The Viscardi Center’s annual fundraising event drew big names and crowds in support of children and adults with disabilities.
Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe took the stage and played a song set with his rock group, the Johnny Smyth Band, at The Viscardi Center’s 55th Celebrity Sports Night, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, on May 19. The uplifting event brought together philanthropists, community leaders, celebrities, and professional athletes to raise funds and awareness for critical educational and employment opportunities that enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities.
McEnroe, honored as Sportsman of the Year, was among a list of athletes and celebrities that included actor Kevin James, New York Islanders Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock, former New York Giant Harry Carson, and ESPN on-air personality Victoria Arlen. Also recognized were this year’s Roy Campanella Awards recipient, Steve Serio, Co-Captain of the Paralympic Gold Medal USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, and Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines.
The event safely returned to an in-person format for the first time since 2019. The Viscardi Center President & CEO Dr. Chris Rosa addressed attendees on the necessity of teamwork to continue the delivery of essential programs and services, especially while navigating challenges from the pandemic.
“All of us – our Board, our benefactors, our volunteers, our leaders, our teachers, our staff, and most importantly, our students and program participants – are fiercely proud to be members of “Team Viscardi,” said Dr. Rosa. “We are singularly focused on the goal of inclusion for people with disabilities in all aspects of community life.”
Attendees enjoyed an elegant, multi-course dinner and silent and live auctions containing a collection of unique items and packages. The 2022 event introduced two fun new elements to the mix—an exciting live wheelchair basketball demo, featuring Viscardi student athletes, and an afterparty featuring music from the Johnny Smyth Band with John McEnroe.
Next year’s Celebrity Sports Night is slated for May 18, 2023.
About The Viscardi Center
The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations based in Albertson, provides a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities. Its programs and services include Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement, entrepreneurship, and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. It was founded in 1952 by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. who himself wore prosthetic legs, served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and became one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities.