Valley man climbing Kilimanjaro to help Rich Center


Ryan Sheridan could have just written a check to support the Rich Center for Autism of Youngstown, but instead he decided to raise money by climbing a mountain.

The mountain isn’t just any mountain: It’s Mount Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,341 feet, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Sheridan, 36, of Austintown, conquered the mountain last year in seven days, but this year he is shooting for four days and hoping to raise $30,000, or $10,000 for each day he shaved off last year’s time through his GoFundMe “Climb for a Cause” account. Sheridan started his climb at 7 a.m. Tuesday with the goal of being done by Friday.

“The whole time we were climbing [last year], I was hoping to climb it faster,” Sheridan said. “I want to do it faster, and do it for someone else.”

Sheridan, who owns Braking Point Recovery Center in Austintown, decided that the someone else would be the Rich Center after he toured the facility and liked what he saw.

“Everything about it just made you feel good,” he said.

The Rich Center is located inside Youngstown State University’s Fedor Hall. The school has teachers specialized in working with students on the autism spectrum. There are 72 students and 45 teachers at the center. Teachers work one on one with students.

The center started as a day program in 1995 and developed into a tuition-free school that provides occupational and speech therapy to students one time a week at no cost. Students are covered by the autism scholarship that is funded with state and local shares. Other funding to run the school is provided through donations.

Donations allow the school to provide more services at no cost to parents.

Read more about the center and Sheridan's climb in Thursday's Vindicator or on

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