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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

About Us

CYO promotes participation and sportsmanship to foster the total development of participants and to inspire the formation of Christian values.

Fourth grade boys playing flag football 2
Girl playing soccer

Our History

The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) began in Chicago in 1930. "CYO followed inclusive practices from the beginning in 1930, its charter promising to serve youth without regard to race, creed, or color. CYO employed a universal – or Catholic – model that considered all the youth residing within the diocese to be under its care."

"The Catholic Youth Organization was established to promote among youth a recreational, educational, and religious program that would adequately meet the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of boys and girls without regard to race, creed, or color… while instilling in their minds and hearts a true love for God and country."  CYO Charter, 1932.

CYO began in the Diocese of Cleveland in 1937 and is now in its eighty-fourth (86th) consecutive year of serving children and families in NE Ohio. The Diocese of Cleveland CYO is the longest consecutive operating CYO program in the United States. The CYO Legacy has been built by children, women, and men who continue to serve the young people and families entrusted to our care. The Akron CYO has a similarly rich CYO legacy that was joined together with the Cleveland CYO to form the Diocese of Cleveland CYO in 2012.

The Diocese of Cleveland CYO operates as part of the Catholic Charities System under the auspices of the bishop of the Diocese.

Mission & Values

CYO inspires young people to know God, love God, and serve God through Athletics.

The Diocese of Cleveland CYO partners with our member organizations to coordinate and administrate athletic activities between members. CYO provides equitable opportunities for children to participate in a safe environment while having fun and learning skills with friends.

CYO strives to animate and promote these Gospel values of Catholic Charities:

  • Dignity of Person “…in the Divine image God created humanity…” (Genesis 1:27). CYO Athletics shall contribute to the dignity of each athlete by accepting one another with compassion, respect, patience, kindness, humility and understanding.

  • Hope “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). CYO Athletics shall nurture a positive spirit in each athlete by believing that each individual has been created by God and is capable of making significant contributions to the community.
  • Service “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (Peter 4:10). CYO Athletics shall nurture a spirit of selfless service by providing opportunities and challenges to young people and adults as they learn about themselves and others as they grow in service in their parish community and beyond.
  • Justice “This is what God asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). CYO Athletics shall create an atmosphere where Sportsmanship and Fair Play are the cornerstones. CYO will develop the character of the participants and emphasize the importance of integrity, respect and accountability in our daily lives.

Athletic Philosophy

The CYO program is a significant component of a member’s ministry to its young people. CYO therefore requires the support, leadership, and supervision to assure program quality.

CYO athletic programs foster the development of physical and social skills, emotional growth, affirmation of gifts and spiritual strength. The young person, not the athletic activity, is the primary focus of CYO athletics.

Therefore, All CYO athletic programs

  • Are to be well organized and maintain standards of high quality according to the CBL.
  • All athletes on a team have the right to participate in all games (mandatory participation).
  • Participants deserve the opportunity to participate at an appropriate age/grade level.

The primary role is that of youth ministry leader. Therefore, the coach should strive to act at all times as a model of Christ-like values and behaviors. The coach serves young people as a teacher and a mentor who helps them learn important lessons through athletic experiences.

In CYO success is measured by the effort of individuals striving to achieve team goals while respecting themselves, their teammates, their opponents while having fun.

The heart of CYO and the key to its success is found in the volunteers who freely give of their time, energy, resources and expertise. It is the right of everyone associated with CYO to expect volunteers and CYO staff to model the values and ideals of our Catholic faith. Volunteers therefore must develop their skills through participation in mandatory training to help them learn the CYO philosophy and to develop coaching skills to work effectively with young people.

All CYO athletic programs contribute to faith-building efforts for young people. These programs are effective tools when used to invite, welcome and engage all persons into the life of the faith community. The inter-relationship of the Diocese of Cleveland CYO with family life, parish life, and school life is essential and therefore deserves time and attention.

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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