On May 9th at Heinz Field, youth and adults from across Pittsburgh will join together to walk for a cause. Walkers will be strapping on their tennis shoes for a morning of walking—all to benefit Multiplying Good’s flagship youth program, Students in Action, in Pittsburgh!
Why walk, you wonder? Great question. Students in Action is a unique youth service, leadership, and recognition program that supports, trains and empowers today's youth to be leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and impactful global citizens. Youth across Pittsburgh have been participating in this vital program for more nearly 10 years. Last year alone participating youth served 1,179 hours, engaged 4,455 of their peers in service and impacted 5, 500 individuals through their projects.
The projects youth complete through the program are reflective of their passions and the needs of their communities. For example:
- In 2019, the Pine-Richland Peer 2 Peer SIA team strove to make every student in the district feel like part of the Pine-Richland family. After several losses in the school community to suicide and the tragedy at The Tree of Life Synagogue in the broader Pittsburgh community, the Peer 2 Peer SIA team set out to learn more about how students at their school felt. A survey revealed that only 52% of the students felt respected. To change this statistic, the SIA team supported the creation and dissemination of 1,600 knitted hearts, along with hand-written notes of encouragement, to students across the district.
- The Brownsville SIA team has been working for years to revitalize their town and is currently focused on the creation of a Teen Space at the Brownsville Free Public Library. In January, the team was recognized by Governor Tom Wolf with a grant from The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to support the creation of the new 750-square-foot-space, which will serve as safe space for teens to gather, socialize and study, as well as for senior citizens to gather during the daytime.
- The West Allegheny Senior High School Students in Action team is currently focused on reducing stigma and supporting youth to learn to use 'people-first' language. The team is particularly focused on shifting youth away from using the ‘R' word to describe others with intellectual disabilities, purchasing banners for those across their district to sign upon taking the pledge to set an example and educate anyone who uses it in a derogatory manner.
- The Trinity Area High School SIA team has also been an advocate for service by actively engaging partners on a variety of community-focused projects including youth voter registration and the value of civic participation, as well as promoting and supporting access to sustainable food sources by growing their own produce hydroponically in a freight farm on their school campus and then donating the crops to the local food bank.
What youth do in their communities through Students in Action is just one outcome of the program. In addition to making a significant impact on their own schools and communities, participating youth grow tremendously across 8 core competencies, including leadership, communication, empathy, bias and stereotype reduction, career and college readiness and connection to the community.
“As a veteran classroom teacher, it is programs like SIA that make our students able to meet the world - be it a collegian, a tradesman, a parent, a businessman. etc. - to be a successful member of society. SIA enables students to feel even more rewarded and confident when they have completed a service project.” ---Mary Ann Berty, Faculty Advisor, Trinity HS
The need for programming like Students in Action is overwhelming. Too many young people aren’t engaged in their communities and worse yet, don’t think they can be part of the solution to the very needs they are facing. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Join us on May 9th for an hour of walking to help us bring this vital program to more young people in Pittsburgh!