GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester Down Syndrome Achievement Center Will Launch a New Speech & Language Program with Grant from Golisano Foundation

GiGi's Playhouse Rochester, an achievement center that serves 300 families of all ages in the Rochester region with Down syndrome, will launch the new Amina Grace speech and language program thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation.

The grant will be used to purchase program materials and help support a speech language pathologist.

Jennifer Bustamante, Gigi's Playhouse Rochester president and co-founder, said, "We are extremely excited to give our participants the opportunity to succeed even more with the help of this new program. Thanks to the Golisano Foundation's support, we will be able to offer youth, teens and adults the opportunity to improve their speech and language skills including enunciation, clarity of speech, word order and message meaning. These skills are so important to building self-confidence, comprehension, problem-solving, school readiness, social skills, independence, and improving overall quality of life."

Gigi's Playhouse Rochester's literacy program in Rochester already teaches thousands of kids with Down syndrome to read annually. Its 30-plus educational and therapeutic programs are offered at no charge to families to maximize self-confidence and empower individuals to achieve their greatest potential.

Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation Director, said, "We are pleased to help Gigi's Playhouse Rochester launch this essential program that will provide fundamental skills to the children and adults they serve. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have so many talents and skills. By increasing their access to educational opportunities, they may achieve their greatest potential.“

The new program is expected to be launched in the fall of 2019.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition. About 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. It is estimated that there are 900 people in the Rochester region with Down syndrome.

GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester is a non-profit organization that serves people with Down syndrome from prenatal diagnosis to adulthood focusing on achievement, belief and confidence. Open since April, 2017, it is part of Gigi's Playhouse network of 46 Down Syndrome Achievement Centers across the United States and Mexico, the only network of its kind that provides free, life changing therapeutic, educational and career training programs for 30,000+ individuals of all ages.

Through free programs and the Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, GiGi’s helps maximize opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance. The program helps advance a vital social impact goal by showing the world what individuals with Down syndrome are capable of achieving as students, co-workers, volunteers, friends, and valued members of their communities.

For more information about free programs, volunteerism, impact partnerships, events, and the many ways to support GiGi's Playhouse Rochester families visit: gigisplayhouse.org/rochester.

About the Golisano Foundation

The Golisano Foundation is now one of the largest private foundations in the nation devoted exclusively to creating a better world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation works to open doors to opportunity, change negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forge unprecedented partnerships to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to personal dignity, independence and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes.

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