Need variety in your life? Try Variety the Children’s Charity

Barbara Barb Bowes Transitions
Barbara Bowes

As 2015 begins to unfold, how will you define happiness and go about getting it? I believe that happiness is about positive relationships that create a sense of fulfillment. It’s about activities, be it work or volunteer that enables you to apply your skills, develop new ones and experience a sense of accomplishment. If you are a happy person, your positive attitude will create a positive “vibe” that will enable you to gain even more new and valuable relationships.

Relationships mean reaching out and getting involved. And while there are many organizations seeking to build a relationship with members of their community, one organization in my view stands out in the crowd.

Variety, the Children’s Charity, has a history dating back to 1928 when a newborn baby was left on the doorstep of a theatre in Pittsburgh, Penn. The child was taken in by a group of show business professionals who agreed to underwrite the child’s support and education. This subsequently inspired and motivated the group to establish the Variety Club, a not-for-profit agency now operating across the globe and dedicated to raising funds to help meet the tangible needs of children.

Working quietly behind the scenes for the past 36 years, Variety Manitoba has impacted the lives of over 700,000 children, many with unique special needs. Variety supports the therapeutic clown program at the St. Boniface Hospital Pediatric Clinic. Here, three afternoons per week, three clowns put smiles on the faces of over 10,000 children a year.

Variety was also behind the special daycare music program that has been delivered weekly to over 22 inner city daycares for the past 25 years? It was also the mastermind behind the Parks Canada partnership to build a one-of-a-kind, interactive park that allows children to learn history through play.

In 2014, following the retirement of a long serving CEO, the Variety club began a search for a new leader. A gentleman by the name of Jerry Maslowsky just happened to be asking himself that familiar old “happiness” question and was looking for a new and exciting opportunity. And, being in the right place at the right time with the right skills and a strong personal drive to help kids, Jerry jumped at the chance to lead the Variety organization.

With long-time volunteer and now president Tom Daeninck, the dynamic duo have quickly become known as the local “Tom and Jerry” show. Their goal is not only to keep up the momentum in helping children but also to re-engage former alumni and to increase community awareness of Variety’s charity work.

When asked what will make Jerry happy in his new job, his face immediately lit up, and he quickly told me, “There’s nothing more gratifying that putting a smile on the face of a child who is facing life challenges”. Now that’s happiness for you!

As with most not-for-profit organizations, Variety has a very small administrative team and depends on volunteers and financial donations to deliver their multiple programs. If you are seeking opportunities to make yourself happy, then Variety, the children’s charity could be for you. Variety is about: “Any child. Any need. Every day. Help give a child a childhood.”

Lifestyles readers could put a smile on their faces by helping children put a smile on theirs. The website at will help you discover how you could help. Give Jerry Maslowsky, CEO, or Tom Daeninck, Variety president a call. They can be reached by phone at 204-982-1050 or email at:

Barbara J. Bowes is president of Legacy Bowes Group and Career Partners International, Manitoba. She is also a professional speaker and regular weekly 680 CJOB radio host. She can be contacted at

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