Let us help you
If your child needs enabling equipment such as a wheelchair, van lift, house ramp, adaptive car seat or stroller, a specially-equipped bicycle, tricycle, or stairlift, please take a moment to apply below.
Assistive Technology provides communication devices for parents of children with disabilities. If you need help communicating with your developmentally-disabled child, please apply below.
The Live to Achieve Grant assistance with travel, training and other costs necessary to help pave the way for young athletes to participate and excel in adaptive sports. If your child needs assistance, please apply below.
About the Grants
Kids On The Go Grant
Variety Kids on the Go aims to help kids gain the mobility, confidence, and independence needed to be active members of their community by providing funding for sports wheelchairs, adaptive bikes, walkers, strollers, prosthetic limbs and other equipment not covered by insurance. The cost of these items can be prohibitively expensive (often up to $4000 for one custom-made adaptive bike or wheelchair) but provide immense therapeutic & social benefits. 2017 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Variety of Illinois Kids on the Go program & we look forward to continuing this program for many years to come.
Mobility is a broad term. It could be an actual wheelchair, an adaptive bicycle, or a gait walker.
Some mobility issues may surprise you – for example, heavy power wheelchairs prohibit many children from entering a home with stairs. If the chair and child are too heavy to lift, they miss out on birthday parties, holiday celebrations, even seemingly simple things like trick-or-treating…..all because a step has prevented mobility.
Mobility issues can be a matter of inclusion. Without the proper equipment, some kids with special needs aren’t able to participate in sports or team activities. Without the proper kind of playground surface, some kids can’t safely navigate a playground.
Variety of Illinois believes all kids deserve to Be Active, Be Social, and Belong. If you believe that too – then click here to donate.
If you need help purchasing equipment for your child with a mobility-related challenge, please fill out our Kids On the Go grant application here.
Adapt My World Grant
Adapt My World – providing equipment that enhances the quality of life for children with disabilities that are not covered by insurance. Applications will be considered for devices such as iPads used as part of an overall communication system, cochlear ear implants, prosthetics, adaptive strollers and shower chairs.
For parents of children with disabilities, these devices are lifelines to understanding their children. It means being able to ease tense and frustrating situations. It can mean getting medical help faster – and more accurately. It also means more ways to interact and share with their children.
For the kids – these devices give them a voice! It’s a way to reduce frustration by being able to communicate needs and wants. It provides them with a way to engage with their friends, teachers, families…and community. Born in this digital age, even very small children are able to operate these tablets and apps. Therapists and physicians stress that early intervention is best. Many Variety kids are exposed to this technology in a school or therapy setting, but without the same technology at home – they experience the most frustration with their close family and caregivers. In some cases, innovative technology such as Vocal ID actually gives the child their own voice. By taking samples of sounds the child can make, Vocal ID can replicate what the child’s speaking voice would sound like. Then that unique voice can replace a robotic voice on their computer. Can you imagine hearing your child’s voice after so many years of non-verbal communication? It’s truly miraculous! If you believe that every parent should be able to talk with his or her child and that every child deserves to be heard, please join in our cause. If you need help communicating with your developmentally-disabled child, please apply for our Adapt My World Grant.
Go Baby Go! Application
The Variety of Illinois GoBabyGo! Program provides modified toy ride-on cars to provide mobility, a sense of independence & sociability for children with special needs.
These cars also provide caregiver relief as the kids are frequently too young for insurance to support wheelchair purchases, leaving caregivers to transport them.
The cars are purchased by Variety of Illinois, then engineering and therapy students (and even Robotics Teams!) work to adapt the cars to each child’s needs. It might be the addition of large start buttons for a child who is visually challenged, or swim noodles strategically placed in areas of the car to provide safety.
If you would like to see a child’s face light up as they take their first ride of independence, then donate to help Variety of Illinois here.
If you have a child who has experienced a Go Baby Go car at therapy or have seen stories about Go Baby Go – and believe your child would benefit from a car – fill out a grant application here. Because we are powered by high school and university students, our application is not available during the summer months (May-August).
Live To Achieve Grant
Live to Achieve is a groundbreaking grant program, founded in 2012 by then Variety of Illinois President Amy Key and Chairman of the Board Linda Mastandrea, that enables children with disabilities in Illinois to pursue their dreams of sporting excellence, on the local, state, national and world stages.
With initial support from the Fink Foundation, Variety of Illinois has provided over $50,000 in grants to eligible applicants for assistance with travel, training and other costs necessary to help pave the way for young athletes to participate and excel in adaptive sports.
Meet Some of Our Live to Achieve Recipients:
Hailey Danisewicz: the first ever recipient of a Live to Achieve grant in 2012 about to cross the finish line of the Rio 2016 Paralympic games that earned her a silver medal!
Mary Kate Callahan: With a list of athletic achievements including being the number one ranked US female in Elite Paratriathlon, being the youngest member of Team USA for Paratri Worlds in 2012 and serving as an advisor on the committee for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid, Mary Kate Callahan personifies the mission of Variety of Illinois’ Live to Achieve program: to encourage young people with professional level athletic aspiration to reach their highest potential. Learn more about this inspirational athlete at: marykatecallahan.com
Members of the Menomonee Judo Club: Who trained at the only Paralympic Judo training facility in Illinois. These visually impaired athletes attended the World Finals in Korea with help from a Live to Achieve grant and one amazing sensei: Brett Wolf.
Who does Variety of Illinois help?
Children and young adults with disabilities (up to age 21) residing in Illinois.
How do I get help?
What materials do I need to have on hand before I fill out an application?
TO COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION, THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS NEEDED.
❑ Letter(s) of verification from professionals you identified (therapist, doctor, social worker) who are most familiar with your child’s needs. This letter should specify your child’s needs for the equipment requested.
❑ Copy of the quote for your request directly from the vendor.
❑ A clear, detailed description of equipment to meet the child’s needs.
❑ Address all items as stated in the Addendum for appropriate equipment being requested.
❑ Two or three assisted technology bids from suppliers (Variety can assist you in choosing a vendor).
❑ Signature on Release of Liability Form.
❑ Signature on Affirmation of Truth Statement.
❑ Signature on Disclaimer.
❑ Authorization to Use Name & Likeness (signature optional).
❑ Recent photo of the child. (high-resolution image)
❑ Signatures of all legal guardians & complete demographic data.
❑ If funding is approved, we do require photographs of child with equipment (preferably within a month of project completion). Please use 35mm film or you can submit via email to email@example.com
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