CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – About 30 kids with special needs hit the stage Thursday night at The Factory in Chesterfield to perform during the second annual Variety Unbound: An Evening of Empowerment event.

The event raises money for Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis which helps special needs children with medical equipment, programs, and therapy.

“It’s been exciting to see the kids,” said Brian Roy, the charity’s executive director. “We get inspiration from them.”

This year’s event features America’s Got Talent finalist and deaf singer Mandy Harvey.

“This is something I’ve been looking forward to for months,” Harvey said.

Harvey will perform original songs with her ukulele. Harvey said she gets as much inspiration from the children as they do from her.

“Everybody gets something out of it,” she said.

Harvey lost her hearing at 18 due to a connective tissue disorder. She performs at similar concerts benefiting children with special needs and different abilities around the world.

“My hope for what I have to say or sing is that it can give a different perspective for somebody or start conversation to break down a little bit of that wall,” Harvey said.

Variety the Children’s Charity serves 30 counties in southern Illinois and the greater St. Louis area.

“You’ll never meet more optimistic kids or optimistic parents, despite all of the challenges that they overcome,” Roy said. “I’m inspired every day I come to work.”