Youth Challenge honors top volunteers

Youth Challenge founder and Executive Director Mary Sue Tanis with top teen volunteer Zac Alberty and volunteer of the year Dave Lowery.

The Youth Challenge Dance and Drama program celebrated the season with a holiday show on Dec. 13 at the St. Ignatius High School Breen Center for Performing Arts. The event also included a volunteer recognition to honor the year’s top teen volunteers and the adult Volunteer of the Year.

Youth Challenge, which is headquartered in Westlake, offers free, year-round programs to 180 participants throughout the Greater Cleveland area. The participants are children with such disabilities as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and hearing or vision impairments. Transportation to and from programs is also provided at no charge. 

Dance and Drama is one of almost 350 programs that Youth Challenge offers each year thanks to the help of over 450 teen volunteers who gave close to 10,000 hours of service. The teen volunteers are trained to work with children with physical disabilities and are paired one-on-one with participants at each program.

Bay Village resident Dave Lowery was honored with the Volunteer of the Year award.  Lowery has been involved with YC for over 10 years as a trustee, president of the board and chair of the PR/marketing committee.

“I’ve gained much more from volunteering at Youth Challenge than they have received from me,” said Lowery. “I’ve grown personally and professionally because of the experience. I now work at a nonprofit where I apply my learning from YC every day.”

Special recognition was given to volunteers who have reached the levels of 25, 50 and 100 hours in 2015. Teens who reached the milestones of 100, 250 and 500 hours of cumulative service to Youth Challenge were honored as well.

The top 10 Youth Challenge teen volunteers of 2015 are: Zac Alberty, Kendra Cundiff, Zoe Douglas, Olivia Rivard, Max Giuliano, Maya Cundiff, Mariam Tadross, Teresa DePace, Ally Lucarelli and Maddie Rowley.

“Our teen volunteers are half of our mission and are truly what make Youth Challenge possible,” said Sarah Perez-Stable, director of volunteer services. “The energy, joy, fun and friendship they bring to their partners makes an incredible difference in the lives of our participants and we can’t thank them enough.”

Kathy Rigdon

is the Media Specialist for Youth Challenge in Westlake.

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:42 AM, 12.15.2015