Summer 2021
Volume 45 Issue 2
"Piecing" YC Together
YC's Volunteer Committee depicts 2020 in a new art installation

Everyone at YC brings something to the table. This central statement is what inspired YC's Volunteer Committee (VC) to create a collaborative art piece to decorate the Maker's Space. VC is a group of some of YC's most dedicated volunteers that put together a fundraiser, event, or program every season.

JB and Grace work on their puzzle pieces.
For the Winter/Spring 2021 season, they chose to focus on creating an art installation that depicted the hope and joy YC brought participants and volunteers during the pandemic. The volunteers really stepped up to the plate and planned, implemented, and created this project all on their own. 

VC crafted the artist statement below to explain the idea behind Piecing YC Together:
"Due to Covid separating us physically this past year, we created this piece to show that the YC community is always connected no matter what."

VC members Kristina, Grace, Katie, and Abi arrange finished puzzle pieces for the final composition.
Volunteers, participants, and staff created puzzle pieces to showcase their personality and creativity and give future-YC a glimpse of who they were in 2020. Common designs included spins on the YC logo and illustrations of favorite things. The finished piece will have a permanent home in the Maker's Space. So much creativity was displayed, and we are so excited for the YC Gang to see it!
Upcoming Program Highlights
The summer program season is almost here!

We are so psyched for our summer program calendar! Check out some of the awesome activities available below, or visit our website for the full calendar.

Krazy Kamp:

Lindsay, Brayden, and Joelle run underneath a parachute held up by other participants and volunteers.

Our littlest participants are BACK for some fun in the sun! Participants ages 3-8 will join us on Wednesdays for themed camp days. From Science Olympics to Rowdy Relays, we've got something for everyone!

Classic YC:

The YC Gang performs a "whale splash" in a circle at Thornton Pool.

Get your fill of YC with a return to some classic summer favs like Run n' Roll, Participants vs. Staff, and...yes....SPORTS & SWIM! That's right! We are able to return to the pool this summer with proper safety precautions and a little flexibility. Who's ready to make a splash?!


YELP participants and volunteers circle up outside the Youth Challenge building for a Peer Support session.

Our YELP programs continue going strong with Peer Support and some fun outdoor activities! Any programs in black on the calendar, such as Run n' Roll and Kayak & Fish, are open to ALL participants.


ACT! members pose in front of the Cleveland sign at Edgewater Park.

A welcome addition to the YC calendar this summer are ACT! programs designed for alumni ages 25 and older. Smoothie Chats, Outdoor Rec, and casual Meet Ups will happen throughout the summer. 
Also, any programs in black such as Run n' Roll and Kayak & Fish are open to ALL participants.

See the entire summer calendar here!

Questions or concerns?  Please contact us!
Sarah Cooney-Director of Volunteer & Outreach Services,
Mackenzie Vecchio- Director of Program Services,

Senior Spotlight
Caps off to the class of 2021!

Congrats to the Class of 2021! Thank you to all the senior participants and volunteers for sharing your light with the YC family. We know this wasn't exactly how you expected your last years of high school to turn out, but you adapted to the changes with maturity, humor, and positivity.
As graduates, you've paved the way for younger participants and volunteers and have made a lasting impression on your YC family that will not soon be forgotten. We are so excited to see what the future holds for each and every one of you!

Our Graduating Seniors

Niko Asano
Thomas KimbleJake Peacock
Chandlar Bates 
Jack KlesselMarissa Perlatti
Regan Beck
Nicholas KovalchukLuke Peterson
Alvin CaiMeghan LaubertCaroline Pick
Ian Carlisle
Katie Lawlor*Ryan Plisko
Morgan DaltonCeleste LeopoldMeghan Rogers*
Grace DelaneyElissa Letterio
Amelea Sese
Tyler DeSimpelare
Peter LevinJane Sessions
Abigail Dumm*Michael Mattimore
Jim Slife*
Emma Esteves
Aidan McDonaldKylie Steidel
Sophie EyermanLeo McGuinness
Nate Stoltman
Joseph FallonKevin McMahonEva Tchicaya
Steven FellingerArul MehtaEmma Vail
Kyla FullerAbby MeyerShia Vargo
Ethan Glaude
Maggie MilamZach Wells
Matt GoodmanSkylar MillerLila Williams
Juliana GrobelnyErin MingusTyah Williams
Madeline GrooffCamden MitchellGabriel Wolf
Isaiah GundaniGabby NaylorSofia Zunt
Lana HaddadAlex NeedhamJamarion Byers
Sydney HerbruckJoelle NounehPreston Drain
Sarah HohmanSusan NwokeKelly Harmody
Catherine HuntLindsay O'Keefe*
Alijah Jones
Claire JablonskiPaulina OrtizNelya Schasfoort
Donyette KaiglerKatrina PalmerRJ Sullivan
James KennedyJulia Pangonis

[denotes Volunteer Senior] [denotes Participant Senior]
*Senior Volunteer Committee Member

Looking Back! 
Snapshots from Winter/Spring

Alijah & Joshua @ Basketball / Sam & Deonte @ Baseball
Jane & Jamaica paint The Up Side of Downs mural / Ryan & Mackenzie @ Ceramics
William, Maggie, & Andrew @ Game Show Games / Anders @ Sports Around the World

Abi, Megan, & Brayden @ Music / Tessa & Connor @ Soccer
Huston, Emma, & M.E. @ Strength Training
Joseph & Abbie @ Basketball / Lilly& Kate @ Cinematography

YC Garden Blooms
YC's courtyard transforms into an adapted gardening space!

Joseph, Brittany, and Marcus water the seedlings in the courtyard.

The courtyard after renovations this winter.
In the fall of 2020, YC decided it needed an upgrade. The courtyard in the middle of the YC building was going mostly unused. The sides were overgrown leaving a small pathway for wheelchairs and the tall pine tree in the corner was a little too inviting for birds and the occasional raccoon. 

Just like many people's living spaces during the pandemic, our courtyard got a makeover! Gone were the unruly plants and in its place was a paved area accessible to all.

YC wanted to create a space where everyone can garden, but traditional gardens are less than accessible. Our solution came in a form of a YC community member- Pat McCafferty. Pat, who is staff member Lisa Friel's dad, is a master carpenter and offered to build raised beds to accommodate all members of the YC Gang. A good portion of the winter was spent workshopping with Mr. McCafferty to come up with a final product that would best suit our participants' needs. The 4 tabletop beds are movable and at a height that both participants and volunteers can enjoy whether sitting in a chair, standing, or using a wheelchair. 

Two of the adapted garden beds with various plants.
YC staff members have worked diligently to prepare for the upcoming planting season. This spring, our Learning Pod students helped plant and water seeds in the "YC Greenhouse," aka the Volunteer Room. As the weather warms up, new things are popping up in the YC garden each day! We cannot wait to get this project rolling in full force and incorporate more gardening-based programs in the future!

If you'd like to help YC grow it's green thumb, check out our Amazon Wishlist for supplies we need to make this garden a success!
Goodbye, Bald Sean
Longtime staff member moves to North Carolina

Laurel and Sean have been friends since college!
For the past three years, there have been three Sean's on the YC staff- Sean Walker, Sean McKinney, and Sean Gilbert. With so many Sean's in the building, the participants, volunteers, and staff members needed a way to distinguish who's who. Sean Gilbert was assigned the nickname "Bald Sean" for obvious reasons. After eight years on the program staff, we have to say goodbye to Sean G. as he moves to North Carolina with his family. And unless we can get Sean McKinney or Sean Walker to shave their heads, Bald Sean will be hard to replace!

Sean spots Jeff as he bench presses.
It's not just the hair that separates Bald Sean from the Hair Sean's (McKinney and Walker). Sean Gilbert's quiet, thoughtful, and observant personality has been 
a rarity among YC staff who are notorious for being loud and rambunctious. But don't let his composed nature fool you; Sean G. is always good for a laugh and jumps into any competition or prank between staffers. He's also served as our resident expert on personal training. Sean's knowledge of adapted fitness really shined during our individual sessions this past year. A handful of dedicated participants showed up consistently each week to train with Sean and Jimmy in the Fitness Center. Over the years, he has helped so many achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health. 

Thank you, Bald Sean! Your YC family will miss you dearly and we wish you the best of luck on your next adventure! Just don't forget to sunscreen your head in that Carolina heat! 
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 February 22, 2021 through May 26, 2021.

Molly Hanna
Matthew Walker
Cameron Drozdz
Logan Thomas
Claudia Walsh
Bradley Compton
Meggie Rogers*
Charlie Glazer
Nicole Lavelle
RJ Sullivan 
Andrew Smith
Huston Nagy
Juliana Grobenly 
Connor Ferguson
Jeremy Staviscak
Bre Sprenger
Rachael Cahill
Elias Rabatt
Claire Jablonski
Jamarion Byers
Morgan O'Brien

Liam Miller

Jim Slife*

Katie Lawlor*

Lindsay O'Keefe*

Luke Peterson*

*denotes Volunteers of the DAY during National Volunteer Week

And let's give a big YC WOO! for our newest Volunteer-in-Training...Liam Cooney! Our Director of Volunteer & Outreach Services, Sarah, was out on maternity leave this past spring to hang out with her beautiful baby. Sarah will be back this summer, so make sure to give her a warm "welcome back" the next time you see her!

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Off to the Races!
Join YC in June and July for a run or a roll!

Runners and rollers pose at a Cleveland Metropark during last year's virutal race. Deegan holds a sign that reads "You're WOO-onderful!"

Join YC and our friends from the Sherwin-Williams Women's Club for Where Will Color Take You? Virtual 5k Race + 1-Mile Walk & Roll from June 19 - July 4, 2021! 

Going virtual means you can run, walk or roll the 5K or 1-Mile event ANYTIME and ANYWHERE! Featured courses will also be mapped out and Race Day Meet Ups are on the program calendar. 

When you complete your run, walk or roll take a selfie and post it on social media.  Please tag Youth Challenge and use #WhereWillColorTakeYou2021 and #SherwinWilliams.

Special thanks to the following people, groups, organizations, and corporations who helped with programs this past season.

Alumni Community Team (ACT!)
Young Professionals 4 Youth Challenge (YP4YC)
Cahoon Memorial Park
Youth Challenge Volunteer Committee
Cleveland Metroparks

Hanna Perkins Center

Pat McCafferty

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.