Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin

Rating: 4.96 stars   46 reviews 1,167

Issues: Disabilities, Education, Human Services, Philanthropy

Location: 12425 Knoll Rd. Suite 110 Elm Grove WI 53122 USA

Mission: Providing life-enriching assistance to Wisconsin children challenged by physical disabilities.
Target demographics: Variety serves Wisconsin children who are challenged by physical disabilities, 21 years of age and younger and whose needs are not met by other sources, including family, school, insurance and service program resources.
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2014, we directly helped 34 children get the durable medical equipment, therapy and services they needed and purchased approximately $56,000 through our Freedom Program. We hosted 34 events through the Future Kids program with more than 2,050 participants. We hosted 18 families for Chatter Matters! Communication Camp.
Geographic areas served: Wisconsin

The Variety Freedom Program encompasses mobility, communications and experiences. The Freedom Program exists to help children with physical challenges obtain confidence, freedom and independence by funding durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers, van lifts, house ramps, adaptive car seats and strollers, specially-equipped bicycles and tricycles, bath equipment and stair lifts, for those with the greatest financial need.

The Variety Future Kids Program provides memorable educational and play experiences that would likely be inaccessible to children with physical challenges due to mobility or financial restrictions. The program takes children and their immediate family members on fun, free outings.

Chatter Matters! Communication Camp is a residential camp for children who use speech generating devices and their entire family to become better communicators in a fun, traditional camp setting.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 39-0977152

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I am the father of a teenage girl that Variety has helped. I am so grateful for Variety because they have given my daughter the chance to become more independent. They also provide her with the chance to meet other children with disabilities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Variety for about 5 years. I have received an adaptive bike that I enjoy riding with my little sister. Riding the bike helps me strengthen my muscles while having a good time. Other than receiving a bike, Variety has provided me with many opportunities to participate in amazing events such as my favorite outing: baseball games. Variety gives me the chance to meet other children with physical disabilities, like me.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter Dafne and our family had the opportunity to be part of the first Chatter Matters Camp as well as the second year. It was such and incredible experience not only for Dafne but for all the family as well , and we are very thankful for the opportunity. In addition to attend to the camp, Dafne was able to receive a communication device, and IPad and now she is able to communicate and express her needs and wants everywhere she goes to. My family and I am very grateful with al the people that is involved with the organization; Variety, from staff to volunteers and donors.

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Thank you for writing a review about Variety! We were so glad to have you and your family attend camp.

Rating: 5 stars  

I was a recipient of a piece of equipment from Variety almost 30 years ago and have always been grateful, not only for this help but also for the support and love this organization gave to my family. A few years ago, I became involved again by joining a volunteer committee. I'm so happy to be involved once again, and I see that Variety is still as caring as ever, and they are great stewards of their money/resources!

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Thank you so much for writing a review Leslie! We are so glad that we were able to reconnect with you after so many years. I know that your input is so valuable to the advisory committee. Thank you for all you do!

Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter, who has cerebral palsy, has been fortunate enough to attend Variety's Chatter Matters! communication camp during its first and second years. What an amazing experience at a facility that is so welcoming to people with disabilities. Variety staff, volunteer therapists, and therapy students give generously and tirelessly to plan and run this event. A highlight this year was the addition of Jon and Sarah Feucht, role models as well as volunteers, who reminded us all about what our children are capable of accomplishing.

With much gratitude to all Variety staff, volunteers, and donors who made this camp possible.

Elise G

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review! We are all so glad that you and your familiy attended Chatter Matters and had a great time.

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was lucky enough to be a participant in Variety's first-ever Chatter Matters camp in June 2013 for her first-ever camp experience, which represented one of only two times she's been away from home aside for hospital stays.

With extraordinary vision and planning, the Variety staff and volunteer therapists and therapy students worked with tireless and infinite patience, compassion, energy, and imagination to ensure that children with disabilities could have the chance to enjoy a meaningful summer camp experience with others who face similar challenges as they and their parents became familiar with communication devices and networked with each other. From the special location Variety chose, which provided accommodations for those with all kinds of special needs to the range of activities tailored to enable these children to participate--the nature walk and lecture, the arts and crafts projects, the water games, the creative cooking, the camp fire and sing-along, the group talent show--to the Variety staff and volunteers' generosity with their time and their willingness to give of themselves, their expertise, their kindness--what a wonderful program!

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

A lot

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How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

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Rating: 5 stars  

My family has been part of the Variety family since 2011 and I am proud to say that my daughter is a Variety Kid! She has spinal cord injury and uses crutches to walk. Due to her physical disability, she is limited to the physical activities that she can participate in. Variety helped change that when they gave her a specially adapted bike. I'll never forget the day that she got the bike and rode off so fast that I couldn't keep up with her. She actually had me running after her for once. She was shrieking with pure joy the entire ride. It's an experience that I'll never forget. I am so grateful that Variety gave my daughter the chance to just be a kid and experience the joy of riding a bike.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am the father of a nonverbal autistic son. This past summer we attended variety's Chatter Matters camp. What an awesome experience. From the moment we arrived it seemed like everyone knew us already and were very welcoming. The volunteers were incredible! My son had a great time with all the activities that were carefully planned. There was also time for parents to learn about the communication device, including programming it! This was something was used to be very intimidating. But they went through it very slowly and made it easy. This wonderful camp experience was something that we could not thank Variety enough for. They truly are an extraordinary charity.

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Thank you for taking the time to write a review! We are so glad that you had an awesome experience at Chatter Matters! Communication Camp. The Variety staff and volunteers had a wonderful time working with the children and families. We can't wait until next year's camp!

Rating: 5 stars  

We were having difficulty transporting my son to doctor's appointments. He cannot walk and we were unable to fit his specialty chair in our car. Variety purchased a large specialty sized stroller. It was around $700! We have used it so much and it has made our life so much easier.

Thank you variety!

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Thank you for your review. We are so glad that we were able to help making transporting your son easier!

Rating: 5 stars  

My 5 year old daughter who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome has enjoyed many of the activities sponsored by Variety. We are thankful that agencies such as Variety exist to support our family.

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Thank you so much for your review. We are glad that you participate in the Future Kids Events!

Role: Board Member
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a Board Member for many years, and a volunteer and contributer even before that! I love this charity because we see the kids and families we serve -how their life experience is enhanced. To see the joy in their being (and on their family's faces) is beyond belief! Giving special needs kids mobility opportunities with special equipment - opporutnities we take for granted like riding a bike, standing up, moving independently from place to place - is so humbling. Providing dream experiences for them like Chatter Matters Camp, Museums, Movies, fishing trips, auto races etc. that because of their mobility issues - their families would find challenging at best to afford or handle alone - it's amazing to see! And that's why it's the best - because we see and meet and get close to these very unique and caring kids and their families in a way that I've not see in any other Charity - ever.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review for Variety. We are so fortunate to have such passionate people like you serving on our Board of Directors!