Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alternative Spring Break - The Pittsburgh Project

In about a week, Harry & I are headed out on Spring Break - woo hoo! Only we won't be visiting any beaches or resorts. Our church is taking a family mission trip to Pittsburgh. We're taking part in The Pittsburgh Project, a program that helps elderly citizens rehabilitate their homes, among other things. Ginny is too young to go, so she & Dad will stay home this time.

I'm excited & think it will be a great experience for Harry. I've always wanted to do a mission trip, but we're not quite ready to go international. So the Pittsburgh trip sounded like a great opportunity. The part I'm NOT thrilled about is that we'll be staying in a not-so-nice part of the city. (I think moms are obligated to worry about things like that!) From what I've heard, it is okay for example to walk the streets alone - as long as its during daylight hours. Being from Iowa, we're not really used to the crime of a big city. But our youth pastor, who is leading the trip, has been there at least 25 times, so I trust that he knows what he's doing!

Here's a little info about the Pittsburgh Project from their website, in case you're interested:
The Pittsburgh Project is a nonprofit community development organization with a 25-year track record of developing leaders and serving the city’s most vulnerable residents.  Our year-round staff of 51 operates a progressive series of afterschool and summer programs for 450 urban young people, deploys over 2800 people annually to perform free home repairs for Pittsburgh’s elderly homeowners, and spearheads economic development and job training efforts in our Pittsburgh neighborhood.
And some stats about the city of Pittsburgh:  
Almost one-fifth of homes are owned by households with incomes below $20,000, and over one-quarter are owned by homeowners 65 and older. Many seniors cannot afford to maintain their aging homes, and often live in the shadow of fear and isolation. There are widening gaps between rich and poor, between black and white, between those connected with resources and those without access to any. The Pittsburgh Project is located in an area of significant need. Twenty percent of our neighborhood’s housing units are empty. Unemployment is nearly five times the city average. Nearly 79 percent of our neighborhood’s households live below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty guidelines.  
I will try to post an update while we're gone (we are supposed to have internet access) or fer sure when we get back! 


  1. Are you staying at an old school? I wonder if it is the same place that I stayed X years ago. If they let high school students go with only chaperones, you will be fine. :) R. is looking forward to hanging out with Ginny over spring break.

  2. No old school for us. They have a brand new "Green Guesthouse" that sleeps 280 people. It will just be us and one other group the week we're there. Should be pretty quiet, no crazy kids running around at all hours. Unless you count mine and the 5 or 6 others that are going. :)