Tim McCoy-Variety KC volunteer, Board of Director Member spoke at City Council Meeting: August 2020
Variety is honored to receive this resolution and to let you know first-hand how important this is to our community.
I remember when Variety KC partnered with Parks and Rec for the first Inclusive playground – and to date, we’ve completed nine throughout the metro area. The dedication to inclusion demonstrated by KC Parks and Recreation puts our city on the map – showing other cities what it takes to truly be a welcoming home for all kids, all families.
Nine inclusive play areas – with an estimated 100,000 users each year. That’s nearly a million visitors – and up to a fourth of them have a family member with a disability.
Simply playing at these facilities won’t change the reality of a Variety Kid’s life – the life of a child with disabilities……but it can be the vehicle for all children to explore and appreciate their differences and similarities…and that will create, even for just a moment, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.
Thank you for this important resolution – it commemorates a commitment to healthier kids and families and recognizes the importance of the inclusion revolution in building a stronger community.
Ribbon Cutting of Variety KC’s Inclusive Playground in Wyandotte County
Friday, August 21st – 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Wyandotte County Park, N. 126th Street, Bonner Springs, KS
Masks and Social Distancing Required
Variety’s inclusive “Field of Dreams” Baseball Themed playground in Wyandotte County Park will celebrate a Grand Opening on August 21st. The mayor and city officials will hold the official ribbon-cutting to kick off the safe public opening of the playground.
The event will be restricted to a crowd of 45 people, those interested should arrive early.
Following the opening, the park will be open to the public with adherence to safety guidelines, social distancing, masks, and being mindful of the number of children playing at once. As with all of Variety’s inclusive play areas, special steps have been taken to ensure all kids can play together. Peer-to-peer equipment, special surfacing for mobility ease, and fencing to keep children safe.
Playgrounds are where children discover cooperation and problem-solving. They observe similarities and difference and discover ways to play together. An inclusive playground has proven benefits for physical fitness and exercise, but they also help to even the playing field, allowing all kids to engage.
If you can’t attend the opening, the event will be shown on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/varietykc.
This playground is the ninth inclusive facility built through support from Variety KC’s #inclusionrevolution effort.
Jetson was born with some congenital brain abnormalities, including hydrocephalus and holoprosencephaly (HPE). Due to the hydrocephalus (excess fluid on his brain), Jetson required brain surgery when he was only four days old. The shunt placed in his brain has helped treat the hydrocephalus, but malformations in his brain have caused some other medical
issues such as hearing, vision loss, developmental delays, and epilepsy.
But you know what? To his parents, Jetson is their miracle child! He had a rough start to his life and doctors did not give them a positive prognosis for an outlook on Jetson’s life. Due to his diagnosis and seizure activity, he was sent home from the hospital at the age of one month with hospice supports in place.
As his parents prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best, they let Jetson lead the way. And lead he did, defying the odds, Jetson is strong and is growing every day (in every way!). He receives physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and vision therapy. He recently had surgery and received a cochlear implant. He wears a hearing aid on one ear and has a CI on the other. Once the pandemic is over, he will be getting glasses too!
Here’s what Jetson’s parents have to say, “he has opened our eyes to a whole new world of special needs. Jetson has 3 older siblings – 7-year-old brother, 6-year-old sister, and a 3-year-old sister. They LOVE Jetson so much! They love helping him, talking to him, holding him and trying to make him laugh. They (we all) would love if Jetson could have a way to play games with us and communicate with us.”
“Having an iPad would benefit Jetson greatly as assistive technology to aid his communication. One aspect of his vision loss is that he is drawn to lights, so he can see screens and that can be used to help his vision develop even more. We can use it for visual development tool as well as for speech, hearing, and language development. Every day with Jetson is a gift and he has taught us so much. We believe that his life is precious and valuable. Therefore, we desire to
provide tools that will equip him with opportunities for growing and developing even more. We thank you so much for your consideration and for all you do for kids with special needs.”
Variety KC thinks Jetson is a gift too! And he will get the communication tablet he needs to help him communicate with his family, friends, therapists, and his community as a whole. Help Variety KC to make sure all kids have a “voice.” Donate today at www.varietykc.org/donate
Thank you! #inclusionrevolution
Meet our Amazing Variety KC Board of Directors Vice President- Marc the Amazing Harrell!
Marc Harrell is the General Manager for Steel City Media, the company who owns Q104, KC102.1, 94.1 KFKF and Mix 93.3. Marc joined the cluster in 2003 and was promoted to General Manager in 2009. Steel City Media is a private media company, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. This multimedia company has market leading media outlets throughout Kansas City, and for the past 30 years, has maintained a local focus and commitment to the community it serves. The primary focus of Steel City is to crate and execute multi-platform, impactful media campaigns that includes radio, digital, print and more. Marc is a University of Kansas graduate and a fanatical Kansas basketball supporter. Marc was first introduced to Variety in 2007 and immediately fell in love with the charity and has been an avid supporter ever since. When Marc is not focusing on work or the charities he is involved with, he is traveling around the world, as travel is one of his biggest passions. Marc lives with his partner, Ken, and his Border Collie rescues, Kian and Isabella.