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GiGi's Playhouse awards Cardinal O'Hara High School #GenerationG Heroes Award


Mon, Apr 15th 2024 11:15 am

GiGi’s Playhouse, the only network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, has selected Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda as its latest National #GenerationG Heroes Award recipient. This marks the first time a high school has been recognized with this honor.

Founder and Chief Belief Officer Nancy Gianni and her daughter, GiGi – the namesake of GiGi’s Playhouse – will be at Cardinal O’Hara at 1:30 p.m. April 17 to present staff and students with the award.

A press release stated, “#GenerationG is a conscious decision to be better every day; be accepting, be generous, be kind. Cardinal O’Hara High School has demonstrated a commitment to acceptance by creating and implementing the innovative St. Margaret’s Scholar Program.

“A first of its kind in a NYS Catholic high school, the St. Margaret’s Scholar Program is an inclusive special education program. Servicing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the program pairs scholars with a peer mentor who supports the scholars both academically and socially. Gratifying for both scholars and mentors, the program has instilled a sense of inclusivity – exactly what #GenerationG represents.”

Nancy Gianni said, “Cardinal O’Hara is leading the way for inclusion in Catholic schools. GiGi would have loved to have been a St. Margaret Scholar, but the Catholic schools near where we live were not ready for that. In fact, the biggest issue was the other parents who did not want a child ‘like GiGi’ in their child’s classroom. I am so grateful to see a Catholic school embracing our kids!”

Cardinal O’Hara Principal Joleen Dimitroff was instrumental in the creation of the St. Margaret’s Scholar Program, citing the initiative aligned with the principles of inclusion, compassion and social responsibility – all principles central to Catholic education.

Cardinal O’Hara High School is the latest in a line of #GenerationG Heroes Award winners. Given to an individual, group of individuals, or an organization, the #GenerationG Heroes Award recognizes those who work to change the way the world views Down syndrome.

GiGi’s Playhouse is the only international network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers dedicated to providing free therapeutic, educational and career programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. With over 60 locations across the U.S. and Mexico, GiGi’s Playhouse programs provide individuals with Down syndrome the opportunity to maximize their potential to further grow acceptance, inclusion and empowerment.

GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo is located at 326 Kenmore Ave. It serves all individuals with Down syndrome and their families in the greater WNY community. For more information, visit www.gigisplayhouse.org/buffalo.

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