Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis

Rating: 5 stars   20 reviews

Issues: Health

Location: 2200 Westport Plaza Drive St. Louis MO 63146 USA

Mission: To help local children with disabilities reach their full potential by providing services every time they need assistance.
Target demographics: Children under the age of 21 who have physical or mental disabilities in the St. Louis metro area with a household income under $65,000 (or otherwise exhibits extenuating circumstances such as multiple children or exorbitant medical bills).
Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year, Variety serves more than 14,500 children with physical and/or mental disabilities throughout the St. Louis area.
Geographic areas served: Metro St. Louis, Missouri (spanning 547 zip codes across 30 counties)
Programs: Kids on the Go Mobility Program Variety assists more than 1,350 St. Louis-area children by providing them with durable medical equipment – including wheelchairs, augmentative speech devices, leg braces, hearing aids, prostheses, and van lifts – that empowers them to be physically independent. In-House Programs Throughout the year, Variety conducts a number of inclusive programs that allow local children with physical and mental disabilities the same opportunities as their able-bodied friends. Highlights include: • Adventure Camp: Three weeks of fun, challenging activities in the areas of sports, fitness, sensory art and music. • Bikes for Kids: Providing custom therapeutic bikes, as well as traditional bikes, to Variety children. • St. Louis through the Eyes of a Child with a Disability: A field trip for Variety children and their families to experience some of the city’s most treasured attractions together. • Variety Children’s Chorus: Comprised of talented children who receive equipment and/or funding from Variety, as well as children without disabilities. • Variety Children’s Theatre: Bringing together children of all abilities with professional adults in one of the city’s top performance venues to create an unforgettable experience for theater-goers, cast and crew alike. Partner Agencies To further serve children with physical and/or mental disabilities, Variety partners with 80+ specialized agencies throughout the metro area to provide therapy/medical services, education, and counseling. One dynamic element of these partnerships is Variety’s Sunshine Coach Van program, in which Variety provides passenger vans to its partners to transport children across the St. Louis area to doctor appointments, therapy sessions and special outings or activities. Emerson Resource Center Overseen by Variety’s Program Director, the Emerson Resource Center provides valuable information and community connections to resolve the legal, social, therapeutic, education, medical and counseling issues often encountered by families of children with disabilities.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

As parents to two children with special needs, we are determined to provide our children with the best that life has to offer, despite their disabilities. When the needs of our children became financially challenging, we reached out to Variety. Our youngest needed a walker and orthotics were required for both children and were provided immediately by Variety. Our children desperately wanted bikes, but were unable to ride the traditional ones. Variety was able to provide both of our children with therapeutic bikes, custom-fitted to their unique abilities.

Our children have also attended Variety Adventure Camp and always have the time of their lives. With their intense therapies and doctor appointments consuming most of their days, it is wonderful that Variety can help our children experience a more typical childhood summer. We thank God that Variety is able and willing to help us in so many ways.

We are unsure what the future entails and get overwhelmed when thinking about it, but we take great comfort in knowing that Variety will be there when we need them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try and make Variety known to everyone out there. They are an amazing organization changing the lives of children by simply saying they CAN!!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been an actor in two of Variety's productions. It is one of the most rewarding experiences I could ask for. It is wonderful to see children of all abilities get to participate and grow as individuals and to work together towards a goal. It's a fun experience for all and kids who participate are being taught valuable life lessons that they're not even aware of. Children who are not disabled are taught compassion and perhaps working with the Variety kids might make them want to pursue a career in special education or the medical or social work. The Variety kids get to be kids; treated like anyone else with the same expectations to do their very best. It is an excellent rehearsal environment. The Variety staff and the artistic staff work very hard to make sure that everyone is treated with respect and kindness while maintaining the necessary focus to mount their amazing productions. The staff also has high expectation of everyone in rehearsal and the kids always rise to the occasion and meet the challenge. Variety has been a valuable organization in the St. Louis community for decades and I know with the dedication of the staff and help from the community will continue to be a wonderful asset.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I had a great opportunity to be a wrangler for Peter Pan and it was one of the best experiences I had! I loved working with the kids and getting to see them grow as actors for the show. I was able to see the show on Sunday and it was amazing! I love seeing the Variety kids being treated as people not as people with a disability. This experience has reassured me to become a special ed teacher. I love everything Variety does!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Where do I start? My son needed a wheelchair. We didn't have the extra money to cover what insurance would not. We didn't know what we were going to do! I met a mom with a child in a chair at a fair. She told me about Variety, and gave me the number for Diane. Diane was so gracious and helpful. Variety covered what we couldn't. Then we learned that Variety not only helps with equipment, but many other things too. My son was invited to an adventure camp put on by Variety. It was wonderful! They do these camps to provide opportunities for children who otherwise would not be able to go to camp because of their limited abilities. These camps are helpful in building self esteem and to teach these children they can be a productive member of society. They also learn there are others out there with similar challenges.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Variety has been amazing for my son. He has gained confidence in himself and made friends. He feels valued and more comfortable in his own skin. It's an amazing organization that we are lucky to have in our community.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am the parent of a six year old boy with Down syndrome and autism. Variety has helped him and our family in so many ways! The summer camp has been so amazing for him and he absolutely loves going. He is able to participate in a lot of activities that otherwise would be very challenging for him. He also received an adapted bike from Variety two years ago and it is amazing to see him pedal it himself, I have to run to keep up. He loves to ride it to the park in our neighborhood. Variety also provides our son with the orthodic inserts that help give him stability for movement. He also receives weekly therapy through the There-happy program. I can't imagine where we would be without the help of the Variety Club, it is truly a wonderful organization dedicated to helping kids with special needs.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter is 8 years old and Variety has helped us more times that I can count! And in more ways than can be counted! She has attended "I Can" Summer Camp for years & it's her favorite weeks of the year. She has also received an amazing bike from Bikes for Kids, and a wheelchair lift for our van. For the past two years, she has loved being a part of Variety Chorus and this year, is doing her first musical with Variety. Everyone I speak to at Variety has such love for kids that it shines through in all they do! She would not be where she is without Variety & neither would we!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Duplicate it all over the world!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been served by Variety since I was 4 years old. I have gotten equipment and so many opportunities though. I love acting and singing. Because of Variety I've been able to take voice lessons and be in musicals. I've been able to meet new people and become friends with them. I'm so grateful to Variety for the opportunities I've had and the ones I'm continuing to get!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

With out Variety Club I am not sure that we would beable to take care of our special needs daughter. They have helped us MANY times when the ins. Company could/would not pay for the equipment. I will forever be greatful for Variety Club and what they have done for us and other famlies like us! Many people do not understand the need for the equipment or the cost of it. God Bless Variety Club and Everyone that contributes to them To make all of this possible.
Forever Greatful,
Tammy

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Many ways, We can take our daughter EVERYWHERE we go! Variety Club plays a roll with our daily lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I wish I could give Variety 10 stars! What a fabulous organization. Our son has spina bifida and has attended camp for the past two years (FREE OF CHARGE). It would have been very difficult for us to provide the kind of camping experience he received on our own. The staff, volunteers, and programs are fabulous. Our son talked for an entire year about camp (in fact, he constantly asked us, "how many more months until I can go back to camp?!")

I can't say enough good things about Variety! Love them!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am the parent of a child who received services

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

nothing. they are incredible

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