Youth Challenge (YC) is the epitome of the statement, “Bettering communities one person at a time.” Since 1976, Youth Challenge has made a considerable difference for families in Cleveland by creating recreational opportunities for children with disabilities as well as outreach opportunities for young student volunteers. Through their programs that facilitate partnerships between children with physical disabilities and youth volunteers, each life is enriched by relationships that build confidence, create lifelong friendships and encourage awareness in the next generation of youth.
For each child with a disability who participates, YC trains two teenage volunteers as mentors, and each volunteer costs the organization at least $150 a year. In 2003, YC located approximately 16 inner-city and East Cleveland disabled children who never had access to these unique sports and recreational programs. At the time, YC didn’t have the budget to facilitate the addition of these new children.
At Cleveland’s 1st Annual Betterment Event in early 2004, guests helped raise funds to enable YC to train new volunteers so that they could expand their services in the inner-city and on the near east side.
“We experienced a wonderful year in 2004,” commented Mary Sue Tanis. “We trained over 400 volunteers which resulted in 6,843 hours of program service. Our volunteers enabled us to increase our program offerings from 154 to 174 days in 2004.”
Betterment’s support not only helped YC train new volunteers, but according to Mary Sue, it also provided assistance with various other aspects of programming such as transportation and activity supplies. All critical aspects in their mission to enrich the lives of children.