Caring in Action: Variety of Illinois provides adaptive equipment to kids with disabilities
In 2018, Variety the Children's Charity of Illinois celebrated 75 years of helping kids with disabilities get out and experience the world.
The organization, at 603 Rogers St., Downers Grove, offers a variety of programs to keep kids active, both physically and socially. Some programs offer adaptive equipment like bikes and wheelchairs so kids can take part in sports, while others offer communication and assistive devices.
During the height of the pandemic, the organization sent families packages, by request, with disinfectants, sanitizers and other hard-to-find items needed to keep immunocompromised kids safe.
And all of this is done at no cost to the families they serve. What insurance won't cover, Variety will.
Angelique Barthel, executive director of Variety the Children's Charity of Illinois, discusses the organization's programs and how readers can donate money or, better yet, volunteer their time.
Q: What is Variety of Illinois? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.
A: The mission of Variety of Illinois is to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities by providing the equipment insurance doesn't pay for, along with experiences that help kids reach their highest potential.
Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?
A: Grants, individual and corporate donors, along with the sales of gold heart pins sold in movie theaters.
2022 pins will be available at participating movie theaters this summer for the release of "Minions: The Rise of Gru."
Q: How many people per year do you serve?
A: Thousands of children with disabilities and their families throughout the state of Illinois.
Q: What are some of your programs?
A: Our programs include Adapt My World, which provides communication and assistive devices not covered by insurance, as well as pandemic relief packages that include disinfectant sprays, sanitizers, paper goods and items specifically needed. These were provided free to families, by request, when the items were hard to find, but still badly needed to keep immunocompromised children safe.
Other programs include Variety at Play, which offers inclusive, accessible activities for the whole family; Kids on the Go, which provides mobility equipment such as adaptive bicycles, sports wheelchairs and customized strollers not covered by insurance; and Live to Achieve, which encourages participation and excellence in adaptive sports.
Q: How can our readers support your efforts?
Volunteer opportunities come up several times per year. Interested parties may contact Variety at firstname.lastname@example.org to help with events or learn about leadership opportunities.
Donations are always welcome at varietyofillinois.org/donate, by texting VARIETYIL to 44-321 or by venmo @varietyofillinois.
Q: What else would you like readers to know?
A: Variety the Children's Charity of Illinois helps ALL children be active, social and belong! For more information, call (312) 822-0660.
Variety the Children's Charity of IllinoisWhat: Variety of Illinois provides equipment for children with disabilities that insurance doesn't pay for
To volunteer: Email email@example.com
To donate: varietyofillinois.org/donate, text VARIETYIL to 44-321 or by venmo @varietyofillinois.
Details: (312) 822-0660