SAU Buzz

Schneider A hosts fantastic friends

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Nov 30, 2017

DAVENPORT, Iowa—Gigi’s fantastic friends gathered for a pizza party and sang and danced in the St. Ambrose Schneider A townhouse before the women’s basketball game on Nov. 4.

The women of Schneider A decided to incorporate Gigi’s Generation G movement into their theme for themed housing this year. Generation G is a conscious decision to be better every day, and promotes participants to be accepting, be kind, be generous, to have someone’s back, to see no differences, and to challenge yourself.

Gigi’s Playhouse is a Down Syndrome Achievement Center and it offers 25 different programs free of charge to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Gigi’s programs include, tutoring, social skills development, and career development, among others. Program offerings cover many ages and skill sets, ranging from programs for early learners to programs for adults.

The Fantastic Friends Program is designed for young adults and adults. According to Gigi’s Playhouse, this program supports the development of social skills and language through peer to peer interaction in a casual fun setting where the group may participate in active games, dancing or exploring their local community by participating in outings and events.

“I first got involved last year,” said Mara Guse, SAU junior. “It was a requirement for one of my psych classes. We could either take a test or do volunteer hours, so I started volunteering at Gigi’s.”

When it came time to apply for housing, Guse and her roommates decided that they wanted to bring the Generation G movement to campus through themed housing. They have made a commitment to be actively involved with Gigi’s Playhouse and to host campus events to promote awareness.

One such event was held on Sept. 4. Schneider A hosted approximately 20 people from the Fantastic Friends Program. Guse and her roommates spent a majority of the afternoon making cookies, cleaning the house, and setting up tables for the event. Their guests arrived around 6 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m., everyone was eating pizza and watching an impromptu talent show in the kitchen.

It all started when some of Gigi’s fantastic friends wanted to sing along to “The Start of Something New” from “High School Musical.” They used the empty kitchen as a stage, and recreated the scene when Troy and Gabriella first met. They had the entire house clapping and singing along.

Then, Gigi’s friends, twins Katie and Kayla, stole the show with their rendition of Baby and Johnny’s final dance to “Time of my Life” in “Dirty Dancing.” Schneider A resident Elli Alvis joined in when another Gigi’s friend took her hand and pulled her up to the front of the room.

Guse and her roommates accompanied their Gigi’s guests to the women’s basketball game for their final activity of the night. There they laughed and cheered on the Bees in their 73-59 win over Emmaus Bible College. Gigi’s fantastic friends were able to win some T-shirts and even got to meet the coaches and the players after the game.

“Every time I go to Gigi’s or there’s an event, no matter how bad my day is, there’s always just so much love and kindness and acceptance,” Guse said about volunteering. “It’s really helped me be more accepting to people and to just be nice.”