In an ongoing mission to foster inclusivity in the Kansas City region, Sporting Kansas City and Variety KC have partnered to provide part-time job opportunities at Children’s Mercy Park to individuals with disabilities and special needs.
The single largest minority group in the United States is the special needs community, which represents approximately 26% of the country’s population. To that end, Sporting and Variety KC are inviting people with disabilities and special needs ages 16 and up to apply for Fan Services Associate, Concessions and Cashier positions during Sporting Kansas City home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. Applicants can learn more and apply by visiting the links below:
The new initiative comes on the heels of a major announcement earlier this year that saw The Victory Project and Variety KC launch several new amenities at Children’s Mercy Park for guests with disabilities and special needs—including the Variety KC Sensory Room, universal changing stations at family restroom locations on the stadium concourse, sensory backpacks containing headphones and weighted blankets, and communication boards at first aid stations for non-verbal children.
“The special needs community is the largest minority population in the country, and for Sporting Kansas City to identify that and be a leader—not only from a stadium inclusion perspective but on an employment level—says a lot about the organization,” said Deborah Wiebrecht, Variety KC Chief Inclusion Officer and Executive Director. “We are allowing more people in the Kansas City community to enjoy soccer and to participate. Sporting is giving them a voice, a platform and an opportunity they didn’t have before.”
Founded in 1934 and one of Kansas City’s oldest charities, Variety KC provides children with developmental disabilities the adaptive equipment and opportunities needed for activity and inclusion. The organization works with individuals up to age 21, offering mobility and communication devices while joining forces with local partners to create inclusive opportunities for the special needs community.
“Variety KC has partnered with a lot of different organizations in Kansas City to ensure they have the facilities and tools that Sporting Kansas City has at Children’s Mercy Park,” Wiebrecht said. “Our main goal is to make Kansas City the most inclusive city in the world. We want people to look at Variety KC and Sporting and say, ‘How did they do that? What can we learn from them about inclusivity?’ It’s all about having the right people and tools in place, and we have done that so well in this partnership.”
From its launch in 2013 to the end of 2020, The Victory Project aimed to positively impact the lives of children battling cancer. In 2021, the foundation expanded its mission to focus on each of the following: enhancing and enriching the lives of children battling cancer, making the sport of soccer more accessible to children with limited financial resources, and providing special experiences and opportunities to children with disabilities.
Since then, Variety KC has become an integral part of “A Force for Good,” Sporting’s new philanthropic campaign that sees the club join local partners to meet crucial community needs.
“A lot of people have a lot of different disabilities, and Sporting is receptive to them being a part of our world,” Wiebrecht said. “That is what makes a true community leader. To have Variety children look up to these Sporting KC players and then have a chance to see them in person and be a part of the team, that’s what life is about. We want to surround ourselves with celebrations and opportunities, and we are providing that right now to a lot of families who have always faced barriers in the past.”
About Variety KC
Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City provides children with developmental disabilities the adaptive equipment and opportunities needed for activity and inclusion. Since 1934, the organization has helped children in the Kansas City area by providing mobility and communication devices as well as opportunities for inclusion within the community. Variety KC believes all kids should be active, be social and belong. To learn more and to give today, visit VarietyKC.org.
About The Victory Project
The Victory Project is a philanthropic foundation established by Sporting in 2013 that helps children through all of life’s challenges by uniting players, staff, fans and community partners across the Kansas City and Midwest regions. Through numerous events and initiatives, The Victory Project is dedicated to enhancing and enriching the lives of children battling cancer, providing special experiences and opportunities to children with disabilities and making the sport of soccer accessible to kids with limited financial resources. To learn more and to make a donation, visit VictoryKC.org.