Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin to Celebrate 80th Birthday with International Conference, Parties, Proclamations and More

MILWAUKEE – March 31, 2015 – Starting this month, Variety – the Children’s Charity is celebrating 80 years of helping Wisconsin kids, and will recognize this momentous birthday with a number of special events and announcements in the weeks ahead.

“On March 1, 1935, the Wisconsin chapter formally received its charter from Variety International,” Variety Executive Director Gerise LaSpisa said. “Since then, Variety has helped thousands upon thousands of kids across the state living with physical disabilities or facing financial challenges. This year we are honoring the good works that Variety has done over the decades, thanking the people and businesses of Wisconsin for their generous support, and looking ahead to another 80 years of providing life-enriching assistance to children.”

As part of the celebration, Variety of Wisconsin will act as the host chapter for this year’s Variety International Annual Conference, taking place April 30 – May 3 at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Representatives of Variety chapters from around the world will be in attendance.

“Variety – the Children’s Charity International is all about people – people from 44 offices in 11 countries helping children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with disabilities in their local area, just as the generous people of Wisconsin have for the past 80 years,” said David Small, Executive Director of Variety – the Children’s Charity International. “The Variety International community is delighted to host its 2015 International Conference in Milwaukee and to be joining the Wisconsin community in celebrating Variety of Wisconsin’s significant 80th birthday.”

During the conference, Variety will host two special events at Lucille’s Piano Bar and Grill in downtown Milwaukee:

Thursday, April 30 – Variety’s Onesie Pajama Jam – Help Variety attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people gathered together wearing one-piece pajamas! Enjoy dueling pianos, drink specials for adults wearing onesies, and other surprises. Proceeds raised at this event will be used to fund Variety programs on behalf of Wisconsin children.

Friday, May 1 – Variety’s 80th Birthday Bash – It’ll be the biggest birthday party in town, with music, arcade games, cupcake decorating, face painting and more.

The public is invited to attend both events. More information is available on the Variety website at

As part of Variety’s 80th birthday, a number of state and local officials have issued certificates of recognition, including Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Families from across Wisconsin who have benefitted from the support of Variety are also sending their birthday wishes. Patty Mevis’s daughter Kira is eight years old and diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. The Green Bay family received a ceiling lift from Variety in 2012.

“As Kira grew and began losing skills, it became more and more challenging to take care of her,” Patty Mevis said. “We are so grateful that Variety provided my family with a ceiling lift to help with Kira’s lifts and constant positioning. As a parent of three children, the lift is absolutely vital because it helps me still function as a mom. It allows me to increase the amount of position changes throughout the day and creates the opportunity to have others, who previously were unable to lift her, help in her care. Variety has made obtaining the necessary equipment a reality and has embedded some ‘normal’ back into our lives.”

About Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin

Formed in Milwaukee in 1935 by a group of local movie theatre operators, Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin is dedicated to assisting children in need, stepping in when insurance will not and family resources simply cannot. By providing life-enriching assistance to Wisconsin children challenged by physical disabilities, Variety hopes to help kids experience all the joys of childhood while growing to become confident, independent and free to access all that the world has to offer. Variety of Wisconsin is a chapter of Variety – the Children’s Charity, an international charity with more than 40 chapters around the world. Formed in 1928 in the Sheridan theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by a group of 10 show business men to help children in need, Variety is one of the oldest and most comprehensive children’s charities in the world. To learn more, visit


Erica Lopez


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