As we wrap up our Volunteer Appreciation Month, we want to highlight even more volunteers that have stood out this month. April may be the month that we show our appreciation, but we never stop being thankful for our dedicated, generous, motivated, enthusiastic volunteer team that grows each month!
- We had 101 new volunteers in 2020
- 39 new volunteers have expressed an interest in 2021 so far!
- 20 volunteers have attended either a National or a Local orientation this year.
- Our 2020 volunteers logged over 2700 hours! Considering we had to be virtual for ¾ of the year, these hours demonstrate how amazing our volunteers are!
- This year’s volunteers have already logged approximately 800 participation hours!
We are blessed to have a plethora of extraordinary volunteers at GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester whom we love meeting and finding the best opportunity for all of them. Since we became virtual, many of our volunteers attend the national orientation, which means we might not get to know them until after their observations. This year, we began to meet with all volunteers after their observations, to discuss possible opportunities and roles within the Playhouse; this has allowed us to meet each of them!
Last week, I had one of these meetings with a new high school volunteer, where we discussed all the opportunities that are currently available. As we are getting closer to June, I have been promoting our exciting GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge (GFAC), dancing For Down Syndrome Acceptance, scheduled for June 5th. Juliana was very interested in every opportunity I described but specifically loved the idea of being able to participate in person on the day of the event.
I sent Juliana the link to register for GFAC. Within 4 hours of Juliana registering, she had surpassed her fundraising goal! Juliana sent me emails saying, “this is very exciting!” Juliana registered for the challenge as an individual, set up a challenge, and sent an email to all her family and friends with the link encouraging everyone to support her and spread acceptance. Her contacts responded immediately and within 24 hours she had raised over $3000, tripling her original fundraising goal! She is currently first on the Top Participant Leaderboard throughout the entire GiGi’s network!
Juliana has been volunteering with us for less than a month and she has made a HUGE impact on our Playhouse! Not only has she raised money for us to continue to provide free and purposeful programs, but she has also helped to spread awareness and acceptance among her friends and family. Juliana welcome to our Playhouse and Generation G!
At the beginning of this month, we welcomed 15 volunteers from a Sorority at Pace University. This group of students spent 3 hours cleaning, organizing, addressing envelopes, and painting walls in Studio G. An enormous thank you to all of them as our Playhouse looks refreshed, bright, and ready to welcome our families back!
Carolyn Frost is our wonderful yoga instructor for our teens and adult program. Carolyn was all set to begin her yoga class at our Playhouse last April, but then we had to pivot to holding our programs virtually. Carolyn was great at being flexible and adapting to the virtual world! We are grateful to Carolyn for forging ahead with the yoga program on the virtual platform as it has helped several of our teens and adults during this uneasy time.
“I LOVE being part of the GiGi’s family and feel incredibly lucky to practice yoga and meditation with this extraordinary group of teens and young adults! It is the highlight of my week to see their beautiful smiling faces, knowing they are eager to learn, laugh, and challenge themselves. While I’m there to help and teach them, it often works the other way around, and I’m leaving the sessions feeling uplifted and connected to something greater. Being a witness to their strength, dedication, and heartfelt joy is both inspiring and life-affirming”
We have continued to welcome many high school students as volunteers, who attend our group programs, engage and interact with our participants and create great relationships with them. Sammy became a volunteer last year and has not only enjoyed volunteering virtually, but she has encouraged her sister to join our programs!
“Volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse has been an amazing experience. I have enjoyed getting to know some of the teens! Another special part about it is that I get to spend some extra time with my younger sister, Ali, who has Down Syndrome, and see how much she loves talking, dancing, cooking, and interacting with the other kids at GiGi’s. It has meant so much to me to be involved with this great organization!”
Interested in volunteering? We have 3 volunteer orientations scheduled: May 3rd at 4 pm, May 11th at 6 pm, and May 25th at 6 pm. Complete this volunteer application form and we will be in touch with more details. Registration for our Summer Session of tutoring is open and will close May 2nd.