WEAU features Variety’s 80th Anniversary

Posted on Wed Mar 04 2015

By Noelle Anderson

For the past two years, Variety Children's Charity has been making things a little bit easier for Harley Martin, a third grader at Halmstead Elementary School, who has limited motor skills.

Last summer, the organization stepped up to give Harley something that she's always wanted, a bike.“It is really, really special. They even game me accessories for my bike,” says Harley.

80 years ago, Variety was founded on the idea of promoting and protecting the health and well-being of children around the world.

Gerise Lastisa, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Variety Children's Charity, says Eau Claire, Marshfield, Appleton, Madison, and Milwaukee are among the top served cities.

“We are a charity that doesn't specifically focus on one thing, but focuses on the general wellbeing of all children. Any sort of equipment need that a family can't afford and insurance won't pay for, Variety can step in and fund that,” says Lastisa.

Harley's mother, Stacy says Variety is constantly committed to making things as easy as possible for families with special needs.

“Resources are something that is very hard to come by these days for equipment for our children with special needs. All of the money they raise through Variety goes right back into the community,” says Stacy.

“I wouldn't be able to ride a regular bike. I would have to have a person hold on to me half the time.
They are very, very nice people,” says Harley.

Over the past 80 years, Variety has served more than 45 million children across the globe. To celebrate this month, Variety will be posting 80 Stories, for 80 Years on their Facebook page, to honor the kids they have worked with.

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