We’re Still Here: One Year Later

Variety Kid Maeve smiles behind her mask as she rides her new adaptive bike for the first time at Variety's Bikes for Kids.

This past year will be remembered for many things, not the least of which are the challenges we faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and how, together, we adapted to overcome them.

Children with disabilities are among those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, and many of their families have been heavily impacted by the global health crisis. Variety Families are often challenged with the costs of raising a child with unique needs, and this financial insecurity paired with concern for their children can be overwhelming. The pandemic has only magnified their anxiety and fears.

Thus, Variety St. Louis has been determined to provide Variety Kids with uninterrupted access to the vital tools and services they need every day. With the support of our generous community, we have adapted to fulfill our mission differently by coming up with innovative solutions to serve more than 1,100 Variety Kids in 2020. These adaptations will continue into this year so that no child gets left behind. 

Our Durable Medical Equipment program, which provides access to equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, communication devices, hearing aids and much, much more, is still going strong. Incoming requests for these crucial tools never slow down, and many families needed new equipment when schools closed, leaving them without access to pieces like standers that are available in their child’s classroom. We have worked, and continue to work, closely with our vendors to ensure this all-important medical equipment can still be delivered safely. Click here to learn more and apply for assistance with medical equipment.

The TherHappy Kids program continues to offer financial assistance with physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions. Last spring, we partnered with e-Therapy to offer virtual therapy options for the first time, and this partnership continues in 2021. Today, Variety Kids have a choice between in-person therapy and teletherapy sessions, both of which make it possible for them to build strength and confidence in their abilities, as well as learn new skills that help them every day. If you need access to virtual or in-person therapy for your child, click here to learn more and apply today.

Adventure Camp will once again be virtual this summer following the success of last summer and winter’s Virtual Adventure Camp and Teen Camp programs. Hosted on the clickto.camp platform, this free experience gives Variety Kids the chance to participate in engaging activities such as making crafts, playing games, singing songs and more, all while spending time with friends old and new. Campers receive all of the materials they will need to participate in a week of Virtual Camp and sessions are led by fantastic staff members. Click here to learn more and apply for our July sessions now!

Our Performing Arts programs have also gone virtual. The Variety Children’s Chorus and Variety Dance classes and rehearsals are all being held on Zoom, and the participants have had the chance to put together online performances for their friends and family. Last fall, Variety Theatre presented Light the Lights, a completely virtual production, after hosting a virtual Curtain Up Camp for the inclusive Children’s Ensemble over the summer. By keeping these programs running, we’re giving Variety Kids the chance to be a part of an inclusive performing arts environment, expressing themselves, increasing their self-esteem and making lifelong friends along the way.

Thank you to all of our supporters who made it possible for us to pivot each of our programs so that we could continue serving children with disabilities in our community, especially during this time of great need. Variety parents have said that, while so much shut down because of the pandemic, Variety was right there with them - a constant in a world that changed.

It is because of your generosity that we are able to still be here for Variety Families. And we will still be here for many years to come. If you'd like to give today to make tomorrow possible, you can do so now at HelpAVarietyKid.org. Thank you.