You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Ava and Ashlyn’s Story

Variety Kids Ashlyn and Ava used to have a hard time making friends because of their communication challenges. Then, at Variety’s Adventure Camp, they each found a new best friend in the other.

The two girls have become inseparable since their first week of Camp. They play often, celebrate each other’s birthdays and even attend Variety’s events and Variety’s Dance program together. Through their friendship and Variety’s programs, both have become more social, independent and confident.

Ashlyn’s favorite things to talk about are Camp and her friend Ava, which encourages her to speak to others using both her communication device and her voice.

“I felt like we won the lottery,” says Ashlyn’s mom, Jennifer. “Before meeting Ava, Ashlyn said very few words. Within one day of a play date with Ava, Ashlyn suddenly had a new word she could say – Ava.”

Variety has helped Ava advocate for herself and make more new friends, even outside of our programs.

“Ava feels good about herself because Variety does such a great job empowering and uplifting these awesome kids,” says Julie, Ava’s mom.

Variety has also helped both girls grow through therapy sessions as well as equipment. But, according to their moms, the true gift has been inclusion.

“The entire world should be more like Variety, which would mean more unconditional love and acceptance,” Julie says.

“When you have a baby with special needs, you worry about so much,” Jennifer adds. “Will she have play dates? Will she be invited to birthday parties? Will she have fun? Variety has answered all of these questions for me – YES! I no longer worry if my baby will have friends and that is priceless.”

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