The 39th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner honored five local athletes, two dedicated partners of the AHRC New York City Foundation, and the legacy of one of New York City’s most beloved sports stars, Thurman Munson. On Tuesday, February 5, hundreds gathered at the Grand Hyatt New York for the dinner, which raised nearly $800,000 for the Foundation.

Sharing in the Mission of AHRC New York City

The dinner was preceded by Diana Munson, her daughter Kelly, and family friends visiting two AHRC NYC-operated programs at West 56th Street—Esther Ashkenas Central Park Early Learning Center, (ELC) and the Walter and Evelyn Redfield Center. The Munsons received a tour of the preschool by Principal, Beth Rosenthal, and by Witemberg CabralFacility Director, and Maria-Mercedes HubbardCommunity Support Supervisor of the Redfield Center, which supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Munsons were joined by AHRC NYC Foundation staff members and by Marco Damiani, AHRC NYC’s CEO.

Diana Munson watches as AHRC NYC's CEO, Marco Damiani, engages with the children

At Central Park ELC, the Munsons learned about academic and behavioral strategies used by teachers to work with the children. They observed several classrooms in action, visited the indoor playground on the second floor of the building, and joined in a music therapy class. Children at the school eagerly interacted with all of the guests.

Children engage in a music therapy session at Esther Ashkenas Central Park Early Learning Center

Downstairs at the Redfield Center, the group was treated to a three-song performance by members of AHRC NYC on Broadway who were rehearsing for their upcoming Valentine’s Day show. Blanca Colon displayed some of the recent art projects she had been working on. Finally, Martin Neal sat down with Diana Munson for a brief interview that appeared on the WKRTM podcast.

When Martin asked why Diana was visiting the program that day, she responded, “We do a dinner every year to honor my husband, who was Thurman Munson. AHRC has become very important and dear to my family, and obviously to all New Yorkers. We’ve raised a lot of money and sometimes you just want to know where the monies are going. So I was doing a tour today to get to know some of the people and see some of the good works and meet some of the teachers and see the happiness and enthusiasm. I’ve seen it all; I’m quite impressed. It’s been gratifying to know that all the money that we’re raising is going for these wonderful causes.”

Diana Munson thanks Maritn Neal after recording the WKRTM podcast