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Kasim Reed, Justin Farmer team up for charity benefit

Mayor Kasim Reed and  Adrienne Mulligan, president of Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta

Mayor Kasim Reed and Adrienne Mulligan, president of Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and WSB Channel 2 Action News anchor Justin Farmer are teaming up for a wonderful cause: Gigi’s Playhouse, which serves children with Down syndrome and their families.

The third annual “i have a voice” gala to benefit GiGi’s Playhouse Atlanta is planned for Saturday, Feb. 2 at the downtown Atlanta Ritz-Carlton.

Mayor Reed serves as the event’s honorary host while Farmer will serve as emcee.

The 2012 gala raised more than $215,000 to help Gigi’s Playhouse provide free therapy-styled classes, tutoring, support groups, monthly speaker series and a vast referrals network. The facility has served 170 children born with T21 (Down syndrome) and their families.

“T21 affects one out of every 691 babies born in the United States today,” said Adrienne Mulligan, president of GiGi’s Playhouse Atlanta and mom of Sara Kate, one of the children benefiting from its services. “With every passing week, we see kids achieving what their parents were told they never would.”

WSB Channel 2 Action News anchor Justin Farmer

WSB Channel 2 Action News anchor Justin Farmer

“Early intervention is working, and the future for these children to hold normal, independent lives is now,” Mulligan continued. “As kids with T21 begin to succeed on par with their peers, outdated misconceptions are disappearing. Specific early intervention therapies and tutoring programs are combatting the obstacles that T21 presents, and giving our kids the tools to overcome them.”

The “i have a voice” gala will be a fun, inspirational and informational night. The event will highlight the great possibilities for children with T21 thanks to early intervention by sharing stories from families who have benefited from Gigi’s Playhouse programs. And it will honor its many mentors and volunteers including Josh Kalter, a 17-year old from Alpharetta who travels every Sunday afternoon to the Playhouse to teach kids with T21 how to play the guitar.

VIP guests will begin the night at a cocktail reception in the Georgian Room at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta hosted by Mayor Reed. A champagne reception follows where guests will be able to purchase raffle tickets for prizes including dinner for 12 prepared in the winner’s home by Chef Kevin Rathbun; a trip for four to Ireland and more.

Singer-songwriter Shay Mooney, opera and classical singer Elizabeth Saliers and The Mike Richardson Band will entertain at various times during the event.

For tickets see this web site or call 404-872-PLAY (7529).

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