My job at the Pittsburgh Young Leaders Academy

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am working as a “Change Leader” for the Pittsburgh Young Leaders Academy, which is an after-school program for 9th and 10th graders at the Pittsburgh Public Schools. This is our fourth week in the schools, and so far I am really enjoying it! The after-school programs are three hours long, twice a week. It can get tiring, but I always look forward to Tuesday and Thursday afternoons!

We recently completed our first service project with the 9th graders, which is a big component of the program. The students will complete 10 service projects by the end of the school year, all planned and done by them! For this project, the 9th grade PYLA students advertised an anonymous, toll-free number students call to report a weapon or threat in their school. They made posters and flyers to hang around the school, and passed out information, snacks and bracelets at a table during lunchtime to let students know about the 1-866-SPEAK UP telephone number.

As a part of spreading the word about speaking up against violence, the students in PYLA participated in a Student Design Project as a part of National Safe Schools Week. Each student wrote a rap song, poem, or short story about how violence has affected their lives in hopes of encouraging other students to speak up about violence! The students really enjoyed the project and many said it was a good way to get their feelings out. This project was fun, and challenging. Now only 9 more projects to go!

As a part of the program, students also get to go on a field trip each month. PYLA is held in 5 Pittsburgh Public high schools, and all 5 schools independently chose to go to a haunted house this month! We are going to Hundred Acres Manor tomorrow evening, and I am legitimately nervous! The only think I like about Halloween is the candy, and I have never been to a haunted house! I hope the students have fun, but I am scared!


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