Variety KC – Trustworthy

If you’re like me, when you support an charity, you just want them to be responsible, to be good stewards of your money and time. I’ve never been more proud of an area charity than I was this week, with Variety KC.

First, Councilwoman Heather Hall – a Variety KC supporter and champion of several Variety initiatives – was honored at the Royals in their Buck O’Neil tribute seat.

Next, I watched as Variety KC Executive Director, Deb Wiebrecht, was featured on local news promoting the Hy-Vee Pedals for Petals initiative. Don’t all kids deserve a bike?

And then…this,, an article in the KC Star about inclusive parks in the KC area.

Full disclosure – I’ve heard Deb talk about inclusion for nearly a decade (before it was a buzz word.) I recognize her influence throughout this article. She’s been an advocate for all kids…all families…and has supported the Variety KC battle cry of “Be Active, Be Social, and Belong” by building the majority of inclusive play areas in our community.

Our family has recently moved away from the Shawnee Mission area, but I’m thrilled to see this inclusive playground at Shawnee Mission Park. It’s a great park and serves visitors and residents alike.

 “This population of kids never had an opportunity to play before,” said Deborah Wiebrecht, the organization’s executive director. “And by opening this opportunity — just by creating equipment that’s a little different — it opens up the world to the special needs population.”

Inclusion is the key to strong communities. It is a sign of a strong growth; attracting business, tourism, and most of all – serving every member.

Variety KC has become an award-winning chapter of Variety International. Under Ms. Wiebrecht’s tutelage, their efforts have increased 500% in the past seven years. They are creating opportunities that cities all across the country are calling about, and modeling. They are leaders in the area of inclusion.

I’m a CPA, so yes…a number’s cruncher. When I spend money – I want it to count. Variety KC makes it count. Kudos to you Deb Wiebrecht – to your board – to your partners – to your supporters -and to the families and kids that make up the Variety KC family.

Jim Stanislav, CPA

Variety Kids – Meet Eli!

This is Eli – on Eli Day!  Yes, today’s the day Variety KC delivered Eli’s new ipad and communication apps. I know he will be excited about it when the balloon pops! His parents, Mark and Megan are excited, and so is his grandmother Kimberly. They are thrilled for Eli to be able to tell them exactly what he wants or needs. Eli can use some sign language and is pretty good at getting his point across, but being able to accurately communicate will mean a world of difference in the classroom setting – with his family members – and with his friends.

I was honored to be Eli’s “Magic Maker” – the Variety KC Volunteer who delivers life-enhancing equipment and devices to area kids with special needs. Hanging out with Eli and his amazing family was a great way to spend part of the afternoon. If you’re interested in helping to brighten a child’s day…and life….ask about becoming a Magic Maker. For me, the magic was Eli! Contact    And yes…the Variety KC heart was first base in this ballgame 🙂


Meet the Kids: Anthony

Meet the Kids: Anthony

Can you imagine not being able to speak?

It’s a reality for Anthony. He has seen so many speech therapists and finally his family was given a name for the condition that makes him unable to speak, Apraxia. He is a little boy with so much to say and is terribly frustrated that nobody understands what he wants and needs. Recently, he started working on an iPad at school. He took to it right away and is so excited that he can communicate at school. The iPad has to stay at school, so what Anthony needs is an iPad at home – but it is too much for the family at this time. Variety KC believes every child should have a voice and Anthony’s family is looking forward to finally being able to communicate with him. There are so many kids like Anthony; only an iPad away from communicating. Help give another child a voice, donate today!

Meet the Kids: Christian

Meet the Kids: Christian

The Liberation of Communication Devices

Can you imagine being a teenage boy and not being able to communicate all your thoughts, needs and wants? Christian is completely non-verbal and unable to express himself in a positive way. His therapists recommend a NovaChat, an assisted and augmented speech device. This device is more than a form of communication, it’s liberation! And what is more important for a young man entering his teens? Gracious Variety donors made it possible for Christian to receive his NovaChat, but there are so many more kids who would benefit from one. Can you help? Doesn’t every child deserve a voice? Donate Today!

Meet the Kids: Adysen

Meet the Kids: Adysen

Giving the Gift of Communication

Adysen is just four, but she is completely captivated with learning apps. She has a number of disabilities, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and Adysen is non-verbal. As bright as she is, not being able to communicate is really frustrating and shows up in her behavior at times. In addition, Adysen is one of five children. When her family goes out, Adysen isn’t always able to participate like her siblings and she gets bored and disruptive. However, when she has a tablet with activities of her own, Adysen is able to enjoy herself and enjoy being out and about with her family. With five kids and excessive medical bills, having a tablet of her own was only a dream….but Variety KC’s donors made that dream come true! Help us to help kids like Adysen to find their “voice” through a communication device. Donate today at Thank you!

Meet the Kids: Zander

Meet the Kids: Zander

What Love and Communication can Achieve

Zander had a rough start in life, including being born addicted to drugs. He has multiple health challenges, but he has a loving adoptive family there for support! Because he is non-verbal, Zander needs a tablet to communicate. Being able to connect and share through communication is a necessary component to inclusion and VarietyKC donors want every child to have that inclusive opportunity to Be Active, Be Social, and Belong! Help give a “voice” to other kids like Zander today!