FOX POINT, Wis. — Learning virtually during the pandemic made it challenging for students like Bee to get the one-on-one help she needs.
"Speech is exploding for her right now. She spent many of her years nonverbal, and I didn't know what was on her mind," said mother Erin Anderson.
Gigi's Playhouse is like a second home for Bee and several students who are challenged with a wide range of special needs.
Students participating in Marquette University's Accelerated Speech Therapy program are volunteering at Gigi's Playhouse. Over the course of twelve weeks, they are building bonds and getting real-life experience.
"In school, a lot of times therapy is in a group setting, so kids might be with you and five other kids are having their therapies. Here we have one-on-one, and along with that we have a lot more time to spend with them - 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes," Marquette University student Mary Grace Riley said.
"We've gotten to work with the different populations and different children that we might not see in another setting," Marquette student Elaina Eckert said.
For professor Jennifer Eggert, this partnership is a labor of love.
"To be able to bring our service, our excellence, to a facility out here in the community and to be able to serve these populations is something that most students don't get the opportunity to do," Eggert said.
Moms like Erin Anderson are grateful for the support.
"It's like having a community who is going to be there to help my kid," she said.