Nancy Gianni: Founder and GiGi’s Mom
The challenges Down syndrome people face include potential cognitive limitations, obesity and weak muscle tone as well as hurtful stereotypes about their appearance and manner of speech.
Nancy, the mother of GiGi, a Downs Syndrome child, knew she had to help her daughter and help other Down's syndrome children as well, so 13-years-ago she opened the first GiGi's Playhouse in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The results are remarkable:
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Available to everyone at no charge, GiGi'’s Playhouse is a warm and welcoming family community that offers therapy, education, career training and positive reinforcement.
GiGi's Playhouse Downs Syndrome Achievement Centers
Last year, over 26,000 Downs syndrome people and their families participated in what is now 30 GiGi’s Playhouses in the U.S., and the first international Playhouse in Mexico.
"Down’s syndrome doesn’t define who they are," Nancy told CNN Heroes. "When you believe in somebody, the outcomes are amazing," she added.
To see GiGi’s Playhouse in action in a 2 minute, 19 second heartwarming video, click here.