Robert R. Sprole, Sr., the former president of Therm, founded Challenge in 1968 as a vocational rehabilitation center that would provide disabled individuals with evaluation, job training and job counseling services. His goal was to find a realistic and appropriate job for everyone in the community who faced barriers to employment. Today Challenge is able to provide support to more than 1,000 people each year in building meaningful, productive lives through work.
Through the years – in collaboration with hundreds of area businesses and agencies – the programs, services and opportunities that Challenge offers have evolved and grown to meet the needs of our community. One such collaboration with Cornell in 2005 resulted in the acquisition of Finger Lakes Fresh hydroponics greenhouse as a Challenge-owned business enterprise. The business now operates at full capacity; producing leafy greens 365 days a year.
The Finger Lakes Fresh Food Hub is a natural extension of our greenhouse operation. Working with our existing distributors, area farmers and consumers, we recognize the strong demand that exists for affordable local food. In bringing these collaborators together, we are working to support agricultural growth in our region and make local produce widely available through a very efficient distribution network – all while creating new jobs for the people we serve.