By Lisa Amaya
Debbie Perez enjoyed attending the grand opening of Gigi’s Playhouse on Sunday with her 27-year-old son, Brandon. She was excited and eager to show me a video and pictures of Brandon participating in a song and dance session. The photos and video are featured on Estela Casa’s Facebook page. Casas is a well-known news anchor on KVIA, the ABC News affiliate in El Paso.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and former Mayor John Cook presented Lauren Potter, an actress from Fox’s musical TV show “Glee” the key to El Paso during a fundraiser for Gigi’s Playhouse in March.
“The center was very much needed here. People sometimes overlook people with Down Syndrome. They are the same as you and I. They too want a normal life of learning and playing, Debbie said.”
While at the open house, Debbie asked several questions on how the center will operate and what services will be offered to Brandon and other families. She hopes the center will do well and continue to grow throughout El Paso and other areas.
Brandon will participate in the Texas Special Olympics Spring Games on May 2 at Burges High School. He will compete in a couple of walking races, along with field events.
Gigi’s Playhouse operates in more than 20 cities across the United States and Mexico. The El Paso center was the first one to open in Texas. The El Paso center was founded by Maggie Moody. Her daughter, Melissa has Down Syndrome.
Two additional centers in Texas are expected to open in Houston and Sugarland soon. The non-profit organization offers free programs and services to both adults and children with Down Syndrome. The programs include various classes and careers skills development while in a positive environment. Although all of the services are free of charge, the centers welcome financial donations.
Gigi’s Playhouse in El Paso is located at 960 Chelsea. More information can be found at: http://www.gigisplayhouse.org Their phone number is 915-779-PLAY.
Photo courtesy of Facebook & Gigi’s Playhouse El Paso