This coming Saturday, August 11th, Slow Roll Buffalo and Variety – The Children’s Charity will present our second annual Variety Ride, which like Slow Roll Mondays is free and inclusive – Variety is raising funds for their programs for local children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with disabilities and other special needs through some riders registered to receive pledges, along with sales of ride t-shirts and more.  

Meeting at The Oakk Room (1435 Main Street) and starting at 1pm, our 10-mile roundtrip route will pass organizations whose programs benefit from Variety including Oishei Children’s Hospital, Children’s Growth Foundation, Music Is Art, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center and more. Before the ride we’ll have a helmet giveaway thanks to Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc., along with basic bike maintenance thanks to Tom’s Pro Bike. We’ll return from the ride for an afterparty with food, drinks and fellowship.

To learn more about the cause and ride, we turned to Variety’s Operations Manager, Alex Lauer.

What inspired Variety to present a community bike ride and partner with Slow Roll?

Variety—the Children’s Charity of Buffalo and Western New York has been part of the Western New York community since 1934. Variety has been community-driven, able to fulfill our mission of transforming, uplifting, and enriching the lives of children who are sick, disabled, and disadvantaged only through decades of ongoing community support and commitment. Variety’s funding decisions are also motivated by the needs of the community. We work with organizations including the Oishei Children’s Hospital, Camp Good Days and Special Times, the JCC, CAPS, Cradle Beach, PAL, and many other organizations to deliver on our mission.

That spirit of community-driven collaboration is reflected in the values of community that Slow Roll has. This ride offers an opportunity to highlight some of the work our partners do that is only made possible through community support.

Slow Roll Squad working the telethon phones while presenting a check for $6,500 raised through the inaugural Variety Ride

What motivates you personally to work for Variety? 

Every year, as part of our Telethon, we have a celebrity child that is selected. A few weeks ago, we had a night out at a Buffalo Bisons game with dozens of children that have been impacted by programs we support, and five of our celebrity children, including our current celebrity child, Jackson, were in attendance. These children, and their stories and families, are what motivate me personally to work for Variety.

Watching these resilient, empathetic, and genuinely funny children interact with those around them and each other is something that we can all learn from. I have always wanted to have a positive impact on my community, and I feel that impact is most profound when working with our youngest community members.

Variety’s 2018 celebrity child Jackson warming up with the Miracle League for his first pitch at the Bisons game

What do you expect will be the highlights of the Variety Ride route?

This 10-mile route will pass an assortment of organizations that Variety supports, ranging from The Variety Tent #7 Robert Warner, MD Rehabilitation Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital to Music is Art. We hope that riders will take the time to learn more about the organizations we’ll pass and the work being done across Western New York to ensure our children have access to resources and services that allow them to live happy lives.

And of course the community that comes with any Slow Roll ride will be a highlight as well!