Where Will Color Take You? 5K and 1-Mile Walk & Roll Highlights

Youth Challenge enjoyed its largest fundraising race ever, thanks to a partnership with Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club. Over 1,000 people gathered at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for Where Will Color Take You? 5K and 1-Mile Walk & Roll on June 18. Attendees had three races to choose from:  a Kids’ Dash, a 5K and a 1-Mile Walk & Roll. YC participants and volunteers joined other members of the Youth Challenge and Sherwin Williams’ community in racing through the zoo.  View 5K race results here.

The Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club took the lead in planning the festivities. Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club Race Co-Chairs Dani Neumann and Chrissy Ingalls, Vice Chair Stephanie Castro, and Tom Gilligan, Executive VP of HR for Sherwin-Williams spoke at the event, along with YC’s own Chris Garr. The event kicked off with a stretching session led by YC staff members Nicole Gaisford and Sara Steimle.

Attendees enjoyed music from DJ Rimon, as well as carnival games, snacks, and ice cream in the Palava Hut. YC even had an adapted art station.  Many local mascots joined the party, including Slider and the Tribe Hot Dogs from the Guardians, Moondog from the Cavaliers, Magnus from the Cleveland State Vikings, Skipper from the Lake Erie Captains, and Sully from the Cleveland Monsters. The Chick-Fil-A cow and Chewbacca from Star Wars also made appearances!

Dave Hardman, President of the Board of Trustees, had the vision to support Youth Challenge through an annual Race Day in the 1980s. For over 35 years, his family continued his legacy by supporting this annual event. The Hardman Family not only participated in the race but also helped support the event as a Friend Sponsor.

Youth Challenge raised over $80,000 from the event, including $30,000 from the Sherwin-Williams Foundation, matching $25,000 in sponsorships, and $5,000 in individual donations. The event would not have been possible without each of our sponsors:

  • Champion Sponsor: Fleet Response
  • Color Sponsor: Oatey Co.
  • Friend Sponsors: American Tank & Fabricating Co., Charles Schwab, Don’s Lighthouse Grille, First Federal Lakewood, The Hardman Family, Mike’s Kids
  • In-Kind Sponsors: Medical Mutual of Ohio, WestPoint Wealth Management

 

 

Participant Spotlight: George Shepherd

As soon as George hit the ice, the rest was history. Last July, Youth Challenge and Gilmour Academy came together on the ice to launch Gilmour’s new adaptive hockey program. At this event was George, a bright-eyed seven-year-old who had not yet attended a Youth Challenge program. George immediately fell in love with YC – and the feeling was mutual!

For the last couple of months, George has found a home with YC’s Boccia team. Boccia is a Paralympic sport and the adapted form of bocce ball. George is a BC3 (click here to learn more about boccia classifications) player and his dad, Matt, is serving as his sport assistant.  With the help of Coach Sean Walker and fellow players, George has learned very quickly and enjoys the sport! George won second place for his classification (BC3) at the Great Lakes Adapted Sports Association (GLASA) Games in Chicago, losing only to his Team YC coach, Sean.

“It was my hardest match of the day,” Sean said.

In the fall, George became a regular at YC programs including football! George’s excellent playing lead his team, the Spooky Western Whales, to victory and earned him the title of MVP as his adoring family cheered from the bleachers.

This spring, George found even more programs to love at Youth Challenge. In April, George hit the ice with us again during Sled Hockey at North Olmsted Recreation Center. Jimmy Abraham, YC’s Program & Athletics Coordinator shared that George “loves being a hockey player and falling on the ice.” Don’t worry, he wears a helmet!

Youth Challenge is grateful to have George as an active and bright participant. Since we met him less than a year ago, George has become such an integral part of Youth Challenge and it’s changed him, too. His dad, Matt, shared that “through Youth Challenge, George has learned to be a good teammate, practiced good sportsmanship, and has shown off his personality. For a kid like George who loves sports, but has physical challenges, Youth Challenge has given George the opportunity to compete in sports that we never thought he would be able to play.”

 

Spring Program Highlight: Sled Hockey and Rock Climbing!

This spring, the Team YC was able to get back into two VAN-tastic sports that we haven’t been able to experience in two years!

Sled Hockey

In April, both our east and westside crews got back on the ice for a month of sled hockey. The eastsiders partnered up with the Gilmour Academy hockey team to form new friendships and take advantage of their excellent facilities and a brand-new fleet of sled hockey sleds. We had so much fun getting to know the Gilmour team and cannot wait to partner with them again! The west siders worked with our volunteers at the North Olmsted Recreation Center to complete drills that sharpened their skills and then competed in intense scrimmages. Both groups showed tremendous improvement from the first practice to the end of the month. We can’t wait to get back on the ice and keep growing in our sled hockey skills!

Rock Climbing

The east and westsiders also got back into the gym for a few WOO-nderful weeks of rock climbing. We started on the eastside at Shaker Rocks in Shaker Heights. The participants and volunteers learned about different belay systems, and everyone was able to make significant progress on their climbing skills throughout the season.The westsiders climbed at On the Rocks Climbing in Elyria. They enjoyed the technical and strategic side of climbing. A couple of our climbers researched different climbing holds and came back ready to put their new knowledge to the test! We saw so much improvement from our west siders. We had such a great experience at both of these gyms and look forward to partnering with them again in the future.

 

We’re excited to join our participants and volunteers for more fun adventures this summer!

From Participants to Professionals: Participant Alumni Employees at Youth Challenge

For over 45 years, Youth Challenge has empowered young people with physical disabilities to try new things and reach their full potential. YC has left a lasting impact on every young person it serves, and many choose to give back once they become adults. YC has several alumni participants on our staff team. 

Gabby Bova, Alumni Program Associate 

Gabby Bova is an Alumni Program Associate. In her role, she creates and leads programs for alumni participants and volunteers, and helps manage the alumni Facebook group. 

“My favorite part of working at YC is how during these times our virtual programs have brought a sense of togetherness, worth, and joy to both participants and volunteers from a safe distance,” Gabby said. “I enjoy collaborating with other staff members and learning how to adapt games for everyone to play at our virtual game nights.” 

Gabby is a very familiar face at YC. Not only has she been a participant since 2000, but she also served as a student intern on the Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2014 and was the YELP intern in 2020. Gabby is a true go-getter and plays on the Team YC soccer team! 

In addition to her work at YC, Gabby is also a member service representative at YMCA. 

 

Sara Steimle, Alumni Program Associate 

Sara Steimle works at Youth Challenge as an Alumni Program Associate. In her role, she creates and leads programs for alumni participants and volunteers, manages the alumni social media group, and assists alumni participants with applications for waivers, housing, and transportation.  

“I would have to say my favorite part of working at YC is being able to work with such great, supportive, and dedicated co-workers and alumni,” Sara said. 

Sara has been a YC participant since 2000. A natural-born leader, Sara served on the YC Board of Trustees from 2019 to 2021. She also plays on the Team YC boccia team! 

Sara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services from Wright State University. In addition, she brings previous experience helping people with disabilities learn vocational skills through a Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities provider agency.  

 

Jen Taggart, Development Coordinator 

Jen Taggart is the Development Coordinator. She uses her journalism degree to manage YC’s social media accounts, manage the Challenger e-newsletter, write grant proposals and sponsorship letters, and help with fundraising events. Jen has been a YC participant for over 15 years and is still involved in the Alumni Community Team. She also serves as a peer mentor to our YELP participants. 

“As a member of the development team, I love learning about all the different foundations, companies, board members, volunteers, and donors that support YC,” Jen said. “I know there are many needs and social causes in the world, and I am always encouraged by the number of people who choose to use their time, talent, and treasure to support my friends and me.” 

Jen said she also loves connecting with the YC community on social media.  

 

Sean Walker, Head Boccia Coach and Alumni Program Associate 

Sean Walker is the Head Boccia Coach and Alumni Program Associate. His responsibilities include organizing Alumni Community Team (ACT!) programs, coaching the Boccia team and competing in Paralympic tournaments, and engaging with YC alumni in the community. 

“I love being able to see alumni and be able to be a part of a team because a lot of people with disabilities don’t get that,” Sean said. “My favorite part about ACT! is that we’re able to build it from the ground up with very little involvement from other staff.” 

In addition to his work at Youth Challenge, Sean also serves as a Good Life Ambassador for the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities where he advocates for people with developmental disabilities in the Greater Cleveland area. 

 

Not only do alumni participant employees offer an important perspective into the operations of Youth Challenge, but they also serve as role models to their peers. Many Youth Challenge alumni are employed at other organizations across northeast Ohio. Follow us on social media to read more YC stories, including how many of our alumni went from being “participants to professionals.” 

Volunteer Highlight: Ethan Spies, Eagle Scout

Ethan Spies, a junior at Rocky River High School, completed an Eagle Scout project to benefit Youth Challenge. Together with his Boy Scout troop (Troop 421, based in Fairview Park), he worked to build easels for art programs, birdhouses for the courtyard and the front of the building, and trophies to use for competitive programs such as Crosstown Showdown or the Superbowl Showdown. Ethan has volunteered at YC since his freshman year of high school and has been in Boy Scouts for around six years. Ethan first approached YC staffer Sarah Cooney about the project pre-pandemic.

“The planning and thought that went into this really shows Ethan’s dedication to Youth Challenge and we are thrilled and honored that he chose YC as the beneficiary of his project,” Sarah said. “He’s been an outstanding volunteer and a great leader.”

Ethan said that several of the adult leaders in his troop have experience in construction management and that his troopmates have experience in other woodworking service projects, such as building a donation shed for clothing to be given to local shelters, and shelving units for a local church. He said he is grateful he and his fellow scouts had the opportunity to use their skills to benefit YC.

“It’s just an amazing organization,” Ethan said. “It’s one of the places in the world that does nothing but bring good and joy to people.”

PREVIEW: Where will Color Take YOU on June 18?

Youth Challenge Race Day is BACK in-person this year on Saturday, June 18! Our friends at Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club are hosting Where Will Color Take You? 5K-Run and 1-Mile Walk & Roll at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. That’s right—join us as we run, walk and roll past all the fun animals and wildlife!

What can attendees expect?                                                                                                         

  • Admission to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and RainForest                                     
  • Free t-shirt (if registered before June 5) 
  • Post-race celebration: Refreshments, DJ, photo booth, games, and more
  • Three race options: Kids’ Dash at 8:15 a.m., 5K race at 8:30 a.m., 1-Mile Walk & Roll at 9 a.m.
  • Awards to top finishers 

Here are the costs: 

  • Pre-Registration: $25 per individual or $65 per family (two adults and up to six children ages 18 and under) 
  • Day-Of Registration: $30 per individual or $75 per family 

Click here to register. 

Sherwin-Williams will be generously matching all donations to Youth Challenge, up to $5,000, doubling your impact! Click HERE to donate today. You do not need to register for the race to donate.  

Where Will the Color Take You? also includes virtual options to be able to run the race on your own course on your own time. Distances can be completed any time between registering and June 18 @ 11:59 EDT. Participants will receive a virtual family fun packet and an event t-shirt. Virtual registration costs $20. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to see YC participants and volunteers in action at this fun tradition spanning over 35 years! 

Register today! 

From Athlete to Artist: YC Alumna Bre Sprenger

Trying new things can be intimidating for a young person, but YC provides a comfortable space for everyone to express themselves and find their passions. Whether that’s joining an adapted sports team for the first time or testing out your singing chops, YC is a safe space for participants and volunteers to get outside their comfort zones.

One such participant alumna, Breanna Sprenger, found a new passion in the arts and went from accomplished athlete to award-winning artist. Growing up, Bre was a dedicated student-athlete. She swam for Team USA at two international competitions and was a member of our YC boccia team. In 2021, Bre ended up in the hospital for a long stay and couldn’t participate in athletics like she used to.

Thanks to an art therapist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, she discovered newfound joy, distraction, and comfort through art! Bre continued to hone her creativity through adapted art at YC. Her piece, Beautiful Intertwined Colors, was recently accepted into the Accessible Expressions Ohio art exhibit and won 3rd place in the youth category! Bre was even able to sell her piece at the exhibit. Bre’s work with alcohol inks represents many aspects of her life as a person with a disability such as dealing with uncertainty and letting go of control.

“I would like to thank Youth Challenge for this opportunity and would also like to thank Rainbow’s Art Therapy for helping me discover my artistic abilities and playing a major role in the recovery process,” she said.

Bre’s piece and the rest of The Accessible Expressions Ohio art exhibit will be on display at the Springfield Museum of Art until May 15. More information can be found on the Springfield Museum of Art’s website.

YC Rocks-Live! Annual Benefit & Auction Highlights

The YC community came to the Agora ready to party during YC Rocks – Live! on March 26, dressed in rock ‘n’ roll outfits from all different decades.

Guests from sponsor organizations enjoyed an exclusive VIP reception in the Agora Ballroom with hors d’oeuvres from Italian Creations and live entertainment from local artist Mickey Silas. In addition,  guests took pictures with actors dressed as Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, and Janis Joplin, who hung out in the VIP area and in the lobby. Participant alumni Will Gallup and Bob Vitko, as the Blues Brothers, acted as bouncers to the VIP room.

During the silent auction, YC supporters bid on a wide array of packages, ranging from travel, golf, entertainment, food and drink, sports, and more. The $10,000 cash raffle sold out within the first two hours of the event!

In addition, attendees enjoyed a variety of delicious dinner choices, including various steak, chicken, seafood, and vegetarian options.

Team YC gave an exciting presentation to invite attendees to “fund the adventure.” Participant alum Darnell Carlisle made a rockstar entrance, carried on a one-wheeled adaptive hiking chair from the back of the auditorium to the stage as YC staff danced around him. Youth Challenge CEO, Chris Garr, flipped through his record collection onstage and spoke about the importance of creating opportunities for young people with physical disabilities to enjoy the great outdoors. Bob Vitko rolled in a handcycle. Participant alumna Zaria Turton was rolled in on a kayak. Will Gallup popped out from behind a tent. Teen volunteer Sandra Argalious stepped out from inside the tent. Each of them shared how YC had made an impact on their lives.

YC supporters smashed the $25,000 fundraising goal within minutes and raised a total of $28,600 toward outdoor adventures for children, teens, and young adults with physical disabilities and their teen volunteers. Everyone celebrated by jamming to classic rock tunes courtesy of DJ Mattitude!

In total, Youth Challenge raised over $200,000 at the event to support our mission! Thank you to each of our supporters for rockin’ with us!

Board Highlight: Lori Coticchia

As a mother of five and the administrator of Ruffing Montessori School, Lori Coticchia has devoted her life to serving children.

When Lori’s oldest son Pierce signed up to volunteer at a bowling activity at Youth Challenge, Lori realized the impact YC not only makes on participants but also volunteers. Each of Lori’s five children followed in their older brother’s footsteps and became volunteers, and she got to see firsthand how teens learn compassion, empathy and patience while helping at YC.

“The participants and volunteers become friends, equals,” Lori said. “What other organization can brag about the lasting effects volunteerism has on the volunteer? I suspect not many.”

Lori has served as a trustee at Youth Challenge for almost 20 years. When her husband Michael passed away in 2014, her family created the Michael L. Coticchia Memorial Fund as part of YC’s endowment, designated for teen volunteers. Lori has held a variety of roles over the years and was elected as president of the board of trustees in 2019. She served until Dr. Chris Hardesty took office in 2021 and is still a member of the executive committee. When Lori is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, scrapbooking, traveling, and cheering on her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.

Each of Lori Coticchia’s children has served as a YC volunteer.

Brats, Beer and Brackets Highlights

Basketball fans in the Youth Challenge community were eager to gather together IN-PERSON in the YC gym for the first time in two years at Brats, Beer, & Brackets on March 15. Tickets to the event had sold out, and it was a lively occasion with great beer, delicious food, and an exciting auction.

Bob Hale of Benefit Auction Services conducted the auction but tossed it to YC alum and Believeland Media sportscaster Brandon Lewis to share his expertise on each NCAA team. Bidding competition was fierce, and the highest bid came from a YC family– $3,000 for Gonzaga!

Attendees placed bids on which NCAA teams they expected to win March Madness during the live auction, and many entered the All 64 Teams, Sweet 16, and Top 4 50/50 Sideboard raffles in-person and online. In addition, YC supporters bought 42 brackets in the 2022 Youth Challenge Bracket League. In total, $13,223 will be paid out in prize money during the week of April 18 to winners of the auction and raffles.

Event attendees enjoyed bratwurst, sauerkraut, cabbage and spaetzle, cheddar macaroni and cheese and cookies and brownies for dessert from Italian Creations. There was also plenty of popcorn to snack on from YC’s own popcorn machine. Opportunities abounded to mingle at the event, including opportunities to play Jenga, Connect 4 and cornhole in the fitness center.

YC supporters raised over $7,000 during the fund-a-need for adapted kayaks for participants to use.

In total, Brats, Beer & Brackets raised over $18,000 for Youth Challenge programming. Thank you, Young Professionals for Youth Challenge, for organizing another successful fundraising event!

Crosstown Showdown Highlights

George scores basket
George scores a basket in the championship game for the Tryin’ Lions!

It was a beautiful morning on March 5 as teams from the west and east sides descended to The Garrity Center in Berea, Ohio, for the 2022 Crosstown Showdown. Finally, the stage was set; it had been two years since the last shot of madness in 2019 went up. The signs were up, the hoops were up, and the lines were drawn as eight teams of eager participants and volunteers worked so hard to get this moment… and they did not disappoint.

For four weeks, participants and volunteers met on the west and east sides to practice their skills and build their team chemistry for the big dance. The fourth week was used to determine the seeding for the eventual double – elimination bracket. Coming out of the west side, the 4th seed, the Purple Raining Raptors. The 3rd seed, the Terrifying Tigers. The 2nd seed, the Pink Panthers. And the number 1 seed coming out of the west, the Tryin’ Lions! Coming out of the east side, the 4th seed, the Green Slime Monsters. The 3rd seed, the J Team. The 2nd seed, the Blue Buckets. And the number 1 seed coming out of the east, the Red Rocket Rollers!

The journey wasn’t easy. These teams had to learn new rules and styles of playing basketball for YC. Teams had to adapt to the defensive 3-second box, adapt to new traveling violations, adapt to volunteers playing in a basketball wheelchair. But, with the help of their coaches, the teams made significant progress, and it showed on the big day.

There was no shortage of close games and overtimes. Game after game, the action was almost as non-stop as the concession stand fundraiser managed by the YC Volunteer Committee. The crowd in attendance and those who watched the stream got quite a final game! The two top seeds from the West, the Pink Panthers, and the Tryin’ Lions, met in the championship game in front of a packed gym. The Panthers took a 4 – 0 lead into halftime. But in the second half, the Tryin’ Lions made a run and went up late with 8 seconds to go, with a score of 8 – 6. The Panthers drew up play, and Deegan sent the game into overtime with a last-second shot to make it 8 – 8. However, in overtime, George and his volunteer Luke were too much for the Panthers to handle. They scored twice to give the Tryin’ Lions the victory of a score of 12 – 10.

The nets were cut down and trophies handed out to the teams. The “I Just Hope Both Teams Have Fun” Bracket winners were the Red Rocket Rollers. In the 3rd place, the Terrifying Tigers. In 2nd place, the Pink Panthers. And your champions of the 2022 Crosstown Showdown, the Tryin’ Lions!

PREVIEW: Brats, Beer, and Brackets IN-PERSON at YC!

Brats, Beer and Brackets Tuesday March 15, 2022 5:30-9:00 pm YC, WestlakeCalling all basketball lovers, get ready to win big at Brats, Beer, and Brackets! This event, hosted by Young Professionals for YC, will be back in-person at Youth Challenge on March 15 from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Auctioneer Bob Hale, and YC alum Brandon Lewis will host the Calcutta-style auction, so you can bid on which NCAA basketball teams you expect to win during March Madness. Each time one of your teams wins, you win a portion of the pot. Pool your money with friends to bid on higher-seeded teams!

Not only are there opportunities to win during the live auction, but you can also win through purchasing sideboard tickets! You do not need to be present at the event to win a sideboard. Here are our sideboard raffles:

All 64 Teams Sideboard For $10, you’ll be randomly assigned one of the 64 teams playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If you are assigned the winning team, you will win half the pot, up to $320!

Top 4 Sideboard For $50, you’ll be randomly assigned one top-four team (from any region) playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. One purchaser will be assigned “the field” (all teams not in the top four of any region). If you are assigned the winner, you will win half the pot, up to $425!

Sweet 16 Sideboard For $50, you’ll be randomly assigned one of the Sweet Sixteen teams playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If you are assigned to the winning team, you will win half of the pot, up to $400!

All purchases for sideboard raffle tickets can be made until Tuesday, March 15 at 9 p.m. YC will assign teams randomly to purchasers, and you will be notified of your team assignment via email on March 16.

Another way to win is through YC’s 2022 Bracket League. You can purchase a bracket for $10, or three brackets for $25. Here is how the pot will be divided for winners:

Bid in-person, buy sideboard tickets online, or enter the bracket league online to win BIG!
  • First Place: 70%
  • Second Place: 20%
  • Third Place: 10%

Brackets may be purchased through March 15. Bracket entering information will be sent on Wednesday, March 17 and all brackets must be filled out by 9 am ET on March 19, 2022. This bracket league will be operated through CBS Sports and winners will be determined by CBS Sports. You must have a free account to participate.

 

Youth Challenge will receive 50% of all proceeds from the live auction, sideboards, and bracket league, and the other 50% will be divided amongst the winners for each raffle and auction.

Tickets for Brats, Beer, and Brackets are $35 each, or you can score two tickets for just $60. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate NCAA sports while supporting adapted sports for young people with physical disabilities and teen volunteers! Click here to register online.

PREVIEW: YC Rocks Live! Annual Benefit and Auction (Top 3 Reasons to Go!)

It’s almost time to party like a rock star!

Darnell hikes Cuyahoga Valley National Park with help of specialized wheelchair.
Proceeds from YC Rocks Live! Annual Benefit and Auction will give participants like Darnell the opportunity to enjoy outdoor adventures.

YC Rocks Live! Annual Benefit & Auction will be held on March 26 from 7:00 pm-11:00 pm at the Cleveland Agora. There’s a lot you won’t want to miss, but here are our top three reasons to go:

  1. The Silent Auction and Raffle Check out the must-have packages at the Agora or bid online starting on March 21. Anyone can bid, even if you’re not attending the event. Bidding ends at 10 pm on March 26. Don’t forget to enter the $10,000 cash raffle with a grand prize drawing of $7,500, and a second-place drawing of $2,500. Only 300 tickets will be sold, and tickets have sold out two years in a row. Grab yours now at YouthChallengeSports.com/Raffle! You don’t have to be at the event to win big, but you should come anyway (see #2).
  2. The Party Enjoy delicious food from Italian Creations and an open bar, and rock ‘n’ roll all night with groovy entertainment from DJ Mattitude. An exclusive VIP reception for benefit sponsors will feature live entertainment, specialty cocktails, and food inside the Agora Ballroom. Dress in your old band t-shirts, or as your favorite rock star.
  3. The Cause Did you know the benefit accounts for around 25% of YC’s annual budget each year? You will have an opportunity at the benefit to support outdoor adventures at YC, including hiking, hand cycling, kayaking, and more. After alumni participant Darnell enjoyed a hike with YC at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park through the help of a specialized wheelchair, he said, “The experience was awesome. I’ve never done like that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Tickets for the Annual Benefit & Auction cost just $125 a person, with a special young professional 4-pack deal for $300 ($75 per ticket) for young professionals. Contact Carolyn Palmer at [email protected] for the YP discount code. Grab your tickets today at www.YouthChallengeSports.com/Benefit!

For the safety of all event attendees and the young people served by Youth Challenge, all event guests must be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative within 72 hours of the event. Masks are encouraged for all attendees when not actively eating or drinking. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious illness before the event, do not attend. Please note, this policy may change before the event and all attendees will be sent the updated policy.

Buy your tickets today!

YC Alum to Co-Host Brats, Beers and Brackets

Brandon Lewis with broadcaster headphonesYC alum Brandon Lewis always had a competitive spirit, whether watching sports on TV or competing on teams at YC. Brandon, who is a sportscaster with Believeland Media,  is co-hosting Brats, Beer and Brackets on March 15 alongside Bob Hale from Benefit Auction Services.

“I love this opportunity to come back and see everybody and help YC out and give my expertise on March Madness,” Brandon said.

Brandon and his brother Ryan have been involved with YC every summer from the time they were four years old to when they graduated high school. Brandon said he values the connections he’s made with fellow participants, volunteers and staff.

“Even though I’ve only returned for a few brief stints upon graduating high school, every time I return, it feels like I never left,” Brandon said.

When Brandon was in college at Kent State, he worked at Black Squirrel Radio, eventually rising the ranks to being general manager. He graduated Kent State University in 2021 with a degree in journalism, and now co-hosts Believeland Media’s “All Things Cavalier” podcast. Believeland Media LLC is a startup sports media company with podcasts and written content about the Browns, Guardians, and Cavaliers.people at tables at previous Brats, Beer and Brackets

Don’t miss Brandon and the rest of the YC gang at Brats, Beer and Brackets on Tuesday, March 15, from 5:30-9:00 in the YC gym. Grab a beer or two with your friends, enjoy a catered bratwurst dinner from Italian Creations, and place your bids on the teams you think will reign victorious in the NCAA basketball tournament (so that you can win big)! You can purchase one ticket for the event for $35 or two tickets for just $60.

Only 75 tickets will be sold, and all tickets must be purchased in advance. This event is hosted by the Young Professionals for Youth Challenge. Grab your tickets today!