GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland

By on May 26, 2023 in Giving

Yardi is committed to supporting the community in every city where our offices are housed. Each year, the company distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees.

In 2022, Yardi offices supported more than 350 nonprofits worldwide.

Meet GiGi’s Playhouse of Cleveland, Ohio. Initially founded in 2003 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland opened in January 2016 as the 28th Playhouse. GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland is an achievement center that changes lives through the consistent delivery of almost 20 free educational, therapeutic-based and career development programs for individuals with Down Syndrome, their families and the community—currently serving over 530 families in Northeast Ohio.

“Through these free programs and our Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, GiGi’s Playhouse and its network of 57 Playhouses across the US and Mexico empower families by maximizing opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance,” said Lizz Maxwell, site director.

To ensure lasting acceptance, GiGi’s Playhouse shows the world what individuals with Down syndrome can achieve as students, co-workers, volunteers, friends and valued community members.

GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland continues to grow its research-driven, purposeful programs, all at no cost to families.

“We want to grow our Amina Grace Speech and Language Program, as well as work towards our strategic vision of opening GiGi University for our adults,” shared Maxwell.

Funding from Yardi has helped in the instrumental education and belief of GiGi’s Playhouse participants, from manipulatives and resources to the vital therapies they offer. Every dollar is spent on improving the Playhouse and serving the community.

GiGiFit Kid’s Squat Jump

Summer classes at the Playhouse focus on improving various activities, particularly their variation of a squat jump. Practicing all summer, the kids standing up from a chair and using that momentum to jump forward works to build muscle in the hips and quadriceps, vital for everyday activities like running and playing. Watch a video of the kids perfecting their squat jumps last summer.

Reaching for the sky

Libby Farrell, GiGi’s Playhouse’s Speech Language Pathologist, has been working with Kash during their current Amina Grace Speech and Language Program session. Libby and Kash instantly cultivated a powerful rapport, which provides a secure foundation for Kash’s continued growth, communication and achievement.

Kash shows up with enthusiasm and curiosity for his Amina Grace Speech and Language session each week. These characteristics are critical to his communication success. Kash is a multi-modal communicator; he uses various communication modes, including sounds, words, ASL signs, facial expressions and pictures. Kash is engaged during sessions as they move through various activities that he chooses, each of which is embedded with communication opportunities. He is curious and willing to explore new tools, such as picture communication boards and speech-generating devices, that allow him to express himself better. 

But most of all, Kash does ordinary things in extraordinary ways: Just like the rest of us, sometimes Kash needs some “help.” He lets you know by assessing the ASL sign, which requires an upward hand lift. In Kash’s unique way, though, his hand shoots up as high as he can reach, and his request for help does not go unnoticed.

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested volunteers can be involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland’s achievement center, offering various volunteer opportunities, from tutoring, program assisting, greeters, cleaning, events and committees. Complete a volunteer form from their website or contact their operations manager, Mary Makulinski, at [email protected].

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