Anderson Children's Foundation

Variety Children's Charity of the Desert

Freedom Program (2020-2021)

The Freedom Program of Variety – the Children’s Charity has a rich history of assisting special needs children gain the ability to be active, engage in social activities, and receive physical activity and benefits through adaptive, customized bicycles and strollers.

This year, a new program event component, Freedom Day, will be hosted and allow additional support and services to be provided to special needs children and families. The inaugural event will include the presentation of new mobility devices to children and inclusive experiences and activities for special needs children previously served with equipment. Physical therapists will be on site to assist with adaptive bike fittings for new equipment as well as fitting adjustments for adaptive equipment which previous bike recipients bring to the event. The event will boast a special adaptive bike racetrack complete with cones, racing décor, and participation awards as well as participant swag bags, adaptive yoga, lunch, and a sensory-friendly kids movie complete with popcorn and beverages served.

The Freedom Program serves children residing in the Coachella Valley who have special needs and/or are living in low-income families. 50 children have been served with adaptive mobility equipment through the program to-date with applications continuing to be accepted year-round for children with a need for access to an adaptive bicycle or stroller. The Freedom Day event brings a new and unique opportunity for special needs children and their families to enjoy their specialized mobility and the company of others who have been served through Variety’s Freedom Program.

Early Reading Program (2018-2019, 2016-2017)

Variety's Early Reading Program offers reading enrichment activities to kindergarten students in two disadvantaged schools of the Coachella Valley Unified School District, helping them to strengthen their reading skills and engage in learning at the beginning of their educational journey. The district serves the most economically disadvantaged communities in the valley, with 92.9% qualifying for free or reduced price meals and 49.9% being English learners speaking Spanish as a primary language. The district is faced with large class sizes, a high number of English learners, low reading comprehension test scores, and limited financial resources to support individualized attention and daily reading, emphasizing the community need and demand for the program.

In school year 2018-2019, the program will be conducted at Valle Del Sol and Valley View Elementary Schools in Coachella, with a total of 10 kindergarten classes with approximately 25 students in each class. On a bimonthly basis during the school year, Variety volunteers will visit each of the classes during a two-hour period and read a short book to students. Selected books will correspond with education subjects that support both reading comprehension and core academic areas. Copies of books read to students will be left with classrooms for future use by students and teachers, and students will also be provided with bookmarks, stickers, and other small items as rewards for their participation and to stimulate their enthusiasm for reading.

Variety will measure the impact of the program through written surveys of participating teachers documenting improvement in student reading ability, improved verbal skills, overall citizenship and academic achievement, and family involvement in extracurricular reading. The program is closely aligned with Variety's mission to promote the well-being of underprivileged children and complements our current program services and objectives.