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Event in Peoria to bring awareness to Down syndrome


Secretary of State Adrian Fontes presented GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix with an official proclamation at their 8th anniversary that declares March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day in Arizona.

To celebrate, GiGi’s Playhouse has partnered with the Down Syndrome Network Arizona to organize an event taking place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 18  at Rio Vista Park in Peoria.

This event is to both celebrate the members of the Arizona Down syndrome community as well as to raise public awareness. It will feature a picnic, food trucks, crafts and entertainment, as well as information and resource booths. It is open to the public.

"As a proud family member of an individual with Down syndrome, I consider myself blessed by having Jude in my life,” Fontes said. “Having always been aware of the need for inclusion and making it a priority, I am thrilled to present this proclamation here at GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix in honor of the incredible work they do to change the lives of individuals and families of those with Down syndrome.”

GiGi’s Playhouse is the only nationwide network of Down syndrome achievement centers. When GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix opened in 2015, it was the 21st center for the network. GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix provides educational and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome of all ages, their families and the community.

The organization is 90% volunteer-run, and all programs are 100% free to families. From pre-natal diagnosis through career skills, GiGi’s Playhouse makes a lifetime commitment to families.

In 2022, GiGi’s provided 10,000 free program participation hours, GiGi’s Playhouse helps participants thrive through building educational, developmental, fitness, fine and gross motor, social-emotional and speech and language skills.

A member of the Arizona State Bar Association, Fontes spent his career advocating for justice and for those who are disadvantaged as a prosecutor with the Denver District Attorney and the Maricopa County Attorney's office. He later led the International Prosecution Unit at the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

He practiced law for 15 years before running for office in 2016 when he was elected Maricopa County Recorder.

“GiGi’s Playhouse is honored to have been given this proclamation by Secretary Fontes. The Down syndrome community throughout Arizona is fortunate to have the Secretary as one of their champions,” said Robin Lea-Amos, Executive Director. “GiGi’s was founded on the mission to help the world see people with Down syndrome in a new way. This proclamation helps highlight the work of our Playhouse and helps to demonstrate that people with Down syndrome are capable of anything!”

For more information about free programs, volunteerism, impact partnerships, events, and many ways to support GiGi’s Playhouse families, visit .

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