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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Digestive Diseases & Disorders, Health, Pediatrics

Mission: Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City provides children with developmental disabilities adaptive equipment and opportunities for activity and inclusion.

Target demographics: disabilities- kids

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100,000 kids

Geographic areas served: Greater Kansas City Area

Programs: Kids on the GO! Variety Future Kids Variety Freedom Variety Children's Theatre Catie Cares

Community Stories

81 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Katie Smeltzer I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5



This is my love letter to Variety Children's Charity of Kansas City but this is also for all of you at home reading. To those who have given to the Variety Family and to those who may be considering giving to OUR Variety family. So here it is:

Dear Variety,
I am just an average mom. I run errands, take my kids to preschool, clean up their messes and love them with all of my heart. But my family is not typical and really we aren't all that average, but families like us are more common than what the world thinks. I know you know better Variety. I know that you know that 1 in 4 families are affected by a family member with a special need. We are that 1 in 4. In 2012, my husband and I gave birth to the most beautiful child. You weren't apart of this stage in our life not yet. When our daughter Charlotte or Lottie for short was 4 months old our world changed. Something was different about Lottie. She was labeled with words like "globally developmentally delayed" and "low muscle tone" We didn't know what to do and we felt so alone! And scared and at times hopeless about her future Doctor after doctor had guesses about what her diagnosis would be, but they all turned out wrong so we stood on our own with a child with clear special needs and no diagnosis. This feeling was lonely and the our view of the future was grim.

But this is when you came in Variety, like a knight on a white horse or a super energetic blond named Deb and a giant Red heart.

To my outside readers: I won't go into details about how we became a part of the Variety family except to say... if you are where I was... reach out to Variety. I can guarantee life will feel different after. Life will get easier.

Variety, you have given us a reason to dream big for our daughter. You stood beside us and told us that it doesn't matter what her diagnosis or prognosis is, she is meant to be a vital part of our community.

You said to us... she WILL be active and you helped us secure a go baby go specialized motorized ride on toy car for our girl and then you provided a kid walk, an expensive piece of equipment, our family could not afford on our own and that insurance had denied . This piece of equipment is helping our 5 year take her first steps.

You said to us ... Lottie WILL be social and you built multiple inclusive playgrounds all over Kansas City where she can play side by side with average children. You invited us to events with other families in our situation and you opened up the door to some of my greatest friendships. You got the zoo and the ice rink to think about our kids and now the airport too!!

And most importantly you said to us and to our community here in Kansas City, that it does not matter what your "limitations" are you are just as valuable as every other child. You said to us ... you said to Lottie... you said to that 1 in 4 family... YOU BELONG. You will always belong!

We love and thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we are proud to be from Kansas City, and we are Proud to be a Vairety Family.

This city is doing big things for inclusion and I am so excited to be a part of it and I hope you will want to be a part as well by donating today!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety Kc gave my son independence.
He is 12 years old and has cerebral palsy, he also has two brothers he wanted to ride bikes with really bad. Variety Kc gave him an adaptive bike and now they can barely keep up with him. They also have fun activities like adaptive ice skating. It's so wonderful as a patent to see my son be able to just be a kid and play without worrying about a way to make it happen for him. Thank you variety kc for everything you do for our kids!

Malanie Miller L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had just moved to KC and our son Donovan was having a hard time adapting to his new school. As a child on the Autism Spectrum he really had a hard time adapting to change and his school was using technology that we didn't have at home and at the time couldn't afford. I was put in touch with Deb at Variety and they were so helpful and provided my son with an iPad. This allowed him to continue progress he was making at school, at home and the progress has been amazing.

Patsy Brunk R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety is an amazing organization helping kids be active and included. My son was the recipient of an adaptive bike and watching the joy on his face as he rides it is priceless. Variety KC puts smiles on kids faces, at any Variety event you will see beaming children and parents moved by how this organization has brightened their lives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety KC has so many fun events! My son happens to LOVE baseball and they put together a little camp for kids with special needs and the Royals. He gets so excited until he gets out there with all the ball players and then he is shy and shuts down. The volunteers are so good with him!

At this same camp I saw a machine that Variety KC constructed that helped kids who can't walk or can't walk well on their own being used and it warmed my heart! It left such a lasting impression. Those kids were so happy and so free! It was truly amazing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety is one of the best Charities that I've ever been a part of. I've been lucky enough to be on both the giving and receiving end of Variety. I can guarantee to anybody that by donating to variety they are giving to an amazing charity with an amazing cause!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety is an amazing organization they heps children of all abilities be included in their community. They make others in our community aware of the importance that every child be social, be active and belong!

Variety helped our daughter with Cerebral Palsy be active in our community by funding a wheelchair lift for our van. This amazing gift allows our daughter to more easily go on outings with her siblings and be safe while doing so!


Variety is creating playgrounds on our community where children can be social with their peers and siblings. These playgrounds give our family a special place to go and play together!

We love Variety Children's Charity of Kansas City!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety KC has been such an amazing organization for our family. Deb and her crew have created opportunities for special needs children where there was once none. We love the great things they are doing such as inclusive playgrounds, mobility equipment, rasing awareness, adaptive camps, and most important, helping our kids belong! Variety KC recently had a custom adaptive bike made for my 5 year old son so that he was not only safe riding but that he would no longer be left out of bike rides with his brother and the neighborhood gang of kids riding bikes. Prior to his new bike, he would sit on his toddler ride-on toy in our driveway and cry watching all the kids ride up and down the street. He was unable to participate in a childhood pastime that we all take for granted....but not anymore. It may seem little but these things make huge differences for our children who already have limited opportunities. Variety KC is an amazing organization and they are doing amazing things for our children!!!!

Stephanie P.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Variety KC is an amazing gift to Kansas City. It’s purpose and drive is solely to make kids included and involved. We are grateful to th everyday

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great organization whose benefits are all inclusive!

Miriam Arellano S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They gave us a manual ramp for the car for my son's wheelchair.

All I can say is. I wish the world had more people like Variety ❤ #Inclusion

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never seen anyone work as hard as Deb to make events work so well and to put smiles on the faces of children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

To everyone out there i have to say this charity is so awsome. We have a son that had a stroke at a young age. They have made his day every day with all the play grounds that he can play on like he use too. Plus the benefits to all the the kids in the KC area with all the help that us parents need to give ours kids the fun that they need. Thank you!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to Variety my kids can play with other children. Both kids have mobility and Sensory issues. They also helped my son be a kid by providing him with a bike after his stroke.

Olivia W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I help out every year with there charity fundraiser show. Such wonderful people here and live their mission

Client Served

Rating: 5

Meet the Kids: Gunnar
Gunnar is a toddler just trying to do what all toddlers do...and that is, toddle around! Unfortunately, due to his physical challenges he cannot stand up and perform related activities on his own. However, with the help of a harness system at pre-school, he is been able to stand, take supported of steps, and rise from a sitting position. This will help tremendously in teaching him motor skills for walking, improving strength, improving balance, and allowing him to explore his environment. Variety KC donors have the biggest hearts and they made it possible for Gunnar to have a harness system in his home. Look out, there's no stopping him now. Help all kids to Be Active Be Social and Belong -

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When Variety KC picked up on a problem facing families, they decided to help by creating positive awareness.
A young Variety recipient, Catie, was frustrated by having to circle parking lots, waiting for able-bodied drivers to free up the disabled parking spots up front. This is particularly problematic for families needing the extra space to put down ramps for wheelchairs.
“We heard from Catie and her mother about this issue, and we wanted to help,” said Deborah Wiebrecht, executive director for Variety in Kansas City. “People and families with special needs rely on those spots, and we wanted more people to realize that those blue signs benefit a real person.”
Variety helped created parking signs that feature Variety Kids. Two years ago, Hy-Vee stores the Kansas City-area were the first to install the signs, located right beneath the legal “disabled parking” signs and the kind reminder, along with the youthful smiling faces, help to personalize the message.
The signs have a simple message: “Think of Me, Keep it Free.”
(photo)
Local police departments report that the number of tickets at these locations have dropped to nearly zero. Community members took notice of Hy-Vee’s support of Variety’s effort, and local schools began asking for them.
“Apparently the ‘park and run in for just a second’ issue is very prevalent in school parking lots, buildings that primarily serve children and families,” said Weibrecht. “It seems that the more signs that are posted, the more requests we get! We receive daily feedback that people have seen the signs and families have been approached by strangers thanking them for the raising awareness of this need and sharing that the signs have changed their parking behavior.”

Sommer W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Variety is AMAZING! I have volunteered multiple times and I love that you get to see the impact they are having on kids and family in the KC area!! You don’t just donate, but you get to see where that money is going and how it’s helping others!!!

Kendra Bryant G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Variety Children's Charities is one of the BEST charities in KC! They collaborate with many individuals and organizations in the community to make the biggest impact on children and families. Variety moves quickly, uses their resources wisely, and is as innovative as they come. As a community physical therapist, I am so grateful to have Variety as a resource for mobility, sociability, and inclusion!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Variety Children's Charity of Kansas City is a truly impactful organization making a huge difference in our local community. Through Variety's efforts, hundreds of local children now have the equipment they need to participate more fully in the world around them. Variety has also been working tirelessly to provide more opportunities for these families to be able to enjoy "normal" social activities with their special needs children - like building inclusive playgrounds, launching new group sports activities, and hosting events that welcome children of all abilities. These efforts are so meaningful to so many families and the community is really rallying around Variety to ensure these efforts continue and expand in the years to come!