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Meet the Kids: Jack

Jack

Just look at Jack’s smiling face!  You just have to smile back!  Jack does not string together more than an occasional two-word phrase, but he is very motivated by technology. His therapists feel that an iPad at this young age will go a long way in assisting his communication. Variety partners and donors would love to see that happen, so Jack is now the proud owner of an iPad of his own.  Join us in an effort to keep every child smiling!  Visit www.varietykc.org.

 

 

Meet the Kids: Brandon

Brandon

Brandon is a sweet young man who is completely non-verbal due to Autism. An iPad enables him to communicate at school and during therapy. Having his own device at home will increase communication with his parents and siblings. It will allow him to use one device for home, school, and as he transitions to the workforce. Variety helps kids of all ages to Be Active, Be Social and Belong…and Variety was excited to present Brandon with an iPad of his own.  It’s a great feeling to help a young man like Brandon, come see for yourself – contact varietykc@gmail.com.

 

 

Meet the Kids: Vaughn

Vaughn

At the age of nine, Vaughn has faced more challenges than most adults…and he works so hard!  With vision and mobility hurdles, Vaughn needs an adaptive bike to build strength and to get out and socialize with his friends and family.  His therapists say that he has made great gains using the bike at Beyond Therapy, with noticeable improvement in mobility, strength and endurance. He could continue this progress with a bike at his home and that’s exactly what generous Variety donors thought too!  Join us to help other kids like Vaughn, visit www.varietykc.org.

 

 

Meet the Kids: Lily

Lily

Lily is surrounded by a loving family and amazing health professionals. She is a smiling little sweetheart that would love to interact more given the right tools.  A GoTo seat would give her the stability to sit upright and focus. A playpak would give her the opportunity to practice various positions in an effort to play and work more independently. And finally, her therapists have recommended an Upsee to allow Lily to experience walking upright….and that means playing soccer, tag, baseball and being outside with her brother and twin sister. This great equipment is available, but the cost of raising a child with special needs prevents many families from having access to these tools. Variety KC is changing that!  Help us help all kids to Be Active, Be Social, and Belong! Contact us at varietykc@gmail.com.

 

 

Danny and Sara Duffy are 2017 Heart Award Honorees

Many professional athletes generously use their celebrity to help support causes near and dear to their hearts. Charitable organizations value these relationships tremendously and often reach out to local celebrities for help. Needless to say, one person can only give so much…and they get approached with numerous requests each year.

In all her years serving in the non-profit world, Variety KC’s Executive Director, Deb Wiebrecht, had never had a celebrity approach her and offer to help. And as Deb says, “that’s when you know the person is truly leading from their heart.”

And HEART is exactly the reason for this blog. Each year, Variety KC awards their Heart Award to the person(s) going above and beyond to serve children with special needs in our community. Variety KC is proud to announce that 2017’s Heart Award honorees are Danny and Sara Duffy!

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Danny and Sara Duffy truly lead from the heart. You see, it was Danny that let it be known that he, and his wife Sara, would be available for events supporting Variety KC’s kids.

It started back in July of 2015 when Variety hosted an event for dozens of special needs kids at Kauffman Stadium (home to the World Champion KC Royals!) There were several players in attendance, a party atmosphere, and activities at the stadium’s “Little K.”

That afternoon, Danny spent hours speaking to each and every child, getting down to ground level and truly engaging with them. He has a heart, and soul, that natural cares. It was at the end of the event that Danny gave Deb his personal phone number and asked to be involved again.

danny and sara duffy

Not everyone is comfortable with people who are “different.” As a result, many children with special needs can end up isolated. Danny and Sara are an exception. They soon made an appearance at Variety’s Radiothon, both of them spending time with the children, asking questions and listening – essentially making every child feel important and cared for. There have been other events and even personal gifts from the Duffy’s, but their greatest gift is the respect and friendship that this young couple shares with children that are all too often invisible.

That’s our definition of HEART?   Write and tell us about yours!

 

Meet the Kids: Jaivynn

Jaivynn

Jaivynn is a toddler with autism, speech delay and global development delay. Because he can’t communicate his wants and needs, he gets frustrated and sometimes aggressive. On a positive note, he is beginning to try to imitate people and songs from television. His therapists think it would be beneficial to start on an alternative way to communicate while he also works on talking. Jaivynn is being raised by a single mom with two small children, and the device he needs is beyond his her means. Health insurance won’t cover the cost either. But that doesn’t mean little Jaivynn goes without! Generous Variety donors have made it possible to give him a voice—and you can help other children have the same power of communication. Find out how at www.varietyykc.org.

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Meet the Kids: Savannah

Savannah

The exciting news is that schools are beginning to truly understand how important iPads and communication devices are for non-verbal children and children with Autism or special needs. The difficult part is that sometimes the equipment isn’t what a particular student needs, or the program isn’t updated. When a child like 15-year-old Savannah only has access to an iPad at school, this can cause a breakdown in communication between school and home or school and therapy. The best outcome would be a personal iPad that travels with the child and that’s what Variety wanted for Savannah. Variety partners, donors and volunteers have worked hard and given generously to make sure that children like Savannah have a voice—24/7. You can help give a child the gift of communication too! Just visit www.varietykc.org/.

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Meet the Kids: Liam (aka Buddy)

Liam

Liam, aka Buddy, was only six months old when a rare brain tumor caused a life-threatening seizure. Now at age four, he has been through chemo, multiple surgeries and treatments, is visually impaired and suffers from multiple epileptic seizures daily. He is partially paralyzed and totally dependent on others for mobility. There is hope that Buddy will walk one day, but weight-bearing exercise is critical. A gait trainer would provide both mobility and strengthening, but he needed daily access. Having a child with special needs is unbelievably expensive and a gait trainer is not covered by insurance. Buddy’s extended family pulled together to help with finances, but Variety donors didn’t want Buddy to wait any longer for this badly needed device.  He is an amazing little boy and we can’t wait to see him up on his feet! Could you help a child like Buddy? Contact varietykc@gmail.org today!

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Meet the Kids: Finley

Finley

Finley is six years old and is one of five children. It’s hard enough to be “heard” in a large family, but Finley also has apraxia, making it difficult to communicate. When he does speak, it can be very difficult to understand. Variety understands! And now Finley has an iPad of his own, with special apps to help him communicate and avoid frustrating episodes at home and school. When Variety supporters chipped in to give Finley his iPad, they gave so much more than an electronic device—they gave him a voice.  Help another child find his or her voice and visit www.varietykc.org today!

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Meet the Kids: Cora

Cora

One-year-old Cora is a very talented little miss!  She can play her xylophone with both her hands and her feet, and she can pretty accurately mimic her barking dogs. Born prematurely with a muscle condition, what Cora can’t do is keep pace with physical milestones. A Firefly Scooot with a special backrest would help her do just that! It gives her an opportunity to exercise and strengthen her muscles, and it also allows her to get out and about with her buddies in the community. This special device isn’t covered by insurance and is hundreds of dollars more than a traditional child’s transportation device. That’s where Variety steps in with the belief that all kids should Be Active, Be Social, and Belong.  If you can help another child like Cora, please contact us at varietykc@gmail.com.

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P.O. Box 3446 | Shawnee, KS 66203 | (913) 558-2309 | varietykc@gmail.com