Fall 2020
Volume 44 Issue 3
Spread the Service!
YC participants weren't the only people our VAN-tastic volunteers helped this summer!

Although this summer looked a lot different than previous summers at YC, COVID didn't stop our stellar volunteers from giving back to the community. With smaller programs and a shorter summer season, volunteers were limited in the number of hours they could serve at YC. This gave some the opportunity to spread the love beyond YC's parking lot by volunteering their time and energy for other local organizations on behalf of YC!  


Projects included writing letters and making flower arrangements for residents of local nursing homes or Cards for Kidz; putting together toiletry and meal bags for Labre Ministry; spreading some sunshine through sidewalk chalk; knitting scarves for young people in foster care through Red Scarf Project; shopping for new clothes for kids through Love INC of Lorain County...and so much more!


We are so proud of our teen volunteers for adapting to this unprecedented situation and continuing to serve their local community in a new way! 
If you're interested in volunteering on behalf of YC for another local organization, sign up on our Fall Registration or contact Sarah at scooney@youthchallengesports.com for more details.

"Sayonara" Summer and Happy Fall Y'all!
More fun programs to come this fall season!

Tessa is STILL all smiles, even with a mask on.
We certainly made the most of an unusual summer, YC Gang! Our virtual programs continued going strong and our in-person summer sessions were a HUGE success! It was a real treat to see some of you in person whether at our Race Day Runs, Metropark Meet-Ups, or our East and West Summer Sessions. There's simply no replacement for those one-on-one and face-to-face interactions that YC's mission is all about. We know you were smiling behind those masks, even when the Staff Team crushed you in Participants vs. Staff Day.

ACT! Committee on the steps of Coe Lake.

Race Day Run at Lake to Lake Trail in Big Creek Reservation.
We're continuing the fun this fall with more physically distant, but socially connected programs for your enjoyment. 
Your health and safety are STILL our top priority. Just as we did this past summer, we'll be holding a mix of virtual and in-person programming. While you will have a partner at in-person programs, YC staff will continue to provide any hands-on assistance participants may need.

In keeping with recommendations from the CDC, all in-person programs will take place OUTSIDE (so cross your fingers for a mild fall!) As the season goes on, we will evaluate the possibilities for safe INDOOR activities and send out a "Fall: Part TWO" calendar with offerings for November and December.
As always, joining us is voluntary and if you still aren't comfortable meeting in person, we encourage you to join us virtually and/or take part in some of our socially distant service opportunities.

Check out what's in store on the Fall 2020 Calendar:

Human Video Games
Tuesday, 10/6 (Edgewater Park) and Thursday, 10/8 (YC)

Sick of endless ZOOM calls and online learning? This program takes your favorite virtual video games and brings them to life! So, get off your phone (AFTER you register, of course) and get moving in YC's augmented reality!

Guided Drawing
Wednesdays, 9/30 and 10/7

Hone your artistic skills as you're taken step-by-step through fun and easy drawings. If you're someone who thinks "I can't draw," this program is for YOU!  


Halloween Drive-In
10/17 @ YC

Join the Volunteer Committee for a SPOOKTACULAR night of tricks and treats! Enjoy some ghoulish games and watch a monstrous movie at the YC drive-in

Fridays, 9/18-10/30 @ Schwartz Park

Our YC team sports are back! Learn the basics of 5-a-side soccer and get into the team spirit with some friendly competition. 


Our full calendar can be found  here. Please review the type of program, date, time, and location before registering for programs. In order to participate at in-person fall programs, all volunteers and participants must review the YC Safety Protocol and sign the required waiver which will be emailed with more information regarding registration.

Click the links below for online registration forms:

Questions or concerns?  Please contact us!
Mackenzie Vecchio- Director of Program Services, mvecchio@youthchallengesports.com
Sarah Cooney- Director of Volunteer & Outreach Servicesscooney@youthchallengesports.com

Remembering Bruce Giberson, 1951-2020

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a member of our YC family. Bruce Giberson, a YC driver and so much more, passed away suddenly this July. Bruce was a driver for 8 years, but has been a part of our family for over 3 decades, volunteering countless hours at YC when his daughter, Grace, was a young participant in the 1990s / 2000s.

Nobody had a bigger heart than Bruce. He was foremost a father, but his duties as such extended far beyond his daughters, Grace and Emily. He was a father to every baseball and football player he coached at Lakewood, from middle school to high school. His passion for youth sports extended to his work at YC, particularly in our football programs! He was loved by YC participants and worked hard to make sure that every day at YC was a great day! He was a brother to many at the USO, Kiwanis, multiple church groups, and so many more philanthropic and service-based organizations. In his Lakewood community, he is an institution.

On our staff, Bruce was a loving friend, an amazingly hard worker, and a man so dedicated to our mission that he had a hard time not working exceptionally hard. From driving participants to programs, to emptying the recycling bins, to sharing his expertise with an Instant Pot, Bruce helped in any way he could and before anyone could even ask. He showed love through work - and it is clear he was loved back.

YC alumni, current participants, and volunteers, please reach out to staff members if you need a space to process Bruce's departure and express your feelings. Bruce was such a valued member of the YC Family and we'd like to put together a photo album for his wife and daughters with pictures of Bruce from his times at Youth Challenge. We're asking everyone who knew Bruce to write a letter to his family-a memory of Bruce, a note of condolence, or whatever else you'd like to say-and we'll put them all together in a book for the Gibersons.
If you'd like to submit something, please email your note to scooney@youthchallengesports.com or drop off a 4"x6" card by Friday, September 4th.
We know his family will greatly appreciate this and we thank you for taking the time to reflect on Bruce' life and impact on everyone around him. 

Like almost every drive he ever made, Bruce left for this route a little early. His destination, however, is a place of peace and comfort. There are few people on this Earth with a heart as big as Bruce's.

Rest in Peace, Coach Giberson.

Looking Back! 
Snapshots from Summer

Serenity & Alvin "fish" for letters / Alijah strikes a pose @ Survivor Day
Team Staff goes undefeated @ our annual Participants vs. Staff program
Michael smiles under his shark mask / Seneca tries to avoid the fruitcake @ Christmas in July

Helena dodges balls during Roadkill / Charlie put on his game face @ Survivor Day
Sam & Abbie bust a move during Zumba / Lauren & Ryan lift weights during a warm-up
Arianna balances her Santa hat @ Christmas in July / Alyssa dunks the ball into the hoop

Let's Hear It For Abbie!
Celebrating our Jesuit Volunteer, Abbie Hair!

For the past year, YC has been blessed to have Abbie as our full-time Jesuit Volunteer on staff shining her smile on everyone, and sharing her love of sports, music and MORE with the whole YC Gang!

Abbie Hair, our WOO-onderful JV, started at Youth Challenge last August through the Jesuit Volunteer Corp and officially ended her year of service on July 31st. Abbie has been an encouraging coach, a trusted counselor, a positive leader, an amazing cook, a thoughtful question-asker, a rockin' DJ, and above all, an incredible friend to EVERYONE at YC. We are tremendously grateful for the love, support, humor and heart she has poured into the lives of our participants and volunteers alike.

While COVID-19 put a glitch in our spring plans, Abbie helped us switch gears and make things fun from a safe social distance. She brought great life to our virtual programs and videos on social media and brought a smile to our participants and their families through a series of drive-by parades. And while she didn't get to experience a "typical" YC summer, she still helped to make things fun for everyone.

Watch the slideshow of Abbie's greatest hits here!

What's even better than having Abbie as our JV is knowing that her time at YC ISN'T OVER!!! Abbie loves YC and Cleveland SO MUCH that she's decided to stick around for another year. We're very excited that she'll still be part of the YC Gang!


And let's give a warm YC welcome to our newest Jesuit Volunteer, Brittany D'Souza!

Brittany is from Boise, Idaho and attended the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. She received her degree in Biology and Spanish and hopes to enter the healthcare field in the future. Penne pasta is her least favorite type of pasta and she loves fusilli! 

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps is a service organization that engages young volunteers to provide service in marginalized communities while focusing on four Catholic, Ignatian values: simple living, spiritual growth, community, and the pursuit of social justice. Brittany and seven other volunteers who she lives with have dedicated a year of their lives to serve the Cleveland community through their positions at non-profit organizations.

Make sure to give Brittany a YC WOO-welcome the next time you see her online or in person!

People of the Week

Volunteers and Participants of the Week are chosen for their dedication to YC and outstanding attitudes. They are featured each week on our Facebook and Instagram. The names below reflect honorees from June 24, 2020 through August 5, 2020.

Helena Boyer
Skye Raftery
Will Nicklas
Ryan Miller
Meghan Laubert
Serenity Jayne
Ava Moe
Bre Sprenger
Alvin Cai
Seneca Morton
Arianna Dimenna
Kelly Harmody
*denotes Volunteers of the DAY during National Volunteer Week

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Celebrating 30 Years of the ADA
ADA Cleveland Calls For Access!

On July 26, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated 30 years since it was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including employment, state and local government services and programs, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA Cleveland planned 30 days of virtual celebration with workshops, advocacy, art, dance, and so much more!

Sarah represents YC on an ADA Cleveland webinar about making volunteer service accessible.

If you missed the party, find all of the sessions on ADA Cleveland's Facebook page (you may spot some familiar YC faces!) or visit their website to learn how YOU can call for access!
Special thanks to the following people, groups, organizations, and corporations who helped with programs this past season.

Alumni Community Team (ACT!)

Hanna Perkins Center

Women's Club

Youth Challenge 
Volunteer Committee

Your support of Youth Challenge is vital in allowing us to serve hundreds of young people with physical disabilities and teen volunteers each year. Please donate to our Annual Fund today.