"Before participating in the After School Arts Program (ASAP), Makaiah did not know what “sculpture” was and had never had opportunities to creatively explore three-dimensional art-making. Thanks to funding from Variety, Makaiah has been able to learn modeling techniques using supplies like wire, polymer clay, and tempera paint sticks, with which she can express herself and her ideas through art. She can practice patience and persistence in making her original works of art; she can experience pride of accomplishment in the finished products; and she can enjoy taking her work home to keep. “I never did sculpture before,” she explains, “but it is really fun. I like doing arts after school because we get to try different things and use supplies that we don't have at school. I get to sit with my friends and make all kinds of things. And [ASAP Teaching Artist] Mr. Jackson helps us when we have trouble.” With funding support from Variety, ASAP provides access to the arts for children like Makaiah, including quality art supplies that would otherwise be out of reach."– ASAP (After School Arts Program)
“In the middle of October my two youngest sons (newborn and one-year-old) started getting a cough, and I didn’t think much of it until they both started having trouble breathing at home. I took them to the hospital and they both had a severe case of RSV and rhino enterovirus. My one-year-old was hospitalized for a week and my newborn was hospitalized for 19 days. One of the nurses told me about the Variety Compassion Fund and how it could help families like ours. I worried what we were going to do because my husband had to take off work to be with the kids and me. It was already so stressful having both of the babies in the hospital - when the nurse offered that financial help through the Compassion Fund it was such a blessing. You never know what someone is going through, and that little help could change someone’s life.”– Erica, mom of Ezra and Ezekiel
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa’s Workplace Mentoring program is designed to be a career exploration program for middle school students. As part of the curriculum, Littles work with their Bigs to research possible careers that they would be interested in. In previous years, this would have been done by having the Big look things up on their phone, which was less than ideal. By receiving a grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa to purchase iPads for the matches to use, it allowed Bigs and Littles to work together to efficiently research many more possible careers in greater detail than they had been able to before. At the beginning of the program session, Little Brother Darius shared that he thought he would most likely work at Wal-Mart when he got older because that’s what his dad did. After working with his Big, Paul, during the session and exploring different careers paths on the iPad, he determined that he had an interest in computers and wanted design software. The match spent the rest of the program session using the iPad to look up what classes Darius could take in high school and college to prepare him for a career, what types of specific jobs he could apply for, what the salary range might be, and even what types of skills he needed to develop to be successful. The Little left the session feeling inspired and excited for what the future holds for him and with an idea of concrete steps to take."– Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa
“Lucas was born with Trisomy 21, a form of Down Syndrome, along with a congenital heart defect. He is also a fraternal twin, which makes him truly one in a million. Lucas brings joy to anyone who meets him. He loves music and movies, specifically Toy Story. Woody and Buzz are his top two favorites. He struggles with some sensory and anxiety issues, but is learning to control those things. He may seem joyful, but like any other teenager, he has moods and attitude to go along with it.
This bike has allowed him to continue to be like everyone else – to be independet and able to go on rides with his brother and neighborhood friends. He is able to be safe and feel so much pride in doing something on his own. We teach him to be as independent as possible and still have expectations for him just like his brother. Knowing that he has some limits, being able to enjoy life and his own freedom like so many others shouldn’t be one of those limits.”– Alyssa, mom of Lucas
Variety supported Children’s Cancer Connection’s Teen Camp, which is an extension of Camp Heart Connection's summer camp program, offered just for teens. Teens with cancer and their siblings have unique medical and emotional challenges that are different from young children and adults. Children's Cancer Connection recognizes that teens gain strength during these challenges from being together. Teen Camp allows for teens who are on or off treatment, as well as siblings, a weekend to come together, join in on typical camp activities, and enjoy the summer camp experience all over again with new and existing friends.– Children’s Cancer Connection
"The twins came so early (30 weeks) and then had a 30-day NICU stay. I didn't have time to get car seats, diapers, or clothes. When the social worker asked me if I needed anything and told me about how the Compassion Fund could help, I was so relieved I would be able to take my babies home and have everything they would need thanks to the Compassion Fund." -– Jaslyn, mom of twins Jamica and Jamia