Variety KC empowers children with special needs

By providing access to medical equipment, therapy, and innovative programs we’re helping kids be active, be social, and belong.

In the Community

To help children with physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as their families, feel included in our community, we support community projects such as inclusive ball fields, playgrounds, and sports programs. Variety also plans and hosts free events.

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Why is this important?

Being a part of a community, and being able to take ad- vantage of what your community has to offer is something many people take for granted. However, the reality is that most community parks, playgrounds, ball fields and events don’t take kids with disabilities into consideration when they are designed. This results in limited opportunities for kids with disabilities and their families to meet their neighbors, make new friends, form strong relationships and participate in life.

That’s why Variety KC has made it part of our mission to fix the world around us so it works for everyone regardless of their physical or cognitive disability. Through adaptive playgrounds, swimming pools, ball-fields and communication boards kids and their families can now be active, be social and feel a sense of belonging in communities across the KC metro.

Our Partners

At Variety KC, we are fortunate to have the support of some extraordinary partners who help make what we do possible. From our city’s favorite local sports teams and sports heroes to long-standing companies and foundations who share our ambition to make KC the most inclusive city in the country.

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KC Zoo - First Inclusive Playground

As “inclusion” becomes more than a buzzword, orga- nizations are rethinking the design and build of public projects. One such project is the partnership between Variety Kansas City (“Variety KC”), an organization that advocates for the inclusiveness of children with disabili- ties within the Kansas City community and Friends of the Zoo, Inc. (“FOTZ”), the operator of the Kansas City Zoo (“Zoo”). The Zoo has a significant interest in ensuring that all guests of the Zoo, including children with disabilities, have a positive experience while visiting the Zoo.

Innovation & Tech

Communication significantly impacts a child’s development of social skills and relationships. Some children with special needs benefit from a communication system or device. Variety KC provides the technology and devices that reduce frustration and allow children to initiate and respond, to make choices, and most importantly – to interact socially. Help give kids a voice!

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Hudson's Story

Four-year-old Hudson needed a prosthetic arm. However, prosthetics are usually very expensive and children’s prosthetics are rarely covered by insurance. The solution can be a 3D printing solution is both innovative AND affordable. For the first time in Kansas City, Variety KC un- derwrote this ground-breaking effort as volunteers at the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) Studio at Gould Evans Architecture Firm created a 3D prosthetic arm for Hudson.

It took just around 50 hours of coding and printing to get the design perfect for Hudson. Hudson even got to pick the colors!

Life Essentials

Through our Mobility Grants, Variety awards gifts like van lifts, wheelchairs, adaptive bicycles and prosthetic limbs to special needs children in need. The gift of mobility is life-changing for children and families right here in Kansas City.

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Why is this important?

Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of motorized wheelchairs for small children. There are many children who can’t operate a manual wheelchair and the lift/transfer/push activities left up to caregivers can be physically exhausting and damaging. The solution – mini motorized vehicles.
For children that are immobile, even the act of sitting up is a physical challenge due to lack of core strength. Just because the children are riding in a motorized vehicle, it doesn’t mean they aren’t getting exercise and much needed coordination strengthening.

Benefits of physical activity. Opportunities for children with disabilities to be active are limited. Children with disabilities have lower levels of cardio respiratory fitness and muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity. Regular activity helps in controlling or slowing the progression of chronic disease, improving health and function, and mediating the psychosocial impact on children and their families.

Since 1934

We’ve helped kids in the KC area by providing life essential devices and opportunities for inclusion.

Variety KC Staff

The Variety KC staff is inspired each and every day by the families we serve.

Meet the Board

Our board is full of BIG HEARTED, highly talented Kansas Citians from all backgrounds and industries.

Proud Partners

Find Out How to Get Involved

Volunteer for Variety KC, become a sponsor, champion a fundraiser with our support, or make a donation.

Let’s make Kansas City the first all-inclusive city in the country!

We believe every child deserves the chance to be a true kid. By providing the necessary equipment, tools and devices we can create an environment where all kids and their families can participate in life.