2018 Annual Report

From the President

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Shaker Heights Youth Center:

United States. That is what our country is supposed to be, however I feel that we have never been more divided in my lifetime. That brings me back to choices that we all make in life; where to live, what to do, how to grow as an individual, how to meaningfully engage in society. Shaker Heights, although not perfect, is an amazing and wonderful place to fulfill the first part of these choices. My immediate family and I have been truly blessed to have been here for the last 25 years thanks to my grandparents who chose to settle here almost 100 years ago. Why Shaker and why Cleveland. The answers are readily available; the values, the quality of life, the seasons, the opportunities.

This leads me to the role the Shaker Heights Youth Center serves in our community; helping those youth who have stumbled and need some assistance during a difficult time. Last year I concluded my letter by asking everyone to reach out and help a child. We must go further. We have to. Our children are so worth the time and effort. The SHYC has been and will continue to be a resource to take the lead role in doing this most important task. It is done without fanfare or need for accolades. We are rewarded when we see those youth that we served begin to thrive and turn challenges into successes. It takes a certain kind of person to be involved and willing to pursue this endeavor. Our staff continually proves to be in a category of what I would call “heroes” of the community. They constantly go above and beyond the normal requirements to help our youth overcome obstacles. They are, simply put, OUTSTANDING. What bears this out the most is our continued support from the numerous funders who year after year value our work and see how important we are to the community. Thank you to everyone who shares my vision and thereby acknowledges that individuals who give of themselves and help others to overcome challenges benefit along with those they are helping.

Donald Gries

From the Executive Director

Dear Supporter: Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Change continues to be the watchword at the Shaker Heights Youth Center. The Intensive Prevention Program for youth in grades K-6 has been discontinued due to both the elimination of funding for alternative programs statewide by the Ohio Department of Education and the move away from out-of-school suspensions in the Shaker Schools. The Youth Center is growing its programs though by offering services to elementary students in their home schools. Laura Chapman is now providing one-on-one and group services at Woodbury to students who need assistance with life skills. Laura, Tameka Taylor at the High School and Emily Geier at the Middle School continue to provide excellent in-school programs to Shaker students.

Change has also touched our staffing. I am very appreciative of the staff who have served the Shaker Heights Youth Center well for many years. This past summer we felt great sadness at the passing of Cheryl Darden, a wonderful individual who brought joy and a commitment to youth to her work with middle and high school students. Also, after a combined total of 35 years at the Youth Center, we saw the retirement of Terry Karp and Svetlana Wolfson. Terry was a dedicated and talented educator in the K-6 program. Svetlana was both a bookkeeper and a management information systems coordinator who kept us current with our reporting. All three very special individuals will be missed at the Youth Center.

Despite these changes great work on behalf of Shaker youth continues in our programs. The combined Intensive Prevention Program now serves both suspended and expelled students under the steady direction of Carolyn Dolan. IMPACT Youth Enrichment Program for Middle School students has flourished under the guidance of ConnieMarie Mahaffey. Student Assistance programs at the High School and Middle School have remained strong and our newest staff member, retired educator Corinne Croom, has expanded her responsibilities at the Innovative Center for Personalized Learning by providing tutoring and life skills services.

MyCom programming under the leadership of Sharon Bell continues to develop youth leaders, coordinate summer jobs and provide a forum that promotes collaboration among the Shaker entities that serve youth.

My last big thanks goes to Harriet Lyons and Norm Graham for their part in the renewal process that culminated in the Certification by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide Prevention Services for another three year term. The Youth Center’s annual audit was completed with zero adverse findings.

Thank you for very much for your ongoing support.

John Lisy

Click here to download our 2018 Annual Report (PDF)

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