My name is Brie Donel, my family started at Gymboree Play & Music at the Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles back in 2012 when my first child was 13 months. Alex was (and still is!) a little boy with an endless supply of energy! When he started he was only just beginning to cruise but within a few short weeks he was walking and running! As he grew older, it became apparent he was developmentally delayed and was eventually diagnosed with Autism just before the age of 3.
The staff at Gymboree Play & Music were so incredibly supportive of us during that difficult time and when he struggled with being at a typical preschool, he thrived at Gymboree Play & Music’s school skills. He was happy there, comfortable and knew his teachers well. When he turned 5 and had to move on it was a very emotional day for us all. After Alex graduated we stopped by our Gymboree Play & Music whenever we were at the mall so he could see his old teachers.
I had my second child, another boy, named Oliver, in 2017. I brought Oliver to the Gymboree Play & Music Baby Lab when he was 6 months old and he has been attending ever since. The best part? One of Alex’s former teachers still works at Gymboree Play & Music and is now Oliver’s teacher! Alex will come with us to watch Oliver play and to continue his bond with the teacher he has known since he was one.
Our Gymboree Play & Music holds such a special place in my heart which is why I am so excited to join the GymboFams team! I hope one day when my boys are both grown up to even work for Gymboree Play & Music myself. That is how much I love it there!
You can follow Brie at: https://www.instagram.com/briedonelphotography/