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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Improve the quality of life for children and young adults (up to 21 years of age) with disabilities by providing the equipment and experiences needed to reach their highest potential.

Results: "Kids on the Go" has impacted hundreds of children and their families. The best results are described by the following examples: Jackson who at the age of 8 suffered a stroke and spent his recovery at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. His ability to walk again required a walk aide (not covered by medical insurance) that was granted by Variety of Illinois. During his stay he developed a friendship with Senator Kirk and together they have participated in Battle Buddies as an effort to share stories of victory for IL residents with disabilities. OR this letter from Nicholas’s mom, who wrote: “We can’t thank you enough or find the words to express how EXCITED Nicholas was to be able to pick out a bike for himself. Finally! He wanted a bike of his own his WHOLE LIFE. While Nicholas was trying the bike, he had a look on his face like he finally had a little bit of freedom! He was so happy and it warmed our hearts!” The "Live to Achieve" was established in 2012. Since its inception, the program has supported the attendance of over 100 children at the Adaptive Sports Camps run in cooperation with the Chicago Park District. 25 athletes have been granted up to $1,000 in support of attendance at wheelchair basketball camps and tournaments, wheelchair track and field training programs and tournaments; goal ball camp and sled hockey camp. We have provided grants to 5 elite and Paralympic hopeful athletes to enable them to pursue their dreams. One of our first Live to Achieve recipients, Hailey Daniscewicz has qualified for the debut of the Paratriathalon at the Paralympics in Rio de Janiero in 2016.

Target demographics: Disabled children and young adults up to the age of 21

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 500 families in Illinois

Geographic areas served: Illinois

Programs: "Kids on the Go" that provides funding for mobility and other enabling equipment that improves a child's well-being , quality of life, community involvement and confidence. Examples of funded equipment include adaptive bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, standers, gait trainers and posturing devices. As adaptive bicycles comprise 60% of our requests, we are currently running a campaign called "Build A Bike" that enables individuals to donate one or more pieces of the specialized equipment needed to customize a bike. "Live to Achieve" a groundbreaking grant program, established in 2012, that enables children and young adults between the ages of 8 and 21 with physical disabilities to pursue their dreams of participation in sports activities at both recreational and elite levels. The program provides grants of up to $1,000 to eligible applicants. Program support includes participation at Variety of Illinois Adaptive Sports Camps in cooperation with the Chicago Park District Adaptive Sports Camps, trying out a new sport by attending wheelchair basketball camp or travel and training for elite level competition on World and National stages, including the Paralympics. "Kids at Play" enable children to experience programs and events that enable personal growth, development and enjoyment. Examples include: support of the 6 specialized camps run in August of each year for special needs children in cooperation with the Chicago Park District; Special Movie Screenings of newly released children’s movies; support for children and their families to attend National Lekotek to aid in their development and family interaction skills; Everyone at Play days at the Kohl Children’s Museum; dedicated hours for the enjoyment of carnival rides for special needs children and their families; an adapted Knight Training program at Medieval Times;

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Had an awesome time with my son at the carnival, Thank u so much for putting this together.
We would've never been able to attend during normal hours, because of the crowds and having to wait in long lines.
My son was able to enjoy himself without judgement

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the second time me and my daughter attended the special needs carnival at Fox Valley and we love going....she had such a wonderful time and the slower rides and no music really helps her to be able to enjoy herself...we just want to say thank you for putting this on for our kids it really means the world to them and us as parents....

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and son and I recently attended a carnival for individuals with special needs in Aurora. We had the most fun. The staff was very friendly and kind towards us. My daughter loved the bumper car rides and would roar with laughter every time we ran into one of the other cars. She enjoyed the complimentary cotton candy and cried when it was time to leave. This was her first carnival experience and she really enjoyed it. Thanks very much to all involved we felt very cared for!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks you so much for this wonderful carnival experience. My son Ryan has autism and loves rides but hates long lines and crowds. Ryan and his twin sister Tara had the best time last weekend!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Is there anything more satisfying then bringing smiles and joy to a child? Variety The Children's Charity of Illinois does just that. They have many events that children with special needs would not be able to enjoy, if it weren't for Variety. My favorite is a carnival they provide each year for these children and their families. And I have some young children in my life and they love riding their bikes with their friends. Variety also provides the opportunity for children with physical disabilities to have that same experience by providing adaptive bikes. I am so glad I found out about Variety and can help provide some of these opportunities to children.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of this charity for nearly two decades. In one brief sentence, I like this organization because it makes children smile as brightly as I ever see any child smile. Often times, in addition to the smile, there's a sense of accomplishment or reward that the special needs children this charity supports radiate. This is a gift you cannot possibly give without an organization behind the wheel who deeply cares for the well-being of children in need.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They have planned very nice events. Organized and fun!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became aware of Variety the Children’s Charity of Illinois seven years ago as an event I hosted helped raise money for the charity. I’m happy to say that I’ve been with the event every year since that time. The increased knowledge that I’ve gained concerning this life-changing children’s charity has enriched my life to the point that I wanted to volunteer more of my time to the group. I joined the board of directors in August of 2015 and had never been happier to see how this charity is truly helping families. I never knew that an adapted bicycle can cost up to $3,000, and that insurance companies don't cover this as a medical expense or other equipment a child may need. Shouldn't every child grow up riding a bike? Isn't riding a bike a natural passage of childhood? Variety helps families to make their dreams come true, matching adaptive bikes and special equipment with families is part of their charitable efforts.

This past April, I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Variety World Conference in Jersey, UK. It was rewarding to hear about all of the great activities that were helping children all over the world. The Aurora, Illinois amusement event is one example of how this charity is helping kids and families to have the same opportunities and experiences that all kids should have. I’m proud to be a volunteer member of this group, the smiles on the kids' faces are why this charity is so important. Thanks, Sarah Knight Adamson Photos included are of Variety of Illinois fundraising event and silent auction

1 Dana69

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an excellent event for my son. My son is a autistic kid. He loves carnival and this is the only entertainment he has. Hopefully we can have more this kind of carnival come to our area often. Thanks.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son and I had a great time at the carnival at Fox Valley Mall on Saturday. We both loved riding the rides. I was even able to get several pictures with him smiling (which he never does). It was nice to feel included and stress free! Thank you so much!!