YAI’s Central Park Challenge to go virtual for this year’s celebration

Mon, May 18, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

YAI to Celebrate Developmental Disabilities Community at Annual Central Park Challenge

YAI’s Central Park Challenge to go virtual for this year’s celebration

NEW YORK, NY (May 18, 2020) -- YAI will be celebrating the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) community at its annual Central Park Challenge on Saturday, June 6, 2020. To ensure the safety of all participants, YAI leadership opted to go digital, livestreaming the celebrations on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and centralparkchallenge.org.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often overlooked," said Bill Ritter, WABC anchor and longtime YAI supporter. “Although the Central Park Challenge serves as a tool of empowerment for the I/DD community, this is a year to celebrate a community that’s has hung together in the face of adversity. This year’s virtual Central Park Challenge is a testament to the resilience not only of the I/DD community, but also to the lengths that YAI will go to take care of them.”

The Central Park Challenge will feature live musical performances, special guests, our signature 3K Walk, and shout-outs to various programs throughout the region to keep in tradition for this annual event. Joining the fun will be a slew of young Broadway performers eager to stand with YAI and celebrate people of all abilities, including Tony award-winners Ali Stroker and Lindsay Mendez, Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla from "The Prom." Stroker is a fan favorite at YAI for many reasons, not least the distinction of being the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony.

“As someone who grew up with a disability, I was often told what my limitations were before I even got to try,” Stroker said. “The Central Park Challenge shows so many like myself that we can achieve more than what society expects of us. I’m excited to be a part of a day that can inspire and motivate others within our community to achieve their dreams and goals.” 

You can also see our separate release highlighting the performers participating in this year’s Central Park Challenge.

The festivities will differ from past year’s in that audiences throughout the world will be able to participate in the livestream. The celebration will culminate in a Social DisDancing Party, featuring renowned NY-based radio personality DJ Enuff. In revamping this event, details to ensure the safety and security of all involved were carefully considered, according to George Contos, CEO.

“So many in the community look forward to YAI’s Central Park Challenge every year,” Contos said. “We knew we had to stop at nothing to celebrate in the safest and most secure manner.  This year more than ever before, I’m proud to create an experience with the capacity to draw a bigger crowd with more interaction and support.” 

YAI’s 2020 Central Park Challenge will be going virtual on Saturday, June 6, 2020, from 10:30 am-noon EDT via livestream, which can be accessed the day of at centralparkchallenge.org.

ABOUT YAI:
Founded in 1957 as the Young Adult Institute, YAI remains at the forefront of an extraordinary movement aimed at empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. YAI and its network of affiliate agencies offer children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a comprehensive range of services. YAI is committed to seeing beyond disability, providing opportunities for people to live, love, work, and learn in their communities. YAI’s 4,000 employees provide supportive housing, education, medical, dental, and mental health care, job training, community integration, and social enrichment for more than 20,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in downstate New York, northern New Jersey, and northern California.

For more information, please contact:

Kittu Pannu 
Media Relations Manager, YAI 
504.874.7551
Kittu.pannu [at] yai.org