Gigi's Playhouse Nashville to Host Inaugural Fundraising Gala

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Nashville, Tenn., February 19, 2013 - GiGi’s Playhouse, a non-profit Down syndrome awareness and educational center, will hold their inaugural gala and auction on Friday, May 3 from 7-11 p.m. at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville. The fundraising event will support opening a center in the Nashville community.

Gigi's Playhouse Hosting Inaugural Gala to support Down Syndrome Families

Nashville, Tenn., February 19, 2013 - GiGi’s Playhouse, a non-profit Down syndrome awareness and educational center, will hold their inaugural gala and auction on Friday, May 3 from 7-11 p.m. at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville. The fundraising event will support opening a center in the Nashville community.

GiGi’s Playhouse was started 9 years ago by a Chicago mom who found little in the way of support for her daughter, GiGi, after she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She made her dream a reality by creating a center where families could come to find information about their child’s diagnosis of Down syndrome and network with other families; where children and adults with Down syndrome could interact, learn new skills and become leaders; and where families could celebrate their loved one’s diagnosis.

Since 2002, twelve locations have opened throughout the United States and GiGi’s Playhouses have evolved into centers that provide resources, specialized teaching, and support to infants, children, teens and adults with Down syndrome, their families and the community. All programs offered by GiGi’s Playhouse are free to families and are therapeutic in nature. Each program is designed to work on specific skills, such as development of speech and language, social development, and fine and gross motor skills.

Recognizing a pressing need for a resource like GiGi’s Playhouse in Middle Tennessee, Erin Smith, a local special education teacher in Williamson County, along with a parent of one of her students, Melissa Wenger, took action. Together, they enlisted the help of friends, family, and other parents in order to open a GiGi’s Playhouse in Nashville. It will take approximately $100,000 for GiGi’s Playhouse Nashville to open its doors and operate for its first year, and their goal is open in 2013.

“At first, the thought of raising $100,000 seemed daunting,” Smith said. “But, the more people we began to tell our mission to, the more support and encouragement we received from the community. It’s been really amazing.”

Wenger added, “Most people understand the emotional challenges that come with raising a child with special needs, but what they don’t know is that the services so desperately needed by our kids oftentimes are limited at best. Services offered through the school system are scarce due to funding, and most insurance companies cover few, if any services. In addition, once our kids begin elementary school, they need extra help with reading, math and language skills. As they enter adulthood, learning social and life skills are essential to becoming a productive citizen. GiGi’s Playhouse gives individuals with Down syndrome a place to learn, develop, and grow into the leaders and role models we know that they CAN be, all masked in fun and joyful environment.”

To kick off 2013’s fundraising efforts, GiGi’s Playhouse Nashville will be holding their inaugural Gala on May 3, 2013 at the Hutton Hotel, from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. The community is invited to attend this event. The evening will feature live musical entertainment, dancing, and silent and live auctions. Refreshments will be served, including hors d'oeuvres, desserts, wine and beer. Tickets for this event are $100 per person, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

All funds raised from this event will directly support opening a center in the Nashville community. For additional information about the gala, to purchase tickets, or to learn more about how to volunteer or sponsor this event, please visit http://www.gigisplayhouse.org/nashville or contact GiGi’s Playhouse at nashville(at)gigisplayhouse(dot)org.

About GiGi’s Playhouse
GiGi’s Playhouses are Down syndrome awareness and educational centers that provide resources, specialized teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. All of their programs are free to families and are therapeutic in nature. Each of them is designed to work on specific skill development in several areas including speech and language, social development, and fine and gross motor skills. Gigi’s Playhouse literacy program alone teaches thousands of kids with Down syndrome to read around the nation.

In just 9 years, 12 Playhouses have opened and there are more, including Nashville, in the works! GiGi’s Playhouse is committed to the important mission of spreading positive and accurate information about Down syndrome through education. By helping individuals with Down syndrome reach their highest potential, GiGi’s Playhouse can change outdated perceptions that people may have. The end result is a world that is empowered with knowledge, compassion, and inspiration – what a better place for all of us! For more information, visit http://www.gigisplayhouse.org.

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Drew Bourke
Starmaker PR Group
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