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A Little Something Extra

Kids & Family Podcasts

A Little Something Extra, with Nancy Gianni and The GiGi is the first video podcast hosted by an individual with Down syndrome! Season 2 Coming Soon in Spring 2022!


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A Little Something Extra, with Nancy Gianni and The GiGi is the first video podcast hosted by an individual with Down syndrome! Season 2 Coming Soon in Spring 2022!






S2 E19: A Little Something Extra with Jennifer McCormick

Jennifer McCormick joins the show!! On this week’s episode, we are celebrating the beauty of motherhood by featuring parent blogger and influencer, Jennifer McCormick. Jennifer has a three-year-old with Down syndrome, named Riley. Riley falls right in the middle of, soon to be, 5 kids! Making all her siblings her biggest fan and advocates in the world. We talk about the impacts that a child with Down syndrome can have on their siblings and the people they turn out to be. As well as all the funny and odd circumstances that come along with the journey of raising a family with a child with Down syndrome! Jennifer talks about how social media and her life as a blogger have impacted her life. She started her social media because of the lack of guidance and understanding she was exposed to when Riley was born. She is now a part of an amazing community of social media moms helping break the stigmas behind Down syndrome and helping other parents realize there is nothing to fear! We of course then hear some amazing words of inspiration from Jennifer, including her “One Message to the World” and her “Little Something Extra”. This is an amazing episode for all the moms out there looking for some guidance and peace of mind or for those looking to see the impact that someone with Down syndrome can have on your life! Watch the video version here.


S2 E18: A Little Something Extra with Joanne and Nathan

Britain’s Got Talent Semi-Finalists Nathan and Joanne join the podcast to talk about their amazing journey! Joanne and Nathan are a dancing duo who won over the hearts of Great Britain on the latest season of Britain’s Got Talent. This incredible journey began back in 2019 in one of Joanne’s dance classes. Nathan is an adult with Down Syndrome who has always been interested in dance and performing. Well, after taking classes with Joanne, he knew he had found his passion! Joanne did not go into this as an advocate looking to spread awareness for Down syndrome, nor did she see this as a charity case. Nathan and her merely formed a connection with one another on the dance floor that she believed the world should see! After years of practice and growth, Joanne secretly submitted an inquiry about performing with Nathan on BGT, and the rest was history! Tune in now to hear their heartwarming story, some amazing British accents, see some of GiGi and Nathans's dance moves, hear GiGi’s Tipppsss on dancing your heart out, and much more fun! Watch the video version at https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra/


S2 E17: A Little Something Extra with Jennifer Hogan Jones

Jennifer Hogan Jones, known on social media as My Beautiful DS Journey, joins the show! Jennifer is a super mom who has been sharing her Down syndrome journey on social media. When she received her prenatal diagnosis that her son, Hudson, had Down syndrome, she thought her world would fall apart. Being a mom of 3 other daughters, she didn’t know how the family would take it. Well fast forward 4 years and those dark moments are a thing of the past. Jennifer talks with us about the reason behind sharing her story and the light that is spreading across the lives of so many. Tune into the episode to hear all about how Jennifer is changing the way the world views Down syndrome by celebrating Hudson’s life and showing people the beauty of the DS diagnosis. See the video episode at, https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra


S2 E16: A Little Something Extra with Houston and Katie Vandergriff

Houston and Katie Vandergriff join the show!! Houston is an adult with Down syndrome who is a professional photographer and world traveler. His mother, Katie, and him run the platform “Downs and Towns”, where people can view his beautiful photography and see his life journey! This episode is so important because it shows the power of following one’s passion. No one should be held back from following their passions, especially because of a measly extra chromosome, and Houston channels that energy! In this episode, we talk about Houston’s travels (most recently to Egypt), how he found his passion, and what he did to pursue it. We, of course, hear some incredible words of inspiration from his mother and some really beautiful “Something Extras”! We hope you enjoy it! To watch the video version of this episode, click here.


S2 E15: A Little Something Extra with Grace and Carrie Key

The mother-daughter duo behind Candidly Kind, Grace, and Carrie Key join the show! Grace is a 22-year-old entrepreneur who so happens to have Down syndrome. Grace has a passion for art, fashion, and cosmetology so, like any great entrepreneur, she is channeled that passion into her business! Candidly Kind’s message is to spread light, love and acceptance through Grace’s original art. Then a percentage of proceeds go to various non-profits that support that same mission of spreading love and acceptance! In the episode, we talk with Grace and her mom Carrie about their journey, from Grace’s birth and the mindset Carrie had in that moment through today and the incredible woman she has become! We get some amazing words of inspiration from both Carrie and Grace, of course, we dive into each of their “something extra’s,” and we finish off with GiGi’s Tips on being creative. We hope you enjoy it!! Watch the full episode here: https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra/s2-e14-a-little-something-extra-with-grace-and-carrie-key/


S2 E14: A Little Something Extra with Erin Johnson

Author, influencer, sister, and sibling advocate; Erin Johnson joins the show this week alongside her brother, Matt! This episode goes out to all the amazing sibling advocates out there. Erin is the older sister of her brother, Matt, who has Down syndrome. Erin and Matt share a story that a lot of people can relate to. Just a brother and sister who share lots of love, laughs, and appreciation for each other. Erin wanted to share her sibling story with the world to show the beauty of having a brother with Down syndrome and how amazing the journey is as an adult. Matt is now the uncle to a niece and nephew, and he could not handle the job any better! In the episode, Erin and Matt share their sibling journey, giving us some valuable life lessons that any of us can learn from! We also talk about the impact that Matt has had on Erin outside of their relationship, such as her career, her experience as an author, even her decision to adopt a child with Down syndrome with her husband. Of course, we learn Matt and Erin’s Little Something Extra, and GiGi finishes things off with some tips on “loving your family”. We hope this one gives a little perspective on the importance of family! You can find Erin and Matt on social media @Erinadvocates Watch the video version of this epsoide here.


S2 E13: A Little Something Extra with Heather & Bill from our Syracuse location

Heather Rodriguez and Bill Alsid from GiGi’s Playhouse Syracuse join the show! Heather has been a friend of GiGi’s Playhouse and a die-hard advocate for Down syndrome for 10 years. Bill is a participant at GiGi’s Syracuse but is better known for his beautiful personality and his ability to make anyone smile. This episode is for those who are looking for a way to give back without knowing where to start. Heather breaks down her story as an advocate, not having any connections to disabilities prior to her time volunteering and working at GiGi’s Syracuse. Heather did not know much about people with disabilities, specifically Down syndrome, and even more so, she didn’t know much she needed the diagnosis in her life. She just wanted to go out there and find a place to go, where she could serve and learn more about those with Down syndrome. Now, 10 years later, she doesn’t know how she can ever live in a world without DS. We also hear a beautiful story of friendship blossoming from the fear of the unknown. Heather was unsure of how to befriend Bill, a grown man living with Down syndrome. Little did she know she was finding a best friend. Bill talks with us about his appreciation for Nancy and GiGi and how they have impacted his life through love and friendship. We then hear some wise words of wisdom regarding through Bill and Heather's message to the world, and of course, GiGi Gives us some tips on “how to have fun”! We hope that you enjoy this fun-filled episode of A Little Something Extra! Check out the video version of this episode here.


S2 E12: A Little Something Extra with Sophia and Jennifer Sanchez

Actor and model, Sophia Sanchez and her mom Jennifer join the show! This week's episode is a super special one, because we are joined by an incredible mother-daughter duo. Sophia Sanchez is a 14-year-old with Down syndrome who is paving the way for others in her work as an actress and model. Sophia is starring in the upcoming film, Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. A role she received not because of her diagnosis but for her talent! Sophia is also the inspiration behind the new book You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion. Jennifer Sanchez begins their story detailing her family's journey in adopting Sophia from a Ukranian orphanage after she gave birth to a son with Down syndrome. Then walks us through Sophia’s amazing rise into the beautiful inspiration she is. The theme of this episode is The Power of Family and boy do the Sanchez’s know all about that! Catch their amazing story, some beautiful words of wisdom, a couple “something extra’s” and GiGi’s famous TIPSSSS on this fun-filled episode! We hope you enjoy!! Watch the video version of this episode here.


S2 E11: A Little Something Extra with Lizz Maxwell and Missy Gibelj

GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland’s very own Lizz Maxwell and Missy Gibel join the show! We are back highlighting playhouses in celebration of 20 Years of Believing at GiGi’s Playhouse!! These 2 have pretty amazing stories to share, it was hard to fit them both in! Missy was on the team that started the 3rd playhouse to ever open back in 2006 in Chicago! She is a strong momma bear that just wanted to create a place for her daughter and other families that didn’t have a place to feel welcomed. Her family then moved to Cleveland, so she had to bring a playhouse with her! She then took it upon herself to open GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland with the help of an incredible team. This introduces Lizz Maxwell, who does not have a child with Down syndrome but does have a heart large enough to support an entire city of people with Down syndrome. Lizz is the Site Director of GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland and has helped in building up GiGi’s Playhouse to be a staple of the Cleveland community! This episode sheds some light on the heart and soul that goes into bringing a GiGi’s Playhouse into existence and the impacts it makes. Each and every one of us has a fire deep within ourselves that burns on passion. All it takes is the right outlet to further fuel that flame. We hope this episode and all our episodes help you in finding that fuel, or what we call your “Little Something Extra”. See the video version of this episode here: https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra


S2 E10: A Little Something Extra with Ellen Boyer

Ellen Boyer, founder and president of The Brett Boyer Foundation, joins the show! This episode is a bit heavier than others, but so beautiful, inspirational, and important. Ellen talks with us about her journey of turning tragedy into inspiration. At just 7 months old, Ellen and her husband lost their beloved Brett to complications due to congenital heart disease. Ellen and her family turned the tragedy into their life mission to celebrate Brett and others with Down syndrome while also raising awareness and funding to research solutions for congenital heart disease. This episode is a beautiful testament to her daughter and a testament to everyone who has faced tragedy/adversity in life. As we can learn from Ellen, it’s not the adversity that defines who you are, it’s how you respond to it. Watch the video version of this episode here.


S2 E9: A Little Something Extra with Jennifer Gage

Throughout 2023, GiGi’s Playhouse is celebrating 20 Years of Believing, with an emphasis on highlighting the incredible people that have helped change the face of the Down syndrome diagnosis. On this week’s episode of A Little Something Extra, we are highlighting the founder of our Phoenix location! Jennifer Gage joins us to talk about what inspired her to help in bringing a GiGi’s Playhouse location to her community. Jen is a mother of 4 kids, including an amazing daughter with Down syndrome. Along with being a mother, she is an advocate and entrepreneur. Jen G embodies the Generation G mindset in all she does, with the goal of spreading Acceptance, Generosity, and Kindness to everyone she meets. We featured Jen to share her amazing story to show viewers like you that anyone has the ability to go out and change the world as long as you have the passion for doing so. Stay tuned throughout the rest of the year as we continue to pull in the founders and MVPs of GiGi’s Playhouses from around the country in hopes of inspiring others to go out and follow their “Little Something Extra’s” and make this world a better place. Watch the video version of this episode here.


S2 E8: A Little Something Extra with Heather Avis

With World Down Syndrome Day just around the corner, this week’s episode of A Little Something Extra feels a bit more special! To celebrate, we spoke with the founder of The Lucky Few, Heather Avis! Heather is a New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, and a Down syndrome advocate, working to create a more inclusive world where everyone belongs. The Lucky Few has grown from this concept of celebrating those lucky enough to be influenced by a Down syndrome diagnosis to a lifestyle brand and organization that is synonymous with the Down syndrome Diagnosis. The Lucky Few concept has now become a global storytelling movement, shifting narratives to create a more inclusive world where everyone belongs. In this episode, Heather talks with us about her incredible journey as a mother of 3 kids, 2 having Down syndrome, and the perspective it has given her when it comes to celebrating who we are. We then dive into the mission of The Lucky Few and the global impact it has made on the Down syndrome diagnosis and the members of its community. GiGi also shares some tips on living your best life, and of course, we learn the Little Something Extra of a world-class changemaker. A perfect episode for celebrating a perfect day of recognition! We hope you enjoy it! You can also watch the video here:https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra/


S2 E7: A Little Something Extra with Madison Tevlin

On this week's episode of A Little Something Extra, we are joined by the absolutely incredible Madison Tevlin! Staring in the upcoming movie, Champions, premiering Friday, March 10th. Madison is a 21-year-old with Down syndrome, but she likes to say her diagnosis is the least interesting thing about her. I think after listening, anyone would agree! You may remember Madison from her viral video back in 2012 of her singing “All of Me” by John Legend. Well, she didn’t stop there! Fast forward to today, and she is an actress, model, influencer, and advocate. She continues to show the world that no diagnosis should hold you back from following your dreams. We hope you love this one as much as we did! See the video version here: https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra/


S2 E6 - A Little Something Extra with Andrew Moses

In this episode of A Little Something Extra, we are joined by someone who not only goes above and beyond to make an impact but who also celebrates going above and beyond to change the world. Andrew Moses is the Vice President of Business Development & Marketing at MorganFranklin Consulting. Though if you ask him, he identifies himself as a super-connector and thought leader, sharing the stories and success tips from people in sports, business, and everyday life leading by example. In this episode we discuss his backstory, which led to the philosophy that inspired his podcast, Everybody Pulls the Tarp. Nancy, GiGi, Franco, and Andrew discuss the importance of being a team player and how it translates to all facets of life. We also discuss ways of handling life and being able to battle through the curveballs that get thrown at you. We hope this episode will inspire you to dig deep into the moments that challenge you and to know that no one is too important or too high on the totem pole where they shouldn’t help pull the tarp! Watch the video version of this episode at https://gigisplayhouse.org/alittlesomethingextra/


S2 E5: A Little Something Extra with Rob Snow

On this episode of A Little Something Extra, we are joined by two really special guests to GiGi’s and the Down syndrome community! Our first guest is a former standup comedian, turned non-profit entrepreneur, who has used his expertise in the comedy industry to create an improved troupe called the Imporvaneers! This improv troupe is the first to ever solely consist of individuals with Down syndrome. Our second guest is one of many incredible self-advocates that GiGi’s is lucky enough to have as part of our network. Along with being a self-advocate, he is also a hilarious comedian and original member of the Improvaneer Method! In our conversation, Rob talks about his inspiring life’s journey from starting as an aspiring comedian in Chicago, to running a non-profit that is changing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. He also talks with us about the benefits that improv has on people with unique abilities. Nick, the BIG DAWG himself, then joins the show to talk about his journey and how The Imporvaneer method has changed his life! We hope you enjoy this super fun and interesting episode of A Little Something Extra. Don’t forget to listen in for GiGi’s tips on “not taking yourself too seriously”! Watch the video version here: https://youtu.be/R1kxdUEimyc


S2 E4: A Little Something Extra with Fionn and Jonathan

On today’s new episode of A Little Something Extra, we are joined by two incredible gentlemen all that way from Ireland! This father/son duo is paving the way for change on an international scale, traveling all around the world to show people the beauty of Down syndrome and all their unique abilities! Fionn and Jonathan join the podcast to discuss their 26-year journey, navigating the complex work of living life with a unique ability. We hear about Fionn and Jonathan creating their production company, Fionnathan Production, and how they leverage Fionn’s diagnosis to make it all possible! Fionn also shows off some of his talents on the fiddle (and gives a little glimpse of how it works on the ladies). We also hear about their journey that has taken them all around the world in the pursuit of change from the start till now! Fionn and Jonathan are a true testament to leveraging the hand life deals you into a life of learning, adventure, and love! Make sure to listen to the end to hear GiGi’s tips and some warm words about the beauty of life, specifically about sharing life with someone who makes you value each and every day. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Check out the video version of the episode on our website: alittlesomethingextrapodcast.org


S2 E3 - A Little Something Extra with Brian Skotko

This week’s episode takes us back to earlier this year when Nancy GiGi and Franco were joined by Dr. Brian Skotko at the National Down Syndrome Conference! Dr. Skotko is a Board-certified medical geneticist, serving as the Emma Campbell Endowed Chair on Down Syndrome at Massachusetts General Hospital. As the Director of the hospital’s Down Syndrome Program, he has dedicated his professional energies to children with cognitive and developmental disabilities. It was because of his sister, (Kristin) who has Down syndrome, that he originally found his calling first as an advocate, then later as a doctor. Through Brian’s passion and dedication towards serving individuals with Down syndrome, he has created many amazing resources both for them and their families! During his first year at Harvard Medical School, he co-authored a book titled Common Threads: Celebrating Life With Down Syndrome. A book that profiles the accomplishments of 59 different people with Down syndrome! Fast forward 8 years, where he then wrote another book dedicated to helping siblings better understand the Down syndrome diagnosis, titled: Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and sisters. Now Brian joins the podcast to tell us about his journey to better the lives of all people affected by Down syndrome and his most recent endeavor, Down Syndrome Clinics 2 You (DSC2U)! A platform created to provide personalized care plans for families that do not have access to any specialized Down syndrome clinics. This episode is full of incredible insight into resources and information given by a leading industry expert! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


S2 E1 - A Little Something Extra with Jeanhee Hoffman

This episode of A Little Something Extra goes out to the siblings! The theme is Standing Up for Your Siblings, and do we have a guest that has gone above and beyond to do just that. We are joined by Jeanhee Hoffman, a sibling of a brother with Down syndrome, who founded GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh. Jeanhee has an incredible story, that is filled with love and inspiration. Jeanhee and her brother, Sam, are second generation Korean Americans, and she shares with us her families’ experiences from a different cultural perspective. She talks on her and Sam’s experiences growing up in a less inclusive society and the challenges it posed as a sibling. It was not until 2015 when Jeanhee stumbled upon a place where her brother can grow and feel at home! After seeing the impact that GiGi’s had on her brothers life, she vowed to make sure there was a place in her community for families like hers could have a place to call home. Listen now to hear how a sibling finding a place for her brother, sparked a flame within her to create a playhouse of her own community!


S2 E1 - A Little Something Extra with Aaron Shust

We are finally back with a new episode of the A Little Something Extra podcast!! It has been a minute since we released a new episode, but we are kicking things off again with a great one! Nancy, GiGi, and Franco are joined by award-winning gospel/Christian rock artist Aaron Shust. Aaron is an award-winning talent in the music industry, a gifted writer, a profound minister, and most of all, a devoted husband and father to 3 boys, one of whom has Down syndrome. The theme of this episode is, Never Loose Faith. This is a common theme in Nancy and GiGi’s journey, as well as so many others who have faced adversity in life. We walk with Aaron through his journey and some of the moments where God has challenged his faith, and WOW, are these moments profound and awe-inspiring. His stories of never losing faith in the wake of 2 sons facing life-threatening diagnoses will surely give you goosebumps. We also talk about his creative process and his love for music. Then as we always do, GiGi shares her tips on staying faithful, as she has learned to do throughout her life. Make sure to pay attention to the stories and quotes from Aaron because each carries a special message that may help you see the world from a different perspective. Our favorite is his view on what Down syndrome means to him. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Episode 17: A Little Something Extra with Wendell Davis

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, and our I Have a Voice Gala happening in nearly 2 weeks A little Something Extra is releasing a surprise episode today, as a little sneak peek of season 2! Nancy and GiGi were joined by former NFL wide receiver, Wendell Davis and Tom Serpento, Executive Director of the Retired Professional Football Players of Chicago . Wendell and Tom, and the rest of the RPFPC have been HUGE supporters of GiGi’s Playhouse since 2015 and will continue to support at our 2022 I Have a Voice Gala! Nancy, GiGi, Wendell and Tom discuss the importance of serving others, how to love, the impacts made by those most important and so many other important life lessons! Visit the link in our bio to watch today’s episode on your favorite podcast platform, there you will also find more information on how to participate in this year's I Have a Voice Gala! Learn more about the gala: https://gigisplayhouse.org/ihaveavoicegala/ Watch the video version of this episode: https://youtu.be/i5e5yHlwmHQ #GenerationG #NFL #downsyndrome