Allison speaking at the Gigi's Walk for Acceptance in Maumelle

Gigi’s Walk for Acceptance

Gigi’s Playhouse is a Down Syndrome Achievement Center that was started in Chicago. It is a place where people with intellectual disabilities can find programs for tutoring, social events, and classes that are accepting and inclusive.

Nancy Gianni: Founder of Gigi's Playhouse
Nancy Gianni, the Founder of Gigi’s Playhouse kicked off the Walk for Acceptance
Allison with her family at the Gigi's Walk
Allison with kids Rosie and Beau, and husband Andrew

Just before COVID-19 began, Little Rock opened a Gigi’s Playhouse location. The pandemic was as hard on this center as it was on many businesses in the area, and this weekend we gathered together to celebrate acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome and remind everyone of what Gigi’s Playhouse can offer our community.

At the Gigi’s Walk for Acceptance, I had the privilege of sharing about my journey as a parent to my kids, Rosie and Beau. Since both of my kids have Down syndrome, we have a unique connection to this organization. It’s always an honor and a to speak about issues affecting kids with disabilities.

The stage at the Gigi's Walk in Maumelle
The stage at the Gigi’s Walk for Acceptance in Maumelle
Allison with husband Andrew at the Gigi's walk in Maumelle
Allison with husband Andrew at the Gigi’s walk in Maumelle

The walk was held at Lake Willastein Park in Maumelle, an amazing location that happens to be in District 13. Looking into the crowd who gathered together this weekend, I felt immense hope for a bright future for all our kids. Seeing self-advocates with their families and loved ones reminded me that every single person deserves the opportunity to make choices for their own future.

The greatest experience of all was to stand in my district with people who resonate with the need for inclusive education, funding for Down syndrome research, and other issues facing the disability community. Arkansas’s bright future will be one that remembers those who have long been forgotten in policymaking. We’ll make that future a reality — only together.

With hope and determination,

PS- We need your help to spread the message of Arkansas’s bright future. Will you take a moment to donate today? I’d be so grateful.

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