It is hard to describe what the Variety Club of Manitoba (now Variety, the Children’s Charity) meant (and means) to me. Growing up, Variety was such a part of my life as to be too easily taken for granted: it had always been there, therefore, it always would be there.
Part of growing up is recognizing that those things too easily taken for granted were not (or are not) “just there,” that those things were there due to the work, dedication, and sacrifice of many people. I remember vividly the Variety Club Telethons and I remember that for every child (myself included) in front of a Telethon camera, many more existed behind-the-camera, giving of their time to create those memories I twenty (and on) years later cherish; I felt like a star because of them.
Variety was (and is) more than the Telethon. Variety was there for me and my family 365 days a year. It continues today to be there for children and their families 365 days a year. Variety is itself a family, a home, and (like every home) it is a place in which I always feel welcome.
When I attended the Telethons, or the picnics, or the (numerous) other Variety events, I didn’t know that the self-confidence which develops through having such a strong support system would give me the self-confidence to later apply for and graduate from Law School. I didn’t know the friendships I was making would continue to live in my heart long after I moved from Manitoba (or that the memory of those friendships would provide comfort and support during difficult times). I didn’t know that the outgoing personality I developed through Variety (which helped me grow comfortable with public speaking) would help me land an Internship with the Prime Minister’s Office or assist me representing people during law school. All I knew then was that I having fun with people that cared about me, in a place that felt like home.
It is only in the looking back that I can recognize how important the Variety was to and for me. It is always in the looking back that we recognize these things.
I would like to go back and tell my younger self how important the Variety is and what it means to me now; I would like to go back and tell my younger self about the lump I have in my throat as I write this. Of course I can’t, which means my younger self will take something very important for granted. All I can say is I don’t take it for granted any more.
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