Variety Blog

Meet the Kids: Brady

Brady DeanNine-year-old Brady has Noonans Syndrome. You may not have heard of this, but it is an intellectual disability which affects his ability to communicate and answer questions appropriately.


The only thing standing between Brady connecting with his family is an iPad.  Through an iPad, he could share what is happening in his life and what he needs or wants. Please help give Brady a voice – contact

Meet the Kids: Cierra

image6Cierra is a joyful young woman with a smile that lights up a room!  With Spastic Quadriplegia and Scoliosis with rods, she needs help with all aspects of her daily living and activities.

Her mom, Cynthia, makes so many things possible for Cierra, but Cynthia has recently injured her back and can no longer lift Cierra. That’s why Variety wants to step in and lift the whole family!   A ceiling lift would allow Cynthia and the family to easily and safely move Cierra.  Be a part of this uplifting solution, just contact

Meet the Kids: Sophia

SophiaSophia is five years old and full of energy. She has Autism, global developmental delay, impulse control disorder. In addition, she is non-verbal and has severe elopement issues.  This means that Sophia has no understanding of danger or boundaries.  She runs off in stores, parking lots and from the family’s yard. One scary day she left her classroom to climb a fire escape, planning to “fly!”  A stander is a piece of equipment that would help Sophia in so many ways. It would allow her to be more social and spend time outside of her home. Most of all, it would ease her family’s minds just knowing that Sophia is safe.  How can you put a price on safety?   Variety can!   For just $2,000, Sophia can have the stander she so desperately needs.  Can you help?   Contact

Meet the Kids: Charles


When 15 year old Charlie was just three months old, he was shaken severely enough to cause brain injury.  There was a time in the past that he could help his family transfer him into bed etc., but no longer has that ability.
He is about to have surgery for rods in his back and needs a ceiling lift for his post op care.  Life has not always been fair or kind to Charlie – but Variety supporters can help change that. Help Variety get Charlie and his family the equipment he needs for a safer, easier life.

Meet the Kids: Aeris

20150902_08.13.32Three-year-old Aeris is AMAZING, according to the aunt raising Aeris.  Born with Down Syndrome, Aeris also suffered from malnutrition and neglect at the hands of her mother.

In her new home, she is now getting healthy.  Thanks to a generous friend, she was even making strides in picture recognition and signing using a hand-me-down iPad.  Until it was stolen.

Her aunt, a single mother of three, can’t replace this important communication device, but through generous donors like you – Variety can!  To help, visit or email

Meet the Kids: Anabelle

image (3)Two-year-old Annabelle is as sweet as her name. With Down Syndrome and Developmental Delays, including speech production.

She understands a great deal, but needs and iPad to help her communicate with her family and health care providers.

Who can say “no” to this sweet little face?  Help Annabelle find her voice –

Meet the Kids: CJ

image.jpegHave you ever seen a sweeter three-year-old face than CJ’s?  This sweet little fella is non-verbal, Autism level 3.  Not being able to communicate can be so frustrating for even the sweetest of toddlers, and the emotional outbursts and lows can be so hard on the family.
Through the use of an iPad, CJ can significantly increase communication with his family, therapists and teachers…yet somehow insurance won’t cover this much needed device.  That’s where Variety supporters and donors are at their best – helping families like CJ’s who have a solution, but just can’t afford it.  Join us in giving CJ his voice –

Meet the Kids: Pholet

pholetsanchezAt age 15, Pholet has a huge desire to be active and be involved with friends in the neighborhood. With Cerebral Palsy, Pholet needs to stay active to increase her strength, range of motion, and coordination.

An adaptive bike will help with all of this, plus help to improve her gait patter, balance, and confidence. She sees other children outside playing and wants to join them.

Variety believes every child should Be Active, Be Social and Belong.  Can you help?  We look forward to hearing from you –

I am brave

LeslieC_BlogPin a medal on my chest and mold an action figure in my likeness. I faced my fear. Today I walked calmly into a sunlit chapel and sat without expectation: I attended my son’s class’ telling of the Nativity Story. If you remember– and I don’t expect you do– last year’s ‘production’ left me emotionally wounded.

My son Will– an exceptionally handsome, smart and kind 5-year old– happens to be autistic. He attends a wonderful pre-K program with a classroom full of ‘typically developing’ children. Each year, the kids gather in an upstairs chapel to hear the story of Jesus’ birth. Then they pick a ‘part’, throw on a costume, and nonchalantly walk through the scene that changed the world forever.

I don’t remember which role Will played last Christmas. I do remember heart breaking defeat. I remember holding back tears– and later sobs– as my child struggled to participate. I remember anger. Frustration. Jealousy.

It took a lot for me to go back this year. Well, it really only took Will. I imagined that if he looked into the pews, and didn’t see me smiling at him, he’d unlock my dirty little secret… that it was hard to be his mom. I feared that with one glance, he’d realize that his father and I spend countless hours talking about his development. That until recently we’ve been fighting/resenting/wanting to erase autism.

But if he saw me smiling– and yes, I practiced my fake smile so he might not see terrified tears– he’d know how much we love him. Perhaps he’d look back and understand that it took time, but his parents learned to embrace all of him.


With his one-on-one teacher’s help, Will took a role as a shepherd (quite fitting: watchful men, quiet loners… not valued for their intelligence like the Wise Men… but smart enough to end up at the same spot as the Wise Men… the crib of Baby Jesus). The classroom teachers helped the othre kids put on their simple costumes. No one had a ‘speaking role’, unless Terri told them what to say. But when Will made his entrance, he exclaimed something to the effect of “You take it off!”. He tugged gently at his shepherd gear. But kept it on. He tried handing off his stuffed sheep (probably a big offense if you’re a real shepherd– but it filled me with a great joy). A few more times my Will tried getting out of this ‘play’… while it was happening.

And for another year, Will made me hold back tears. But this time, tears of pure joy! He didn’t want to be in costume! And guess what? He was able to tell us!!! This ‘imaginary play’ didn’t make sense to him! And he was able to tell us!!! My five-year-old’s annoyance at being in a ‘Christmas play’ was the greatest gift from God. I’m sure others interpreted Will’s performance differently. But I saw a little boy being able to communicate his feelings. I understood that he had no idea why the rest of his class was wearing weird clothing and pretending to be enamored with a baby doll in a fake barn. I also understood that Will was able to follow directions long enough to keep on his costume and sit quietly.

Will’s reward came within minutes, when Terri broke out her harpsichord. His body relaxed. The words– appropriate words that finally matched his peers’ words– appeared. “Away in a manger…” floated gently over the pews.

If someday, Will, you should find my old writings, please consider this my Christmas card/ love letter to you. As you stood there today, annoyed and irritated, you made me love you even more than I thought possible.

Merry Christmas, Leslie

Meet the Kids: Jordyn

jordynEvery eight-year-old boy has places to go!  Jordyn has been using an adaptive bike during his therapy sessions and he has tasted freedom!

You can see the joy in his eyes as he rides around, not even caring that this fun experience is helping him to build strength and confidence.

Help Jordyn get an adaptive bike of his own… sometimes a bike is so much more than a bike!

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