Spotlight on Variety Alum Gracie

Since 1933, Variety provides innovative programs that break barriers, providing unique opportunities for local kids and teens to unleash their full potential and enjoy their childhood.  When they transition into adulthood, Variety Kids utilize the many skills gained through Variety to pursue their passions.

Now 21 years old, Variety Alum Gracie Kelley has stepped confidently into the next phase of her life and successfully obtained a college degree almost 7 hours away from home at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point.

Graduating magna cum laude with a degree in early childhood education, Gracie achieved her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. Gracie values the opportunity to connect with and shape young minds, a passion inspired by her experiences with Variety.

Gracie attributes her confidence and inclusive mindset to her time in Variety’s recreational programs. “I think all programs- theatre, camp, and choir- empowered me. They helped me gain confidence in myself. The people around me were following their goals and dreams, so I knew I could too,” shares Gracie.

Gracie’s journey with Variety began when she auditioned for the 2011 production of The Wizard of Oz and was cast as a munchkin. Since then, Gracie participated in eight Variety Theatre shows, joined Variety Children’s Chorus, and worked as a camp counselor at Adventure Camp.

Her favorite theatre memories include the incredible friendships she made not only with other Variety Kids, but everyone involved in the show. “The most exciting memory was during my senior year for my final show, Mary Poppins. They had me fly in the finale with another senior! The crew knew it was my last show, so they made sure it was special,” remembers Gracie.

Inclusive theatre allows every child to shine, regardless of their ability, and offers a unique chance for kids like Gracie to see peers with diverse abilities. “Theatre helped me learn how to interact with people with all kinds of different abilities. I made so many connections and new friends. I am so grateful,” expresses Gracie.

Gracie’s story serves as a testament to the power of Variety programs, showcasing the lasting positive effects of inclusive experiences and opportunities.

“Variety pushed me to achieve my goals, go further away to college, and do things independently. Variety helped me in so many ways, and I know it will continue to help kids for many years to come.”

As the demand for services has reached an all-time high, we need YOU to propel us into the future and help kids like Gracie for 90 more years.


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