GiGi’s Playhouse – Changing the Way the World Views Down Syndrome

GiGi’s Playhouse is a network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers with the mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome through community campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome and their families. GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa will make a lifetime commitment to support and empower families from prenatal diagnosis, birth and through to adulthood by offering no-cost therapeutic, educational and career development programs. Founded by a mother in Illinois 14 years ago, GiGi’s Playhouse has grown to 33 Playhouses in the U.S. and Mexico. Tampa will be the 3rd Florida location.

In early 2016, a group of impassioned parents and individuals formed a start-up team with the goal of opening a GiGi’s Playhouse in the Tampa Bay area. After demonstrating the commitment and need in the community the Tampa location was approved by the national non-profit organization to open and an affiliate to serve the estimated 3400 individuals with Down syndrome living in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. The Playhouse is expected to open in early 2018. The location is under renovation in the Greenhouse Shoppes, located at 3611 West Hillsborough Ave, Tampa. The 3700sqft center will bring programs specifically designed for how individuals with Down syndrome learn. Hours of operation will compliment families’ busy schedules and school calendars, offering programs and support based on the needs of the families.
GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa will offer one-on-one math and literacy tutoring, handwriting classes, a daily schedule of signature programs that will unleash potential; to address cognitive impairment, with curriculum and materials customized to the unique learning style of individuals with Down syndrome.

Therapeutic and fitness based programs will build self-esteem and strengthen low muscle tone, advance gross and fine motor skills and speech impairment while encouraging social skills. Career and life-skills programs for adults will empower generations of a trained workforce and the opportunity to pursue a more independent lifestyle. A culinary kitchen will give participants an opportunity to learn life and workplace skills expanding options for independence and employment.
As a non-profit achievement and training center, GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa thrives on the generosity of donors, sponsorships and grants, ensuring that no barriers exist to those who need it most in receiving services. The no-cost programs are provided through a workforce of committed volunteers who are trained in the specialized programs or who bring their expertise in working with individuals with special needs.

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