Center for Champions


Center for Champions of PA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization which began in 1998.  It was co-founded by Denise Wendle and Bonnie Lonski to address needs of the Harrisburg inner-city community.  CFC is a Christ-centered organization but it does not belong to any one denomination.  CFC desires to be an avenue where many churches, groups and businesses can partner with us to provide LIFE on LIFE mentors to primarily fatherless and at-risk youth.

In the beginning, it was clear that there was a need for a more consistent approach than a once per week Sunday School approach. Our founders visited a motivational speaker and former pro-basketball player named Wayne Robinson.  Mr. Robinson had a youth after-school program in North Carolina. He gave Denise and Bonnie the encouragement needed and allowed them to use a name similar to his program: Center for Champions. Legally, CFC is Center for Champions of PA.  

CFC started as an after school program for children in elementary school. 

Over the years, Center for Champions has resided in a few different locations but has focused on the Allison Hill area of Harrisburg.

In 2014, Denise Wendle resigned as Executive Director and passed the torch on to Jeff Bruce.  Jeff came with a vision of bringing on one on one mentoring to CFC. 

Center for Champions made a 4 year transition following the lead of existing programs throughout the US such as GRIP Outreach for Youth in Chicago and Long Island Youth Mentoring.

Presently, Center for Champions offers youth LIFE on LIFE mentoring through the Rooted Mentoring Program.  Matches are encouraged to do life outside the walls of Rooted a few times each month as well.

Center for Champions continues to meet in Allison Hill but also has an affiliate program in Lancaster.  In the near future, CFC hopes to have Rooted programs in York and New Cumberland as well.

Our plan of action

Rooted is where it all begins.  Mentor and mentee come together each week during the school year for high energy team competition, the Digging Deeper Bible study and discussion, and academic enrichment or a life skills challenge.  Rooted is designed to help build relationships and also discuss God’s plan and purpose for their lives.

Everyone can benefit from a mentor.  LIFE on LIFE is living out life together.  Matches play games together, go out to eat, go to each others homes, and hag out together.  This is LIFE on LIFE and this is where relationships find depth.  Matches are encouraged to meet outside the walls of Rooted a few times each month.  During the summer months, Center for Champions provides special events for matches to attend together.