Gigi’s Playhouse is fundraising for new building

NDSU clubs sponsor skating event to support Gigi’s Playhouse

North Dakota State University clubs are working with Gigi’s playhouse to help rebuild a facility. Students and community members can skate at the Lights on Feb. 27 to help raise money for Gigi’s playhouse. Gigi’s playhouse lost their building last year due to a fire, since then they have worked to raise money for a new center. 

Gigi’s playhouse is North Dakota’s only down syndrome achievement center. This facility works to change the world’s perception of Down Syndrome. They work with all ages and the families of individuals with Down Syndrome. Heather Lorenzen is the executive director of Gigi’s Playhouse. “Gigi’s helps individuals with down syndrome be their best of all,” said Lorenzen. 

Gigi’s Playhouse first opened in 2015. According to their website, they provide, “free educational and therapeutic programs to individuals with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood, their families and the community.” They have a variety of programs which encourage growth and success, helping to prepare individuals with Down Syndrome for a future career. 

“We empower individuals and families to achieve their greatest potential with confidence, independence and joy.”

On May 11, 2021, the Gigi’s Playhouse facility burned down due to the South Fargo Complex Fire. “We lost everything,” said Lorenzen, “it was very devastating to see 5 years of our dreams and hopes kinda burn down.” Over the past year they have worked to raise funds and spread the story of Gigi’s throughout the community. 

They are currently at a temporary location as they are waiting for the new building to get funded and built. Over the past year they have worked to raise funds for the new building, which will include more resources than the previous building. “Our community has stepped up in ways that we never knew was possible,” said Lorenzen. 

The American Society of Interior Designers and Phi Upsilon Omicron are both NDSU clubs who are working to support Gigi’s playhouse. These groups are sponsoring an event which will help Gigi’s to raise money for the new facility and spread awareness across the community. The clubs have worked to put on the skating event happening later this month at the Lights. “Our NDSU students and sponsors have really helped step in,” said Lorenzen. 

Abby Hopkins is a junior at NDSU, who is a member of ASID. She encourages students to come to the event to not only help the community, but also because it is a fun time to come together. Gigi’s is, “an important resource for the community to have,” said Hopkins, “it’s then important for the community to help them in return.”

Students and community members can come support and learn about Gigi’s playhouse by Skating at the Lights. This is a free event, but Gigi’s will raise money through free will donation. A portion of the skate rentals will also be donated to Gigi’s. 

The funds that are raised through our capital campaign will be matched by the Engelstad Foundation. This foundation “is an amazing partner who believes in our program and our kids,” said Lorenzen. Gigi’s Playhouse hopes to reopen in the summer of 2022.

“It’s a time to come together and support different resources around the community,” said Hopkins.

To learn more about the event and Gigi’s Playhouse click here.

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