NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nine-year-old Sarah Jane’s in the midst of one-on-one literacy tutoring to boost reading skills.
“One thing with kids with Down syndrome, they take a lot of extra exposure to really learn something,” her mother Kathryn Lewis explained.
The tutoring hasn’t cost Sarah Jane’s family a cent thanks to GiGi’s Playhouse Nashville – a nonprofit Down syndrome achievement center that provides every service for free.
The nonprofit’s mission is to empower individuals like Sarah Jane and change the way the world sees people with Down syndrome.
“She’s definitely grown and been more independent and also learned new skills,” said Lewis.
GiGi’s Playhouse’s free programs and services begin in infancy — and continue as the child grows.
“That includes group programing that works on everything from fine motor skills, gross motor skills, academic competencies, and building the skills that are going to grow into an adulthood of ideally independence and there are even free programs for family members too,” explained Executive Director, Carter Abel
GiGi’s exists solely through donations, and that’s why fundraisers like the nonprofit’s seventh annual golf tournament are key to helping it continue to provide everything for free.
The golf tournament is set for August 26 at the Governor’s Club Golf Course in Brentwood. The event is sponsored in part by Nissan of Cool Springs.
“GiGi’s Playhouse is super important to us at Nissan of Cool Springs because our owner’s son has Down syndrome and he attends the programs here. So, we’ve really seen him benefit from the programs, from interacting with kids his age and people who are in a similar life situation. We at Nissan of Cool Springs really understand how important it is to support GiGi’s Playhouse for the golf tournament this year because the funds go towards GiGi’s Playhouse to keep it running and to expand programs,” said Heather Easling with Nissan of Cool Springs.
She continued, “The tournament is so much fun because you get to meet the families of the participants of GiGi’s Playhouse — and you really have that good feeling that every dollar counts and goes towards the programs here, so it’s really something you don’t want to miss.”
Abel said the nonprofit hopes to expand.
“We’re hoping to raise enough to start being able to do remote programming in places like Clarksville, and Murfreesboro and other parts of Middle Tennessee where we know there are families that need this type of community and we want to get to the place where we can offer that to them.”
GiGi’s Playhouse Nashville — where potential and possibly turn into ability — and where families bond as a community.
“We talk about school, we talk about other concerns, health concerns that we have, and sometimes just have some downtime with other adults who kind of get what you are going through, so that’s been amazing, made some really good friends,” Lewis said.
Click here for more information on the golf tournament.
For more information on GiGi’s Playhouse, click here.