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 12,400 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. 

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

What's In Store

Programs slated for 2016 include:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships, Cleveland Convention Center, Cleveland

  • Children will be invited to participate in a clinic with athletes and coaches from local fencing clubs. The clinic will include learning the basics of fencing, a tour of the facility, and all participants will receive free admission to the tournament on the day of the clinic, as well as lunch. 

June 27th and August 1, 2016

NEOCycle Urban Youth Initiative, in partnership with GE Lighting

  • Year three of the NEOCycle Urban Youth Initiative will include many of the same elements as in year one and two. 10 children from each City of Cleveland Recreation Center will be invited to participate in a field day style kickoff on June 27th. 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 August 1st.

Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Donate Life Transplant Games of America, Cleveland Convention Center, Cleveland

  • 50 children are invited to participate in a program to learn more about the importance of organ, tissue, and corneal transplantation. Program details are being developed.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Continental Cup, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea

  • 50 children are invited to participate in a multi-sport clinic. The clinic will include on-field/court instruction from local coaches, the opportunity to watch international competition and meet international athletes, and a meal. Participants will also be invited to attend the Continental Cup Opening Festival.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 World Yo-Yo Contest, Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, Cleveland

  • Attendees will be invited to meet international yo-yo competitors, and be treated to a yo-yo basics clinic. All participants will receive a free Duncan yo-yo, as well as lunch.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cleveland Boxing Invitational Clinic, Empowering Punch, Strongsville

  • 30 children are invited to participate in a youth boxing clinic on Saturday, November 12th with local trainers and coaches by learning the basics of boxing and receiving ringside instruction.