GiGi’s Playhouse offers career development, cafe internship opportunity

GiGi’s Playhouse marked the grand opening of its new career development program with adults for Down syndrome, GiGi U and GiGi Studio Cafe, on Saturday, Aug. 25, in Scottsdale.

GiGi’s Playhouse is the only international network of Down syndrome achievement centers, changing lives through free, therapeutic, educational and career development programs for individuals of all ages, families and communities, according to a press release.

On Aug. 25, 11 adults were present at the grand opening, representing the new programs at GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix/Scottsdale, 9160 E. Shea Blvd., suite 204.

“These 11 adults represent the first participants of our GiGi Prep Program,” said Jennifer Gage, founder and president of the local facility.
“GiGi Prep gets our young adults ready for the more vigorous GiGi U program which will begin in November. We already have a waiting list for our next GiGi Prep and GiGi U.”

Ms. Gate says over 300 people attended the GiGi U grand opening, and more than 70 people volunteered their time.

“We still need items for the center including front load washer and dryer, commercial cafe equipment, two large flat screen TVs, gift cards to Ikea and Copenhagen, copy paper, Fitbits (12), yoga mats (12) and more,” she said.

GiGi U is an application and interview-based educational program offered free of charge, focusing on the development of confidence through health and wellness, career skills and communication skills to prepare young adults for meaningful employment.

Upon graduation, students will be invited to apply for a 300 hour internship at GiGi Studio Cafe, a full service cafe to build on the skills learned in GiGi U.

GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix/Scottsdale is the 10th facility network-wide to add career development programs for adults.

Mark and Isabel Candelaria along with their teams collaborated with GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix on GiGi’s Playhouse as well as GiGi U and GiGi Studio Café lending their design expertise, skills and contacts resulting in over 30 Valley companies donating their time and/or materials to the expansion, the press release stated.

All services including project management were 100 percent donated by the architectural firm and interior design studio. Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority also granted GiGi’s Phoenix $55,000 to help with this expansion.

GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix/Scottsdale is currently serving more than 500 families in the greater Phoenix area, the press release stated. For more information visit

Editor’s Note: Photographer Arianna Grainey contributed to this story.

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