is back in Market Square for summer Tuesday mornings, 10-11:30 a.m., through August 21. It’s a free program of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), and spokesperson Brooke M. Fornalczyk says this year’s arts, safety, cultural and environmental activities for kids and families are even more diverse and interactive than in the previous five years.
Also new this year is the Carnegie Library’s Reading Room, happening at the same time. Kids and their caregivers can step over to the mobile library branch and select a new book for just $1-$2.
Fornalczyk says the PDP expects 2,400-3,000 children and their families over the 12-week program – that’s 200-250 people each Tuesday, so kids visiting from local daycares and homes will have lots of company in the revamped Market Square. The Square offers many eateries, too, of course, and free nearby T rides to the North Shore. It’s what Fornalczyk calls “the centerpiece and jewel of Downtown Pittsburgh … the perfect destination to host KidsPlay.”
If your kids are older, but still kids, you’ll want to help celebrate the success of the Pittsburgh Promise, whose four-year, $40,000 college scholarships for qualified Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) students have now helped 3,200 kids, about 400 of whom have just become the first Promise recipients to graduate from college.
Raising Pittsburgh’s Promise Gala
on June 14 will feature keynote speaker Sasha Heinz of the Heinz Endowments, while Igniting The Promise Charity Concert and Dance-A-Thon
at Stage AE later that night – lasting until dawn the next morning -- will honor the first Promise-assisted college grads and all the high-school grads with performances by Ashanti, G. Love and Special Sauce, DJ Bonics and DJ Zimmie, ending with a sunrise reggae barbecue.
Both events will be fundraisers, of course, as well as parties. "It is a pinnacle point in the life of the Promise,” says Lauren Bachorski, the organization’s special projects coordinator. "It's an ultimate opportunity for us to thank all our supporters so far."
It’s also a chance, she adds, for the public to realize again how the Promise is encouraging PPS graduates to stay and work in Pittsburgh – and should encourage families to send their kids to PPS for the scholarship opportunity.
Writer: Marty Levine
Sources: Brooke M. Fornalczyk, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership; Lauren Bachorski, Pittsburgh Promise