Youth Challenge Announces Leadership Transition

The Youth Challenge (YC) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher J. Garr as CEO, effective February 4, 2019.  Garr replaces Founder and Executive Director, Mary Sue Tanis, who is transitioning into a new role as Director of Planned Giving. The announcement follows an 18-month search conducted by the Youth Challenge Board of Trustees and members of the Board of Advisors.

As YC’s long-time Director of Program Services, Garr brings years of experience in leadership, adapted sports, and inclusion for people with physical disabilities.  Garr believes that adapted sports and art, with a focus on fun and friendship, is a conduit for participants and volunteers alike, to become leaders, advocates, stewards, and innovators in the field of human dignity. Prior to his time at Youth Challenge, Garr taught high school Social Studies and English. He got his start at YC as a volunteer in middle school.

“I’ve held a deep passion for YC since first volunteering at the age of 12,” said Garr. “What started in 1976 with a handful of children and awareness of the need for inclusion in all forms of play, is now a reality—Youth Challenge is the recognized leader in Northeast Ohio for enriching the lives of young people of all abilities. I am proud to serve our families in this new capacity, alongside a staff of dedicated and caring professionals.”

For Tanis, who founded Youth Challenge in 1976, her commitment to community service is at the core of everything she has accomplished as a nonprofit leader for over 40 years.  She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the need for active sports and peer-to-peer socialization for the children and young adults with physical disabilities in the Cleveland area.   Her unique vision also saw the need for teen volunteers to get involved, one-on-one, with their physically disabled peers to learn and grow.

“I look forward to shifting from my role of 42 years as Executive Director to a new post, Director of Planned Giving, and serving YC in a whole new way,” said Tanis.  “With countless opportunities ahead for these amazing children and teens, I am extremely happy to be able to play a role in securing our mission going forward.”

Every holiday celebrated at this year’s Holiday Show

Have you ever wondered how the North Pole celebrates the other holidays besides Christmas?  Well, Mrs. Clause is setting off firecrackers on the 4th of July, the Grinch is handing out tricks and treats for Halloween, and some lucky lads are visiting Santa’s workshop on St. Paddy’s Day.  That was the premise for this year’s annual Holiday Show, a unique production written, directed, choreographed and produced by the YC gang.

For nine weeks this fall, the participants and volunteers in the Dance & Drama program worked tirelessly to create and rehearse the show. The live production was a hit when they performed it on Saturday, December 8 at the Magnificat High School Performing Arts Center.

The show also honored YC’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year, Chris Carney.  Chris has been a part of Team YC for over 20 years as a Trustee, President of the Board, and a dedicated supporter.

Mary Sue Tanis, YC’s Founder & Executive Director, was recognized for her vision and commitment to young people of all abilities for the past 42 years.  Mary Sue is transitioning into a new role, Director of Planned Giving, beginning in January.  Following a moving video tribute, participants, volunteers, staff and Trustees bombarded Mary Sue with flowers.

Thank you to Ed Gallagher and Sarah Clare from the Beck Center for their assistance, expertise, and direction of the Holiday Show.

YC’s Dance & Drama program is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and from a grant from the Cyrus Eaton Foundation.

See photos of the Holiday Show here.

The Rite Aid Foundation Donates $5,000 to YC

In celebration of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media, Youth Challenge has received a $5,000 grant as part of the KidCents Thanks For Giving Holiday program. The grant will be used to give young people opportunities to be able to participate in adapted sports.

“We are proud to be a part of the KidCents Thanks For Giving Holiday program,” said, Chris Garr, Director of Program Services. “This #GivingTuesday, and every day, The Rite Aid Foundation’s support helps us to continue improving the lives of children in our community.”

The Rite Aid Foundation is awarding a total of $2.2 million through its KidCents Thanks For Giving Holiday program. This special program has been created to help the more than 440 KidCents charities across the country advance their efforts to improve the health, safety, and well-being of children.

“#GivingTuesday is a global celebration of giving, and on this day, we wanted to recognize our KidCents charities for all they do to make a positive impact in the communities we serve,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “Through the KidCents Thanks For Giving Holiday program, we want to recognize and support organizations that are focused on giving all year round. We thank all our KidCents charity partners for helping to give kids better lives and brighter futures.”

Through KidCents, members of Rite Aid’s loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and give their change to one of more than 440 nonprofit organizations focused on improving the health and well-being of children. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.

Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners, and associates, has also raised more than $87 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with fiscal 2018 annual revenues of $21.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.