About Us: Our Mission
Challenge Air was created to change the perception of children with special needs through the gift flight. Since 1993, we have been committed to making a difference in the lives of children with special needs. With a network of 3,500 volunteers nationwide, we continue to grow through events called Fly Days.
By eliminating the belief that they are limited, the children can grow to their full potential. They are given the opportunity to find courage within themselves and build in areas where they lack self-esteem. Challenge Air provides an unforgettable growing experience that opens the door to possibilities while allowing the children to see if they can fly a plane they can do anything.
Mission: the mission of Challenge Air for Kids & Friends, Inc., is to build confidence and self-esteem in children and youth with special needs through the gift of flight.
About Us Staff: April Culver – Executive Director, CEO
April Culver is devoted to making a positive impact in the lives of children with special needs. Culver has served in various roles with the Texas Special Olympics, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Tri Delta Foundation and Texas Christian University. With her 25+ years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising, she is proud to be a part of Challenge AirTeam. Her greatest joy is seeing the smile on a child’s face and knowing a difference was made.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
About Us: Our Founder – Rick Amber June 17, 1944 – May 3, 1997
Rick Amber founded Challenge Air in 1993 after overcoming his disability through several activities. He became a quadriplegic in 1971 when his jet crashed during a landing attempt on a naval aircraft carrier.
After competing in and winning the U.S. Open National Wheelchair Tennis Championship, he wanted to use his accomplishments to encourage children to overcome their own disabilities. That’s when Amber decided to get back to his true passion – flying.
The idea of Challenge Air took off after Amber invited a group of physically challenged children on a flight over the Addison skyline. He realized that overcoming his disability helped the kids change their perception about disability.
The only person that is limited is one with a limited mind. Once that barrier is broken, one’s true potential can be reached. Amber passed away in 1997 after battling cancer, but his legacy and impact live on through Challenge Air.
“The human spirit prevails over any physical or mental obstacle. After a day with Challenge Air, no height seems unreachable…all it takes is desire and truly, the sky is the limit!” – Rick Amber
Board of Trustees:
Our board of trustees go above and beyond to oversee that each aspect of Challenge Air goes smoothly. Your money is never mismanaged here. You can feel secure that every decision is made with the children’s best interests in mind. We focus on our mission and building the self-esteem of children with special needs. Their dedication to making sure children continue to grow through flight is unmatched.
MassMutal North Texas
Joseph “Joe” L. Montag
Montag’s Bookkeeping & Tax Service
1st Vice President
Strategic Telecom Consulting
Surry Shaffer III,
Regland, Strother& Lafitte
Griffin “Griff” Collie
Attorney at Law
Atlas Plumbing Company
Donald C. “Chris” Kirk
Marsh USA Inc.
Cheddars Casual Cafe
Pankaj “Pete” Patel
Making a difference starts with making an effort. There are several ways you can make an effort to help keep Challenge Air flying. Everyone has the opportunity to impact a child’s life. Donating is a sure way to not only hear, but see the difference. Be a part of a team that improves self-esteem in children with special needs. The sky’s just the beginning with Challenge Air.
Volunteering is a great way to show your support for Challenge Air. Your time is important in keeping this non-profit in the air. The time you spend makes all the difference in children with special needs lives. What you do with your time has the power to bring positive change. See the event list to find a Fly Day in your area and get involved.
Great people are behind every great deed. Challenge Air is blessed to receive any donated materials. We take anything that would help us functionally manage or anything we could sell to purchase needed materials. Each item goes a long way in making the experience for a special needs child that much better. We appreciate any and every in-kind donation.
Donate Flight Time:
Pilots can donate their time to helpchildren with special needs experience a pivotal point in their life. The most rewarding moment is during a flight when a child sees all the opportunities in front of them. It’s a moment you will be glad you were a part of. Pilot requirements and registration instructions are listed here.
Money fuels the flight, making a difference keeps us flying. Challenge Air continues to grow, we know what we do turns limited perspectives into unlimited ones. The door to possibility is open and that’s because of your donation. Keep helping children grow, it’s something you will never regret. Any and every donation is greatly appreciated.
The opportunity to donate any available resources can improve a Fly Day or help us upgrade our equipment. Contact us to see if you can donate to continue improving Challenge Air and bettering the lives of children with special needs. We take donations you feel would benefit our organization. Your thoughtful contribution is much appreciated.
Own Challenge Air Products:
Purchase Challenge Air gear to show how proud you are to help make this cause possible. From shirts to mugs, there are several ways to show appreciation for Challenge Air. Whether a gift to a friend or a reminder of a life-changing day, purchasing our products only help future Fly Days happen. Spread the word of our great cause and enjoy knowing that you have effected a child and their family for the better. Thank you for your involvement.