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MOVE TO INCLUDE is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Nonprofit receives grant to expand speech & language program

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GiGi's Playhouse
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GiGi's Playhouse

GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester has received a $74,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation to expand its Amina Grace speech and language program. The program helps young people and adults with Down syndrome refine their language skills by providing free one-on-one speech pathology services. 

Vice President Kim Guerrieri credits the foundation for the program’s success. She said a $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation helped launch the program in 2019. 

“It’s just a huge impact and Golisano has just been amazing for us, said Guerrieri. “We are completely donor and volunteer based, because it's free for anybody to come to our door.”

The sessions are held over 10 weeks serving up to 35 participants.

Guerrieri said the demand for speech services are high because many individuals with Down syndrome often have delayed speech. She said that the program has an overall positive effect on its participants.

“When you see them actually succeed and start talking parents are crying,” said Guerrieri. 

Guerrieri said many parents of children with Down syndrome often have trouble finding supplemental services and GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester offers many free opportunities for skill building.”

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.