AYD PartnerAllegheny Youth Development (AYD) and Neighborhood Learning Alliance (NLA) started working together in January 2009. The partnership started at Pittsburgh Rooney and transitioned to Pittsburgh Shiller in Fall 2010, a program AYD still operates today. In Spring 2014, NLA and AYD partnered to start a program at Pittsburgh Morrow, which we then expanded to a full program for third- through fifth-graders in September 2014.

Last February, Morrow referred 25 academically at-risk students to the pilot project. By June, 15 of those students – 60 percent – showed a significant increase in their grade point average. One year later, 14 of original 25 are still enrolled in the current class of 48, with nine continuing to trend upward in their GPAs.

“At first, parents enroll their kids because they want a safe place after school,” says Ms. Char Harris, program coordinator for AYD at Morrow. “But they keep them here because they get excited about the results.”

Morrow is one of NLA’s eight elementary afterschool sites. The site also hosts six Reading Warriors, three from Pittsburgh Perry, and one each from Pittsburgh Brashear, Pittsburgh Allderdice, and Urban Pathways. The Warriors support both reading and STEM activities at the Morrow site.

The program runs Monday through Thursday, from the school’s closing bell at 2:48 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to skill-building with the Warriors, the days include homework help, service learning, gym time, and a snack and hot supper. As every NLA partner brings its unique assets to our partnerships, AYD provides the children at Morrow with the amazing opportunity to learn judo two days per week in addition to all of the other programming.

NLA is so fortunate to have its incredible set of partners who are always willing to work with us to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families across the city.

“Most folks will notice that this is something of a shift for AYD, adding elementary-age boys and girls,” said Brian Foltz, AYD’s executive director. “But it’s not a departure from our mission of helping youth reach their God-given potential. We responded to a request from our community, and with the program structure and financial channels provided by NLA, it’s a way of expanding our mission.”