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Spotl ght A publication of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis

Spring 2013 Issue Believe, Achieve, Inspire

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Man and Woman of the Year

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YOP Tax Credits

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Centene Feature Spot

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Willie - Inspiring Adventures

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Chief Executive Officer Jan Albus

Dear Friends, In this Spotlight we will honor some of our many supporters who believe, achieve and inspire us. They give us the extra nudge to do more and be more. As we begin 2013, after a record setting 2012, we advance towards a fabulous Variety Week, full of excitement and surprises. In this edition, meet Willie Deuster who has worked at our Adventure Camp for many years and has inspired Variety Kids to dream of an independent life. We visit with Dr. Brunstom who runs the Pediatric Neurology Cerebral Palsy Center at Children’s Hospital and has a special understanding of cerebral palsy. We will introduce you to our new Board Chair, Greg Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy, whose community leadership inspires us. We share the story of Centene Corporation who has partnered with us to make a difference with Variety Kids. You will be amazed by Kaite’s journey to her new job, and learn about Youth Opportunity Programs that help fund Variety. And you can find what inspires you; perhaps it is to attend our Variety Week’s Runway Lights Fashion Show, or buy an Imo’s Pizza on Imo’s for Kid’s Day, or get a ticket to see Carlos Santana perform at the Peabody Opera House during Dinner with the Stars. I invite you to be part of Variety in whatever way you can. Because we believe that Variety Kids can reach new goals, we show our support by giving more. Thank you, for helping each Variety Kid achieve their fullest potential. I look forward to seeing you in April!

Jan Albus Chief Executive Officer


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Join Us For Variety Week As our cornerstone fundraising campaign, Variety Week includes a series of events that fulfill our mission of helping children with disabilities. In 2012, we raised $4.6 million, more than 3 million during Variety Week, allowing us to help 14,500 Variety kids.

Runway Lights Fashion Show April 20, 2013 The annual Runway Lights Fashion Show, will feature the 2013 collection of fashion designer Edward Wilkerson, Design Director of Lafayette 148 New York. The event, taking place at The Chase Park Plaza, includes lunch and Variety’s first annual Chairs for Children. This new fundraiser will feature designs by St. Louis’ premier interior designers.

FOX 2 /KPLR11 Call-A-Thon for Kids April 23, 2013 KTVI FOX 2 and KPLR 11 news personalities plan to raise money for Variety with a Call-A-Thon for Kids. Every dollar of the money raised stays here in St. Louis to help local children. Every donation will be entered in to a raffle to win two free tickets to a live performace by Carlos Santana at Dinner With the Stars.

Imo’s For Kids Day April 24, 2013 On this day, Imo’s Pizza donates 10-20 percent of the proceeds from all participating locations in the St. Louis Region. Over the past 14 years, Imo’s has donated more than $1 million for Variety kids.

Presented by

Night of the Rising Stars April 26, 2013 Night of the Rising Stars, hosted by Young Variety, will take place at 7 p.m. at City Cottage. The evening will feature, music, appetizers and a cash bar. Tickets are $50. Join the conversation on Twitter at – #VarietyNRS.

Dinner with the Stars • Featuring Carlos Santana April 27, 2013 at the Peabody Opera House Our signature black-tie grand finale, Dinner with the Stars, will feature Icon, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Winner of 10 GRAMMY™ Awards, and #15 in Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Guitarists, Carlos Santana. Once again the evening is generously underwritten by Centene, World Wide Technology and the Steward Family Foundation. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the program begins at 8:30 p.m. For more information about Variety Week events, or to purchase tickets, visit


Variety Week Partners






Join us in honoring the 2013 Man and Woman of the Year at Variety’s

Photo by Patti Gabriel

noémi neidorff

- Woman of the Year

This year’s Woman of the Year is not only an artist herself, but also a great philanthropist and contributor to the arts in the St. Louis area. Noémi has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Neidorff gives countless volunteer hours to St. Louis non-profits and cultural institutions such as the Missouri History Museum Board, the Board and Executive Committee of Opera Theatre Saint Louis, the Board of the St. Louis Art Museum, the Board and Executive Committee of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Arts Foundation Board, and is Chairman of the Radio Arts Advocacy Council. Nationally, Neidorff served as President of the National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees’ of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and is currently on the Executive Committee. She and her husband also co-chaired the Kennedy Center’s International Committee on the Arts. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Manhattan School of Music. “Noémi encourages St. Louis cultural institutions to reach even higher, becoming premier national arts organizations,” said CEO Jan Albus. “We at Variety feel a kinship to her, as through our programs such as Variety Children’s Theatre and Variety Children’s Chorus we encourage our kids to dream big and reach their goals.” Noémi Neidorff with Variety child Josiah

Jim Weddle

Noémi’s husband Michael Neidorff, CEO of the Centene Corporation, won Variety’s Man of the Year last year, and this is the first time in Variety history that a couple has won in back-to-back years.

- Man of the Year

“Our Man of the Year recipient is a St. Louis powerhouse. Jim Weddle works hard to inspire the next generation to break new ground and push society forward, just as Variety does,” states CEO Jan Albus . “We admire the way Jim works to improve the business community of St. Louis, especially as a strong business community leads to a strong non-profit community. Jim has also been a supporter of Variety, speaking at 2010’s Champions for Children Summit.” Weddle is a graduate of DePauw University and Washington University’s Olin School of Business. Starting as a part-time intern at Edward Jones in 1976, today Weddle is the firm’s fifth Managing Partner. He has been a business leader in St. Louis for more than 36 years, and has made it his mission to give a hand up to aspiring students, investors and partners in the St. Louis area. Weddle is not only a strong advocate for the St. Louis business community, but also a tireless worker on behalf of many area non-profit organizations. Weddle is a member of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor’s Council, a member of the Washington University Olin School of Business National Council, a member of the Webster University Board of Trustees, President of the Board of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, a member of the Board of Governors for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), co-chair of the RCGA’s financial forum, a past Board Member of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), a past Board Member of the YMCA of Greater St. Louis, a past member of the Board of Commissioners of the St. Louis Science Center, and a past Board President of FOCUS-St. Louis.

Photo by Patti Gabriel

Jim Weddle with Variety child Gracie


Kaite - Achieving Independence “Mom, did you know that you can’t wear sandals to an interview?” asked Kaite the morning of her interview to be the assistant to the Variety Adventure Camp art director. “I Googled it and found out that it is not allowed.” Dianne, Kaite’s mother, admired the adorable observation and helped Kaite practice questions before her big interview. As a life-long Variety child with Down syndrome, Kaite’s infectious personality and positive attitude are impossible to ignore. Kaite doesn’t let much get her down and this optimistic outlook on life seems to steal the hearts of everyone around her.

more perfect job for Kaite and we are so happy that Barb recognized that.” As a result, Kaite has now reached a level of independence that many Variety children yearn for. As a new associate at Build-a-Bear she is utilizing every ounce of what she has learned at Variety. “Before she went to her Build-a-Bear interview she looked at me and said ‘mom, is this going to be like my interview at Variety?’ I am so glad that she was able to have that experience to prepare her.” To this family, Variety is a life-long friend. “Everyone at Variety should have a smile on their

“We all have choices,” says Dianne. “There are things we want to do and there are things that we don’t feel like dealing with, but at home we make sure to remind Kaite to keep a smile on her face no matter what. I think that is where her positive attitude comes from.” Kaite’s infectious personality even played a part in landing her that very first job with Variety. “Barb from Variety really saw Kaite’s abilities and gifts when she asked her to apply for the assistant to the art director position,” said Dianne. “For two summers, Kaite fulfilled her duties at camp, replenishing craft supplies and helping the kids with their art projects. It couldn’t have been a

Tributes and Memorials (August 20, 2012


face when they see Kaite now. As an 18-year-old she is practically an adult and everyone at Variety has had a hand in preparing her for this.” Looking to give someone you know the same experience Kaite had at Variety Adventure Camp? The last day to register for week one is May 15.

– March 1, 2013)

In honor of the Annie Cast & Crew Mr. and Mrs. William W. Reichert

In honor of Simone Gale Ms. Kathryn Ryan

In honor of Doug Best Ms. Mary Bickers

In honor of Rina Gersten Bat Mitvah Ms. Rina Gersten

In honor of Cindy Brinkley Ms. Sheri Crossman

In honor of Jerry and Vicky Hawkins Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Smith

In honor of Steph Boyce Ms. Linda Stevenson

In honor of Katie Ihnen Ms. Kristin Bibee

In honor of Sandra Buschmann Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Williams

In honor of Barb Kramer Mr. Ronald Kramer Ms. Marcia Mermelstein

In honor of Maggie Charity Ms. Andrea Louie Ms. Mary Neal

“Friends come and go and you lose touch with people, but Variety has been with us longer than anybody.” ~ Dianne (Kaite’s Mom)

In honor of Jacob, Jim, Sharon and Harry Menner Mr. and Mrs. Tom Noelke In honor of Jacob Menner Mr. Walter Nowak In honor of Nick Mr. and Mrs. Kerry Wright In honor of the Nowland Family Mr. Robert Nowland In honor of Sophia Pitrak Ms. Stacy Kinstler

In honor of Janet Kuehnle Mr. James K. Dalton Jr.

In honor of Toto Quan Ms. Mary Neal

In honor of Cathy Standing Dunkin Ms. Kelly Standing

In honor of Roger Kuhlmann Kay A. Kuhlmann - Agency

In honor of Adele Feldman Ms. Sally Needle

In honor of Emory Krenn Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Turner

In honor of David & Thelma Steward Ms. Sylva McDonald Mr. Alfred Brown

In honor of Marilyn and Sam Fox Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Widman

In honor of Cynthia & Graham Lappin H. Grant Lappin

In honor of David L. Steward Mr. William C. Hulsey Mr. Peter Lowe Mr. and Mrs. John R. Roberts

In honor of Kelly Shamel Mr. and Mrs. Chris Shamel In honor of Ryan Schulte Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Ryan In honor of Thelma Steward Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Carr Ms. Jackie Williams Mrs. Lina Young In honor of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Mr. and Mr. William W. Reichert In honor of Annie Williams Ms. Julie Williams In honor of Derek Wright Ms. Carolyn K. Burke In memory of Virginia Audrain Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Maes In memory of Dr. B. S. Bassi Mrs. Bindu Arya

YOP Tax Credits YOP Tax Credits Provide Opportunity to Support Variety’s Adventure Camp Any Missouri taxpayer who donates to Variety Adventure Camp (minimum $1,000) between now and October 31, 2015 may receive tax credits under Missouri’s Youth Opportunity Program (YOP). Variety Adventure Camp, open to children ages 4-16 with physical and developmental disabilities, is all about making the impossible, possible. This includes swimming, rock climbing, bike riding and more. Act quickly, as this YOP tax credit opportunity won’t last long. Donors may contribute a minimum of $1,000 up to $25,000 (cash, stocks/bonds) per calendar year while credits remain.

A taxpayer may receive up to 50% in Missouri state tax credits. Any entity or individual who pays Missouri income tax and files a Schedule A for itemized deductions may receive a tax credit. This includes: Individuals, Partnerships, Corporations, LLCs and S Corps. Essentially, giving $1,000 to Variety Adventure Camp will actually only cost you $260! A tax credit is a reduction of the taxes you owe the state of Missouri. Any individual or corporation with a Missouri tax liability is eligible for tax credits. Tax credits may be for the tax year in which the donation was made, or carried forward for five succeeding tax periods.

How It Works Individual Gift (tax payer in 36% bracket) Federal Deduction Missouri Tax Deduction YOP Credit (50% of gift) Reduced state tax deduction on federal return (*)

$1,000 ($360) ($60) ($500) $180

Out-of-Pocket Cost to Donor


$10,000 ($3,600) ($600) ($5,000) $1,800 $2,600

*Represents 36% of the $500 YOP tax credit. Your deduction for state taxes on your federal return is reduced by $500 because your state tax payment is being reduced by $500. To support Variety Adventure Camp and receive additional information about YOP tax credits, please contact Linda Sanders at 314-720-7712, or

In memory of Hayden Barnes Mr. Michael Barnes Mrs. Gina Cavanagh Mrs. Aimee Davis Emge Elementary PTO Mrs. Cathy Foster Ms. Lucy Gladstone Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gomez Mr. Gordon J. Haarmann Mr. and Mrs. John Kelley Ms. Denise Liebel Mrs. Susan Masi Ms. Lydia M. Miller Ms. Lynette A. Miller Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Raney Mrs. Michelle Siegel Mr. and Mrs. Phillip N. Strode Mr. and Mrs. Jim Vogt Mr. and Mrs. D. Yust Mr. and Ms. Lee Zobrist In memory of Meyer Burman Mr. and Mrs. David Aronson Mr. and Ms. Richard Baron Ms. Nona Barth Mr. and Mrs. Ira Blank

Mr. Jeffrey Busbee Ms. Pamela S. Cornwell Mr. and Mrs. George T. Dooling Sr. Ms. Rosemary Hinton Ms. Julia O’ Gorman Mr. and Mrs. Richard Parducci Ms. Jill Schantz Ms. Mary J. Schnorf Ms. Kathleen M. Standley Ms. Judith L. Underhill Ms. Gertrude S. Wood

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Feit Mr. and Mrs. Richard Harnack Mr. and Mrs. Bill Himmelstein Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Lehrer Mr. and Mrs. Steve Meissel Mr. and Mrs. Mitchel Millner Mr. and Mrs. Martin Oberman Mr. and Mrs. Mignon Shanfeld Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Smith Mr. and Mrs. Nelson A. Soltman Mr. and Mrs. Perry Sparks Ms. Saundra Stahl Mr. and Mrs. Don Tabachnick Wachter, Inc. Construction Services Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Weintraub Mr. and Mrs. Craig Wolff

In memory of Gloria and Seymour (Red) Kusmer Mark Litow

In memory of my dear parents Mr. John L. Rose

In memory of William Muench Mr. Stefan Csik

In memory of Graham Vogler Mr. and Mrs. Warren Rich Mr. and Mrs. William P. Smith

In memory Betty J. Harmon Mr. and Mrs. David Harmon

In memory of Corinn Peterson Mr. Larry Peterson Ms. Lillian Peterson

In memory of Fred Zurfluh Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Galvin

In memory of Joe Holtzman Mr. and Mrs. Robert Earthal Ms. Marcia Hart

In memory of Jerry Rock Mr. and Mrs. Tom Armbruster

In memory of Roger Kuhlmann Cassidy Turley Ms. Debra J. Greenlee Ms. Norma A. Kuhlmann Mr. and Mrs. Norbert Loebs Ms. Arlene Pirrone Mr. and Mrs. Donald Schappe Ms. Adrianne Shumway Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wiley In memory of Paul Marler Mr. and Mrs. Ken Vogl

In memory of Tiffany Tinsley Mrs. Lori Gerstein Mrs. Sharon Gibson


Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez - Believing in Success At Variety, we believe that success is achieved with the love and support of those around us. From our donors to our volunteers – Variety wouldn’t function without a network of people that believe in our mission.

Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez

One very important part of our network is the Pediatric Neurology Cerebral Palsy Center at Children’s Hospital and its fearless leader, Dr. Janice E. Brunstrom-Hernandez MD. Consisting of a team of experts, each staff member of the Cerebral Palsy Center specializes in a different aspect of care for children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez, who has cerebral palsy herself, started the Pediatric Neurology Cerebral Palsy Center in 1998 to give each child hope by providing comprehensive care for patients with CP and a solid foundation and strategy for facing their future. In doing so, she has also worked to raise awareness and challenge common misconceptions about the disorder.

and know that someone loves them.” Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez was fortunate enough to have the support she needed when she began the Cerebral Palsy Center. She didn’t originally set out to do this, but mentors saw her potential and encouraged her to do so. She has helped over 2,000 patients and plays a vital role in helping kids with Cerebral Palsy to break through barriers on a daily basis. “I think that one of the reasons we are successful is that we believe in these kids,” said Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez. “We try to take a ‘leave no stone unturned’ approach and show these kids that we are not going to give up on them.” We are so thankful for heroes like Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez and the wonderful work they are doing in our community. Advocates like her are the living embodiment of the theme believe, achieve, inspire. To learn more about services provided by the Pediatric Neurology Cerebral Palsy Center at Children’s Hospital, call 800-678-KIDS (5437).

“The most successful kids that I see are the ones that have the encouragement of loved ones,” said Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez. “People jump to conclusions about these kids before they get to know them. My patients have challenges ahead of them and need support.” Dr. Brunstrom-Hernandez explains that every child needs someone to believe in him or her. “Growing up is the most crucial time to build self esteem,” she says. “Children need to be accepted for who they are



Centene Feature Spot To Variety St. Louis, it is vital that we have corporate partners that believe deeply in our mission and wish to support us from all levels of the company. This is the case for one of our most valued supporters, Centene Corporation.

Photo by Peter Wochniak

The St. Louis based health care enterprise has been instrumental in helping Variety to carry out our mission to help children with disabilities reach their full potential.

Centene’s dedication to our organization is evident even at the highest level of the company. Chairman, President and CEO of Centene, Michael Neidorff, was named Variety Man of the Year in 2012. Michael says,“We enjoy helping organizations that deal with youth and health-related issues. We think it’s important to find organizations that pull us together versus isolate us.”

Centene has collaborated with Variety for several years, but the company reached the “Variety Club” level in 2012, the highest partner level available. Part of Centene’s partnership included underwriting Variety’s signature black-tie gala, Dinner with the Stars, along with World Wide Technology and the Steward Family Foundation. This was the first time in history that Dinner with the Stars was completely

Centene’s partnership with Variety extends beyond Variety Week as the company also helps to sustain our many programs. From underwriting chorus trips to providing a named endowment for Variety Adventure Camp, Centene touches the lives of many of our over 14,500 Variety children every year.

underwriten - ensuring that every dollar raised that evening went directly to Variety.

Centene and its leaders play a large role in Variety’s outreach to local children. We are so grateful for their assistance and hope that their work will serve as a role model for others to also support Variety.


Board Member Spotlight - Greg Boyce Photo by Patti Gabriel

Greg Boyce, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Peabody Energy, has recently joined Variety as board chairman. Greg and his wife, Lisa, embrace every opportunity to help local children and have previous experience with Variety through the “Kids on the Go” mobility program and have even served as Patron Chairs for Variety’s Dinner with the Stars Gala. “I welcomed the opportunity to join Variety as board chairman,” said Boyce. “I am honored to be involved with an organization that is dedicated to helping our community’s most valuable resource – our children. Variety empowers kids with the tools and resources necessary to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. I see this as a direct investment in our community’s future, opening the doors of possibility and positively impacting many, many lives.” The Boyces love for activities that are inclusive, joining people with and without disabilities to accomplish a common goal as well as Peabody’s focus on health and wellness have made this position a perfect fit for Greg.

Greg Boyce with Variety child Josiah

Peabody Energy and Variety each represent more than a half-century of service and commitment to the St. Louis region,” said Boyce. “Investing in Variety’s kids and families is an extension of Peabody’s health and wellness mission, where a healthy community benefits everyone.”

Inspiring Adventures It’s a well known reality that most of us don’t get by without a little bit of help from our friends. Aside from being a catchy 60s hit – it’s simply a fact of life. It is nearly impossible to believe in yourself if no one else does. It’s difficult to find a more perfect example of the sincerity of this statement than Willie Deuster. “Wild Man Willie” has worked for Variety Adventure Camp since the very beginning. As a camp for children with disabilities, Adventure Camp is the perfect place for Willie to express his positive attitude. He shows each child that boundaries are nonexistent and serves as the perfect friend for Variety children. “My favorite part about helping out at Variety camp is proving the kids wrong when they say they can’t do something,” says Willie. “Sometimes the kids just need to see me do something to show them that they can do it too,” says Willie. “They think ‘hey if Willie can climb the rock wall then so can I!’” So why would the sight of Willie climbing a rock wall inspire a Variety child? After all, with a nickname like Wild Man Willie this is surely nothing out of the ordinary for him. Well the truth is, climbing a rock wall is a particularly calm activity for Willie. With a history of ski trips, bungee jumping, skydiving and swimming with dolphins, Wild Man Willie has earned every bit of his nickname.


However, Willie is just like many Variety kids. Willie has cerebral palsy. He uses a power scooter for mobility and it’s difficult for him to complete simple tasks such as eating. However this won’t stop Willie from living life to the fullest. As Willie would say, “you just have to disable the word disabled.” He’s trying new things and is even going through therapy to learn to walk. And the only way that Willie was able to do this was with a little help from a friend, of course. When Willie met his neighbor, Bill, for the first time, Bill approached Willie and simply said “Hi.” Willie, still shy and discouraged from difficult high school years, muttered a quiet “Hi” and kept his head down. However, Bill didn’t give up. He said hi to Willie every day. Soon, his attempts to greet Willie turned in to small trips around town and nights out at restaurants. “Bill never treated me differently,” said Willie. “I’ll never forget the night when he came to my apartment and said, ‘Get dressed. We are going out.’ He wouldn’t let me miss out on life.” Want to hear more about Willie? Check out his video on Looking for the perfect summer camp for your child? The last day to register for week one of Variety Adventure Camp is May 15.

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis 2200 Westport Plaza Drive Suite 306 St. Louis, MO 63146





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COMING SOON Variety Children’s Theatre Peter Pan Auditions • May 18-19, 2013 Webster University Children


Children (ages 7-18) should be prepared with sheet music to sing eight bars of a song. Even something as simple as Happy Birthday is appropriate. In addition, be prepared to dance basic steps provided by the choreographer. Please bring a recent photo.

Adult auditions are by appointment only. Adults should be prepared to sing at least 32 bars of a song (please bring sheet music) and perform a short monologue (1-2 minutes). We also ask that adults provide a resume and photo.

Spring spotlight 2013  

The latest news from Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis, annually serving more than 14,500 local children with disabilities