PART 3: “Making an Impact in the Midst of a Pandemic”

Dear Variety Friends,

Can you please take a moment to step into our kids’ shoes? What if you could not communicate? What would your life be like if you could not speak and say what you’re thinking or feeling…

For me personally, I’m amazed that I can still take the gift of speech and communication for granted, even though I am hearing their stories every day.

Watching these kids and their families be so excited has reminded me of the great gift this equipment is to them and how critical our mission is for their lives.

Honestly, I’m sometimes ashamed of myself that I take communication for granted.

As I’ve heard the response about the need and importance of a communication device, I keep asking myself, if this was my 4-year old granddaughter, what would I want people to do for her?

The answer to that is that I should be doing for our kids, whatever it is what I would want others to do for her.

I hope you’ll share in a few stories about the impact of a communication device for our kids and their families.

Dresden, age 4 from Allegheny County:

After receiving his NEW VOICE recently, Dresden’s mom, Brandi sent us an update:

I included a video of Dresden putting together his first sentence on his own to tell us what he wanted for dinner. It was a pretty awesome experience for us. Thank you again for the opportunity to give him a chance to express himself.”

Click here to hear what Dresden requested for dinner (hint, it is a favorite for many kids… and adults). Don’t miss his giggle of joy at the end for being HEARD.

Isabella (Izzy), age 15 from Carbon County:

Pure excitement above as Isabella checks out her new device for the first time!

Isabella’s Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) from the Carbon Lehigh IU#21 sent us some awesome photos and a beautiful update explaining,

“We took some photos of Isabella getting her words last week!! She was so happy and confused at the same time. The smiles came when she found her name programmed in the device ‘My name is Isabella Lopez’, and then put the strap around her! Truly was an amazing moment!

Below is when she realizes that the device has HER WORDS on it!

A happy Izzy is pictured below with HER TEAM, including (left to right) her SLP Alix, her Social Worker Angelique, her teacher Donna, and her aide Heather.

The last few months, I’ve had the pleasure to speak with dozens of SLP’s and parents, and it’s been incredibly meaningful to hear their pure excitement about their kids receiving a communication device, especially during the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, Variety has provided more than 100 communication devices to kids with another 40 devices in the process of being presented! None of which would be possible without our incredible partners, and especially, the SLP’s.

I’m grateful for your support and for taking a few minutes to step in our kids’ shoes.

Take good care,

Charlie

Charles P. LaVallee
Chief Executive Officer
Variety – the Children’s Charity

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