Donating to Challenge
When Robert Sprole opened the doors 50 years ago, Challenge provided a safe place for 30 people with disabilities to find work that gave them a purpose to their lives. Since that time we have grown in response to the needs of our community and now serve nearly 1,000 individuals annually through over 10 programs that support participants with disabilities or barriers to create pathways to employment. Challenge helps people prepare, find and keep meaningful work so they can pursue their dreams of independence.
People like Walter who came to Challenge 7 years ago. Walter had 2 dreams since he was a boy, to work for Cornell and to be the first person in his family to own a home. The variety of programs he had access to through Challenge such as job readiness classes, on the job training and benefits advisement, helped Walter find a job, lean new skills and how to budget money. With continued supports and coaching Walter developed the confidence to become independent at his job and pursue a new one. Today, Walter has been working for Cornell for 3 year and this past summer he bought his own home.
When you give to Challenge’s Annual Fund your donation not only funds program like job readiness classes to help individuals become more employable but it also funds things some people take for granted like interview clothes or a haircut; gas, car repairs or bus passes so they can get to a job interview.
There are people in our community who have never had the opportunity of a positive work experience. Your donation helps fund the staff that supports both the individuals and the employer to ensure essential communication. This in turn helps provide a positive experience to motivate people to want to succeed.
LAUREN COMLY FUND
Beyond her unquestionable devotion to her family and friends, Lauren Comly’s kindness extended to her community, and to Challenge. She and her husband, Todd, have generously supported Challenge for many years, and it is our privilege to steward the Lauren Comly Fund for Youth Services, lovingly established by many of the people whose lives Lauren touched.
Among many things, Lauren is remembered for her love of photography, her passion for the arts, her enjoyment of the outdoors and her desire to enrich young people’s lives. It is our hope that the youth services that bear her name will develop meaningful life skills, build confidence and open doors of opportunity for hundreds of students with barriers.
With a donation to the Lauren Comly Fund, you’ll help to support our Youth Employment Program, which provides job-readiness training and coaching for teenagers in our community, while also providing them with paid work experience.
Your generosity helps to ensure students like Izzy gain access and experience in the workforce. Izzy learned valuable skills through summer youth employment workshops, as well as during a six-week work experience at Purity Ice Cream in Ithaca. Izzy’s hard work and success, made possible through donations to the Lauren Comly Fund, led to her being hired by Purity once the summer program came to an end for the year. Izzy says, “I feel like I found my talent and where I’m supposed to be.”