February, 2012Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children and Dallas-based Variety – The Children’s Charity of Texas, today announce the merger of the two non-profit organizations to strengthen and provide for long-term sustainability for programs for Texas children with special needs.
Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children (PKRC) was established in 1984 by philanthropists Jim and Daurice Bowmer of Temple, TX, who founded the organization in memory of their grandson, Charles Bowmer Schreiner, V, who died of a heart ailment at 11 months of age. “Baby Charlie’s Fishing Camp”, as it was originally known, started as a day retreat where chronically ill and special needs children and their families could celebrate the health-giving benefits of nature.
Since that time, Peaceable Kingdom Retreat has expanded to meet the increasing need for services for children with chronic or terminal illness and special needs. The retreat now occupies 150 acres along the Lampasas River in Central Texas’ scenic Hill Country offering an Environmental Education Program, weekend retreats, summer camps and physical therapy for nearly 5,000 children and families annually. It is the only organization of its’ kind to serve Central Texas children with special needs.
Variety – The Children’s Charity of Texas (Variety) was established in 1936 with a mission of assisting special needs children. Variety is part of the international organization Variety – The Children’s Charity, which was founded in 1927 by theatre owners and entertainers to provide financial support for an infant child who had been left in the Sheridan movie theatre in Pittsburgh, PA on Christmas Eve. Her mother prayed that the kind-hearted show business community would respond; they did. The Variety leaders named her Catherine Variety Sheridan and cared for her until she was adopted at age 4. Since that time, 23 Variety organizations have been created in the United States and 17 more worldwide making Variety International the largest children’s charity in the world.
Variety of Texas is known for providing need based funding for critical medical equipment, physical therapy, surgery, educational resources, and life-changing mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, adapted tricycles, feeding tables, and child lifts. Variety has been called the “Heart of Show Business”, though now its’ members and volunteers come not only from the entertainment industry, but also from other business, industry and professional organizations.
Variety has been associated with Peaceable Kingdom since 1997, when Variety hosted a fundraiser to honor Cinemark, USA founder, Lee Roy Mitchell, from which the proceeds funded the construction of the “Theater in the Woods” at PKRC. In 2007, Variety and The Mitchell Foundation agreed to jointly fund $1,000,000 to construct a state-of-the-art equestrian center at Peaceable Kingdom Retreat, to be built later this year.
“We are thrilled to merge with Peaceable Kingdom as the flagship program of Variety,” shared Randall L. Hester, President and CEO of Variety. “This transaction puts in place all the resources necessary for long-term sustainability and growth. Furthermore, it enhances our ability to provide services for more Texas children with special needs. Our missions have always been in sync. Now we can truly work together to help more kids, that’s what it’s all about.”
“I truly feel that this merger will provide for Peaceable Kingdom’s sustainability for the future,” said Scott Simmonds, Executive Director of Peaceable Kingdom. “The vision and practices of Peaceable Kingdom Retreat have not changed as we will continue the work our founders envisioned. The opportunity to join with Variety to help all types of kids will allow PKRC to take wings and fly to the next level.”
Variety – The Children’s Charity of Texas
11300 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 602
Dallas, Texas 75243