Janie Rapp: Finding Her Way Back to YC

Jane Rapp, an alumna of Youth Challenge, was and continues to be a bright spot in what was an eventful year for Youth Challenge. Jane, or as some people call her Janie, is a 24-year-old young woman living with Cerebral Palsy. A Cleveland Heights native, Janie attended Beaumont School and went on to study Psychology at Edinboro University, finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. Jane is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Psychology at Mercy College.

Those who know Janie know her as a caring, fun, and extroverted person who, if you let her, can carry a conversation till the day is gone. Still, she sought to challenge herself during her time in school. “One of my main goals, when I started at Toledo, was to get involved,” she explained. “I was afraid of not being social ‘enough.’ When I graduated, I was very happy with how involved I got while in college.”

She first got involved with Youth Challenge during the summer of 2007. Janie says how important it is to be an alumna of YC. “Youth Challenge has helped me so much. YC has helped me gain some perspective, a rockstar support system, and a much-needed confidence and empowerment boost.”

Wanting to get back involved, Jane reached out to Youth Challenge to see what she could do.“I was a new post grad in the middle of the pandemic. I was feeling a little defeated with the job search and the craziness in the world. So, I emailed Chris and we set up a time to chat (socially distanced and outside). During our conversation he mentioned ACT! – the Alumni Community Team, and new programs for YC alumni.” Jane took advantage and before you know it was participating in multiple activities.

Over the summer and early fall, once a week, Jane would come to YC for a unique hour-long appointment. One week it would be fitness, the next art. Janie and the staff at YC were

Janie’s Ceramic Creations

able to come up with sessions designed just for her.

Jane was able to use the fitness center in YC to challenge herself physically. “I have always been interested in fitness but never found the right fit. So, I was excited to give it a try!! I love the personalized approach. Jimmy’s main goal was to focus on my strengths, and to help me expand on my strengths.”

Likewise, Jane was able to test out her artistic capabilities through drawing, painting, and ceramics all while at YC. “Megan took the time to get to know me and learn my interests with the art program, no one session was the same, and I loved it.  Both Jimmy and Megan wanted to hear my thoughts and helped me make my goals a reality.”

Always wanting to help and to become more of a leader as a YC alumnus, Jane became involved with the ACT! Using her experience and interests in community, service, and self-love, Jane became an ACT! Executive Member at Youth Challenge. “Living back at home, I really wanted to get more involved. Being an ACT! Executive Member gave me the perfect opportunity to express my ideas while being a leader and encouraging the importance of support and community.”

Through all the many ups and downs this past year has brought us, Jane was a constant source of inspiration and perseverance. “Coming back to Youth Challenge was the best decision I have made in 2020.  In particular, coming back to Youth Challenge during a pandemic was great because I stayed active and connected. Connection during this time is essential.” Youth Challenge hopes to stay connected with Jane and all the great work she and her YC family achieve.