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May Bold Plays

May Bold Plays

Buses, BOOST Act, and Books, oh my! In our inaugural edition of Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania’s Bold Plays Blog, we look back at ways we are advocating for the Pittsburgh region’s youth and look forward to an exciting new event for Pittsburgh. 

Welcome Home, Kenny

We, like many diehard Pittsburgh sports fans, were jumping for joy when the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He is a leader both on the field and in the community. Last year, Kenny, who has fond memories of participating in Boys & Girls Club programming in his native New Jersey, visited our Estelle S. Campbell Clubhouse in Lawrenceville as part of his Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) allowance. Check out ESPN’s coverage of the event here

Congratulations, Kenny! We are so excited to continue working with you to benefit our region’s youth. 

Eliminating the Barrier of Transportation:

In Pittsburgh, 1 in 5 of our neighbors do not have access to a personal vehicle, and our city’s topography creates mobility challenges. Many of the families we serve are single-parent households, which introduces challenges as caregivers juggle the demands of work and family life. 

On Thursday, April 14th in Pittsburgh’s Northview Heights, we celebrated two grants that will quite literally place our youth on a path toward a brighter future and eliminate transportation as a barrier for kids and families in our region. Thanks to the generosity of Allegheny County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Essential Utilities Foundation BGCWPA was awarded $250,000 to purchase buses to connect youth directly to the programs and services offered at our Clubhouses. Joining our President and CEO Dr. Lisa Palmieri and Northview Heights community leaders and residents at the press conference were individuals who were instrumental in advancing this initiative, including State Representative Emily Kinkead, State Senator Wayne Fontana, City Councilman Bobby Wilson (a former Club kid), CEO of Peoples Natural Gas Mike Huwar, and Housing Authority of City of Pittsburgh Executive Director Caster Binion. We are very grateful for their support and leadership. Stay tuned for more information on the buses! 

BOOST Act:

Did you know that Pennsylvania is one of a few states without a dedicated budget line item for out-of-school-time providers? At the same time, 775,000 Pennsylvania students would participate in an afterschool program, if one were available to them. 

In order to reach these students, BGCWPA staff visited the State Capitol in Harrisburg to advocate for the Building Opportunities through Out-of-School-Time (BOOST) Act, which would invest $50 million in programs, like the ones offered by BGCWPA. Staff from BGCWPA joined fellow advocates from Boys & Girls Clubs statewide, the Pennsylvania Statewide Youth Development Network (PSAYDN), and the Alliance of YMCAs and YWCAs and met with State Representatives and State Senators to speak on the critical impact of afterschool programs throughout the Commonwealth. 

To learn more about the BOOST Act, which has bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, you can read the Co-Sponsorship Memo issued by State Representatives Mike Schlossberg (D) and Lynda Schlegel Culver (R) here. We encourage everyone to contact their State Legislators and urge them to support this critical legislation. You can find your Legislators’ contact information here.   

Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books:

BGCWPA’s Literacy Program helps hundreds of youth each year on a journey toward academic success. Naturally, we are excited that our Literacy Manager Kara Viggiano will be on-hand talking to kids and families at the first annual Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books. Join us at this free, family-friendly event on Saturday, May 14th hosted throughout Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood. You can learn and register at www.pittsburghbookfestival.org. We hope to see you there!

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