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Get ready for Walking on Sunshine

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Mary Cariola Center will host its annual Walking on Sunshine fundraiser virtually this year September 18-20.

There will be a virtual pep rally to kick things off on Thursday, September 17.

Karen Zandi, the President and CEO for Mary Cariola Center, discussed the fundraiser and back to school preparations Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“It means a lot of additional preparation certainly as many public districts are experiencing themselves,” Zandi said of the back to school work. “For Mary Cariola our staff has been working all summer and many of them have really intensified their work in the last couple of weeks. We are ready for children to be on site on Thursday!”

Walking on Sunshine helps fund Mary Cariola’s programming. “I can’t wait to see all of the video posts and pictures that people will send us,” said Zandi. “It is a whole weekend. So we will have a virtual pep rally to kick it off on the seventeenth, and then the entire weekend of the eighteenth to the twentieth. It gives people lots of flexibility to experience the sunshine and do something wonderful for themselves, get out, walk, and exercise. You know we’re all a little tired of Zoom and not really seeing people, so I really encourage people to get some exercise and some Sunshine in your spirit and support the walk.”

Zandi said fundraising through Walking on Sunshine is especially important this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on funding. “For us it feels like every week we’ve gone – ahh, now we’ve got to solve that one – and frankly it costs some revenues for us. We need some additional support for things like our preschool program. People were not doing evaluations for preschoolers because you couldn’t really do it successfully remotely, so now we’ve had to really step up our efforts with our evaluation team. We’ve had to make a lot of modifications to our space. We have our workshop with polycarbonate dividers so students have their own little areas that will be safe but visually still have field of vision to one another but we’ll have barriers that keep them safe. Some of our furniture we’ve had to change. Children cannot share all of the equipment that we used to share in a classroom. They have to have their own individual bins. But we will meet the challenge. We’re going to make a safe environment for our children and our individuals that we serve in the residences. We’ve had to be more clever for how to keep everybody safe, stable, and emotionally healthy.”

Zandi expressed her appreciation for Walking on Sunshine sponsors Comprehensive Dermatology of Rochester, Rochester Clinical Research, Smola Consulting, QCI Asset Management, and Lawley Insurance.

To register for Walking on Sunrise and for more information, visit

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