Variety of Iowa

Each year, Variety of Iowa provides grant funding to more than 90 children’s organizations statewide. In 2016, Variety provided a grant to Special Olympics to fund Young Athlete Play Days. The impact of play day has reached far beyond the time spent “at the gym” for 3-year-old Claire. Claire’s mom explains the impact Play day has had on her daughter:

“Claire dove into the activities; Jack (brother) would show her how to do it and she was so excited to try them all! She loved all of the cheering and clapping, so did we. It didn’t matter whose child was having a turn at an activity, we were all cheering them on! Claire loved trying—and really that’s the long and the short of this—she just wanted to try.

Some of the activities she hadn’t done before; balance beam, bowling, basketball, ball darts and dancing with the ribbons. Just to see her face light up as she attempted something new and heard all of those people cheering for her was absolutely priceless. When one of the other teammates had a turn she loved to yell and clap for them, too. Watching her try her hardest and show some independence really showed me what an amazing daughter I have.


Claire continues to practice some of the activities she learned at Play Day in her daily playtime. When she is out in the driveway playing I watch her walking along the seam of the concrete, just like it’s a balance beam! And there is no ball that she won’t try to kick, throw, hit with a bat, or try to make a basket with. Who knows what’s next: gymnastics, dance and little league?

She is fearless, and now her mom knows that there are no limits to her capabilities.

Special Olympics Play Days are just one example of Variety at Work in our state.

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