A Unique Position: Variety The Children's Charity Has An Overabundance Of Offerings

Dec 3, 2015

Noah in his MyStroller adaptive stroller.
Credit Variety the Children's Charity / varietypittsburgh.org

Overabundance is an issue most charitable organizations would like to have.  It’s an unusual predicament, but Variety the Children’s Charity finds itself in just that position. 

The group, which gives adaptive bikes, strollers and communication devices to children with disabilities, has 200 devices to give out – but as of Thursday, only 50 had been claimed.

“These are very fundamental to daily living for kids with disabilities,” said Variety CEO Charlie LaVallee.

Variety received a grant from the Jack Buncher Foundation along with a matching grant, totaling $275,000. LaVallee said that means the organization has the ability to give out 200 adaptive strollers or communication devices, but three-quarters are still available.

“Communication is essential to living,” said LaVallee.

And for some children, that communication is possible through MyVoice. It equips children with communication disorders with an iPad tailored to their needs. The device allows them to communicate at home, school and in public. A family can apply for the device and after consultation with family, teachers, therapists or other people close to the child, can install the appropriate communications app – often one that matches what the child is already using at school.

“No child should have to turn their voice off,” said LaVallee. “‘Oh, I’m going home now, have to turn my voice off.’ That’s absurd to me, right? I mean the most important people our kids need to talk to are their moms and dads and brothers and sisters and grandma and grandpa.”

Also offered is MyStroller, an adaptive stroller that gives parents and caregivers more access and mobility than a wheelchair might in some cases.

“It’s kind of like a souped-up umbrella stroller that I think most parents would understand,” said LaVallee. “This can be used much easier and it gives you more convenience to give your child out into the community.”

Families can apply for MyVoice or MyStroller through Variety’s website