Inspired by the birth of her now 11-year-old daughter, GiGi, Gianni works to show people how beautiful kids with Downs are and what unlimited potential they have. GiGi is the embodiment of that ministry. She sings, dances and shares her mom office where she personally writes thank you notes to donors.
When GiGi was born, Gianni saw the look of fear on the faces of her doctors and when she heard the words “Down Syndrome,” she says her world just kind of stopped. She found the nurses stopped looking her in the eye and the doctors were lost for words.
It was when GiGi came home that Gianni and her husband saw a difference. Their older kids didn’t see her as her just an illness but as their sister. They accepted her unconditionally so Gianni decided to put her fears away and to she began to educate herself. This is what led to the eventual culmination of her dreams, GiGi’s Playhouse.
Here, kids can come in and feel they belong and are loved. The program has been so successful that it now boasts 16 locations across the U.S. and Mexico and has 6 more planned for 2014.
Services like tutoring, music and life skills classes are available for free to adults with Down Syndrome. All the programs for kids are therapeutic in one way or another. One of the problems with Down Syndrome is the low muscle tone is causes. So even blowing bubbles is really an activity that helps a 4 year old strengthen facial muscles while she has fun.
What Gianni is doing changes lives for the better on a daily basis. And that’s just what she wants to be doing.