Sunday, January 25, 2015

Exciting new adventure!!!

Hey Village,  I have to tell y'all about an adventure/opportunity that we are super excited about...

Let me rewind about 2 and a half years, I was about 32 weeks pregnant and we had just received the diagnosis that I had always feared and begged God to protect us from (oh, my earthly heart)...  our little girl had Down Syndrome!  Despite the fact that I've always known in my heart that God had a child with Down Syndrome in our future, my ability to hold on to a teeny tiny glimmer of hope that my intuition was wrong, came to a screeching halt with that diagnosis and I would spend weeks asking God...  and David, in whom God used to answer all of my tough theological questions and love me patiently and well through the process.  I will never forget when our precious Aunt Kathy sent me a calendar from an organization called Gigi's Playhouse.  This calendar had a ton of large black and white photos of the most beautiful children with Down Syndrome I had ever seen.  As I flipped through this calendar, I could picture myself being the mommy of these children, in that moment I felt the sun peak through the dark cloud that I would often times find hovering over my head.  As I read more about Gigi's Playhouse, I was so excited about the opportunity that it would offer for our little girl.  At the same time, I wondered how the Lord might be able to use our whole family to serve others (I could even picture Abigail and Andrew joyfully volunteering there, doing what, I wasn't so sure, but something :-) at this amazing place.  There's just one problem, as I searched for our local Gigi's Playhouse...  there wasn't one. When Grace was about a year old I had the opportunity to meet a mother who had just had a baby with Down Syndrome (encouraging new parents of children with Down Syndrome is one of my favorite things in the world to do now) and we happen to live in the same neighborhood.  The instant that I met her I knew she would be a special friend and that she was a visionary.  It wasn't long before she asked me if I had ever heard about Gigi's Playhouse and went on to share about how her and her mom wanted to start one near us since we really don't have any local resources for children/adults with Down Syndrome, and families like ours.  You can imagine the excitement that I felt upon hearing her heart!  I was/am SO IN!!! This amazing momma (and her mom) have been instrumental in making this dream a reality and I couldn't be more excited about getting the opportunity to be a part of the process.  Here is a little bit about what makes Gigi's Playhouse so special and where we are in the journey of bringing Gigi's to Sugar Land (I took this straight from the website):

Our Story: Hello Sugar Land area! We are a group of dedicated family members excited to bring GiGi’s Playhouse to our own backyard. GiGi’s Playhouse is a unique Down syndrome organization providing a permanent brick and mortar location offering direct educational and therapeutic programs to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. All ages are welcome from pre-natal to adults. The positive and uplifting environment of GiGi’s Sugar Land will empower those with Down syndrome to reach their highest potential.
GiGi’s custom, research-based curriculum works towards advancing literacy, math skills, gross and fine motor skills, improving low muscle tone, building self-esteem, preparing for the workforce and more while fostering acceptance, awareness, and networking resources for parents, siblings, and the community. All programs are FREE of charge: cost will not be a barrier to achievement!
STATUS: We are in the beginning stages of opening a GiGi’s Playhouse in the west side of Houston. While GiGi’s Playhouse programs are always free to families, they are not free to us. We must raise $100,000 to cover the first year’s operating costs before we can open the doors and begin to provide services. Expenses include rent, build-out of our location, equipment, educational materials and therapy supplies just to name a few. As we get closer to opening, a specific list of items needed will be provided. Right now, monetary gifts are in greatest demand to help us get to that point. GiGi’s Playhouse is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All monetary donations are tax deductible. Donate HERE today!
BECOME A PART OF OUR GROWING COMMUNITY: Please add your name to our MAILING LIST to receive ongoing updates about GiGi’s Playhouse and our exciting progress here in Sugar Land. Also, complete our brief SURVEY so we can learn about your needs for our new GiGi’s Playhouse in Sugar Land!
VOLUNTEERS: GiGi’s cannot survive without volunteers! If you would like to help with an upcoming event or get involved in the programs we will be offering, please click HERE.
DONATIONS: Since all programs are FREE to families, we depend upon your generous donations. If you would like to DONATE FUNDS please click on the link below. All monetary donations are tax deductible. Every dollar helps!
THANK YOU! Thank you to all who have helped our startup process for GiGi’s Sugar Land and to all who have donated so far!
Please check this video out...

We would really love your support in whatever capacity possible, so will you please consider helping us in any of the following area:  pray for our team and all of the logistics, like us on facebook (search for Gigi's Playhouse Sugar Land), fill out a survey on the Gigi's Playhouse website, donate financially, add yourself to our mailing list for updates on our progress, share this information with any of your friends/family that would be interested in being a part of this exciting journey, etc.


Julie Wigle said...

How exciting for Sugar Land and for all of you as you begin this adventure! :) Awesome!

Kathy A. said...

How exciting! I will let Skip and his wife know how this is playing itself out in Texas. They, with their two Down Syndrome daughters, have been instrumental in developing Gigi's Playhouse in Chicago. God bless!

Aunt Kathy