During the pandemic, the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit and the Children’s Charity Variety teamed up to provide life changing equipment to kids with disabilities.

Here is more on the adaptive bikes and strollers that were donated and how they are changing lives.

Over 400 pieces of equipment have been donated to kids with disabilities across Erie, Crawford and Warren Counties.

In a year that has been difficult for everyone, it’s nice to see smiles in the faces of children.

The mother of one child said that her son Giovanni Coletta out grew his first adaptive bike, so they’ve returned to Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit for a brand new bike.

“It’s helped facilitate his speech. It’s helped him meet all of our neighbors, greet and be social and just have you know something to enjoy day in and day out,” said Haley Coletta, Mother of Giovanni Coletta.

The executive director of Northwest Tri County Intermediate Unit 5 said that children with disabilities can sometimes feel limited.

“Game changer in many cases. These families often see other children outside riding bikes or going for walks and they often wonder how can I do this with my children,” said Brad Whitman, Executive Director of Northwest Tri County Intermediate Unit 5.

Haley Coletta said that her son’s adaptive bike makes her son Giovanni feel included.

“He also has a brother who he can ride side by side with and get exercise from it,” said Coletta.

These pieces of equipment are one of the many ways variety helps to improve children’s lives.

The CEO of Variety the Children’s Charity Show, shows another piece of equipment, a communication device that helps give kids a voice who have a communication disorder or are non-verbal.

The CEO said that one child made strides using this device.

“But then over this 18 month period he went from two words to communication devices to his own voice. How do you convey what it’s like when you hear your child talk for the first time and communicate, I think that’s probably beyond words,” said Charlie LaVallee, CEO of Variety the Children’s Charity.

Families can apply for these devices if their child is eligible. To apply click here.