More than 8,500 people enjoyed the 41st annual Day at Playland for People with Disabilities Friday, which offered free rides and entertainment for people with disabilities as well as their families and caregivers.
County Executive Robert P. Astorino kicked off the day’s Opening Ceremonies along with Tom Kallish, founder of the Tommie Cares Foundation, which sponsored the cost of the event. “The Day at Playland for People with Disabilities is one of my favorite events of the year,” Astorino said. “It gives people with special needs a chance to get out and enjoy a fun day with their families – just like everyone else. I want to thank Tom Kallish and the whole Tommie Cares team for their generous partnership.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that the Tommie Cares Foundation has sponsored the event. The Tommie Cares Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to helping those with physical and developmental special needs gain confidence and self-esteem through real-life adventures. “Tommy Cares is honored to be part of such a wonderful day,” Kallish said. “This day is meant for fun and inclusion and we hope everybody has a wonderful time.”
Each year, the event is organized by the county’s Office for People with Disabilities in partnership with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Marco Pietrangelo, division director of Children’s Services for Cerebral Palsy of Westchester, thanked everyone involved, adding that it was an “honor and a privilege” to join in the Opening Ceremonies. “This is a day when we put our best foot forward and show the community that as individuals with disabilities we share the same excitement that all residents of Westchester County enjoy,” he said.
Evan Latainer, director of the Office for People with Disabilities, said that people come from all across Westchester to enjoy this signature county event, and that each year the response is nothing but uplifting. “Seeing the smiles on people’s faces makes it worth every ounce of effort,” he said.
Special thanks also goes out to Verizon, which provided volunteers to help with ride assistance, registration and other tasks, as well as to Pepsi, which donated gifts and prizes for the volunteers.