Summer Highlights

YC just wrapped up another VAN-tastic summer! We loved hanging out with participants and volunteers of all ages and reconnecting with old friends while making new friends, too.

YC Swim & Sports is a classic summer program, and we had an awesome group of participants and volunteers on both the East and West Sides. West Side participants and volunteers came to Clague Park, and East Side participants and volunteers got to go to Horseshoe Lake Park and Thornton Pool in Shaker Heights. Some of our favorite games in the water included What Time is it, Mr. Fox?; Sharks & Minnows; and Duck, Duck, Goose!

In July, we had a blast at the YC overnight! The almost 24 hours spent with the YC Crew were jam-packed with activities ranging from an Amazing Race competition to Silly Sports to a Skit Showdown Competition. The Green Team won the Amazing Race competition by making it back to YC first, but the Yellow Team won Best Picture, Best Attitude, and Most Enthusiastic. Thank you, YC Board President Greer Gibbons and Dan & Sharon Douglas, for helping with breakfast in the morning!

Our youngest participants really enjoyed our Mini Camp programs this summer! One highlight was meeting up with Dancing Wheels and Corner65 Kids at Edgewater Park. Dancing Wheels led the group in activities for about an hour. After that, we had lunch and then created some “prototypes” or inventions out of recycled materials. Another fun day was when we went to Avon Pool and had stations for participants and volunteers to rotate through before we swam. They enjoyed rotating through the bubbles, sensory water bottles, chia seed sensory bin, and more!

On the other end of the age spectrum, our YELP and alumni participants loved Fitness and Gardening. It was definitely a time to reconnect with old friends, as several alumni volunteers were able to come back for the summer. Participants and volunteers came every Thursday to YC’s headquarters to get in a workout and grow all kinds of plants and herbs including rosemary, peppers, tomatoes, flowers, and more. (Special thank you to the Salem family for donating many of our plants and soil!) It was a great time to be healthy, care for the Earth, and enjoy socializing with others!

The weather may be starting to change, but that does not mean the excitement cools down at YC! We look forward to creating more fun memories with participants and volunteers this fall.

Romaine and Lauren make an invention together during Mini Camp at Edgewater Park.
JP and Nora hold up the lemons they got for the Amazing Race fruit salad during the Overnight.


Third Annual Walleye Regatta a Success!

Lake Erie Grady White Club hosted a third annual walleye regatta for YC at the Huron Boat Basin on August 19. Thirteen captains and pros from Walleyes for Wounded Heroes, Pro Walleye, and Lake Erie Walleye Trail hosted YC participants, volunteers, and staff members on each of their boats. We are so grateful to these awesome folks for donating their Saturday mornings to YC!

The admiral of the fleet, Mike Manion, spearheaded the event since its inception in 2021. Together, each team hauled in walleye and other exotic Lake Erie fish species. Huston caught the most fish using the special lure, the “YC Blue WOO,” and received special recognition. Deegan, JP & Koltyn bagged a hefty helping of Lake Erie’s iconic sport fish, including a 26-inch Walleye, and James caught an old rusty bucket and did his part to keep Lake Erie clean. The afternoon included beautiful weather, outstanding help from YC’s teen volunteers, the hard work and creativity of YC’s staff, and immense generosity of Grady White boat captains.

Our friends from Walleyes for Wounded Heroes cooked up a great lunch that we scarfed down after a busy morning on the water fishing. Erie Outfitters provided a special spoon, the YC Blue WOO, which helped catch dozens of fish! And thanks to the Huron Boat Basin for allowing us to use the sea wall and pavilion. It was an awesome Saturday.

YC is stronger because of our community. We’re so grateful to include the walleye community as part of ours! Thank you for making fishing accessible for the YC crew.

Deegan shows off his catch.
Huston and Jake sit together on board.

Shining Light Scholarship Winner: Sean Wilson

Volunteers make up half of our mission at Youth Challenge. They are the heart and soul of YC, and we would not have such a positive impact without them!

Shining Light, started by Dan & Lisa Puthoff, is an organization that supports missions like YC’s, and for nine years now they have been awarding a one-time $2,000 college scholarship to a YC volunteer who’s shown proven dedication to YC’s participants and mission as well as a commitment to serving others throughout college and beyond. To be eligible for consideration, a volunteer must have given at least 100 hours and two years of service to Youth Challenge and submit written responses and a letter of support from someone outside of YC familiar with their passion for helping others. The scholarship winner is chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of friends of Youth Challenge.

We are thrilled to share that the winner of this year’s scholarship is SEAN WILSON!

Sean has been a volunteer with Youth Challenge since the Winter of 2021 and has given over 135 hours of service. He has helped with countless programs—from YELP Peer Support, Boccia, and Wheelchair Basketball to Lego League, Mini Camp, Ceramics, and the March for Access. He has been a member of YC’s Volunteer Committee, assisted at our Topgolf event with a YC participant, been recognized as a Volunteer of the Week, and landed among our Top 10 Volunteers of the Year. He has been a great support to our participants from the Mini Camp age range all the way up to being involved with our Alumni crew, has been an incredible leader and role model, and is a kind and compassionate young man! We have been lucky to have Sean on Team YC over the years!

“YC revealed to me that building trust is a vital part of human connection,” he shared. “It is necessary to look past initial judgments and form a relationship on a personal level. Too often individuals do not consider what is not easily seen; to them, outward appearances are indicative enough of someone’s character. However, YC embodies diversity and inclusion, allowing both participants and volunteers to become more comfortable with themselves and each other.”

A recent graduate of Avon High School, Sean will soon be attending Case Western Reserve University to major in Biology on a Pre-Medical Track.

“Volunteering at Youth Challenge revealed what the combination of medicine and the unyielding determination of kids can accomplish.” He explained that “Experiencing the impact physicians have not just on physical health, but on other aspects of a person’s life is powerful. The fulfillment one must gain from helping these kids succeed and seeing them smile is one factor that motivates me to become a physician.”

Like many YC Volunteers, Sean understands the benefits of being able to volunteer at YC.

“Each time a staff member or participant thanked me after a program, I would think to myself that I should be the one thanking them, as YC has given me more than I could ever repay.”

We feel so grateful for your service, support, and dedication to YC, Sean! Thank you for the years of love you have given to us! Congratulations on this honor and keep SHINING YOUR LIGHT to others!


Sean and James make a tasty treat together at Kitchen Showdown.
Sean and Andrew team up on an art project at Ceramics.

YC Alum Saphire Murphy Goes to Washington

YC has empowered many alumni participants to be advocates for people with disabilities. Saphire Murphy has taken her advocacy all the way to DC! This summer, she was an intern at the American Association of People with Disabilities, a leading national disability-led and cross-disability rights organization. Saphire was part of a cohort of 20 interns with a variety of disabilities.

“YC was part of the reason I felt so comfortable taking that position in DC,” Saphire said. “[YC] was a place where I got used to being around others with disabilities.”

The internship included work placements, class time to learn about disability advocacy, and group projects. Placements were at Congressional offices, federal agencies, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations within the Washington, DC area. Saphire was placed at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, where she worked as a disability justice intern and helped implement diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their HR policies. In other words, she helped ensure that their internship opportunities were inclusive for all.

“The solutions take time, but they are very simple,” Saphire said. “I gave examples of how racism and ableism coexist and how ableism and sexism coexist.”

For Saphire’s group project, she also used her experience at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs to work with several other cohorts to draft a federal inclusive sexual education curriculum.

In addition to her hard work, Saphire got to sightsee around DC! She saw various monuments, including the MLK Jr. Memorial, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial (Franklin D. Roosevelt was in a wheelchair in the memorial!) Other highlights included touring the White House and being at the exact place the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed, and visiting Gallaudet University, the first college for those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“The greatest advocates are those that take risks and go out of their comfort zone,” Saphire said. “I hope that this can show people even if your comfort zone is a county line, go out of your comfort zone. You can find some of the greatest adventures you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.”

For more information about the American Association of People with Disabilities Summer Internship Program, click here.

YC Wins Big at USA Boccia Nationals

Team YC took on the USA Boccia Nationals once again from August 2 through 6 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Two YC athletes, Will Gallup and Sean Walker, took part in the tournament and had great success!

Will had never been to a national Boccia competition before, and he was excited to get in the game in Fort Wayne. His team, including himself and two other players from Fort Wayne and San Antonio, placed second! Not bad for a national competition rookie!

Sean, along with sport assistant Chris, had their most successful tournament in over 10 years of competition! Sean won three pools and advanced to the semifinals, losing only to Danny Castillo, one of the top players in the league. Sean left the competition with a renewed focus on the game and has been working hard on his training ever since!

Due to Sean’s success, he was invited to train with Boccia United States’s Emerging Team in Birmingham, Alabama this October. Sean and Chris will be making the trip and are excited for the opportunity to practice with the national team!

We are excited to see YC’s Boccia team grow and achieve bigger and better things! Thanks to a grant from The Cavaliers Community Foundation, this November, YC participants and volunteers will have the opportunity to learn new Boccia skills during our recreational league programming. It’s never too early to start training!

To learn more about Boccia and other Paralympic sports offered at Youth Challenge, click here.




Summer’s End Bash Highlights

What a fun end to the summer we had at the Summer’s End Bash on August 5! The Summer’s End Bash is an annual event for participants, volunteers, and families to come together with YC at the end of the summer season. As always, there was delicious food and a variety of activities, including basketball, volleyball, spike ball, cornhole, chalk, and bubbles.

YC WOOthies, our alumni entrepreneurship program, was at the Summer’s End Bash serving banana blueberry and strawberry mango smoothies. New this year, Differently Delicious, Medicore Transport & Achievement Centers’ business venture, came to the event to sell freeze-dried candy! Medicore serves Cuyahoga and Medina Counties with transportation, Homemaker-personal care, adult day supports, and vocational habilitation.

Participants and volunteers had the opportunity to get three staff members messy by turning them into Human Sundaes. Each person had the opportunity to pour an ingredient on a staff member, such as chocolate syrup, caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, and others!

At the end of the program, we recognized the Senior Volunteer class of 2023. Abbie, our Volunteer Coordinator, gave several gifts to the seniors who attended the Bash: a YC frame, a keychain made by the YC Crew, and cookies for being a “smart cookie” and graduating. Altogether, we have 38 seniors that volunteered at Youth Challenge. Graduating volunteers Kristina Telban and Sean Wilson shared how volunteering at YC and being a part of the YC community shaped them.

Last but not least, we drew the winners of the Summer Raffle. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket! Nearly $11,000 was raised to support young people with physical disabilities and their teen volunteers.

Congratulations to the winners:

First Prize: Suzanne Sullivan

Second Prize: Katy Woodbridge

All-in-all, the Summer’s End Bash was a VANtastic celebration of many people who make YC unique: staff, volunteers, and participants!


Battle of the Bartenders Highlights

The YC community enjoyed a great night on the lake at Battle of the Bartenders on July 28 at Edgewater Beach House. The rain held off and gave us clear skies, and the warm weather meant the cold drinks were extra refreshing! More than 150 alumni, board members, staff members, young professionals, and generous supporters came out to support our mission.

That evening, Team Board, Team Staff, and Team YP4YC went head-to-head-to-head behind the bar, slinging drinks for guests’ tips! The goal – score the most money for YC and be crowned the Battle of the Bartenders CHAMPS!

Per tradition, each team chose a theme for the evening. Team Board dressed up with James Bond-inspired outfits, Team Staff donned a nautical theme, and Team YP4YC came ready to party dressed as Barbie! In the end, Team YP4YC emerged victorious in the bartending competition for the second year in a row, bringing in more than $2,000 in tips. All in all, more than $6,000 was raised for YC.

Overall, Battle of the Bartenders was a fantastic event that brought together so many groups of people for an incredible cause – providing adapted sports and recreation for hundreds of young people with physical disabilities and their teen volunteer partners. YC is incredibly grateful to everyone who made it to the Beach House to enjoy delicious cocktails, yummy food, and beautiful weather.  YC participant alumni had a bigger role in the event this year, with Sara Steimle and Jen Taggart helping as bartenders on Team Staff and Will Gallup serving as emcee for the evening!

Lastly, we must thank the Cleveland Metroparks for lending us this beautiful space! The Emerald Necklace is such a gift to Cleveland, and YC is grateful to be able to take advantage of so many cool spaces in Cleveland.

We hope to see you next summer when we’ll be back at the Beach House battling it out once again!

Saint Joseph Academy Students Volunteer and You Can, Too!

Volunteers are half of our mission at Youth Challenge! More than 300 teen volunteers, aged 12 through 12th grade, give their time and talent to YC annually. Often, a student who first attends YC programs to fulfill school service requirement find themselves “hooked” and coming back season after season, well surpassing their service requirements and making a last impact on participants and their fellow volunteers.

YC partners with many local Cleveland-area schools to recruit teen volunteers, including Saint Joseph Academy. In fact, there are currently nearly 20 SJA students who are teen volunteers at Youth Challenge and four SJA alumni serving on our Board of Trustees. Youth Challenge is grateful for our partnership with Saint Joseph Academy and to all the students and alumni who give generously to Youth Challenge.

As Mya Antonetti, rising SJA senior and current YC Board of Trustees intern, puts it, “Saint Joe’s encourages so much community service and volunteering. It’s a characteristic of their graduates.” Mya, who has volunteered since she was a student at Ruffing Montessori, is one of YC’s most-involved volunteers. And beyond YC, her time at SJA has encouraged her to volunteer at other organizations, those she may not have been exposed to were it not for the focus-on-service model at SJA.

Ana Drinan started her freshman year at SJA amidst a global pandemic. Still, Saint Joe’s encouraged her to get involved in the community safely. Ana completed a virtual volunteer training in 2021 and began attending programs that same year, and she’s kept coming back! “I’ve always liked volunteering and SJA really encourages it,” she explained, “and YC is always fun no matter the program.”

YC is grateful to all our volunteers! We are also incredibly grateful to Saint Joseph Academy for encouraging community service and generosity from their students and alumnae. The Cleveland area – and beyond – are better for it!

Are you or someone you know interested in volunteering for Youth Challenge? Volunteer training for our fall season is now open. Programs begin in mid-September. Click here to learn more and get involved!

2022 Annual Report: Celebrating Community

Our 2022 annual report, “Celebrating Community,” is now available. At Youth Challenge, we have a lot to celebrate in our community. Participants build friendships and find the confidence to try new things. Teen volunteers grow in their disability awareness and learn the value of giving back to their communities. A well-trained and devoted staff team comes together to deliver engaging programs, and donors like you make it all possible. Here is a snapshot of what the YC community has been able to accomplish in 2022:

  • 350 adapted programs offered year-round, free of charge
  • 138 participants with physical disabilities from six counties served
  • 318 teens volunteered to assist their peers with disabilities
  • 3,788 total volunteer hours provided
  • 3,590 rides given on YC’s fleet of adapted vans

All of this takes a community to achieve. Thank you for being a vital part of Team YC!

Read the report here.

Caroline Schaper, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Year Reflections

Caroline Schaper has been serving full-time as a volunteer program staffer this past year through the Jesuit Volunteer Volunteer Corps. This service organization engages young volunteers to provide service in marginalized communities while focusing on four core values: simple living, spiritual growth, community, and the pursuit of social justice. Her last day at YC is Saturday, August 5; we will certainly miss seeing her around the office and at programs! Thank you, Caroline, for helping make YC such a fun place to be! Here are some of her reflections about her year:

I’m so grateful for my year at Youth Challenge. Before this year, I never had interacted with people with physical disabilities. I knew nothing about the ADA, adapted sports, or disability empowerment. I’m coming out of this year with a newfound passion for working with people with physical disabilities. This passion comes from working at programs and listening to many participants’ stories about their lives. I plan to become a physical therapist to continue working with this population and hope to be able to empower and advocate for those with disabilities in the future.

One program I’ve been helping with since August is ACT Fitness. Every week, a few members of the Alumni Community Team come to YC to exercise in a fitness session led by alumni employee Sara Steimle. The group that comes is nearly the same every week, so building relationships and forming a community with this group throughout the year has been a great experience.

I have also enjoyed being a part of the general programs. The two I’ve enjoyed the most have been Dance & Drama and March Madness Basketball. At these programs, you are with the same group of participants and volunteers every week, practicing or rehearsing for a big end goal. For Dance & Drama, this was the Holiday Show, and for March Madness, it was the Basketball Showdown. It was always great to see the group grow closer each week and for the culmination of their hard work to be celebrated at the end of the program.

YC has brought me so much joy this year, and I’m grateful to be a part of the YC crew!

YC Overnight Highlights

YC is always such a fun place to be, and participants and volunteers got the opportunity to stay overnight July 7-8! The almost 24 hours spent with the YC Crew were jam-packed with activities! When everyone arrived at YC, they split into four teams and made swag (bandanas, capes, wristbands, etcetera) in their team colors. The team colors were blue, red, yellow, and green. After fueling up at Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Ohio City, it was time to start the Amazing Race!

The Amazing Race competition took the four teams all around Cleveland, from Ohio City Farm, the West Side Market to Lake Erie Science and Nature Center and Huntington Beach, to just name a few places. Just like on “The Amazing Race” TV show, each team had to complete different tasks at each location. Some were silly, some were educational, and some gave participants and volunteers opportunities to practice life skills such as choosing and purchasing fruit at West Side Market. The Green team won The Amazing Race by returning to YC first, but the Yellow Team won Best Picture, Best Attitude, and Most Enthusiastic.

When everyone made it back to YC, they worked together to make a fruit salad with the fruit they had collected at West Side Market and ate it for dinner with pizza and lemonade. After that, they played Silly Sports in the gym. Then, participants had a Skit Showdown competition in the courtyard while eating s’mores and had the option of playing a board game or watching a movie before going to bed.

In the morning, everyone woke up to breakfast donated by the Douglas family and Board President Greer Gibbons. After breakfast, the YC Crew looked through pictures and videos about their time together over the weekend to reflect and share what made them smile. For many, it was simply the time spent with new and old friends! All in all, the Overnight was a weekend filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

We look forward to more fun adventures in the future!

YC WOOthies Serves Smoothies at Vitamix Headquarters

YC WOOthies had an amazing event at Vitamix headquarters in Olmsted Township on July 11! Although WOOthies has done several events at YC’s headquarters, this was the WOO Crew’s first time out on the road. It was a great experience for these YELP and alumni employees to practice job skills in a different environment while raising funds and awareness for Youth Challenge’s mission.

As soon as lunchtime began, the room filled with customers hungry for strawberry mango and banana blueberry smoothies! Jarrett and Gabby made the smoothies, Sara greeted customers and took donations, and Jen snapped photos for YC’s social media and communications materials.

Vitamix, a long-time partner of YC, showed the WOOthies team plenty of hospitality! The culinary team helped the WOO Crew make around 150 smoothies while also giving them pointers on blending and smoothie-making. They even helped tweak WOOthies recipes! The YC WOOthies stand was so busy that the WOO Crew ran out of ingredients about an hour into the event, but the Vitamix culinary team was quick to provide more ingredients!  In the end, YC received $795 in donations from Vitamix employees. Not only that, Vitamix donated four Vitamix containers for WOOthies to keep!

Youth Challenge is so grateful for corporate partners like Vitamix, which has been supporting YC since 1992. We are also specifically grateful for Jud Cummins, YC Board Member and Director of Category & Product at Vitamix, who helped arrange this event. Don’t miss WOOthies at its next event at YC’s Summer’s End Bash!

Board Highlight: Jennifer Scavone

YC Board Member Jennifer Scavone has dedicated her life to serving young people with complex medical conditions as a pediatric nurse practitioner for the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation (CCCHR.) In this role, she treats children whose bodies are deconditioned due to traumatic illnesses or injuries. As a board member at YC, Jen gets to see children like the ones she treats happy, having fun, and making friends. 

 “Most children leave CCHR with a permanent disability; and sometimes, a child with a ‘new’ disability may not be accepted back into their previous environment with open arms,” Jen Scavone said. “These children need a place where they can thrive.” 

In addition to her work at YC, Jennifer has volunteered in the past at MedWorks and the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Jennifer said she values the opportunities YC provides for young people with physical disabilities. 

“Youth Challenge advocates for children with disabilities and provides great opportunities for these children to thrive in an accepting environment,” Jennifer said. 

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

Youth Challenge, in partnership with the Sherwin Williams Women’s Club, had another very successful Where Will Color Take You? 5K Race and 1-Mile Walk & Roll event at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on June 17. Over 1,300 people registered for the race, and 1,000 were in attendance. 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. Some of them even handcycled the 5K!  View 5K race results here. 

The Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club, led by Race Chair Stephanie Castro and Co-Chair Katie Speer, took the lead in planning the festivities. The event kicked off with a stretching session led by YC staff members Sara Steimle, Nicole Gaisford and Laurel Sweet. 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.  Several mascots joined the party, including Moondog from the Cavs, Pozzie from the Cleveland Charge, Chomps from the Cleveland Charge, and the Chick-Fil-a cow. 

Dave Hardman, President of the Board of Trustees, had the vision to support Youth Challenge through an annual Race Day in the 1980s. Mike Rupp, a participant alum who was the original Race Day, rang the bell to kick off the Walk. 

Youth Challenge raised over $85,000 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 
  • Friend Sponsors: Kaulig Giving, Charles Schwab, Don’s Lighthouse Grille, First Federal Lakewood, the Hardman Family, Mike’s Kids 
  • Corporate Sponsors: Medical Mutual, WestPoint Wealth Management 

YELP & ACT Fitness & Gardening Highlights

Embracing a healthy lifestyle involves a combination of exercise, fostering a sense of community, and spending quality time outdoors. And this summer, at YC’s Westlake headquarters, ACT and YELP participants get to experience all three of these things every Thursday.  ACT has been enjoying exercising and gardening since the spring, and YELP has the opportunity to join them now that school’s out for the summer!

During fitness, Alumni Program Coordinator Sara Steimle engages the group in a diverse range of exercises, including breathing techniques, arm stretches, and running in place. Once warmed up, they dive into weight training in the fitness center, utilizing resistance bands and other equipment to build strength and endurance. To conclude the fitness session, Sara guides everyone through various boxing combinations, where each participant and volunteer even gets the chance to suggest their own boxing combination.

This year, alumni are taking over the YC garden in the courtyard! During the pandemic, Alumni Engagement Manager Lisa Friel’s dad, Pat McCafferty, helped transform the courtyard into a garden by building raised flower beds. Since then, the garden has been used during individual sessions and has been incorporated into programs for younger participants, such as Farm to Table. Thanks to donations from the Salem family, alumni participants have had the opportunity to get their hands dirty (literally!) and plant herbs, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and flowers. This summer, alumni and YELP participants will spend time maintaining the garden each week by weeding, watering, and waiting for everything to grow!

We look forward to the rest of the summer growing our muscles and green thumbs with YELP and ACT participants!

A group of participants, volunteers and staff stretch their arms.
Bre and Fiona exercise using the resistance bands.



Battle of the Bartenders Preview

Imagine watching the sunset over Lake Erie with a delicious drink in hand on a beautiful summer evening, laughing with friends and supporting YC! Experience all of this and more at Battle of the Bartenders, hosted by Young Professionals for Youth Challenge (YP4YC) on July 28, 2023 from 5-8 p.m. During this fun bartending event, Team Board, Team Staff, and Team YP4YC will be competing for your tips once again.

Event details:

  • This event is open to anyone age 21+.
  • Admission is free ($5 suggested donation if you can, and you’ll get a beer koozie for your donation while supplies last).
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at the Beach House.
  • Bring cash to tip your favorite team!
  • This event is outdoors, rain or shine (don’t worry, the Beach House has a roof!).

The team that collects the most tips for Youth Challenge will be crowned the winner! Can’t make it but want to support your favorite team? Donate below! Donations must be received by 7:45 pm on Friday, August 20 to count for your team.

Besides food, drinks, and lake views, there are some great ways to have fun and support YC during the event, like purchasing 50/50 raffle tickets!

Don’t miss Battle of the Bartenders on July 28 at the Edgewater Beach House – a fun night to enjoy the beauty of the C-L-E and give back to YC! Invite your friends on Facebook to make sure they’re there with you!

Volunteer Highlight: Harsha and Ashwin

Harsha and Ashwin, recent graduates of Upper Hawken School, have always been leaders for other teen volunteers on the East Side. In fact, Harsha recruited Ashwin and his other friends to volunteer at YC. They were regulars at Sports & Swim last summer and even marched together at the March for Access in Cleveland last September, advocating for disability rights. Participants are always requesting to be paired with them at programs!

Most recently, Harsha and Ashwin completed their three-week senior project at YC! During the project, they had the chance to hone their leadership skills. They got a taste of everything at YC, from leading Volunteer Committee initiatives to helping with Archery and Cycling, Dance, and Baseball programs. Stepping out of their comfort zones, they lead an archery activity for the first time. They also served as van aides, ensuring participants got to and from YC programs smoothly. And whenever there was a need for more YC volunteers, you could count on Ashwin and Harsha to be there. Last but not least, Ashwin and Harsha got the chance to take part in planning and implementing the Volunteer Committee’s costume race and pie-in-the-face competition at the Baseball Showdown. What a fun way to end an amazing internship!

Harsha will attend The Ohio State University, and Ashwin will attend the University of Cambridge in England in the fall. YC will certainly miss Harsha and Ashwin but are proud of their accomplishments and are excited to see what life has in store for them. Thank you, Harsha and Ashwin, for your commitment to YC!

Baseball Showdown Highlights

The YC community gathered at Clague Park on May 24 for YC’s first-ever Baseball Showdown! The event was the culmination of three weeks of practice for the participants and volunteers. It was a beautiful spring afternoon with the fence decked out with balloons to cheer on the Bubble Gum Banana Splits and Red Running Rabbits. Bubble Gum Banana Splits came out ahead 12-10 in a very close game against the Running Red Rabbits.

The Volunteer Committee piled on the fun with lots of fanfare! Participants, volunteers and spectators enjoyed a face painting station, and a ‘costume race’ at the end of the game (based on the famous condiment race of the Guardians.) Volunteers Sean, Mya, and Harsha faced off against Jimmy and Megan – the two Staff Members our participants voted to be a part of the race! The loser, Sean, was then pied in the face! Participants were able to enjoy popsicles, donuts and brownies.

All in all, the first Baseball Showdown was a major success, and we look forward to more fun in the years to come!

Winter Spring 2023 Highlights

What an exciting last couple of months we had at YC!

Winter/Spring is our longest and most diverse season of programming. In April, we had four weeks of Sled Hockey on both sides of town. Mondays and Tuesdays were spent on the ice at Gilmour Academy and North Olmsted Recreation Center, learning the basics of sled hockey with skill-building drills and fun games.

We had three service days dedicated to giving back to the community. Participants and volunteers collected supplies or made projects for local organizations, including Cleveland Reads, The Mat Project, Refugee Response, 1,000 Ties, Lorain County Main Library Book Drive, West Side Catholic Center, and Cleveland APL.

One of this season’s program initiatives was to expand our east side teen volunteer pool. We had three Art & Games programs in February at Mayfield High School. The students went through our virtual volunteer training to prepare, then met with Volunteer Manager Abbie Hair and Alumni Engagement & DEI Manager Lisa Friel after each program to debrief and collect feedback on how YC can make the volunteer experience more equitable.

We look forward to more opportunities to connect with each other and try new things this summer!

Anchors Aweigh with YC! Annual Benefit & Auction Highlights

Anchors Aweigh with YC! Annual Benefit & Auction was a smashing success, with nearly $220,000 raised by our generous sponsors and attendees to support our mission. 

Our event set sail on April 22 at Music Box Supper Club, where guests enjoyed stunning views of Lake Erie. VIP guests were welcomed aboard with hand-passed hors d’oeuvres, and the main event was filled with delicious food and drinks including signature cocktails! 

Our fund-a-need program was engaging and heartfelt, and we were moved by the stories shared by speakers about how YC and our community have supported them. Thanks to the generosity of Stacy & Steve Nock and an anonymous donor, we were able to match donations up to $30,000, making the program even more impactful. 

A real treasure of the night was our silent auction, which raised a record-breaking amount of over $67,000! Bidders had the opportunity to score some serious loot, including sports memorabilia, vacation packages, and one-of-a-kind experiences. We’re grateful to all of our auction donors and bidders for their generosity and support. 

And let’s not forget the $10,000+ Cash Raffle! Congratulations to our lucky winners, Al Yates, Lisa Altobelli, Kevin Flynn, and Mike D’Amato. 

Overall, we’re thrilled with the success of this year’s event, and we’re excited to continue our mission of providing adapted sports and recreation programs to young people with physical disabilities and teen volunteers in Northeast Ohio. Thanks again to everyone who helped us set sail on this fantastic adventure! 

YC is grateful for the support of our sponsors that hoisted our sails as we set our course: 


First Federal Lakewood 



National Safety Apparel 

Reese Pharmaceutical 



Stacy & Steve Nock 

Refractory Specialties 





Brouse Mcdowell 

Cohen & Company 

The Coticchia Family 

Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities 

First National Bank 

The Hardesty/Applegate Family 

The Kalt Manufacturing Company 

Mike’s Kids 

The Retirement (k)oncierage group 

Shurtape Technologies 

Smart Business 

Total Benefits Advisors-Mr. Mark Breen 

Tucker Ellis 


AT & F 

Nelson Mullins 


School of Rock Cleveland 


Brunswick Auto Mart 




Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs LLC 

Henkel Corporation 

Jones Day 

Mazella Companies