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News Release: Variety Alberta and Local Donors Gift Adaptive Toy Cars to Students with Mobility Issues

News Release: Variety Alberta and Local Donors Gift Adaptive Toy Cars to Students with Mobility Issues

(Fort McMurray, AB, June 16, 2021) Call it a noble deed, because that is exactly what it was, and the joy on children’s and families’ faces said just so. On June 11, 2021, Variety - the Children's Charity of Alberta, along with local donors and sponsors gifted 12 adaptive toy cars to local students including four for the Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD). The presentations were held at NorthStar Ford Lincoln and Summit GM, who were among the nine local donors including the Rotary Club of Fort McMurray, Shriners Fort McMurray and Masonic Foundation of Alberta, to name a few.

The donations were part of Variety’s Go Baby Go program, which “supports children living with limited mobility using ride-on adaptive toy cars with push-button switches, supportive seating and communication devices to provide opportunities for children to move independently in ways that they otherwise would not be able to do on their own." 

Caleb Hennessey, 6, our Kindergarten student at Dr. Clark Public School was among the recipients. He enjoyed his car immensely, delighting his parents, Casey Hennessey and Cassey Fitzgerald, who attended the event at NorthStar Ford Lincoln.

“This means the world to us. We are just blown out of the water. I’m looking forward to watching Caleb interact with his three other siblings,” shared Caleb’s mom, Cassey Fitzgerald. (Photo below). Caleb has developmental delays, and the custom-made car fits his diverse needs.



“It was awesome to see the smiles on my students and their parents' faces at the event. Sometimes it is hard to know what will bring happiness for neurologically diverse students. It can be a struggle for families to find different experiences for their children to enjoy. It is nice to see the family’s excitement when their children get these opportunities. The families and I appreciate and are grateful for all the hard work everyone put into making this happen,” commented Stephanie Harmer, Triple I (Intensive Individualized Intervention) Program Coordinator at Dr. Clark Public School. 



                                                                      Stephanie Harmer helping Steel, our Kindergarten student at Dr. Clark Public School

Larry Horeczy, Variety’s Chief Operating Officer noted the initiative is all about inclusion. 


                                  Larry Horeczy, Variety’s Chief Operating Officer (middle) with Board Chair Linda Mywaart (right) and Jen Quigley, FMPSD's Director of Education 

“Our entire raison d'être is: every child has a right to be active. With these cars, children with mobility challenges can manipulate the world. They belong, and are not left on the sidelines.They are the cool kids now, and it’s always best to be the cool kid.”

Austin Giles, Sales Team Lead for NorthStar Ford Lincoln applauded the program. He said it was all about supporting the community and employees as well.

“The fact that we can do this is great. We know stories of what families have to go through for their children. This is just our part in helping out.”

Jen Quigley, Director of Education, FMPSD was on hand for the event. She called it an occasion, which built “mobility, independence and partnerships.”

“This amazing afternoon was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by dozens of people in order to provide a creative opportunity for students to practice fine and gross motor skills, communication, and to give kids a freedom that they may not necessarily achieve on their own. We are grateful for the generosity of our partners in helping to create independence for kids; the joy on our students’ and their families’ faces was indescribable. This is inclusion at its best, and we thank everyone once again for partnering with FMPSD to make this happen.”

Linda Mywaart, Board Chair, FMPSD was also in attendance. She expressed her gratitude to everyone for the donations. 

“Thank you goes out from FMPSD to the partners from our community and our province for pulling up alongside us to do what's best for kids.The positive impact of your generous support was already clearly evident as the children test drove their shiny new vehicles, exploring the freedom of movement gifted to them.”

“School staff, parents and grandparents looked on and celebrated the moment every bit as much as the kids themselves, inspired and filled with the hope that grows when people come together to make life better for those around them. On behalf of FMPSD I want to express our sincere gratitude to each and every person who contributed. Your kindness and donations will help these youngsters roll forward in so many ways!" Chair Mywaart said.


                                                                                     Chloe, our ECDP student at Westview Public School busy with her new car

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager          

Fort McMurray Public School Division