| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Civic Impact

917 Articles | Page: | Show All

Custom dog collars and photos: winning businesses for Entrepreneuring Youth

Two teenage entrepreneurs split nearly $3,000 in prize money from the finals of the George W. Tippins Business Plan Competition here June 6 – and one of them is headed to New York City in October to compete for a $25,000 prize.
The winner of the Up-Start division for younger high-school students, Derica Sanchez of Urban Pathways Charter School downtown, pitched a business designing custom dog collars, beating out more than a dozen other students earlier in May's semi-finals.
"Derica is a quiet, responsible young lady who in the end revealed a greater depth of ability and talent for marketing than I would have expected for someone so young in her career," says Jerry Cozewith, head of the local nonprofit Entrepreneuring Youth, which sponsored the contest and preparatory programs educating kids about business success in Allegheny and several other local counties. "The judges were impressed by the prototypes of her products. She had a firm grasp on the competitive edge she needed to go forward."
Besides winning $1,200, she'll be attending the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition this month as a guest of Entrepreneuring Youth, and Cozewith expects her to be back next year to compete in the Start-Up division for older high schoolers.
There, the $1,500 top winner was Meghan Boboige, founder of Meg’s Photo Booth, which
sells her own and custom-commissioned photographs printed in high resolution on canvas. She was in the eleventh grade in Moon Area High School this year.
Meghan will be competing in the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship business plan competition this fall, where last year's Tippins Start-Up winners, teens Jesse and Joziah Council of Beaver Area High School, took their line of all-natural skin-care products to New York and were runners up, winning $5,000.
Says Cozewith: "Meghan clearly had a quality product and understood the limitation of her business, so she had a very strong grasp of what her product was, what her business is, and the opportunity to grow it. She was very, very confident in her presentation."
In general, he adds, most kids only know the world of business from a consumer angle. Entrepreneuring Youth will be working over the summer to teach Meghan more about inventory, taking orders and other skills needed to make her idea work in the real world.
"Her fundamentals are strong, but we really need to get her thinking about the future, where the opportunities are, and what the costs and resources are," he says. "She'll be up against kids with more experience. We'll find someone in the photography business who can really speak to the world and really steel her to do a great job in New York."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Jerry Cozewith, president, Entrepreneuring Youth

Umoja honoring 25 years of African-influenced arts at Asanté Awards

After 25 years of bringing African culture to Pittsburgh, Umoja African Arts Company will be holding its first Asanté Awards on June 28 for local artists in many categories. Asanté (Kiswahili for “thank you”) nominees were chosen because they worked with Umoja in the past, perform an art form that is tied to African cultures and are known to be community arts leaders.
"We realized that it was time to thank those who have contributed in the arts," says President and CEO Darcel Madkins.
The Asanté award nominees are:
  • Blues: Jill West & Blues Attack, Muddy Creek Blues, Pittsburgh Blues Society
  • Hip hop: Chris Edmunds, Hip Hop on L.O.C.K,, Jasiri X
  • Jazz: Joe Negri, Kevin Howard, Roger Humphries
  • Performing arts: August Wilson Center Dance, CAPA High School, Hill Dance Academy Theater
  • Spiritual: David Dance Team, Macedonia Baptish Church, Northside Institutional Church
  • Spoken word: Christina Springer, Kimberly Ellis, Leslie “Ezra” Smith
  • Theater: Bricolage Production Company, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights
The winners will be announced at the ceremony, which Umoja plans to hold every year from now on.
The honorary chairs of the event, including Oliver Byrd, will be honored for their arts leadership in the local community; Byrd helped create the August Wilson Center (where the awards will be held) and served on the board of the Multicultural Arts Initiative of the Heinz Endowments and Pittsburgh Foundation. The Umoja “Unity” Award goes to Damien Pwono, who founded Umoja when he was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, while the Cultural Spirit Award will be given to visual artist Thaddeus Mosley. Lynn Cullen will MC the event.
The semi-formal evening begins at 5:30 with a VIP reception featuring jazz and Congolese dance; the awards begin at 8. Says Madkins: "This is a way for people to showcase their work, for people in the community to see what they have done." Tickets are available here.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Darcel Madkins, Umoja African Arts Company

25 schools get STEAM spaces thanks to AIU, Grable, Benedum

Since 2009, Allegheny Intermediate Unit's (AIU) Center for Creativity has been making grants to fund education focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). "It's the concept of thinking in a more integrative way" about these educational subjects, says Rosanne Javorsky, the AIU's director of teaching and learning. "Science class doesn't end after a 42-minute period."
Since last year's experiment of giving larger grants was so successful, she says, this year the AIU has once again teamed with the Grable and Benedum foundations to make more and larger grants among a wider range of schools. On June 3, they announced $500,000 in funding to re-design or create spaces in 25 schools to involve students in STEAM subjects and projects. They awarded $20,000 each to 25 school districts in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties.  
Javorsky says they received more than 80 applications. "I could have awarded another 25, because they were just that good," she says. "People really had a vision for what STEAM education could look like in their schools, to engage kids in learning across different content areas."
Allegheny Valley Junior-Senior High School, for instance, received a grant to form Rachel's Neighborhood Garden as an outdoor classroom next to the Rachel Carson Homestead. East Allegheny students will spend a year designing a city with a local engineering company, while the Elizabeth Forward Middle School will create The DREAM Factory for kids to become makers. In that same spirit, Fox Chapel's Kerr Elementary will form the Creative Learning Maker Studio to use digital media in literacy education, and Keystone Oaks Middle and High School's Digital Playground project will teach computational skills through computer programming and gaming. North Hills will turn its Junior and Senior High libraries into research centers and media labs, while South Park Elementary Center will get a new "SPEC-TECH-ular Studio" where, they say, students will "explore STEAM through five pods including an art and music Creation Station, green screen, editing, robotics and discovery spaces.
"Our focus has always been on engaging students in meaningful learning," Javorsky says, leading to "kids who have not been very excited about school who are suddenly wanting to stay after school.
"On the national level there's a lot of talk about STEAM," she adds, "but we've been doing it here for five years, so I feel like we're ahead of the game."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Rosanne Javorsky, AIU 3

Walk this way (for public art) and make your venue's new arts-guide website

It's a huge couple of weeks for public art in Pittsburgh: a new edition of the free public art walking guide is debuting; we're getting a new website for regional arts venues; and the sculpture Arch returns.
You can pick up your free third edition of Pittsburgh Art in Public Places: Downtown Walking Tour June 12 in the Agnes Katz Plaza (Penn at Seventh downtown) from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., when 10 local artists will be on hand to give 30-minute tours of their own local favorites. You can also get it in the city's Office of Public Art at 810 Penn Avenue, Suite 200 (also the location for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, or GPAC), or just download it from here starting that day.
With a new design by local firm Little Kelpie and new photography by local artist Renee Rosensteel, the guide will take you to new artwork such as Cellphone Disco by Information Lab at Tito Way (between Penn and Liberty Avenues and Seventh and Eighth streets) and Ned Kahn's sculpture Cloud Arbor in the Buhl Community Park near the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. It will also lead you to new locations for existing art, such as Romare Bearden's 780-square-foot tile mural (in the new Gateway T station) and Clement Meadmore's piece, Up and Away, still here from the Three Rivers Arts Festival in the 1970s, which was at Wood Street and Fifth Avenue but is now in First Side Park.
The book also contains an expanded tour of the North Side, separating it from the previous North Shore tour, covering territory from the Federal Street underpass art project to the Mattress Factory.
But not everything arty in the Burgh will fit in a book, notes Office of Public Art Director Renee Piechocki. Her office is now beta testing a new website, Pittsburgh Art Places where every arts venue in the 13-county region can get a free page. It will also document former and temporary art that's gone. The idea is similar to the Pittsburgh Artist Registry, begun in 2007 to provide individual artists with their own pages.
Piechocki says they hope to have 150 venues listed by the time the site goes live in July. In the meantime, interested venues can email her here about how to create a profile prior to the debut, or attend one of the free informational sessions, listed here. The next one in Allegheny County is at GPAC on June 20.
In the meantime, regional residents can once again enjoy Arch, the robot/transformer sculpture that stood nearly 20 feet tall on the corner of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and Seventh Street downtown from November 2008 through November 2011. Commissioned from Los Angeles artist Glenn Kaino by the Heinz Endowments to celebrate Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary, it was mostly made of wood and needed a restoration after years in Pittsburgh weather. Now it will have a new home on the terminal side of Pittsburgh International Airport, near US Airways. The installation began June 4 and can be followed on Arch's Facebook page through its debut on June 10.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Renee Piechocki, Office of Public Art

Make learning challenges your own through Remake Learning research fellowship

Remake Learning – headquarters for learning innovation news and programs of the Kids+Creativity Network – is offering two new fellowship opportunities for emerging researchers, technologists, scholars, writers, educators, practitioners and others. The Sprout Fund's two 2013-2014 Remake Learning Fellowships offer $15,000 (a $10,000 stipend and $5,000 for project support) to those with fresh research proposals in the area of connected learning, with a deadline of 5 p.m., June 14 (and an application available here).
Connected learning emphasizes students taking a personal interest in a subject, learning with their peers and still getting the academics needed to life, school and career. In places such as Assemble, the makeshop space in Garfield, students are there because they want to be, and they are working alongside and with other kid who have the same interests. "When young people are contributing, sharing, giving advice to each other … in a social setting, that creates a better experience," says Sprout's Program Officer for Engagement and Collaboration Dustin Stiver. "There is a sense of collegiality, if it's not just an older, didactic model of 'sage on a stage.'"
Next, they may be inspired by this informal learning and seek other classes or opportunities elsewhere in Pittsburgh. "Their interest really drives the academics," Stiver notes. "We're interested in looking at how that learning happens."
Sprout suggests three types of projects as possible proposals. You might want to investigate how and why kids traverse the cultural/learning landscape in Pittsburgh from one arts/learning venue to the next. Or you might chart how good digital citizenship – kids creating their identities online and curating who they are in digital media – stays healthy or turns into a bad experience, such as cyberbullying. Alternatively, you may wish to show how connected learning bridges from informal to formal learning settings.
You don't have to have an academic background to apply, says Stiver. "We're interested in taking the theory of connected learning and putting it in practice."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dustin Stiver, The Sprout Fund

Young arts leaders find futures at Contemporary Craft

The Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District has expanded its apprentice and internship programs to help create the next generation of arts-management professionals. Even its artist-in-residence this summer is a college student.
"A lot of our thinking in bringing in these young people," says Contemporary Craft's Executive Director Janet McCall, "is making sure we stay relevant and connected to the community."
Winner of the Judy G. Cheteyan Scholarship this year is Sarah Ceurvorst, a recent undergraduate in psychology and fine arts at Carnegie Mellon University. Begun in 2001, the scholarship allows an arts-management student to learn Contemporary Craft's operations, from fundraising, marketing and how to run the organization's retail store to education, administration and exhibitions, which this year will be "ENOUGH Violence – Artists Speak Out." McCall says Contemporary Craft was reluctant at first to take on this exhibit but decided that "artists have problem-solving abilities the rest of us can learn from, and they are courageous in speaking out."
This year's studio apprentice post, launched last year, will be awarded to Samantha Skelton, who just earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at Miami University in Ohio. A year-long full-time position, this apprenticeship was created, McCall says, when the growing number of unusually high-quality Cheteyan scholarship applicants signaled that young people in the arts seemed unable to find jobs in the field. "The goal is to teach them how to build an arts education center," she says: "At the end of the year we hope they will have gained the real-life work experience they need to go on to the next step in their career," or in their education. They will also have a chance to develop their own art through time using the Contemporary Craft studio and working closely with visiting artists.
The newly created year-long exhibitions apprentice position, funded by the Fine Foundation, will give the recipient hands-on, behind-the-scenes experience in running an exhibition: creating the concept, identifying artists, choosing the artwork, developing the catalog material, doing the installation and de-installation, and working with artists on any lectures. It was awarded to Natalie Sweet, who has previously interned with the Andy Warhol Museum and Concept Gallery.
Finally, this year's artist in residence is Jennifer Moss, an MFA student in fiber arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design. "The artist in residence is a little bit of a surprise for us," says McCall, noting that this position usually goes to a well-established artist. "But we didn't want to let go of her, because we were very impressed with this very young fiber artist." Moss will be seen working on her art, which runs from wearable pieces to large-scale installations, everywhere from Strip sidewalks to the inside of Contemporary Craft's building, including a site-specific fiber piece on its walls in conjunction with the 2013 Fiberart International exhibit there.
"It should be a very fun and dramatic piece that will remain here," says McCall. "I think [Moss] represents where our organization wants to go."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Janet McCall, Society for Contemporary Craft

Spanish! Farming! Art! Sign up for great summer camps

It's not too late to sign your child up for some great summer camps – some brand new, some long running, and some just back for the summer of 2013. Here's a guide to some wonderful camps that still have openings:
Mini Mad Scientist Camp at Assemble: Kids can dive into new inventions and science experiments while (shhhhh!) learning about the scientific method and the design process and meet local pros in the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields. Cost is $100 per week (bring your own lunch). Each week runs Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sign up here for ages 5 through 7, July 8 through 12; here for ages 8 through 10, July 15 through 19; and here for ages 11 through 13, July 22 through 26
La Escuelita Arcoiris, a Spanish immersion pre-school in Squirrel Hill, has one-week Spanish language and culture day camps running June 24 through Aug. 2 (although Week 5, July 22 through 26, is full). Kids 6 through 10 will learn to speak Spanish while enjoying outdoor games, arts and crafts and cultural-immersion activities. Register here for a session that runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. through 3:30 p.m., with an extended day option available until 5:30 p.m.
At the Harvest and Create: A Farm to Table Immersion camp, run jointly by Union Project and Garfield Community Farm, there's already a waiting list for a second session this summer. It introduces kids 8 through 13 to both sustainable farming and hands-on clay creations. The two-week experience concludes with a mal made from student-harvested veggies on student-made ceramics. It also includes field trips to other farms and local restaurant kitchens. Running Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. and costs $450 per child. Get on the waiting list here
MobileQuest CoLab is a one-week camp for kids who want to make and play their own games on mobile technology. They'll work toward a game exhibition on the last day, and "come away from camp as designers and makers with real-world experiences in mobile technology and game design," say sponsors The Sprout Fund. Kids in the Greater Pittsburgh area must apply by May 28. Some need-based scholarships are available by emailing here. Apply to attend the camp here; acceptance notifications go out in early June.
Civic Engagement Summer Camp at Community Human Services in Oakland offers six one-week camps that each "introduces 5th and 6th grade students to topics and activities that broaden perspective, engage passions, and equip young people to become leaders," they say. "With a strong emphasis on community engagement, students will interact with leaders in various fields and come to a better understanding of what impacts their lives and how they can create positive change." The camp runs 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 pm. weekdays from June 24 until Aug. 2. Each week includes volunteering and a field trip. The cost is $125 per week, but there is a sliding scale for those whose income prevents them from affording the entire fee. Contact Trevor Smith by emailing here, or calling 412-246-1615. Week one has the theme of leadership, with subsequent weeks focusing on science, arts and music, diversity, environment and government.
Writer: Marty Levine

Girl-led change and fresh take on Title IX at Girls Coalition Conference

This year's Girls Coalition Annual Conference on June 13 – dubbed "Girls Can Change the World!" – is all about engaging girls' voices and hearing what girls are doing to advocate for change, says Heather Mediate, program director for the Coalition.
It will highlight thriving girl-led initiatives, solutions to continuing issues for girls and ways to build the success of girl-serving organizations.
Partnering this year with The Ellis School as its host, the Coalition's conference will cover such topics as "Grassroots feminism in Pittsburgh," "Developing inclusive programming," new developments in Title IX (including Pennsylvania's recently enacted Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure Act, set to take effect in October) and the Hardy Girls, Healthy Women curriculum.
This curriculum, developed at Colby College in Maine, "is really about helping girls to build strong critical thinking skills," says Mediate. "A lot of it is media literacy, and helping the leaders of girls' groups deal with the problems they see all around them" – and take action. Chatham University and the local Girl Scouts of America are piloting the curriculum here.

The leader of the Philadelphia chapter of Black Girls RUN!, Deneen Young, will speak at the conference about this organization, which has 55,000 members nationwide but no Pittsburgh chapter yet, and promotes solutions to health risks in the black female community.
The Maikuru Project: Teen Mom Mentoring Study out of the University of Pittsburgh will also be featured. Maikuru aims to prevent repeated teens pregnancies, using young mothers or couples as mentors to provide role models in parenting, wellness and decision-making and get teen mothers connected with the resources they need.
The other major goal of the conference is to bring together organizations that share the Girls Coalitions' focus. Thus, the conference has sessions for local leaders on building strong organizations, training and using a dedicated volunteer force, using social media and other crucial topics.
"Let's start some of the work and learn what is working," says Mediate.
Writer: Marty Levine 
Source: Heather Mediate, Girls Coalition Southwestern Pennsylvania

Questyinz 2.0 launches with new quests and new ways for kids to take part

Kids love being sent on journeys to get answers and solve puzzles, so the Allegheny County Library Association's online game Questyinz will be back June 1 with all new quests for children in grades K-5 to undertake this summer. The game is designed not only to promote literacy but to motivate kids to want to read.
Kristin Rama, the Association's youth services coordinator, says the game sent 2,741 kids last year on an average of five quests, involving 10 questions each, and they spent 2.5 million minutes reading to get to the end of their searches. In 17 categories, from math or science and nature to "Around the World," "Pittsburgh" and "My Neighborhood," each quest's queries prompted the kids to seek answers by completing real-world activities, asking questions of adults and looking up items in libraries and on the Internet to earn points and badges.
With funding from the Grable and Benedum foundations, the Association has devised all new quests this year and focused on adding other new features to help kids be even more successful in maintaining and developing their learning skills over the summer. One new feature is an online quest journal in which the kids can bookmark their favorite questions and quests. "With this age group, they're not big note takers," says Rama, "so it's nice for them to print something out and take it into the library." Or just to have someplace of their own to keep and examine the materials online.
This year the Association's mascot, the Reading Creature, will also be able to send "RC Mail" emails to kids, telling them they did a great job or earned a special badge, allowing the libraries to interact with kids and keep them motivated. A new "Read to Me" button lets the younger kids ask for the game to be read aloud to them.
Kids can now also add their own questions to Questyinz for other kids to answer, although these questions are not part of any specific quests.
The Association is continuing to partner with the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to develop the quests, which allow students to interact with these organizations. But Questyinz's developers are also hoping that schools see the impact of the program and how it might be used in their own classrooms. They believe that teachers will be interested in helping to devise quests that will promote skills that will help them in fall classrooms.
The overall goal, says Rama, is "to teach kids how to be lifelong learners and pursue what interests them. It models how you can go about pursuing your interests and go through your own quests in your mind, and it may even lead to kids being interested in certain careers."
Kids can start their game by picking up a Questyinz game card at their local library.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Kristin Rama, Allegheny County Library Association

A first for Pittsburgh: The Mom Con

Lawyer Natalie Kovacic attended a conference for women entrepreneurs last fall, hoping to improve her own business as a financial advisor and estate planner.
Then she realized the conference she really wanted to attend: one for moms.
That's why the Lawrenceville resident is organizing Pittsburgh's first Mom Con for May 23 in Greentree.
"There are so many conferences held for women and for women entrepreneurs," she says. "A lot of us work for ourselves or we work [outside the home] but they don't talk about the other issues: How do I figure out how to be a good mom for my kids but still pursue my own passions and my goals for my life?
"Being a mom who works, there are two things that I struggled with, that I thought other women would benefit from having a conference about," she adds. First came the question of how to balance work, husband and kids. Second, as a young mom, she felt isolated. She was just weeks beyond passing the Pennsylvania bar exam at 23 when she and her husband discovered she was pregnant with their son.
"I didn't know any moms in Pittsburgh who had kids, nor did I know of any of the resources that were available," she says. "I had to figure it out on my own."
The Mom Con intends to help with both issues. Among the sessions are:
  • Going Beyond “Balance”: Creating the Life You Want by national commentator and life coach Jenn Lee.
  • Resilience for Moms and Kids: Raising People We Can Respect and Admire Without Losing Our Minds by local family physician Deborah Gilboa, whose Ask Doctor G blog has been featured in Kidsburgh.
  • From Superwoman to SuperYOU! by Janelle Buchheit, author of Lunch Box Lessons: Snack Size Skills for Mind, Body and Soul.
  • Junk Foods & Moods for the Busy Mom by Lindsey Smith, known as the "food mood girl."
  • Owning Your Story by Jessica Strong, founder of Strong Trainings consultants, who often speaks about behavioral health.
In addition, there will be a parenting roundtable, networking and other events, including massages and color and image consultations during lunch.
The Mom Con will also connect attendees by geographic area, so neighboring moms can get together later.
"I would encourage moms to take the day for themselves and take time to regroup," Kovacic says. "I don't think enough moms do that."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Natalie Kovacic, The Mom Con

International travel dreams come true for kids via World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh will once again be sending a dozen local high-school juniors to as many countries on immersive trips that are "hugely transformative – it's an experience that transforms their experience of the world," says Annie M. Prucey, the Council's vice president and director of education programs.
The Global Travel Scholarship Program, in its 10th year, chose student from among 74 teacher-nominated applicants students who best demonstrated a passion for travelling and learning about the world, as well as maturity, leadership ability, school achievement and a need for the program.
"We want to make this opportunity available to students who wouldn't have the opportunity to go abroad," says Prucey.
Students from Pittsburgh Perry, Carrick and Brashear high schools, Pittsburgh Sci Tech Academy, and Penn Hills, South Side Area, McKeesport, Cornell and Ringgold high schools, as well as Winchester Thurston and Sewickley Academy, were chosen for three- to five-week trips this summer to Spain, Japan, Argentina, Botswana, Korea, China, South Africa, Morocco, Tanzania, Peru, Costa Rica and Italy. The program is devised by The Experiment in International Living, a program of World Learning.
The World Affairs Council provides pre-departure orientation and leadership training as well as the scholarship, which pays for everything but incidental student costs, such as souvenirs.
Prucey labels the trips "a total immersion," in which students stay with a family in their country, often performing community service, taking language training and completing projects in the arts or the environment. The idea, she says, is for the travelers to become part of the community, learning how to interact with the rest of the world – how to cross ethnic, linguistic and other boundaries outside, and later inside, the United States. "They really become close and it creates a lifelong connection to that part of the world."
Traveling with two adult group leaders trained to facilitate the experience and other American high school kids, the Pittsburgh students also bond with peers from all over the country.
Prucey has seen program participants become more competitive for college entry and gain more appreciation for what they have in this country, because of the lack of resources they often encounter in other places.
"But they are surprised by how much we have in common with people from other countries," she says. "I have seen tremendous growth, a lot more independence and I have seen them set their sights higher."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Annie M. Prucey, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

Catching kids early may inspire climate change action, careers

Doctoral students in Carnegie Mellon University's department of engineering and public policy are giving back to the community – and aiming to teach climate change and inspire science careers – through SUCCEED, a free summer camp.
SUCCEED (SUmmer Center for Climate, Energy and Environmental Decision-making) is a five-day program at CMU for 9th grade students, this year run by doctoral students Paul Welle and Frauke Hoss.
"An army of Ph.D. students," says Welle, will give students a taste of their research pursuits, but the campers will also undertake many hands-on activities and field trips. They will visit coal-fired and nuclear power plants; the Carnegie Museum of Natural History; CMU's electric vehicle lab; and CMU's intelligent workspace, or "the office room of the future," as Welle labels it, with computers controlling the lights, temperature and other aspects to make it ultra-efficient.
They'll conduct a variety of experiments as well, including building wind turbines of different designs to see which is the most efficient and which might be a source of better energy systems in the future. "We don't want to bring them here just to give them more school," Welle says.
Beyond learning about climate change, he adds, "we hope the kids get to see what science is really like [and] to see what this type of science is. We really want to introduce them to what it would be like to have a science-related career. Hopefully they'll be excited. They're young enough where they're still making up their minds. Hopefully we'll be able to help them make a decision."
Applications, due June 1, are available here.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Paul Welle, SUCCEED

Youth leaders learn city government first hand, without getting elected

It's too late to enter the mayoral primaries, but kids can get inspired to pursue other civic service by enrolling in this summer's Youth Civic Leadership program created by the Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and part of the servePGH initiative.
"It's a good chance for youth interested in making a difference, particularly in the public sector," says Rebecca Delphia, chief service officer in the mayor's office. Kids participating in the free six-session program, which meets two times a week for three weeks, get to do everything from exploring the training facility for the city's emergency personnel to seeing the drinking water treatment process of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and meeting officials of the city planning department to see what tools they use in their work. The program culminates with a service project that each kid designs and executes him or herself.
It has its origins in the city's Civic Leaders Academy for adults, created several years ago. As a result of this youth version, says Delphia, there has been a real interest among the participants in learning about city careers and eventually seeking a post in city government.
Last summer, one participant learned about mini-grants for neighborhood projects available through the city's Love Your Block program. So he mobilized the sports teams and others in his school – Pittsburgh Obama – and partnered with the Save Race Street Committee in Homewood to transform two vacant lots into green spaces at Race and Collier streets. Another participant used his service project to partner with Zone 6 police in the West End for a playground revitalization, while another partnered with PWSA on storm drain stenciling, warning potential dumpers that each sewer drains to a river. One program graduate even joined the mayor's youth council.
Applicants must be 14-18 years old -- either entering 9th grade this fall or graduating at the end of the current school year. Application deadline is June 3; apply here
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Rebecca Delphia, Office of the Mayor

All-new theater, plus new luminaria creation: it's all at International kids' fest

What better description can you give about a kids' show than this: "The performers are wildly talented and the show is a huge mess: It ends in a grand messy finale, totally safe but fun."
So says Pam Lieberman, who heads the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, about just one of the performances slated for this year's fest on May 15 through 19 at the University of Pittsburgh theaters and Schenley Plaza in Oakland.
None of the artists is a repeat from last year except Alan Parkinson and his Architects of Air, who will be building another luminarium. This time "Exxopolis" will be half a soccer field big and as tall as a three-story house, with colorful stained-glass effects throughout.
Among the artists this year from the U.S., Australia, Russia, Ireland and the UK are
Charlotte Blake Alston, a teller of interactive, participatory "African Pourquoi Tales," and the clowns who make up "Aga-Boom," who have performed with Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and the Moscow Circus and make all that mess mentioned above.

The "Dinosaur Petting Zoo" by Erth Visual & Physical Inc. of Australia in the Bellefield Hall Auditorium brings the Mesozoic alive with large-scale puppetry. "The dinosaurs look pretty darn real and they just come to life" and respond to individual encounters with audience members, says Lieberman. The UK's "Egg and Spoon," in Pitt's Studio Theatre, takes kids 5 and under through the seasons with "peek-a-boo puddles, fluffy snowflakes, blowing leaves, bursting cherry blossoms, a birdie egg that just might hatch and other splendiferous surprises," as the Festival describes it. Lieberman calls it a very intimate show and "a great way to introduce children to the theater. It is very lovely and creative and really sparks their interest."
For "The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly" from Ireland, in the Charity Randall Theatre, Louis Lovett tells the adventure of a girl who cannot sing but still sings loudly while the audience learns about "love, loss, [and] the reassurance of goats," in the Festival's description.
Also new this year are extended hours on Friday for after-school time until 6 p.m., and early evening performances, as well as free international film shorts created for 5- to 8-year-old kids, coming to Pittsburgh for the first time via the New York Children's Film Festival, plus free activities and performances in Schenley Plaza.
"The heart of the festival is the theater performances," says Lieberman. "The goal is to see as much theater as you can. It's the discussions that come out of it that are so valuable and spark creativity and imagination."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Pam Lieberman, Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival

Matchmaking between nonprofits and board hopefuls, and training, are Boardswork's missions

Nonprofits need training on how to find and use their boards wisely – and potential board members need training on how even to get started working on a board.
That's why BoardsWork!, a program of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, is collaborating with the Forbes Funds to bring together 10 nonprofit organizations and potential board members for customized training in the process.
"You hear all the time from executive directors and board chairs – they're always looking to grow their boards," says Lulu Orr, program director of BoardsWork! "It is really difficult to find board members who not only want to hold a board seat but have the knowledge for what is entailed in sitting on a board.
"It's a learning curve on both sides," she adds. "We hear a lot of frustration from people serving on boards who say they wish the board meetings were more effective, and how they use board members' skills and talents.
"In this region, there are approximately 6,000 nonprofits. If an average board is 10 people, 60,000 people are needed to fill all those seats. It's a great opportunity for the whole sector."
The nonprofits taking part will first meet to discuss their common issues, since many such organizations haven't had opportunities to learn how common their problems are. Board chairs, who work as volunteers, don't necessarily know other board chairs with whom to exchange information, she says.
Each nonprofit will then take part in a custom board retreat focusing on whatever issues are most pressing for the organization. Next, they'll be linked to one or two new board members from a pool of executives chosen by Boardswork! among more than 150 executives from such businesses such as Alcoa, American Eagle Outfitters, Bayer, Huntington Bank and PNC. They all received special Boardswork! training on financial oversight, fundraising and nonprofit planning.
"There's great interest in serving on boards," notes Orr. "But a lot of people don't know how to go about it. What's been wonderful to see is how many of these business people want to serve on a board but had no idea how to do it."
The chosen nonprofits are Allegheny Family Network, Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Mainstay Life Service, New Hazlett Center for the Performing Arts, Pulse, South Hills Interfaith Ministries, Northside Christian Health Center, Shady Lane School, Spina Bifida Association and Just Harvest Education Fund.
"We were looking for organizations who demonstrated that they really need more direction and more time to be spent with their boards," says Orr. "It's not that these organizations aren't functioning well … but we looked for, where are their holes? Where can they benefit from Boardswork!'s training, and who can benefit from coming together with the other nonprofits?"
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Lulu Orr, program director of BoardsWork!
917 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts