New center for people with Down Syndrome to open in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS - Hundreds of families raising children with Down Syndrome will have a new resource starting this weekend as a Gigi's Playhouse opens up on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

Gigi's Playhouse is an achievement center that offers 30 educational and therapeutic programs to individuals of all ages with Down Syndrome at no cost. The goal is to spread awareness and create a culture of positivity about people with Down Syndrome.

Nicole and Tim Wilson are thrilled with the opening. Their 17-month-old son Mason has Down Syndrome. They found out before his birth and admit, it was daunting at first.

"I didn't know anyone with Down Syndrome," said Nicole Wilson. "I didn't know anyone who had children with Down Syndrome. I actually had a lot of misconceptions about it."

The concept was created by Chicago mother Nancy Gianni. She said she was tired of hearing people speak negatively about her daughter Gigi's diagnosis. She wanted to create a positive place where kids like her daughter could go to gain self-esteem, learn, and grow into the best individuals they could be.

When Megan Peck, President of the Indianapolis Playhouse, had a son with Down Syndrome, she knew it was time to bring a Gigi's Playhouse to Indianapolis.

"We are all about achievement... giving people the support they need to be the best of all. the best that they can be.""These people can learn and achieve and celebrate just like any other person," said Peck.

Now, the Wilson's are excited about what the future holds for their son Mason.

"Just seeing adult kids and what their doing and how much doing these days and going to college and different things like that... just for him it's just one extra help that we can have," said Nicole Wilson. "The friends that he's gonna meet here are gonna be his friends for life."

Gigi's Playhouse is a non-profit and relies on donations. The next big fundraiser will be the "I have a voice" gala on March 14 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

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