Trick or Treat at St John’s on the Lake

“You know, so much has changed in the last 50 years but the one thing that remains the same is the sound of children laughing”. -A resident friend of ours…

On Halloween our 5th annual Trick or Treat event took place at Saint John’s on the Lake. Each year we go back on October 31st to trick or treat with the residents and staff and celebrate another year of volunteer! This year we celebrated 4 years as an organization and the amazing partnership we have with Saint John’s, we are reminded that our children can do great things!

First Friends Across Nations Playgroup


Our first ever Friends Across Nations (FAN) Playgroup kicked off on September 18th.  The kids got to enjoy a Teddy Bear Picnic, and thanks to generous donations from members of Love and Lift, Inc., each child was able to take home their very own teddy bear.  It warmed my heart to see the kids faces light up as they played with their teddy bears during our “picnic” and then have a dance party with their bears.  It was wonderful to see moms from different backgrounds jump right into conversations, and be able to connect while sharing in the joy of seeing our kids have fun together.  It was a beautiful day, and I look forward to the friendships that will begin to blossom as our first session continues into the coming months.

-Hilary (FAN Playgroup Leader)

Musical Playdate at Gigi’s Playhouse #2

We enjoyed our second playdate at Gigi’s Playhouse. Thank you so much to Ms. Kristen from Music Together North Shore and Gigi’s Playhouse Milwaukee for helping this event happen. As a reminder, Gigi’s is an open resource and play space for ALL families and they welcome you to visit anytime. 

Can’t wait to see where we go next with our new Gigi’s friendship!

Musical Playdate at Gigi’s Playhouse

Our visit to Gigi’s Playhouse Milwaukee was serendipitous. Several families from Toddlers and Kids on a Mission have visited Gigi’s Playhouse Milwaukee or made friends who visit there frequently. Through conversations about how wonderful the facility is, our board decided to explore a possible event there. Our friend (and now Advisory Board member) Kristen, is a Music Together teacher also was independently exploring possibilities with Gigi’s. When we discovered all our connections to Gigi’s, we knew we had to do something!

On Gigi’s Playhouse Milwaukee (from their website):

GiGi’s Playhouse is a one-of-a-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. GiGi’s Playhouse offers more than 30 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge.

Programs are created by professional therapists and teachers who generously donate their time and expertise. All programs are based on best practices for learning styles specific to Down syndrome, and customized to ensure individual success. GiGi’s Playhouse serves infants through adults. GiGi’s Playhouse is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, IL; with 22 locations throughout the United States and Mexico, with more opening soon.

GiGi’s Playhouse makes a difference every day. Our unique points of difference empower individuals and their parents to achieve their greatest potential with confidence, independence, and joy. We have a “place”: we will never let location be a barrier to success. We have “programs”: we will never let curriculum be a boundary to achievement. Most importantly, programs are free. We will never let cost deter our families from participation or impede the achievement of our children and adults.

I mean.  How can you not be inspired and lifted by that?

On Saturday, new friends met, families found a new community resource, and we all joined in song and dance facilitated by the very talented Ms. Kristen from Music Together North Shore. We will return on March 11 for another Musical Playdate and beyond that, we look forward to many more collaborations.  In the meantime, we would like to pass on the open invitation from Gigi’s: All are welcome to stop in and play anytime.