As we dive into the New Year, I hope that you’ll take a moment to reflect on the reason for Variety’s work with me.
For kids with disabilities, life can have a great deal of obstacles, unexpected setbacks, and financial stresses that not only impact the child, but their entire family. The needs and challenges of these children are often invisible to the community-at-large. Variety’s work strives to equip these amazing kids with equipment that is individually customized for them to meet their needs and give them greater opportunities for their life.
An adaptive bike is provided through Variety’s “My Bike” Program with every bike being tailored and manufactured for each child to give them the chance to ride a bike (many for the first time in their lives).
An adaptive stroller is provided through Variety’s “My Stroller” Program, and this customized piece of equipment is used for easier mobility throughout the community and to keep kids safe (who might be runners).
A communication device is provided through Variety’s “My Voice” Program and gives children living with a communication disorder (or are nonverbal) a restricted device loaded with a prescribed communication app that allows kids to have a voice at all times wherever they go.
In 2019, Variety’s priority is to identify every single eligible child that could benefit from our programs with kids being able to apply for one, two, or all three programs.
A very Happy New Year to you – may it be the best year yet.
It was like “Christmas Morning” for Cheyenne, who received her FIRST EVER bike through Variety’s “My Bike” Program with many other kids during a special event with PlayWorks in Morgantown, WV.
20-year old Cheyenne (pictured below with her mom and sister) has a disability known as Pachygyria, which basically causes her to have the mentality of a four-year-old child, as her mother, JoJo describes.
After receiving her new bike on Tuesday, August 28th, Cheyenne’s story was featured on WDTV, and this piece gave us a personal look into the impact that this bike will have on Cheyenne and her family long-term.
In this piece, her mom, Jojo says, “She loves it! When I came home from work last week she was out riding around with her caregivers and was just yelling at me ‘Mommy look I’m on my bike!”
Check it out by clicking this link: http://www.wdtv.com/content/news/Variety—A-Childrens-Charity-bringing-joy-to-a-local-family-492432681.html
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.
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.
This past year, Variety was able to impact 444 children with their very own adaptive bike, adaptive stroller, or communication device, and we could not have done it without our amazing community of partners, helpers, and advocates!
For these 444 kids, this past year meant…
The opportunity to feel free and happy through their own bike…
“Gage is so excited about this bike. It made my heart smile to watch him accomplish another milestone. ‘My Bike’ is important to so many families who are less fortunate and have mentally, medically, or physically challenged love ones. This program is making a difference in the world, one child and family at a time… giving hope, building confidence, encouraging independence, and providing self-esteem.” -Tracy, mother of Gage
The ability to be “on-the-go” & not be isolated or left out…
“The wheelchair is really heavy and takes two people to get it in and out of our van. During family outings, like Idlewild, it was always so hard to get him involved. It means everything to us to have this stroller – to participate as a family in outings in the community.” -Lacey, mother of Jeorge
And the chance to have a voice, & express their wants & needs.
“It hurts me so much that she can’t talk to me. They have a device for her in school, but it doesn’t come home, so I don’t understand her, and she gets so upset and sad about it. I want her to know that I love her just as much as her sisters and everyone else… and she can tell me anything. That would mean the world to me.” -Kristyn, mother of Allysha
With your help, we can impact even more kids with disabilities!
There are two ways you can help this giving season:
- Make a donation of any amount to help us provide more adaptive bikes, adaptive strollers, or communication devices to kids that are in need. All donations will go directly to the kids, and are 100% tax deductible. Download our donation form by clicking here, or give online at www.varietypittsburgh.org/donate
- Spread the word to everyone you know about our three equipment programs. One of our biggest challenges at Variety is identifying eligible kids. With your help, we hope to start a movement this new year, so that no eligible child misses out on these life-changing opportunities! Click here to download our program handout, and please share it at home, at work, and everywhere you go in the community.
At Variety, we are a family, and our work is not possible without each and every one of you. Thank you!