Thursday, December 23, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS


From all of us at the Central Park Challenge to all of you in cyberspace, we wish you the happiest of holidays this year!  It's hard to believe, but the snowy image above is of the very same "Literary Walk" portion of Central Park we walk through each year.  We think it's picturesque all year round!

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Yule and Happy New Year to all!





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Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little CPC Mystery


We have a confession to make: We’ve been keeping a secret from you.

Yes, it’s true, dear, devoted CPC supporters.  We have a secret, which we hope to share with you very soon.  But it’s not quite time just yet…

So instead, we’re going to make you guess what it could be.  But don’t worry; we’ll give you some clues to point you in the right direction.

   1. We have something new to show you… Or is it someone?
   2. Traveled from halfway around the world to join us
   3. More than just a friend to the CPC – we’re like family
   4. As always: super cute!
   5. Will soon be seen with our official YAI Network spokesperson, Sherri Shepherd

So, any guesses…?

 



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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Little Turkeys Trot for the CPC

At the New York League for Early Learning Gramercy School, excited preschoolers did more than run, skip and jump into Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. They trotted!

Since 2005, Gramercy School has organized a Central Park Challenge fundraiser called the “Turkey Trot” where kids from each classroom take turns trotting through the hallways as their peers cheer them on. As they cross a finish line of colorful streamers, all of the children receive a Certificate of Accomplishment, a hug from their teachers and, of course, a big glass of water.

Bonnie O’Brien, art teacher at Gramercy, explained, “Families and friends sponsor their children and a donation is made towards the Central Park Challenge for each child who participates in the holiday run. It’s evolved into our most successful fundraiser each year because it involves both the kids and their families.”

In addition to the Trot itself, the kids play “pin-the-feather on the turkey” using feathers they made themselves in art class. The fundraiser culminates in song as the entire group claps their hands and sings about a happy turkey and an even happier Thanksgiving.

The annual Turkey Trot is an event that all of the children look forward to each November. But perhaps even more, it is an event that Gramercy staff appreciate and welcome with thankful arms.

“All of the kids love the chance to run around the whole school without there being an element of competition,” said Music Therapist Elizabeth Balzano. “But more than that, there is a finish line and a sense of accomplishment. The Turkey Trot is an activity that provides a very typical experience for our kids that they might not otherwise get.”


Aren’t these photos making you say “Awwww!” right now?






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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fundraiser? More like YUM-raiser!

Be honest: donating money can be hard sometimes. But not when you're required to EAT in order to do it!

If you love dinner as much as you love helping a good cause, come out THIS THURSDAY and join YAI's Brooklyn Day Services Program for their kick-off Central Park Challenge Fundraiser at Applebees's.

Located at 2201 Nostrand Avenue (near Brooklyn College), on Thursday December 2, Applebee's will donate 10% of your total bill to the Brooklyn Day Services CPC fundraising efforts. But make sure you print out a copy of the flier (below), otherwise YAI won't receive the funds.

So bring a friend (or three) and enjoy a meal anytime on Thursday, December 2 at the Nostrand Ave Applebee's.  YAI, and your stomach, will thank you!

If you have any questions please contact the Brooklyn Day Program at (718) 646- 7699 and ask for CPC captains Christie or Yvonne.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feeling a little bit nostalgic for the Central Park Challenge?  Bummed that you have to wait until next June to experience it all again?  Check out the latest Central Park Challenge video and relive the memories!

Don't you feel even more excited now??


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aaaaand... We're Back!

Welcome back to the official YAI and Broadview Networks Central Park Challenge blog! 

This year, we’ve gotten our Central Park Challenge website up and running a full FOUR months earlier than last year.  Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC’s The View, is back again this year as the official CPC spokesperson.

We’re so excited by the fantastic support we received for the 2010 CPC that we’re inviting you to register for the 2011 CPC now!

Did you know that the 2010 Central Park Challenge raised over $1.5 million?  Every dollar raised goes to ensure that 20,000 children and adults with disabilities continue to receive the critical services they need.

Once you register, we can help you plan great fundraising events to reach your goals.  It’s never too early to start!

So sign up, and join Sherri and 12,000 friends, family and supporters of the YAI Network for a day of hope and opportunity!



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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tina Stollak’s Team: Raising funds for YAI

Tina Sussman-Stollak has been working tirelessly for YAI’s Annual Central Park Challenge for years. Her son Michael was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, at age eleven. Some years later, as Tina proudly reports, she was fortunate to find YAI . . . and that has truly made all the difference. Today, Michael is an adult living at one of YAI’s supported apartments where he receives services from our extraordinary staff.

Always committed, always involved . . . each and every year Tina embarks on a massive letter writing campaign to her extensive network of family, friends and colleagues to raise funds for the critical services provided by YAI. The money Tina raises goes directly to support Michael’s home at the Newbridge Apartments.

YAI is Tina’s second family, but number one in helping Michael to manage the challenges he faces everyday and to realize his full potential.

We are grateful for Tina’s continued support. Tina, Michael and Glenn are true partners of the YAI Network - - they are ardent supporters of the important work that we do and an integral part of the YAI family.



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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Winners of the 2010 CPC Raffle

Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 Central Park Challenge Raffle:



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The Zipkin Team: Running Strong from Across the Country

Last year the Zipkin Team helped raise more than $6000 for YAI and Broadview Network's Central Park Challenge, with a significant portion of that going directly to YAI's Centereach Residence, where their loved one, Josh, lives. The Zipkin Team gained support both at home in New York and with more family and friends in Seattle, Washington. They really appreciate the support they have gained and look forward to their fourth year in this event.

YAI's good work was especially helpful this year. After celebrating his eighth year anniversary at Amster, Rothstein and Ebenstein, Josh began having a hard time at work. After conversations with his house staff and his service coordinator, a telephone call to YAI's Central Office gave the family hope that theycould get him restarted on the right foot at AR & E.

"Within a week YAI had hooked us up to their job training and job coaching programs. On Tuesday, April 13, Josh began their Job Club with a personal job coach."

Josh's friends and family "feel strongly about the important role YAI plays and... are very impressed by the warmth and dedication of the staff we've met. This is a way to show our support." That is what YAI means to us, and what it means when they say "we will always be there for you."

The Zipkins were very excited that Josh's brother David, his wife Abby and their friends joined them across 3,000 miles by doing the first ever Seattle walk/run for YAI. They were joined by 21 friends and babies to raise money for the Zipkin Team!

 
"Each year since Josh moved into the YAI house in Centerreach, my family has walked the CPC with a team," said David. "And each year Abby and I call my mom or dad and speak to the Zipkin Team as they walk through Central Park.  I can always hear their excitement and it's always bittersweet that we can't be there.  This year, we decided the next best thing to being there was to have our own event.  Abby and I feel strongly about the important role YAI plays and we are very impressed by the warmth and dedication of the staff we've met.  This is a way to show our support."
This year, the Zipkin Team is working hard to raise money in order to combat many proposed state and federal budget cuts. They know that every penny raised will help YAI to continue providing excellent services to Josh and 20,000 other people with developmental and learning disabilities.

It's not too late to support the Zipkin Team's efforts! Support them with a donation today!


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Friday, June 4, 2010

FAQ's

We're very excited about tomorrow and can't wait to see everyone in the park bright and early! If you have any questions about tomorrow, please follow this link to our Event FAQ's page:

http://yai.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=CPC2010EventFAQs

See you soon!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking

For YAI Hastings resident Jared Berzow, “No” is not a word in his vocabulary. Recently, while selling homemade chocolate lollipops and Central Park Challenge raffle tickets at an A&P in Hastings, NY, Jared reminded his peers and the community about the role that optimism plays in success. “Would you like to buy a raffle ticket to support the YAI Central Park Challenge?” Jared asked supermarket customers. While many eagerly purchased tickets, one customer said “No” and walked briskly past an enthusiastic Jared.

Rather than feeling upset by the negative response, Jared’s focus turned to identifying a positive, proactive approach to remedying the situation. He could have let the customer just walk away, but Jared instead chose to pose a very simple question: “Why not?” he asked calmly.

In this moment, the customer stopped and turned around. He paused for a moment, unsure of what to say. Finally he moved closer to Jared, aware that his reason was only haste. “You’re right,” he calmly spoke. “I have no reason.” And with that, five raffle tickets were purchased.

Next time you are rushing to accomplish tasks and make it through the day, think of Jared’s story. You will be reminded of a passionate spirit who made a difference in the world by simply asking “why not?”

You can make a difference, too.  There is still plenty of time to register for the Central Park Challenge on June 5, 2010. Encourage your friends, family and neighbors to join you for the 5K Run, 3K Walk or in the Children’s Play Area.

If you would like to directly support Jared’s fundraising efforts, you can join his walk team or make a donation by clicking here!

Together, the YAI Network and you have the power to walk, run and change lives for people with disabilities. After all….why not?

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Geraldo Rivera Wants YOU to Be There!

Nearly 40 years after investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera exposed the horrid conditions at Willowbrook Institution, he advocated on behalf of people with developmental disabilities during his keynote speech at YAI Network’s 31st Annual International Conference in New York City. While at the conference, Geraldo took some time to invite the community to YAI and Broadview Networks 25th Annual Central Park Challenge on Saturday June 5.




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Facebook Foto Fun!

You are already registered to join the YAI community on Saturday June 5 at YAI and Broadview Networks Central Park Challenge. But what’s the next step?

Now is the time to spread the word to everyone you know, and YAI is making it simpler than ever! Go YAI-virtual and upload any one of the photos below as your new Facebook profile picture. Encourage friends, family and everyone in your network to do the same, and you’ll be taking a proactive step in getting the word out about the Central Park Challenge. Just right-click any of the pictures, save to your desktop and then upload to your Facebook account.




Once you’ve YAI-ed your Facebook profile picture, add the YAI Boundless Fundraising Facebook application  and you’ll really maximize your fundraising efforts! With just the click of a Facebook button, everyone in your network will be able to make a contribution to support YAI and you. Simply log in to your Participant Center and click the Facebook logo. Problems? E-mail us for help!

Walk, run - and go on Facebook! – and help the YAI Network change lives for people with disabilities.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Special Thank You from Sherri Shepherd

YAI Network spokesperson and The View co-host Sherri Shepherd would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone in the community who has registered for the 2010 YAI and Broadview Networks Central Park Challenge and supported YAI’s fundraising efforts. Thanks to your tremendous response, the Central Park Challenge is sure to be a huge success! Check out what Sherri has to say!




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It's the Final Countdown!

YAI and Broadview Networks 25th Annual Central Park Challenge is only 10 days away! Can you believe it? Well, neither can we! Join YAI staff, sponsors, family, friends and members of the community as we rally together in Central Park on Saturday June 5, 2010. Whether you are participating in the 5k Run, the 3k Walk or enjoying time in the Kids Play Area, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic day, all while supporting YAI’s programs and mission.

Don’t miss out! Spread the word to friends, family and coworkers and register TODAY!




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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Doing Good and Looking Great!

There is no better way to let the world know that you are participating in YAI’s 2010 Central Park Challenge than by sporting an official t-shirt, designed by ultra-chic fashion designer, Kay Unger. All CPC participants who fundraise $25 or more will get a shirt in their size! 

Kay designed the yellow shirt for kids and the navy shirt for adults.




So what are you waiting for? Wear your heart on your sleeve when you register for the 2010 Central Park Challenge TODAY!  Get ready to walk, run and change lives for people with disabilities.



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Jaden Rallies for Autism Services!

Jaden, the little boy with autism who is raising awareness about the 2010 Central Park Challenge, has his work cut out for him.

Though only 3-years-old, Jaden joined his parents and YAI Network staff, at a rally on Tuesday on the steps of City Hall urging the New York City Council to continue its $1.575 million city-wide autism initiative serving families not eligible for other public support. Staff from more than 20 other service providers, parents of children with autism, individuals of all ages and New York City Councilman Mark Weprin also participated in the rally.

Because autism has reached epidemic proportions, the YAI Network must plan ahead to meet the needs and services of this ever-growing population. The Central Park Challenge is one way that we do this. While research continues for a cure, there’s evidence that early intervention, detection and treatment enhance the quality of life of children on the spectrum. Parent education and awareness is critical to ensure that these children receive the appropriate services.

Thanks to the funding, the YAI Network over the last year was able to host free autism family support and training programs for parents of children on the spectrum, a full-day conference on autism, featuring some of the nation’s most prominent authorities, a full-day conference entirely in Spanish to train families, caregivers and professionals in the field, and many other programs.

“I feel so lucky to be involved with YAI and have access to these great conferences and workshops,” said Sandra Vasquez-Lugo, Jaden's mom. “This initiative lets people know there’s help out there and that’s so important for families dealing with autism.”  

“The City Council's autism initiative funding has been so critical in ensuring that parents learn about and gain access to the services that can make a tremendous difference in their child's quality of life,”  said Marco Damiani, Senior Director of Clinical and Family Services for YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities, a member of the YAI Network. “Until there's a cure, this funding is important to assure families that there is hope."

Support Team Jaden's fundraising efforts today!


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Runners: Last Chance to Save $10!

Will you be running the 5K at the Central Park Challenge on June 5? Register through May 20 and pay only $20. After that, the registration fee will go up to $30!

Register today and enjoy a great race, for a great cause!


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Friday, May 7, 2010

This is the Real Reason We are Supporting the Central Park Challenge

During tough economic times, people with disabilities are traditionally the group that is hit the hardest. For hundreds of thousands of people across the United States, this could ultimately spell a human rights disaster. This isn't far-reaching hysteria. Incarceration, abuse and degradation are within the living memory of many people with developmental disabilities. For some, it's still happening.

At YAI's International Conference last week, three former "patients" at Willowbrook, the notorious institution on Staten Island, presented art to Geraldo Rivera as a thank-you for exposing the horrors that they lived with every single day.

Today, the Staten Island Real-Time News published an interview with the three Willowbrook survivors, David, Barbara and Franklin (who all now reside in YAI community-based residences), including their recollections of their days in the institution.

If you were a patient in Building 5, you risked burning to death in the shower. Or being tossed from your cold, metal bed onto the even colder floor in the middle of the night. And forget about warm meals - if you were fed at all. Read the full story.

Returning to conditions like this is not an option. Form a Central Park Challenge Team or support YAI with a donation today.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Plan a Family Day with centralpark.com!

The Central Park Challenge is a great family event in one of the greatest parks in the world. But the good memories don't have to stop there! The CPC wraps up around noon, so why not make a day of being in Central Park? Check out the Wildlife Conservation Society's Zoo, explore the playgrounds, celebrate your unbirthday with Alice or pretend to get lost in the forest of the Ramble. You can even explore a real castle!centralpark.com

Pack a picnic, sunscreen and a camera and spend the day enjoying New York City's great outdoors for free or very little money. For more information on these and hundreds of other attractions and activities, visit centralpark.com, which also has maps, directions and everything else you need to know!



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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Walk--and a Push--for His Brother

In the picture: Roberto and Marco are front and center with their mom (far left), dad (far right) and family friends.

Like a lot of brothers, Roberto and Marco like wrestling and playing together. "When I wrestle with Marco and pick him up, that makes him happy," says Roberto, 9, who seems to have a special window into what his little brother is thinking. So it's no surprise that Roberto became an enthusiastic supporter of the Central Park Challenge a few years ago when Marco attended the YAI Network's Roosevelt Children's Center, a preschool for children who need a lot of medical and staff support. Marco, who is 5, has multiple disabilities, including blindness, as a result of Sturge-Weber syndrome. 

Marco graduated from Roosevelt last year and now attends a school at the Jewish Guild for the Blind. But Roberto didn't see why his family shouldn't keep supporting the Central Park Challenge. "Roberto loves wearing his Central Park Challenge t-shirt over and over and he specifically asked me if we could do it again this year," said Linda, the boys' mom.

Their family, joined this year by baby Francesca, will be walking with Jack's Team. Jack is one of Marco's former classmates at Roosevelt. The family is happy to be giving back to the school. "We want to support the services at YAI, because it's a wonderful place for our children to grow in a safe environment," Linda says. "My son can't talk, so you want to know that he's safe in a nurturing and stimulating environment."

They also see the Central Park Challenge as a way to expose kids to people of different abilities in a fun and festive atmosphere. "Friends who have gone have had a really great time and that's a really good reason to come to the Central Park Challenge, especially if you have small children. It's a great community event, a fun thing for the kids and the music is great," Linda says. "It's an educational opportunity for kids, but on the other hand, they just have plain fun."

Linda says that Roberto most looks forward to pushing his brother's chair in the 3K Walk. "Marco loves going fast," says Roberto. "I gather up all my strength and push him really fast and it makes him laugh.

"We have a lot of fun together. I love Marco, he deals with all of this. I'm lucky to have him."

Support the Cohens' fundraising efforts today!


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Bay Ridge Community Rallies Around Kids With Disabilities

You’re never too young to start fundraising!

Students at the YAI Network's New York League for Early Learning William O’Connor (WOC) Preschool boarded the Central Park Challenge fundraising train on April 28, 2010 and, quite literally, walked the WOC. The kids participated in the school’s annual WOC-A-THON, marching from William O’Connor School through Cannon Ball Park and continuing on along Fort Hamilton to cross the finish line at J. Carty Park.

In addition to receiving a big medal at the end of the WOC, the local community rallied around the children; Looney Louie, fan-favorite clown, entertained the kids with silly antics while local firemen led the eager boys and girls on an exploration of the fire truck.

While the WOC-A-THON successfully raised money for the Central Park Challenge, it also served as a fun-filled day for students, teachers and parents, alike. "This event is so wonderful in the way that it demonstrates teamwork to all of the kids," said Carolyn Ciregna, whose 4-year-old daughter Arianna is graduating from WOC preschool this June. "They all walk together and even cross the finish line together. The kids just have such a great time being outside, playing in the park, and taking photographs with members of the local fire department. It’s such a treat for them; the whole bus ride over to the start line everyone is yelling ‘It’s the WOC-A-THON today!’"

Carolyn and many other parents provided parental support and walked alongside the young children. As she spoke about the WOC-A-THON, and William O’Connor School, Carolyn gushed proudly. "I can’t thank the school enough for everything they have done for Arianna, so when I have the chance to give back in a small way I’m ready!"

Support the kids at the William O'Connor School today! 

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Friday, April 30, 2010

We Salute Our Central Park Challenge Moms

...and every mom who has a son or daughter with a disability. Happy Mothers Day.





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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spread the Message, Grassroots Style!

Central Park Challenge posters and brochures are here!

About a month ago, we received a message from Anna Perales, wondering when the posters would be ready. Anna loved participating in the Central Park Challenge with her two sons last year and walking to honor the memory of their beloved Grandma Betty. They couldn't wait to begin spreading the word for this year!

"We have already been preparing the ground work by talking to local businesses," Anna said in an email. "I have also received the ok from Soup Spot (Cafe 31 on 31st street). They told me they would hang it too; a lot of people have soup there. Once we get the posters I will take the boys around the neighbourhood to put them up!"

Hanging posters and distributing brochures to local businesses is a great way for the whole family, including youngsters, to get involved with the Central Park Challenge and spread the word. It's a wonderful opportunity to tell business owners and their customers about the great work that YAI does to help people with disabilities live independently in their communities. By hanging up posters and brochures in your community, you are advocating for people with disabilities! 

Email us at cpc@yai.org with your name, address and how many posters and brochure stands you would like and we'll mail them to you.


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Monday, April 19, 2010

Why We Walk: Bakery Edition

By day, Meilan Chinn is the Payroll Manager here at YAI and is distinguished at the coffee machine by her million-volt smile. But Meilan doesn't stop working for YAI when she goes home at night. For many years, she has harnessed her passion for baking into the beloved Sweet Treat of the Week fundraiser at YAI's Central Office. Over the years, Meilan's Sweet Treats have raised thousands of dollars for the Central Park Challenge and now she's spreading her message of generosity and compassion to the youngsters in her life.

Since my Sweet Treats and home-made baked goods have been in such high demand at YAI, my trips for supplies have become more and more frequent. So much so that my weekend visits to my nephews, Christopher and Nicky, began to include routine trips to Walmart and Sam's Club to replenish the candy, flour, sugar, butter and eggs I need to keep Sweet Treats alive. After the first few trips of "massive candy and treats" buying, the boys started to question why I am "always" buying so much stuff. So I explained to them that I do a lot of fundraising for the organization that I work for, which is a great cause because it helps children (and I said children so they could relate) who a have learning disabilities and need extra help. 

Immediately, they jumped the gun and laid the guilt trip on me: "So you are buying all this stuff for other children and not us?" Ever since that comment, I've been trying to explain to them what fundraising means and how it makes me feel to be a part of something so worthwhile, but of course kids will be kids and every time we made that trip to Walmart I hear the same old thing: "She loves them more than us."

Finally, last year, I asked the boys if they would like to come to the Central Park Challenge and walk with me and meet some of these "other" children of mine and the little one, Nicky, said "yes." He woke up at the crack of dawn, my brother dropped him off at my house and we rode the subway in, he did the walk, participated in the activities, met tons of YAI staff and participants.

At the end of the day on our way home, Nicky (holding the banner in the picture) turned to me and said, "Now, I understand why you do it, I wanna help, can I come back next year and do this with you again?"



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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This year's biggest team? It could be yours!

We talk a lot about the importance of fundraising in support of YAI Network programs for people with disabilities, but the Central Park Challenge is also all about spreading the word. If you've been there, you know it's a diverse, inclusive community event that celebrates all that people with disabilities have to offer. So the more people you recruit for your team, the more people will know how the amazingness of YAI and the folks we work for.

What a great feeling.

Oh, but it gets better: THERE ARE AWARDS. Yes, we are talking official Gold Star, A++ recognition for your commitment to people with disabilities.


Last year, Broadview Networks, our wonderful sponsor, won the Largest Corporate Team Award. Broadview employees and families made a tremendous showing, as you can see in the picture up top.

For two years in a row, Jack's Team (at left) has been the Largest Family Team! Will they retain their title in 2010? They are a dedicated bunch; Jack's parents even wrote a blog post for us last year.Support their efforts here.

At this point it's anybody's game. YOUR TEAM could achieve any of the following prestigious distinctions and now is the time to start!

  • Largest Corporate Team
  • Largest Family Team
  • Largest YAI Network Program Team
 
Of course, we also recognize our top fundraising teams.
  • Top Corporate Team
  • Top Family Team
  • Top YAI Network Program Team
  • Top Fundraiser Overall
 

Let us know how you're doing in your recruitment efforts and we'll feature YOUR TEAM on this very blog.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

East Islip Community Rallies Around YAI

YAI Network’s staff is known for their creativity when fundraising for the Central Park Challenge, held this year on June 5. This year Melissa Weber, CPC Captain at Comack Day Habilitation in East Islip, Long Island sought to reach out to families. When Melissa learned that the restaurant, Shandon Court was owned by the family of Kate, a Comack Day Habilitation program participant, she was inspired by the opportunity to outreach in a new and different way.

The staff at Comack Day Habilitation and the Finley Family decided that a Family Night at the restaurant would be an exciting way to gain community support. Shandon Court’s staff donated all of their time. They advertised on Facebook, made tickets and fliers were mailed directly to Comack Day families to encourage their participation. The restaurant asked their vendors for auction donations and local florists and bakeries provided gift certificates. The restaurant donated the food for the event and five live Irish bands donated their time.

Comack Day Habilitation raised more than $3000 and 100 people came to the event. Regulars at the restaurant connected with the fundraiser’s purpose because they knew Kate and her family. Family Night introduced people who have known Kate for years to her friends with disabilities.

“The event was so inspiring and a great success!” said Melissa. “I couldn’t have done it without the Finleys and the staff at Comack, especially my co-captain Brittany Barclay.”



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Monday, March 29, 2010

Fundraise with Long Island Employment Services’ and Lord & Taylor!

On Tuesday April 13, join the Long Island Employment Services’ efforts to fundraise for the Central Park Challenge. At Lord & Taylor’s Garden City location, supporters can purchase coupon packs for $5 each.


Lauren Siegel can answer any questions at (516) 338-4450.


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Friday, March 26, 2010

Why I Run: A Mother's Motivation

Jennifer Wine, a mom of two young kids, looks forward to running the 5K in the Central Park Challenge on June 5.




CPC: Have you participated at the CPC before?
JW: Last year was the first year I ran the 5k at the CPC and I was a little sluggish.

CPC: Are you new to running?
JW: I am an asthmatic and wanted to see if I could become a runner; it really improved my asthma.

CPC: What motivated you to choose the CPC as your goal race?
JW: I have run in other races and I find that the CPC race is the most inspiring and supportive with the volunteers cheering everyone on. A lot of other races have great support at the start and the finish, but the CPC has volunteers cheering on runners all through the course.

CPC: Can you speak to the importance of physical fitness for moms?
JW: I have a 2 year old daughter and a supportive husband, who is also a runner. Now that both my husband and I are in our thirties with two children, being healthy is very important to us. Not just for ourselves but as an example to our two girls.

CPC: How are you training so far and what is your favorite aspect of it?
JW: I am five weeks postpartum and have been training for two weeks for the 5k to get back into pre-baby shape. I am using the "couch to 5k" running program, an eight week walk run program that has you progressively running more than walking until you can run without stopping. I've found this program to be less intimidating than others and it has really helped me to stay with it. I am a less stressed, happier and healthier person because of it.

CPC: Do you have training tips for other moms with babies or young children?
JW: The advice that I’d give other moms would be to get out there and try; it will improve your happiness and well being. Also, set a goal and run for a cause that you believe in.

CPC: What are you most looking forward to?
JW: I look forward to participating in the 5k for many more years and raising money and awareness for YAI and the wonderful work they do.

Show your support for Jennifer or join her team.
 

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why We Walk: Team Schafler's Charge

Brandon Scott, Captain of Team Schafler, tells how is work at the Schafler Residence has changed his life and motivated him to fundraise for the Central Park Challenge.

The YAI Network provides life changing services to tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families each day. Children and adults with disabilities rely on the YAI Network for basic services such as preschools, health care, housing, job training and more in order to reach their fullest potential and be active members of our community.

The folks at YAI’s Schafler House have become my second family. It has been a blessing to work with amazing people. I look forward to coming to work everyday.

More than ever the YAI Network needs your support to make sure that they can continue to provide people with disabilities with the services that they need. That is the reason our team is committed to doing all that we can to raise funds and awareness for this important cause.

We are so happy to be making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and that is why we will be participating in the Central Park Challenge event on Saturday, June 5th 2010. We would love for you to join our team or make a donation to support our efforts.

Thank you.



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Why I Run: A Staff Member with a Cause

Today's post is by Paula Lamanna, a staff member at YAI's Manhattan Day Services.

For as long as I can remember, I hated running. Running was what they made us do in gym class. It made my knees hurt, gave me shin splints and most importantly, it was boring. So, throughout my life I found other ways to exercise. I took dance, gymnastics, martial arts and yoga classes. I avoided running whenever possible.

I was a fund-raising captain for my first Central Park Challenge and went as a volunteer. I stood on the side lines and cheered the runners on but for the first time; I started thinking that it might be something I wanted to try. I started running on the treadmill and training myself to run the following year. I figured it was only 5K. I could survive that. As I was training, I found that I actually liked to run. I liked the peace that I could find. The rhythm of my feet moving was soothing and gradually I was getting stronger and it wasn’t hurting quite so much anymore.  It was around this time that I got a post card in the mail from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. They train volunteers to compete in endurance events and raise money to fight blood cancers. What do the volunteers get for all of their effort, you may ask, well, besides professional coaching, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society also pays for your transportation to the event of your choice. In my case, the event was the Paris Marathon. Yes, that’s right the girl who hated to run was going to run a marathon! While training for the Paris marathon I ran several New York Road Runners events with Team in Training, including the Fred Lebow Classic, the Bronx Half-Marathon and the Colon Cancer Challenge 15K. I trained for only four months, raised over $6,400 for LLS and on April 6, 2008 I ran 26.2 miles in Paris. It was around mile 10 that I decided that I LOVE running and that Paris would not be my last marathon.

Ironically, two months later I was sick and was not able to run the CPC, which was my motivation to begin running in the first place. However, a year later in June of 2009, I was finally ready to run the Central Park Challenge.  This was an especially poignant race to run because we were running in honor of my coworker Will, who is fighting pancreatic cancer. Will was one of the first people who welcomed me when I started working for YAI. He helped to train me and made me feel more comfortable, right from the beginning. I considered it an honor to run for him as part of team “Will Power!” The day of the race, the weather was perfect. It had rained the night before, cooling everything down and washing away a lot of the pollen. It was still slightly overcast, so the sun was not blinding. We had a large team and it was exciting to have so many of us, in our matching “Will Power” shirts. Many of us started out running together but eventually spread out as each of us found our own pace. I ended up running most of the race by myself, but I never felt alone because of all the volunteers lining the course and cheering all of the runners on. My coworkers were lined up near the finish line and I got to run past them twice. On the second lap, as I approached the finish line, I heard all of my coworkers cheering me on and telling me I could do it. It gave me the motivation to pick up my pace and sprint the last few yards. It felt great to complete the race with so many of my friends and co-workers running with me and supporting each other, while raising money and awareness for an agency that does such amazing work. I am excited to run the CPC again this coming June and hopefully, a lot of my co-workers will be running with me again! It is not an exaggeration to say that running the CPC has changed my life and opened me up to a whole new world! Currently, I am working towards qualifying for the 2011 ING New York City Marathon and have run the Gridiron Classic and the Run for Haiti.


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Friday, March 12, 2010

Why not raise funds while you eat your pizza?

Support YAI's Astoria Day Services! On Friday, March 19, go to Uno Chicago Grill in Astoria, Queens (see map) for lunch or dinner and eat for YAI! Just print out the attached coupon and Uno Chicago Grill will donate 20 percent of your purchase back to Astoria Day Services! What a great way to spread awareness in the community.




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Why I Run: A Dad's Story

Today's post is by Josh, who will be running at the Central Park Challenge in honor of his little boy Gabriel.



On June 5, I'll participate in the Central Park Challenge 5K run as team captain of "Gabriel's Gang" to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
 
 
Gabriel is my thriving, loving and free-spirited son. Though he has Down Syndrome, Gabriel is chock-full of charisma, color and humor. . .

His teachers and principals call him the 'Mayor of the School' as he struts the hallways and visits offices to check on everyone's day . . .

He rolls and twirls with his brother and sister at home and in parks like playful puppies . . .

He throws, dribbles and catches a ball with eye-catching precision, and takes to the water like a fish . . .

He sings and dances with a showman's confidence, and at the end of the day he tenderly cuddles with the family - nestled warmly between us as he drifts off to sleep.

I'll run the 5K for my son as a testament to his courage, character, strength and milestones -- and as a message of solidarity and advocacy for YAI. It's an important and noble cause, especially in a time of fiscal constraint and tightening government and corporate budgets.

The YAI Network provides life changing services to tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families each day. Children and adults with disabilities rely on the YAI Network for basic services such as preschools, health care, housing, job training and more in order to reach their fullest potential and be active members of our community. More than ever, the YAI Network needs your support to make sure that they can continue to provide people with disabilities with the services that they need. That is the reason that I am committed to doing all that I can to raise funds and awareness for this important cause.


Please support me in my fundraising efforts today and ensure that the YAI Network can continue to help my son Gabriel and 20,000 other people with disabilities to live, learn, work and grow in our communities.

With deep gratitude,
Josh

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Horace Greeley High School Swims for YAI!

Meg Kaplan makes a point of surrounding herself with amazing people.

For the past ten years, she has coached the boys swim team at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York. And for the past 21 years, she has worked at YAI's Elmsford Day Services in Westchester County, where she is currently a Senior Supervisor. Helping adults with disabilities to be independent by day; coaching young athletes by night--where does she keep her superhero outfit?

Meg recently invited her swim team captains to visit the day program; but she had no idea they would so enthusiastically dive into the idea of supporting their coach's day job and the people she serves.Upon meeting Elmsford’s staff and program participants and learning about YAI and Broadview Networks Central Park Challenge, the swim captains knew they wanted to help.

On Tuesday, 36 swimmers from the boys team and six from the girls team raised nearly $3,700 for the Central Park Challenge through a swim-a-thon at SUNY Purchase. Outstanding!

“I’m so proud of the accomplishments of the boys and girls swim teams and their interest in supporting YAI,” said Meg.

Horace Greeley's efforts were even covered by the local newspaper!  


Great job, Horace Greeley and way to give back to the people in your community!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grassroots Fundraising in Action--Central Park Challenge Paper Suns

Three cheers for the YAI Network's Alan Butger Residence and Kandice Hicks, who works at the home as a medical counselor! Alan Butger is a community-based home for 12 adults with developmental disabilities in Little Neck, Queens. Kandice has worked at YAI for two years this week (happy anniversary Kandice!) and was very impressed when she attended last year's 2009 Central Park Challenge. "It was really cool to see how many people were there, supporting YAI and our guys," she said, adding that her favorite part of the day was seeing the self-advocates at  the Erase the R Word table.

So this year, Kandice attended a Central Park Challenge Region Meeting for YAI staff and learned that selling CPC Paper Suns for $1-$3 donations is a great way to raise funds in the community.

Kandice thought of her mom, who works for a large public agency located in the Financial District. Kandice told her mom about the great work that YAI does and asked if she would spread the word to her co-workers. A few weeks and a few hundred Suns later and Kandice's mom presented her with $196! We love this great example of grassroots fundraising. All it takes is one simple ask to a friend or family member, who spread the word to their friends and colleagues. People are free to donate as much money as they'd like for a Sun, which they can then display to show their support for the YAI Network and people with disabilities in their community.

Kandice says that she's motivated by the people she serves. "Seeing the guys happy, that's the main thing--when I can put a smile on their faces," she said.

Get your suns today! Call Karen Bardavid at 212-273-6256.

Do you have a great story like this one? E-mail us at cpc@yai.org!



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