Gigi’s Playhouse Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day By Giving Back to the Community

They handed out balloons and candy to businesses that have supported them over the years

FARGO, N.D. —  Gigi’s Playhouse decided to do something a little different to celebrate world Down Syndrome Day this year.

Instead of a pizza party, the organization is giving back to the community.

24–year–old Blake Johnson is just like everyone else.

“I do everything my friends do,” Johnson said.

Some of his favorite things to do include listening to his favorite song by Journey, working as a dishwasher at Buffalo Wild Wings and going to Gigi’s Playhouse because the best part about being there is the people.

“That we’re friends,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been a part of the organization since he was two–years–old.

But now he gets to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with Gigi’s Playhouse in a limo.

“They passed out balloons and candy to more than ten local businesses that have supported them over the years.”

“At Gigi’s Playhouse we really just love this day. It’s such a big celebration of Down syndrome and the families and we just have such a good time,” said Tahnee Ruud, psych coordinator for Gigi’s Playhouse. “We want to bring that mission of acceptance into the community and just remind people to be kind and just be accepting of all disabilities.”

But it’s not just the businesses like McCulley Optix Gallery, Vision Bank and Buffalo Wild Wings the organization wants to thank on this worldwide holiday.

It’s also all the parents who are paving the way for their children.

“They are the ones advocating for their children and changing the world to make it better for their kids. So the parents are really a huge inspiration and I look at that and I realize even though my child doesn’t have Down syndrome, I can still strive to be that for my kid,” Ruud said.

Some say the more advocacy out there for people with Down syndrome is what will get people to understand those who do have Down syndrome.

“The more that people get open minded and they realize that they really are great people and they have such great personalities. They just have the biggest hearts,” said Carly Boyum, a volunteer at Gigi’s Playhouse.

World Down Syndrome Day is always on March 21 to symbolize the extra 21st chromosome people with Down syndrome have.

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