About Us

Youth Challenge changes lives in simple yet extraordinary ways.  Children with physical disabilities and their teen volunteer partners learn and grow through adaptive sports, recreation, art, and life-skills training.  At Youth Challenge, we believe that, despite one’s limitations, everyone has the right to play, learn, make friends, have fun, and enjoy life in a safe, welcoming environment. No family is ever charged a fee for Youth Challenge services.

In 1976, Mary Sue (Anter) Tanis had a vision to help young people with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, engage in recreation. Mary Sue’s vision has continued to grow into a dynamic experience for hundreds of children.

YC by the numbers:

  • 150+ participants with physical disabilities, age four and older
  • 300+ teen volunteers, age 12 through 18
  • Hundreds of year-round programs, including sports, arts, and more
  • 95% of participants receive transportation from Youth Challenge’s fleet of accessible vans
  • $0 is ever charged to families for programming

Programs at Youth Challenge provide a unique opportunity for teen volunteers and young people with disabilities to connect and engage one-another peer-to-peer. Each teen volunteer is trained by professionals and peers to work with children with disabilities. Youth Challenge staff facilitates programming to adapt to each participant’s needs. At Youth Challenge, there is truly something for everyone. Click here to see our program summary.

YC’s impact doesn’t end with programming. Participants gain confidence and improve social skills. Volunteers learn empathy and develop a passion for inclusion. Everyone walks out the door (and back in) as friends.

All programs are funded through the support of corporations, foundations, and individual donors. Every donation to YC helps keep the lights on, keep gas in the vans, and keep our participants and teen volunteers smiling, learning, and growing together! Copies of YC’s financial statement and IRS 501(c)(3) letter are available upon request.

Without the hundreds of community volunteers and professionals that serve Youth Challenge with leadership, administration, and operational support, we wouldn’t be YC!

Want to learn even more? We’d love to show you YC! Give us a call at 440.892.1001 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll set up a time for you to visit.  Check out our brochure.

YC is a proud member of ADA Cleveland. ADA Cleveland seeks to CELEBRATE the ongoing legacy of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We LEAD in ensuring access, increasing awareness, promoting independence and providing opportunity. We ENGAGE our community as advocates for positive change. Learn more and get involved at www.ADACleveland.org.

In 2020, Youth Challenge became a member of Move United, an organization whose’s mission is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, competition, recreation, high-performance sport and educational programs. Learn more at MoveUnitedSport.org.