Variety the Children’s Charity, celebrated its 87th Annual Anniversary Gala in style on Friday, November 14th at the Omni William Penn Hotel with nearly 350 guests! This year’s Gala honored Joyce Bender, President & CEO, Bender Consulting Services, Inc. and Jerry MacCleary, President, Bayer MaterialScience for their incredible commitment, support, and dedication to Variety and individuals with disabilities.

Tony Coehlo, former Congressman (D-CA) was also a featured speaker during the Gala’s program. His commitment to help empower people with disabilities claim responsibility of their own lives is renowned. As author of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), he has worked tirelessly for our nation to view people with disabilities as valued members and create communities free from discrimination and indignity. ADA will celebrate its 25 year anniversary this summer and is considered the most significant piece of civil rights legislation adopted within the past 30 years.

Additionally, Variety alongside Deb Rice-Johnson, (Variety Board President and Highmark Health Plan President) presented the 700th adaptive bike to Brennan, age 7 through the Variety “My Bike” Program. The program which rolled out in November 2012, provides adaptive bikes to children under the age of 16 with disabilities in 16 Western PA counties and 10 West Virginia counties. The program, an excellent example of Variety’s mission to have children with disabilities discover the possibilities in their lives; has brought joy, self-confidence and a sense of achievement to multitudes of local children. To celebrate this program milestone, six other Variety kids joined Brennan in a Bike Parade.

Variety also kicked off its “My Bike” Christmas Campaign during it’s Gala with a goal of reaching the 1,000th bike sponsored through the program.  Each bike costs $1,800 to adapt. Leading this campaign is Andrea Carelli, Senior Vice President, PNC and Jerry MacCleary, President, Bayer MaterialScience, and other leaders in the community.

Variety wrapped up its celebration by unveiling its My Voice” Program to guests. Created for non- verbal children, its aim is to ‘give a voice” to even more children in our community.  Variety marked the occasion by providing a device (iPad) to Trinity, age 8, in acknowledgment of the pilot program.

If you know of anyone that could benefit from Variety’s assistance, please refer them to their website for more information on their unique programs, experiences, and equipment at: http://www.varietypittsburgh.org/default.asp