Spotlight On: Variety the Children’s Charity
Variety the Children’s Charity is an organization that strives to enable children with disabilities to live life to the fullest with a focus on mobility, communication, and social inclusion / interaction.
The experiences that many of us took for granted growing up are the ones that Variety makes possible, such as having the opportunity to go Trick-or-Treating in an accessible environment, visiting with Santa Claus in a safe / comfortable atmosphere, and even riding a bike for the first time.
Specifically, Variety’s “My Bike” Program provides adaptive bikes that are individually customized to eligible children with disabilities, so that they can experience the joy, freedom, and belonging that comes from riding a bike. Cerebral palsy is one of the top three diagnoses of the kids that have received a bike through the program.
Currently, Variety has 150 adaptive bikes sponsored and available for eligible children with disabilities in our Western Pennsylvania service area. You can download the application on the Variety website.
Changing Lives, One Bike at a Time
Variety has heard repeatedly from parents that these bikes are life-changing not only for the child, but for the entire family. They are giving children with disabilities the opportunity to discover the possibilities for their lives and to experience moments that many of us would mark as childhood milestones.
Emily’s feelings of joy from riding a bike for the very first time in her life really help to show the impact that these adaptive bikes are having on children – giving them moments to feel happy and proud. You can hear the joy in her voice in this short video.
We recently received a letter from Laura, mother of Connor, who received an adaptive bike through Variety’s “My Bike” Program. Laura said, “I cannot describe the feelings of Joy that I feel when Connor rides his bike ‘as fast as he can’ and all you hear from him is a gut wrenching laugh that becomes infectious to me as I try to keep up with him… that is something you don’t always see in a child that can’t always do what typical kids do, but the more he rides the more typical he becomes.”
Laura’s words are what Variety hopes for every child – to laugh, to have fun, to experience moments with his/her family, and to no longer be left out or left behind.
Mary, mother of James also explains the impact that the adaptive bike has created for James and her entire family by saying, “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the surge of joy that I feel when I see James on his bike – dreams really do come true. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a couple weeks after receiving his bike, James walked independently for the first time, taking 14 steps from our kitchen into our living room… All by himself! This bike is more than just three wheels, a handle bar and a seat. It’s a doorway to freedom.”
Help Us Spread the Word
Right now, Variety is searching for every eligible child in our Western Pennsylvania service area for our “My Bike” Program – to make sure that children like Emily, Connor, James and so many others can have opportunity to experience life to the fullest – and more simply, to be a kid first.
Any help to spread the word is greatly appreciated. As one mom said, “How can we apply for something we never even knew existed?” Her words have continued to fuel us in wanting to make sure that no eligible child misses out on this opportunity.
Please visit our website (www.varietypittsburgh.org) or call Variety directly (412-747-2680) to learn more.
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