“Come On, Mom! Watch Me Ride My Bike!”

How is Variety’s “My Bike” Program impacting kids?

Katelyn is all smiles on her pink bike!

Becky, mother of Katelyn, who received her adaptive bike about a year ago describes it like this,

“Words cannot express the joy you have given to my daughter, Katelyn in providing her with a bike. She smiles more, asks the neighbor kids to ride bikes with her, and even holds her head higher in pride when on her new bike. My eyes tear up every time she’s on the bike, yelling for me to ‘Come on, Mom! Watch me ride my bike!’ Thank you for the gift that provides such joy in her life!”

Can you help us spread the word?

Variety – the Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh is striving to identify & serve every eligible child that could benefit from its adaptive equipment programs.

Do you know of any children with disabilities that could benefit from an adaptive bike, adaptive stroller, and/or communication device? Variety is currently serving kids in 54 counties in Pa. & WV.

These programs are life changing for kids & their families, but Variety needs help with spreading the word, so no family misses out on these opportunities.

Visit www.varietypittsburgh.org or call their office at 724-933-0460 to learn more or apply. These programs are no cost to eligible families, and you can apply for one, two, or all three programs if your child can benefit!

Madon is all smiles on his new blue bike!
Destiny is feeling comfy in her new adaptive stroller!
All smiles holding his new device – his new voice!

Range Resources Gives Back!

This past December, Range Resources Corporation & its incredible team hosted a special holiday-themed presentation for local kids to receive their very own individually customized adaptive bikes. Range even produced this incredible video recapping the day!

“United Together for Kids”

An evening for the kids!

On Friday, November 3rd, Variety celebrated its 90th Annual Gala at Heinz Field, and it was a night to remember!

Highlighting Variety kids & partnerships, the evening showcased an adaptive bike parade featuring children with disabilities, former Governors Tom Corbett and Ed Rendell, PA Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak, United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard, and Jones Day Partner Roy Powell.

Left to right: Rob Kozel, former Governor Ed Rendell, Leo Gerard, Roy Powell, Deborah Rice-Johnson, and former Governor Tom Corbett stand United Together for Kids!

Our organization was honored to present Leo Gerard with our 2017 Catherine Variety Sheridan Humanitarian Award and Roy Powell with the 2017 Variety Advocacy Award. A very special thanks to our 2017 Presenting Sponsors: Highmark, Jones Day, Peoples, & PNC.

To make the evening even more special, honoree Leo Gerard announced that he and USW International raised approximately $500,000 to provide more adaptive equipment to eligible children with disabilities through Variety’s programs!

WPXI-TV put together a terrific story highlighting USW International’s commitment and support that you can view by clicking here.

Variety CEO, Charlie LaVallee and Leo Gerard enjoy some “purple pop” with Tyler, who was one of our special guests for the evening – purple pop is Tyler’s absolute favorite!

 

Covestro Brings SUPERHEROES to Life for Variety Kids!

With the theme “SUPERHEROES”, Variety’s 2017 Halloween Party was out of this world thanks to the support, time, and creativity of the Covestro team!

This was the 11th year that Covestro and its sensational employees have made this life-changing day possible for our kids and their entire family, and we couldn’t be more grateful! To get a glimpse into this spook-tacular event, here are a few photos from 2017 – you can click here to see all the photos.

Reeve Foundation Gives Hope

Variety has been a proud recipient from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to help children with disabilities, specifically children living with paralysis.

Their support began in 2015 with a gift of $7,500 for adaptive bikes through Variety’s “My Bike” Program, and then more recently, Variety received a gift of $6,000 towards adaptive strollers through Variety’s “My Stroller” Program.

Between these two generous gifts, Variety was able to impact the lives of 9 children who now have increased mobility, freedom, and can live a full fulfilled life.

These are kids like Alaina, age 8, who was one of the 5 adaptive bikes sponsored by the Reeve Foundation.

Alaina is pictured above “all smiles” with her parents after receiving her new bike!

Alaina’s mother gave voice to the impact of this gift by saying, “We tried a traditional bike, but she was never successful. When we rode bikes as a family, she was confined to a child’s seat.”

Before receiving her adaptive bike, Alaina was often left out and left behind when her family would ride bikes together.  With her new adaptive bike, Alaina can ride alongside her family.

After watching her daughter ride, Christy said, “Now she can ride a bike with her brothers – just like a normal kid.”

The impact might seem simple, but to Alaina and her family, it is life-changing. These are milestones that every child should experience – riding bikes with friends, siblings, and just being able to have fun.

Variety is so grateful to the support of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to help us, help more kids.

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation logo.

Memorial Bike Ride on Sept. 30th!

Come join us for the Fourth Annual J. Terrence Farrell Memorial Bike Ride, which will beneift Variety’s “My Bike” Program.

When: Saturday, September 30, 2017
What Time: 8:30am – 12 Noon
Where: The ride starts under the Boston Bridge, with a 7.5 mile stop at the Dravo Cemetery in Buena Vista. Experienced riders may continue on Smithton Beach. All bikers will return at 12 Noon to the Kenneth Frew Pavilion for Lunch and a ceremony in honor of J. Terrence (Terry) Farrell.
Registration Fee: $25

You can register for the bike ride by clicking here.

A group form last year’s event are pictured above – what a beautiful day!

As a long-time member of the McKeesport Lions and local attorney, each year Mr. Farrell’s “Bike for Sight” raised thousands of dollars for local charities. The funds from last year’s event were distributed locally to the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center, the Carnegie Library of McKeesport, the Mon Yough Trail, the Mon River Fleet Lions Club, Friends of the Riverfront, Variety the Children’s Charity, and American Heart Association.

For questions regarding this year’s event, please contact Belinda O’Keson at (412) 678-7126 or via e-mail at okeson2210@comcast.net.

For updates on this annual event, please check out their Facebook Page.

Kids Helping Kids

In a matter of four days, the youngsters from the 2017 G-Force VBS at Kingsville United Methodist Church raised money to help Variety kids in the Clarion County area – a total of $375 was generated by 26 kids that participated in this summer’s program, which was then matched by the church!

The VBS group is pictured above, all smiles for the impact that they are able to make for more kids.

It is inspiring and amazing to see such young children want to give back to others that are in need. Because of these 26 kids, Variety received a donation of nearly $800, and it will be a big help to our work, especially for the kids of Clarion County.

We congratulate these extraordinary children for their hard work and commitment to giving back!

Bikes & Bases, Take Three!

For the third year in a row, Variety partnered with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia and the West Virginia Black Bears to raise funds for Variety’s “My Bike” Program. All funds were raised through Highmark’s “K’s for Kids” program, which donates a generous gift to Variety each time a Black Bears pitcher strikes out an opposing batter during a home game.

The K’s for Kids program culminated this past Monday, August 28th at the Black Bears game against State College, in which Highmark presented Variety with a donation of $2,500 towards our “My Bike” Program.

Elijah is pictured above on his new bike with some of his new friends!

These funds sponsored Elijah’s new adaptive bike that was presented on Monday. He and two previous bike recipients, Riain and Aubrey, took a ride around the bases of the Monongalia County Ballpark prior to the game beginning.

Variety was joined by Mike Lentz and staff from PlayWorks, (who has been our biggest “My Bike” partner in West Virginia), and Jay Golden from Highmark WV to help cheer on the kids, especially Elijah as he took his very first bike ride.

Both WBOY-TV and The Dominion Post joined us to capture the special presentation.

Let’s hear it for these amazing kids!!

“No Child Without A Voice” Campaign

On Tuesday, August 22nd, Variety – the Children’s Charity and Edgar Snyder & Associates held a Press Conference to launch the “No Child Without A VoiceCampaign, and to publicly unveil ESA’s newest television spot featuring Variety’s “My Voice” Program!

Tyler and his family are pictured above with Variety CEO, Charlie LaVallee while filming for the newest Edgar Snyder & Associates’ tv spot.

This campaign kicks off the 2017 school year to identify every eligible child that could benefit from Variety’s “My Voice” Program.

Why is “My Voice” important? Imagine spending months trying to figure out why your daughter is crying every night to learn that there was something stuck in her ear. Imagine spending hours in the supermarket with your child to figure what they want to eat. Imagine never hearing your son or daughter say, “I love you.” These are the types of comments that parents have told us.

Variety’s “My Voice” is helping to unlock the wants, needs, feelings, and thoughts that our kids have inside, but don’t have a way to say them on their own.

Charles LaVallee, Variety CEO, highlighted the importance of the campaign by saying, This isn’t just about providing equipment. This is about building a movement to get society to recognize that these kids deserve the opportunity to communicate. That’s why we’re so fortunate to have our partnership with Edgar Snyder & Associates, and them bringing awareness to this unmet need.”

Edgar Snyder & Associates has been partnering with Variety for nearly 5 years to help raise funds and identify eligible children that could benefit from its programs. Attorney Edgar Snyder said, “Our law firm has long been a supporter of Variety – the Children’s Charity and its programs for children with disabilities. We see how adaptive equipment like bicycles and strollers has changed the lives of children and their families throughout western Pennsylvania. Now we want to help get the word out about Variety’s newest program, “My Voice”, to help as many kids as we can.”

Another long-term partner of Variety has been the United Steelworkers. Tom Conway, Vice President Administration, USW shared, “USW is honored to have sponsored 25 communication devices and we are participating in the identification campaign among our own members, as well as the broader community.”

The Press Conference was all about providing these extraordinary kids, with amazing possibilities. About giving kids a voice to express their choices, personality, feelings, and needs.

LaVallee went further to say, “Variety is excited to have partners like Edgar Snyder & Associates and USW come together to help these kids who are often unseen. We are committed to identifying every single eligible child, so that no child is without a voice of their own.”

Thanks to Sarah Arbogast (KDKA) for joining us at yesterday’s event with Edgar Snyder & Associates! http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/08/22/technology-giving-children-disabilities-voice/