Challenge Works
 August  2016 

Executive Director  Joe Sammons
Greetings, everyone - I am excited to share our most recent edition of the Challenge Works newsletter with you!
This month, we are highlighting our Summer Youth Employment Program, which Challenge is running for the third year in a row!  In this program, more than thirty young people in our community get valuable, on the job experience with dozens of local employers, while at the same time working directly with our Challenge staff on skill building and growth.
I had the opportunity to visit the students myself several times, I was very impressed - we are honored to run this program and grateful for our funders,  like the Tompkins County Workforce Development Board, and to every person in our community whose individual gifts to the Lauren Comly fund make this program possible!  We also want to thank the Tompkins Public Library for hosting our SYEP Pro-skill classes throughout the summer.

Other exciting news - building upon our growing Food Hub CSA project, Finger Lakes Fresh is now offering a "half share" CSA box starting from now through the end of November.  This new box is filled with the fresh, local healthy fruits and vegetables, but is now in a smaller size, which could make it perfect for students!  There's more information below in our e-newsletter!
At Challenge, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to grow and show their skills, regardless of disability, age, or other barrier to employment.  Programs like Summer Youth Employment and others are small but very important channels that we've created to make that mission come alive for over 1,200 people every year.
Whether you are a long time supporter of Challenge or just learning about our programs for the first time, thank you for your spirit and support as we play our part in making Tompkins County a great place to live and work!

Challenge facilitates the
Summer Youth Employment Program for 3rd Year!
The Summer Youth Employment Program is a 6 week paid work experience.  Youth work in integrated work settings in both the community and in our social enterprises.  This year Challenge hosted 31 youth, 19 of which worked in community employment and 11 in our businesses.  Challenge was honored to work with 10 community employers this summer.  Some of our community all stars where the Econolodge, the YMCA, Ithaca Bakery,  Sodexo @ Longview, Fingerlakes ReUse, Target, Coddington  Community Center, TC3 Farm and the Hilton Garden Inn and of course Tompkins County Public Library!

Summer Youth Employment Day 1! 
Quite a crew of dedicated staff and enthusiastic youth!

Many new skills learned working with the YMCA this summer!
Summer youth working on the Y trails stacking wood in the hot sun!

Challenge's Summer Youth Program is unique, we offer a Pro-Skills class as a requirement when youth participate with Challenge.  The Pro-Skills classes were held every Friday at the TCPL for 3 hours.  The course comprises soft skill training and speakers from the community to help youth learn about more than just technical skills required for working.  We were grateful to have speakers from Alternative to talk to the students about different types of bank accounts and the difference between a bank and a credit union, and Workforce NY taught them about the importance of communication, compromise and creative problem solving.  There were also speakers from OSHA, ACCES-VR , Fingerlakes ReUse and a community 
entrepreneur  Eddie Moran who talked about IT.
Thank you to all who participated and worked hard to make our SYEP program a success this year!  
See you next year!

Our great staff was part of  the reason for our success.  Lots of hard work for many months went into to planning for SYEP.

Marabeth has participated with SYEP for the last 3 years. She worked at the Garden Grille at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Marabeth says she found her dream job!

The program was highly successful, 8 out of the 31 students were offered extended employment by the employers and 3 where offered permanent jobs

Lizzie pictured above; worked at Challenge in our reception area. Anthos to the right; was offered a job at the Hilton his second day at work with SYEP!

Please help us continue to create pathways to employment for people regardless of disabilities or barriers, allowing them to experience the dignity of work and pursue their dreams! 

Visit our webpage to learn how you can make a 
donation to support Challenge!
Thank you!

Find Us On Facebook!

Some of you might be aware that Challenge has a Facebook page -- it can be found at

In the past few weeks, that page has started to fill with content. We have been sharing program participant success stories and highlighting staff members, as well as sprinkling in some motivational messages and a joke or two.

Consider liking our Facebook page, and sharing its content with your friends and family to help spread the word about all the great things going on at Challenge!

We also have Facebook pages for:
Ability in Bloom ( )
Challenge Imaging ( )
Contract Production Tackles TCAT UPDATE!
We are happy to announce the TCAT will soon stop at our Food Hub! See Route 40 to Groton Food Hub!