More than 100 people came out last Saturday morning to the Viscardi Center Walk-n-Roll fundraising event in support of the center’s school for disabled children and Abilities vocational training center for disabled adults.
There was a festive atmosphere for the event on a brisk day as alumni, teachers, students and parents of students from Viscardi took two turns around the center’s large Albertson complex, walking and in wheelchairs, to raise money for the center in the second Walk-n-Roll event.
Denise Vargas, president of the Viscardi Alumni Association, said the primary mission of the graduates participating was “to bring awareness to the community and to help pay for programs at the school.”
Doug King, who attended the Viscardi School from 1973 to 1987, said, “This is basically where I started my school career. It’s still a great school to come back to, see old friends and support the school.”
“I’m glad to be back and see how the school has changed an evolved,” said Brandon Leonard, who attended Viscardi from 1981 to 1990.
King now has his own business and Leonard works for an elevator repair firm.
John Kemp, president and CEO of the Viscardi Center, thanked everyone for their support in remarks before the event began.
“We are proud of our distinctive history and where we’re going to go,” Kemp said.
He introduced one of the event participants, Viscardi alumnus Robert Pipia, an attorney who is executive assistant to Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and the Republican candidate for 2nd District Court Justice.
“I’m an alumnus of the school. I want to support the school. The only reason I’ve had this opportunity is because Dr. Viscardi started this school.”
Dr. Henry Viscardi Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs, established Abilities, Inc. in 1952 as a vocational training center to provide career skills to disabled veterans. In 1962, Viscardi established an accredited, independent school to give children with severe physical disabilities the opportunity for a high quality education.
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