A group of Great Neck residents will join thousands of people with disabilities, their friends, families, celebrities and community members for the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network's 19th annual Central Park Challenge on Saturday, June 5. This is the YAI/NIPD Network's largest event and is designed to raise public awareness regarding the rights and accomplishments of individuals with disabilities. Proceeds from this event support more than 400 community-based programs that provide services to people with developmental and learning disabilities and their families throughout the New York metropolitan area.
The Central Park Challenge brings together people of all abilities to enjoy a day in Central Park with a 3K walk, a 5K run and entertainment and activities for the whole family. The event is designed to celebrate the success and achievements of people with developmental and learning disabilities in the community. By creating walking teams, YAI/NIPD Network supporters and community members can raise funds for programs and promote awareness of the rights and abilities of individuals with disabilities.
Gary Bronheim, a long-time supporter of the YAI/NIPD Network, formed a running team with fellow Great Neck residents, Randi Barron, Alan Blondman, Seth Bronheim and Steve Moss.
"I am proud to be a supporter of the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network," said Gary Bronheim. "I believe it is so important for people with disabilities to have the same rights as everyone else, and to be able to lead independent, dignified and productive lives. We're thrilled to support the Central Park Challenge."
The Central Park Challenge begins at 8:30 a.m. near the 72nd Street transverse, by the bandshell. A race for wheelchair users will begin at 9 a.m., followed by a competitive 5K run. The 3K fundraising walk is set for 9:45 a.m. and will be followed by Junior All-American Races for children 12 and under. An activity area for children will open at 8:30 a.m. and participants can enjoy free food, entertainment and fun for the whole family until 1 p.m.
"For decades people with disabilities were hidden in institutions, removed from their families and the community," said Dr. Philip H. Levy, YAI/NIPD's president and COO. "Three decades ago no one could have imagined a day where thousands of people gather in Central Park to celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities."
Celebrities joining the Central Park Challenge include: WABC-TV Anchor Bill Ritter, actor Dominic Chianese from The Sopranos, actor David Eigenberg from Sex and the City, former New York Met and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez, Miss Teen USA Tami Farrell, Marc Coppola of Q104.3-FM, Zach Leibowitz of ESPN2's Cold Pizza and actor Richard Kind of Spin City.
The Central Park Challenge is co-sponsored by the New York City Park Department. The event would not be possible without the key sponsors, including ABM Engineering Services, Update Legal, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Oxford Health Plans, WABC-TV, Time Warner Cable, Hoy, and Q104.3 FM.
Established in 1957, the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network is comprised of seven award-winning, not-for-profit health and human services agencies committed to helping build brighter futures for people of all ages with developmental and learning disabilities and their families. The YAI/NIPD Network provides services to more than 20,000 individuals daily in the New York metropolitan area, including Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties and the Hudson Valley region, as well as in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Puerto Rico. For additional information about the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network, visit www.yai.org.
For information to run or to make contributions, contact Gary Bronheim at 466-8125 or e-mail him at GJBDman@aol.com.