With the current pandemic situation, there has been a bit of ongoing confusion regarding what activities will be back on for the summer season and what needs to be put on hold to keep everyone safe and healthy. Luckily, many establishments and programs have figured out ways to do both—open for business and still keep guests safe, healthy and happy. Variety, the Children’s Charity of the Delaware Valley, is one of those organizations, and the nonprofit has figured out a way to still keep one of their beloved programs alive for summer 2020.
Variety’s whole mission and purpose is to serve children who are less fortunate—children who live and grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage. To them, “these are extra special children who require a special kind of help.” Variety is one of the Philadelphia region’s oldest children’s charities, and has been serving children in the area for 85 years while producing a plethora of events, including their annual Let Them Eat Cake charitable extravaganza, which features an abundant amount of colorful and delicious cake creations, savory snacks, vendors and drinks all while benefitting the organization’s mission. However, in the summertime, Variety mixes things up in an even more fun and creative way to benefit the children they serve.
According to a release, Variety recently announced that their summer program for children with disabilities will return to the 77-acre campus in Worcester in July, albeit adjusted for social distancing and other health considerations, with a refurbished outdoor 99,000 gallon swimming pool as the centerpiece of summer programming — thanks to a little help from Blue Haven Pools. Starting July 6, Variety will host six weeks of in-person, half-day Extended School Year and full-day vocational programming for children and young adults with disabilities. Variety will then restart running its storied full-day day camp on Monday, Aug. 17, through the end of the month and therefore also reopen the outdoor pool.
This offers the opportunity for a chance to have some fun and normalcy to the disabled adults and children who typically look forward to this fun summertime event or are perhaps excited to try it out for the first time. It may be a leisurely activity, but for some it can be a necessity for happiness and mental health.
The pool on-site of the campus did need some upkeep before opening back up—and the repairs are both expensive and significant on the maintenance and repair side. The pricy upkeep included an enhanced zero-grad entry ramp, upgraded double-wide steps, re-plastered linings, and new pump systems—all of that is currently under construction and will reopen for the full-day camps later in the summer.
However, even though the organization didn’t reach its pool fundraising goal quite yet, the release states that the charity received generous donations and support to enable Variety kids the possibility to swim this summer. A big supporter of the pool refurbishments has been Blue Haven Pools. The company is donating time, workers and services up to $90k taking partial payment on a ‘pay-me-when-you-can basis.’
“With no current maintenance reserves and lost revenues due to COVID-19, we must look to generous friends and supporters to find the necessary resources to repair our pool,” said Dominique Bernardo, CEO of Variety in a statement. “We’re beyond grateful to Ray Calvitti and the team at Blue Haven Pools for giving us the most generous deal on the needed repairs.”
“When we heard about the budget deficit we wanted to jump in and do our part,” added Ray Calvitti, President of Blue Haven Pools. “We are happy to donate our services to Variety and to give the kids the opportunity to unwind by the pool during this challenging summer.”
To help keep the construction on the new pool going, donations will also be accepted. In fact, all donors of $500 and above will be permanently featured on a donor plaque placed in the pool area on campus.
To learn more information about the program, Variety itself and to donate, visit varietyphila.org