Urban Youth Initiative

GCSC’s Urban Youth Initiative: Providing Cleveland’s underserved youth with experiences that illustrate how sports empower and prepare people for success in life.

The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission has a robust history of developing community impact programs to maximize the benefit of hosting amateur and collegiate sporting events in Cleveland. Over 12,700 Cleveland residents have participated in such programs since the GCSC was re-founded in 2000. Funding for these programs comes from a variety of sources including grants from the City of Cleveland, private foundations, and corporate donations.

The Urban Youth Initiative has three goals:

  • to provide children with an opportunity for physical activity,

  • to allow access to unique experiences,

  • and to offer health and wellness education

Health and wellness education is provided by the University Hospitals Rainbow Safety Squad at each program. Children from the City of Cleveland’s 21 Recreation Centers are the primary beneficiaries of the Urban Youth Initiative programming, and participation is by invitation only.

2016 Outcomes

  • 314 children participated in seven different programs

  • 142 children received new bicycles, locks, helmets, and bicycle safety training

  • 78 Cleveland residents participated in bicycle “fix-a-thons” at three recreation centers in April 2016

  • Three recreation centers will receive a new set of beautifully designed bike racks

For more information, please contact Rachael Stentz-Baugher at rachaelsb@clevelandsports.org.

Programs slated for 2017 include:

USA Fencing – March North American Cup, Cleveland Convention Center, Cleveland
Saturday, March 11th

  • 40 children (ages 10-13) will be invited to participate in a fencing clinic and interact with athletes and coaches from local and national fencing clubs.

  • Clinic will focus on teaching the basics of fencing, a tour of the facility, talk with referees, athletes, and coaches, and participants will receive admission to the tournament on the day of the clinic

NEOCycle Urban Youth Initiative, in partnership with GE Lighting

Bike Build – Thursday, May 4th

Field Day – Friday, June 9th

Distribution Day – Friday, July 7th

Make-up Distribution Day – Thursday, July 13th

NEOCycle – Saturday, September 9th

  • Year four of the NEOCycle Urban Youth Initiative will include many of the same elements as in years one through three. 10 children (ages 8-12) from each City of Cleveland Recreation Center will be invited to participate in a Field Day kickoff on June 9th. They will complete two weeks of activities and benchmarks that include bike safety and education.

  • The top finishers in the program – up to 150 children total, will receive a new bicycle, helmet, and lock on the Distribution Day of July 7th. A make-up distribution day is scheduled for July 13th.

  • All children who receive a bike will be invited out to NEOCycle on Saturday, September 9th for additional cycling and Hub activities.

CONCACAF, Mall C, Cleveland
Saturday, July 15th

30 children (ages 11-14) are invited to participate in a program to learn more about the goals of organized team sports and healthy competition. They will participate in a full afternoon soccer clinic developing their skills, learning more about positive play, and then will eat dinner before competing in a 3 vs. 3 tournament.

Cleveland Boxing Invitational Clinic, Empowering Punch, Strongsville
Saturday, November 4th

  • 30 children are invited to participate in a youth boxing clinic on Saturday, November 4th with local trainers and coaches by learning the basics of boxing and receiving ringside instruction from these professionals.