A little over 8 weeks ago, Tyler, age 5 received his very own communication device (his own voice) through Variety’s “My Voice” Program, which was sponsored by the United Steelworkers and its International President, Leo Gerard.
Since then, Tyler has had a lot to say, and his device is giving him the opportunity to speak his mind anytime he chooses with his family and new friends throughout the community. What is so inspiring about this young boy is that he (and his family) are committed to doing all they can so that even more kids can gain the same life-changing device.
Tyler’s family joined us this past Tuesday, July 25th during a presentation with the Westmoreland County Commissioners, where Variety presented adaptive bikes and strollers, and then 10 communication devices to local kids. During the presentation of devices, Tyler got up and demonstrated how he uses his device (his voice) to communicate all his wants, needs, feelings, and even his favorite food (hotdogs) and game (Minecraft).
The Tribune Review (Westmoreland) joined us for the presentation and captured the impact of the day in this article (click here to read). There are also two amazing videos from the presentation included in the article that will allow you to share in the day’s joy!
Additionally, KDKA-TV’s Kristen Sorensen spent the last two weeks working on a story that also featured Tyler to bring greater awareness to the needs of our kids and what is being done through Variety to give them a more fulfilling life. This piece will open you up to where Variety began in 2012 with adaptive bikes, and where we have been able to go since then to impact the lives of these extraordinary children.
Variety is at a turning point and we need to keep the momentum going for these kids.
Nearly 5 years ago, Variety began with an idea to provide adaptive bikes to kids with disabilities through its “My Bike” Program, so they could experience the fun, freedom, and joy of riding bikes with friends / family, and to no longer be left out or left behind. Since then, Variety expanded into two more programs, “My Stroller” (adaptive strollers) and “My Voice” (communication devices) to meet the needs of easier mobility and a way of communicating on a daily basis.
“My Voice” is giving kids the chance to have a voice every day, all day through a communication device that’s helping to alleviate frustration for both our kids (who can’t get out what they want to say) and parents (who can’t always understand what their child is trying to say). These devices are helping children communicate when they are hurting, when they need to use the bathroom, or even that they would prefer a hotdog over a hamburger – going from the real serious things to the basics things of life.
Moms and dads are hearing their child say, “I love you” for the first time, and even though it is through a device, parents know that their child is intentionally choosing to say it.
No child should be without a voice… No child should be without a voice, and it is an unbelievable opportunity for us to give these children the fullness of life through being able to communicate.
My sincerest thanks to you and all those that are helping us to make these opportunities possible for kids that are too often unseen or overlooked. At Variety, we make it “all about the kids” and none of what we accomplish could be done without your support!