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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Education, Human Services, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion

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 2016, Variety provided funding for 53 requests of life-changing equipment, therapy, adaptive bicycles, and other items with a retail value of $68,000 through our Freedom Program. We hosted 66 events through the Future Program with more than 2,500 participants. We hosted 20 families for Chatter Matters! Communication Camp.

Geographic areas served: Wisconsin

Programs:

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.

Community Stories

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over the summer my daughter Hannah was able to receive a three wheel bike from Variety and a very kind donor. I am a single mother whom was never able to afford any type of bike for her, and she fought for several years learning just how to ride one borrowed usually from the school she attended. But last year, Hannah's world fell apart with behavior problems, weight gain, and overall dissappointment from many reasons. Her sister is 16 months younger and would always take Hannah out with us on family time on her borrowed bikes. This was the only way for Hannah to really enjoy time with her sister as Hannah cannot speak. An unspoken language occurs when they are riding together it makes me heart beat really fast just to be around them. Alas, I heard of a non-profit business that was picking a few children for a bike. I raced around praying that my doctors and therapists would see the need for Hannah to have this precious gift. No matter how hard I worked I could not seem to be able to give Hannah this gift myself because of the need for special adaptive features. I received that call, and Variety changed our life. In only a few short weeks of receiving the bike Hannah was able to control her weight better, be more energetic, and she smiles again. Her school is shocked by the difference, and so am I. Thank you to Variety and the family whom made our dreams come true.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a large tertiary hospital, located in a small rural community; not often are we the beneficiary of grants that make such an enormous impact on the tiniest of lives! We feel so blessed that Variety Children’s Charity of Wisconsin helped provide a grant for transport ventilators for our neonatal patients at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Whether transporting in a helicopter from a northern Wisconsin hospital or transporting to a procedure down the hall, the upgraded transport ventilators will allow for better outcomes for these infants needing breathing assistance. We are truly grateful for Variety Children’s Charity of Wisconsin and on behalf of the neonatal patients on ventilation at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital—thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Words can not express the feelings I have for Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin. My son is 10 years old. Just about two years ago now we put him on a waiting list for a bike, but never heard a thing. It was earlier this year in March, my son's therapist recieved a call from Gerise from Variety about seeing his name on that waiting list for the bike. I was put in touch with Gerise, filled out some forms and just in time for spring he was riding his bike!! This bike has CHANGED my son's life. All of the sudden we saw this boy who clung to his mother take off. Within two days he was riding up and down the neighborhood with all the other kids by himself. He has ridden this bike nearly everyday. I have neighbors who sit out on their porches just watching him go up and down the sidewalks amazed at his new independence. Infact, just earlier today his dentist told me she was passing by the house saw him on the bike and was so excited she was not watching where she was driving and nearly hit a parked car. Not only has Variety granted his wish to have his own bike, but in January he will have the opportunity to try snow skiing and snowboarding, something he is very excited about and never thought he would be able to experience. Did I mentioned he took part in the Fishing Has No Boundries of Milwaukee that Variety is also a sponsor of? The second year in a row he reeled in the biggest fish, this year it was a 14lb Shinook Salmon and also a Brown Trout. I am so thankful from the bottom of my heart for what Variety - The Children's Charity of Wisconsin has done for the new independence I see in my son and the future that they may bring to his life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son George has a rare chromosone disorder its called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. When he was 3 he needed a special walker because he is so small. We were unable to get funding through our medical insurance. We applied for funding through Variety Chidrens Charieties Inc. of WI. George got his walker! We are so greatful to them for all they have done and continue to do for us. They are trully concerned about his progress and have kept in contact with us over the last few years. They have asked if he needs anything else that they can help with. It is so encouraging knowing they are there for us.

laura

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were so blessed to have received a bike from Variety. One of or boys has several disabilities and was unable to ride a bike independently. Through Variety we received a tandem recumbent bike. We are now able to take long family rides that last for hours. We talk and laugh and get great exercise while we are doing it. This gift has brought our whole family closer because it is the one thing that we can all do together and everyone enjoys. We think Variety is awesome!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son had been using a bike during his physical therapy to help strengthen his legs after he had had a hip reconstruction surgery. Unfortunately, we had no way of following through at home. Then we heard about Variety Clubs Bike Day which helped kids with special needs get special bikes. We were so excited when John was chosen to receive a bike, and not just any bike but a bike that was custom fit and custom built just for him. He was so excited when he tried out his bike for the first time. His smile was precious! John had tried bikes before that we got through an equipment loan program but they had never quite fit his needs. Now John has an awesome bike that works for him and us too (it has rear stearing for us)!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is Joseph Goetter. He turned 6 on 7/29/10. My son was adopted from Russia at 8.5 months, and has been diagnosed with bone dysplasia and autism. He cannot go out and play sports like most kids; due to his attention and other constraints. He is the happiest child you could ever meet, but not when it came to riding bikes. We tried at least 10 difffernt bicycles, and he was just never able to reach the pedals and handle bars. This was very frustrating to him, and he would become angry whenever we tried a new bike. It was always the same old story. Yes, it could work if mom or dad or big brother pushed him, but he did not have the ability to reach and control the pedals and handlebars for appropriate performance. Then came Variety Club and their Bike Day!!! I can honestly say that his best Birthday present was the bike he received from Variety Club. We have neighbors come up to us everyday in amazement. They never expected to see Joey have so much control, and be able to ride around the block with us chasing him. Variety Club has put the most beautiful smile on my Baby's face. He is proud to ride HIS BIKE. I cannot say enough about the help we were given to adjust his brakes, put additional brakes on, and to size up the pedals and handlebars for Joey's custom bike. Thank You Variety Club, Joey's parents and brother, Ryan

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am Nolan's mom. Nolan has a rare disorder that affects both of his legs. A new device came out called "The Walkaide". Nolan was able to try this on both legs. This is a very costly piece of equipment and after appeals to the insurance company and letters to many charities, We all about given up. One of the social workers at Children's Hospital told us about Variety Children's Charity of Wisconsin. They have gone above and beyond belief...Nolan was gifted 2 Walkaides and we recently applied for a grant for him to receive a handcyle. Once again Variety came through!!! They are a part of our family and have helped many others!!! This is an amazing charity that helps families who have no other place to turn!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

The people are nice and this charity changed my life. They really helped me a lot and the experience with them has been great.