Gigi’s Playhouse of New York supports people of all ages with Down syndrome and their families. They provide free therapeutic and educational programs. According to Gigi’s, Down syndrome is the largest chromosomal disability in America, and it’s the least funded.
Some of the 55-plus privately funded Playhouses are in New York. Thanks to generous donors, the Playhouse is introducing a new program designed to encourage health and fitness in the Down syndrome community.
Four-year-old Eli and his friends love coming to Gigi’s Playhouse.
“He loves it here because he gets to run around and do everything he wants to do,” says Shannan Vaitalle, Eli’s mom.
Gigi’s Playhouse is now offering “GigiFit,” a free custom fitness program for people with Down syndrome, like Eli. It’s a push for wellness made possible in part by local influence.
“We are so excited to be offering four of the six GigiFit programs this year, thanks to a very generous grant from the Boeheim Foundation, so our toddlers, our kids, our teens, and our adults all have a program that is specific to them,” says Heather Rodriguez, who’s on the Gigi’s Syracuse Board of Managers.
Volunteers at the Playhouse are working to support a Thanksgiving food drive, led by former Syracuse basketball player Eric Devendorf. Leaders at Gigi’s say having him on board builds a full circle of community support, and you can be apart of it, too.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the programs at Gigi’s. They include tutoring, cooking, yoga, and more opportunities. If you want to participate in the various volunteer opportunities or donate, you can connect with leaders at Gigi’s on their website.