Shaker Heights Youth Center Publishes 2018-2019 Annual Report

Shaker Heights, OH – The Shaker Heights Youth Center, a critical provider of provide a wider range of services to address the changing needs of adolescents and their families, has published its 2018-2019 Annual Report.

The 2018-2019 Annual Report highlights the Youth Center’s success stories and programs that include growth amid unexpected economic, political, and social developments and challenges that have required rapid adjustments. The Report features departments’ statistics, and, as always, emphasizes the impact of programs. These collaborative efforts ensure stability and growth within the communities the Youth Center serves.

The 2018-2019 Annual Report is available to shareholders and other interested parties here.

3-on-3 Shaker Heights Youth Center Basketball Tournament

Our 26th Annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament will take place on Saturday March 16th, 2019


Put together your own team of 3 or 4 players (boys, girls or co-ed).  Each player will receive a 3-on-3 T-shirt, and 1st and 2nd place trophies in each age/grade division will be awarded. Deadline for registering is March 11th, 2019

Who: For all youth in grades 4th through 12th

When: Saturday, March 16th at 9 a.m.


Shaker Middle School
20600 Shaker Blvd.

The 4 divisions are:

4th graders
10-12 years old
13-15 years old
16-18 years old

Cost: $24 per team

Questions? Contact Us Here

Download 2019 3-on-3 Entry Form here (PDF)

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)

2017 Annual Report

From the Executive Director

Dear Supporter:

Change has begun to take shape at the Shaker Heights Youth Center. The Shaker Heights City Schools have instituted new programs that have successfully cut down on suspensions and expulsions. With the need for our alternatives to suspension and expulsion services declining, we have begun to explore how we can best serve the youth in the Shaker community. This last year we began working with the Innovative Center for Personalized Learning & Family Engagement (IC) located in the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building where we served 27 youth. We look forward to continuing and expanding this collaboration this year.

Last year the Youth Center partnered with Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative in a program named Making Our Own Space (MOOS). Originally a City of Shaker Heights grant funded program, the Youth Center stepped in to secure funding through a Starting Point Out-of-School Time grant. Kent State provides the program and we supply the administrative support. Eighteen Shaker youth have received hands on experience learning urban design.

As some programs continue to move forward, the Shaker Heights MyCom collaboration (as described in our Annual Report), under the leadership of Sharon Bell, is an exemplary example of this. The MyCom Shaker Youth Council is extremely active in community service and leadership projects. They have contributed the youth voice in the founding of the City’s new program The Getaway, a free afterschool teen center run by the Shaker Heights Recreation Department.

Our MyCom staff, in partnership with Youth Opportunities Unlimited, made theSummerJobsprogramahugesuccessagaininShaker. Seventy- veShaker students were placed at 19 Shaker Heights worksites with the Shaker Schools alone providing eight of those sites. For many youth it was their rst paid employment and 97% successfully completed their summer job. Advanced job preparation training and close supervision by Youth Center staff and the placement site supervisors contributed to a successful employment experience for the youth.

One of the Youth Center’s original programs, the Student Assistance services at the Shaker Heights High School and Middle School, continues to successfully serve students as it has for 40 years. The program provides a wide variety of opportunities for youth to receive academic, emotional and behavioral support. Last year 107 Shaker Students were served by our experienced and caring staff.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Sincerely, John Lisy

2017 Annual Report (PDF)

2016 Annual Report

From the Executive Director

Dear Supporter:

I am celebrating 20 years as the Director of the Shaker Heights Youth Center and it has been a truly challenging and rewarding experience. The agency has grown in a number of ways. We have added the Intensive Prevention Program, the Academic Success Aid Program, and MyCom out-of-school time programming. Our budget has increased to three times the amount it was when I came to the agency, all from support coming from sources outside of Shaker, and with our sole focus on providing services for the youth in the Shaker community. The Youth Center has received three awards from the State of Ohio for excellence in services due to the amazing work of a dedicated staff. I take this opportunity to acknowledge their dedication to the youth we serve and the length of time they have been with the agency; Harriet Lyons 19 years, Terry Karp 17 years, Tameka Taylor 16 years, Laura Chapman and Svetlana Wolfson 13 years, Carolyn Dolan 10 years, Sharon Bell 8 years and Cheryl Darden, Emily Geier and Alicia Sims 5 years. It is truly an honor to work with such talented people.

Looking ahead we are working in a constantly changing environment. Funding and priorities are shifting and the Youth Center is up to the task. We are small and exible enough to embrace the change while continuing to offer superior services to the youth in the Shaker community. We look forward to developing programs that meet the evolving needs of the community.

Finally, I want to thank all of the individuals that support and nurture the Youth Center. Being involved in the Shaker community has allowed me to work with great partners; the Youth Center Board of Trustees, Shaker Heights City Schools, the City of Shaker Heights (the Mayor, Council, Police Department and Recreation Department), the Shaker Heights Public Library, First Unitarian Church, Heights Christian Church, our neighborhood and community organizations and the many individuals who advocate for youth in this extraordinary city. In four years I look forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Shaker Heights Youth Center. This will be a tribute to all who champion youth development.

Sincerely, John Lisy

Click the link to download our 2016 Annual Report.

2016 Annual Report (PDF)