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.


Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.”



Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.


Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.
 

Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.



Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.


Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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.




View Larger Map






Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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

Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!

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!

Do you like what you read on our blog, but do not have the time or access to visit it everyday? why not sign up to receive our blog updates via RSS or e-mail!