GiGi’s Playhouse in Moline to expand as demand for services has grown over 10 years

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GiGi’s Playhouse in Moline will be expanding next door, at 3906 38th Ave.

GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities, the local Down Syndrome Achievement Center, at 3906 38th Ave., Moline, is expanding into vacant space next door.

On Oct. 9, the nonprofit held its annual celebration of acceptance at the 2021 “i have a Voice” Gala. This year they celebrated 10 years of supporting the voices of individuals with Down syndrome in the Quad Cities, and board vice president Chad Johnson announced that the Playhouse would expand by taking over the vacant space next door — formerly occupied by Compassus Hospice.

Over the past 10 years, the Playhouse has seen growth in the number of families served and volunteers involved and believe that the time is right to grow their physical space, according to a Thursday release.

This expansion will provide additional one-on-one learning labs for tutoring and speech programs, a meeting/classroom, staff offices, a volunteer workspace, and eventually an improved kitchen area to allow for more life skills programming. All of which will allow for additional and improved programming, more flexible program scheduling, serving more families, and additional volunteer opportunities, the release said.

GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities is growing in Moline, by expanding into vacant space next door.

This past year, GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities held over 2,000 hours of programming, even during COVID shutdowns. Many programs were held virtually during COVID with at-home kits provided to families, but they are happy to be offering programs in person again, the organization said.

Site director Pam Lynch said Thursday said the group will double its size with the expansion, from 2,000 square feet to 4,100 square feet. The construction, painting and moving should be complete in mid-November, with the kitchen buildout done in 2022, she said.

GiGi’s Playhouse has started work to expand into the vacant space to the right in this photo.

All programs GiGi’s offers are free for individuals with Down syndrome (all ages). All that GiGi’s offers is made possible thanks to volunteers and donors. The Playhouse is 100% privately funded by personal donations, corporate support, and grants, along with being 99% volunteer-run — with only two paid staff.

GiGi’s Playhouse is the only nationwide network of Down syndrome achievement centers, changing lives through free, results-driven programs for individuals of all ages, families and communities.

“GiGi’s Playhouse is an inspirational and dedicated place to benefit from free programs nourishing self-esteem, confidence and continuous improvement,” according to its release. “Beyond helping individuals with Down syndrome, we address the larger vision of global acceptance for people of all abilities through #GenerationG.”

With over 50 Playhouses across the U.S. and Mexico, the organization is growing by 16% each month, and aims to have a Playhouse in every state, the group said.

For information on how you can get involved or support, visit www.gigisplayhouse.org/quadcities. You can help the Playhouse continue to provide educational programs like literacy and math tutoring and therapeutic-based programs like speech and language therapy.

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