dad inquired what was on the paper, they informed him, that Laura had sat there and had written a list of her favorite shows all by herself – brilliant job Laura (check out her wonderful writing below)! Before the summer, Laura had no interest in writing and her family found it hard to encourage her to practice – now she writes her name whenever she gets a chance! Dad commented that Hannah was able to unlock something within Laura, which encouraged Laura to try, and she certainly achieved her best of all this summer!



Laura excelled this summer thanks to Hannah’s patience, enthusiasm, dedication, and above all her motivation. Hannah got Laura moving every week and gave her the confidence to write. Hannah, we wish you all the best for the future and we a very thank full for the 250+ hours you spent volunteering! Laura we cannot wait to see how you progress in our Fall tutoring program. Outstanding Best of All’s all around!

Hannah and Laura saying goodbye!

1 Comment

  1. MaryBeth on September 3, 2021 at 8:33 am

    This is so great! GiGi’s volunteers make our world a better place.

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