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Coyotes Deliver Taylor Swift Concert Tickets to Kids at GiGi's Playhouse

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – With mascot Howler leading the way, the Coyotes on Monday delivered tickets to an upcoming Taylor Swift concert at Gila River Arena to children with Down syndrome who had gathered for a pizza party at GiGi's Playhouse in Scottsdale.

GiGi's Playhouse is a charitable organization that serves children and adults who are affected by Down syndrome. Each of the two dozen Playhouse locations nationwide provides educational and therapeutic programs at no charge to families and in a format that individuals with Down syndrome learn best.

Howler hands out Taylor Swift concert tickets at GiGi's Playhouse. Photo by Norm Hall.

The GiGi's Playhouse in Scottsdale recently opened its doors, and the Papa John's pizza party on Monday was a huge hit.

"It was amazing and I think the kids really loved it," said Jennifer Gage, the location's board president. "It was such a fun component to the experience of going to the concert. The pizza party alone was fun, but it really livened up once Howler came through the door and handed out the invitations to the show. It was so cool."

The Coyotes reached out to GiGi's Playhouse after a Coyotes staff member saw a video the organization created on a local TV news broadcast. With help from Xpleo Media, GiGi's Playhouse produced and distributed the video to the local media hoping it would go viral and that Swift might see it and then offer concert tickets to the organization so it could then auction them to raise funds.

"They did such a great job with the video and were so excited about it we thought since the concert is in our home arena we could do something special for them," said Olivia Campos, the team's Director of Community Relations. "We're constantly looking for different organizations that we can work with and this was a great way for us to get introduced to GiGi's Playhouse because they're fairly new and they're doing some great things. We're glad to be able to connect with them."

The Coyotes provided GiGi’s Playhouse with 30 tickets within a suite for Swift's sold-out concert on Aug. 17.

Howler hands out Taylor Swift concert tickets at GiGi's Playhouse. Photo by Norm Hall.

Gage said the kids can't wait to attend the show; Swift is a favorite inside GiGi's Playhouse.

"We play her music here all the time," Gage said. "It's perfect for us because it's G rated, it's fun, everyone knows it and everyone enjoys it. We have it on in the background here all the time."

And it was playing again on Monday when Howler crashed the pizza party with the concert tickets. The children howled and danced with him for nearly 30 minutes. They also posed for many pictures with him.

The first GiGi's Playhouse was opened 13 years ago by Nancy Gianni. She, like Gage, is mother to a child with Down syndrome. The Scottsdale location, which opened in February, is the 21st of 24 locations in the U.S.

"We just opened so we're trying to let the community know we are here," Gage said. "Our mission is to change outdated perceptions of Down syndrome in the world."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to view a gallery of photos from Monday's party and click here to watch the video created by GiGi's Playhouse and Xpleo Media.

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