The Young Adult Institute (YAI) raised $302,166 June 6 during its annual Central Park Challenge, with help from Tony winners Ali Stroker, Lindsay Mendez, Kelli O’Hara, LaChanze, and more. The event, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drew approximately 8,500 viewers worldwide for the virtual celebration in support of the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) community.
“As someone who grew up with a disability, I was often told what my limitations were before I even got to try,” said Stroker, who became the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony for her performance in 2019. “The Central Park Challenge shows so many like myself that we can achieve more than what society expects of us.”
YAI has held the Central Park Challenge on the first Saturday of June for more than 30 years. What traditionally includes a four-mile run, 3K walk, and musical performances at the Central Park bandshell transitioned this year to a digital format that combined video messages and performances from the YAI community with a virtual walk and run. Among the performances, O’Hara sang a medley of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” and The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
The Central Park Challenge fundraising season continues until June 30. For more information, visit YAI.org.