In partnership with Variety KC, The Victory Project announced today several new amenities for guests with disabilities and special needs, fostering inclusivity at Sporting Kansas City home matches and other events at Children’s Mercy Park.
The Victory Project and Variety KC have proudly launched these new spaces and services as part of “A Force for Good,” a community campaign launched in March that will see The Victory Project grow its commitment to helping children while joining forces with local partners to meet crucial community needs. A primary platform of “A Force for Good” is Soccer for All Kids, representing the push to create a more welcoming soccer environment for children.
“Sporting KC and The Victory Project are delighted to partner with Variety KC and elevate Children’s Mercy Park as a place of inclusion for all children and families,” said Jackie Feeney, Executive Director of The Victory Project. “These new amenities will support the needs of an important part of our community and make the sport of soccer more accessible and welcoming to kids across the region.”
“Variety KC is proud to be a part of Sporting Kansas City's efforts to showcase the region's most fan-inclusive stadium,” said Deborah Wiebrecht, Variety KC Chief Inclusion Officer and Executive Director. “The single largest minority population is the special needs community, which represents 26% of the population. Sporting KC will be a leader for other teams to understand true inclusion and how easy it is to put tools in place to allow all kids to enjoy a match and become soccer fans. Sporting KC and The Victory Project are leaders in Kansas City's inclusion revolution.”
At the forefront, the Variety KC Sensory Room will provide a quiet, therapeutic space featuring equipment that offers personalized sensory input to guests with special needs. The Variety KC Sensory Room will include sensory toys and gadgets for children and a muted television that allows fans to continue following the action on the field. Located next to the sensory room is a private mothering room where mothers can feed their children. Guests can access the sensory room and mothering room by using the elevator near section 133 on the east side of the stadium concourse.
In addition, The Victory Project and Variety KC have partnered to introduce the following amenities throughout Children’s Mercy Park:
- Universal changing stations at four family restroom locations on the Children’s Mercy Park concourse
- Sensory backpacks containing headphones, weighted blankets, fidget toys and battery chargers for iPads, available for checkout at the stadium’s two first aid locations near section 121 and on the north side of the Mazuma Plaza
- Variety KC communication boards at both first aid locations that will allow non-verbal children and English-language learners to communicate their wants and needs
To further support an environment of inclusivity, Sporting Kansas City associates and Children’s Mercy Park staff have undergone KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Training to help families needing assistance or information. ADA seating is also available on all levels of Children’s Mercy Park and can be accessed by elevators, ramps and walkways located near the stadium entrance locations.
An additional component of the partnership will see The Victory Project sponsor Variety KC’s virtual Variety Show, an event on April 30 that will raise funds to provide adaptive equipment and unique opportunities to children with developmental disabilities.
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.