Celebrity Night special guests with students from Henry Viscardi School.Albertson, NY – May 31, 2024 – The Viscardi Center’s signature fundraiser, Celebrity Night, rolled out the red carpet for its attending celebrities. Former New York Yankee and 4x World Series champion Tino Martinez, Actress Kathy Najimy, New York Islanders defensemen Noah Dobson and Scott Mayfield, ESPN personality Victoria Arlen, and Broadway star Christine Ebersole were among the special guests who joined together to help raise essential funds for Viscardi’s life-changing educational and employment programs/services for children and adults with disabilities.

The annual fundraiser, held on May 16, highlighted The Viscardi Center’s founder Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. and his influence on the disability rights movement. A video feature shared the organization’s origin and its founder’s determination to change the employment landscape for disabled people, many of whom were veterans returning from foreign conflicts and unable to find jobs due to their physical disabilities. Dr. Viscardi’s impact was shared through interviews with key supporters of the Center and Henry Viscardi School, which serves medically fragile, children with severe physical disabilities and is often referred to as “the school that love built.”

The awarding of the 2024 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards was part of the evening’s program. The international Awards acknowledge the work of individuals with disabilities around the world who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of people with disabilities. To date over 100 awards have been bestowed since their inception in 2013. Long Island’s Brooke Ellison received an Award posthumously. Brooke was an accomplished disability advocate and the first person with quadriplegia to graduate from Harvard University. At age 11, Ellison became paralyzed after being hit by a car while walking to school on her first day of junior high. She graduated Harvard with honors and received a B.S. in cognitive neuroscience and later earned a master’s degree in public policy at the University, followed by a doctorate in sociology from Stony Brook University. Read about the 2024 Award recipients.

Long-time supporters of The Viscardi Center, John and Janet Kornreich received a Lifetime Achievement Award for their dedication to assisting the Center in fulfilling its mission to educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities. In addition, an announcement was made about the development of the Kornreich Institute for Disability Studies, an educational initiative that will focus on preserving disability history.

Closing out the evening was a magical performance by the Omnium Circus showcasing an array of performers with disabilities. It was a perfect ending to an incredible event highlighting what individuals with disabilities can accomplish.