Editorial | The collaboration of the UPJ with the youth center is an important community link | News

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and the Flood City Youth Fitness Academy announced plans this week to launch a new program that would pair education students from Richland Township College with youth from the downtown learning center.

It’s a big extension of the university’s outreach to the community, which has included working with the city’s Moxham area – its former home – and providing infectious disease experts to guide the region through the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the Flood City Youth and Fitness Academy, the program illustrates the continued growth of a center providing important services to families in Johnstown.

“It’s a need we had to meet,” executive director Oscar Cashaw told reporter Joshua Byers.

The new ‘I Rise’ initiative will connect math, writing and reading teachers – future teachers – with the center’s growing after-school program, which works with 170 area children each week, including in their providing transportation to take them home in the evening if needed.

The youth academy already employs 10 paid tutors, Cashaw said, while two UPJ students help out at the center.

The Cashaw team provides computers for homework and homework help, as well as meals and social activities. AmeriServ Financial supports the youth center’s many educational programs.

Cashaw told Byers that the center could occupy about 20 additional adult tutors or mentors.

For UPJ President Jem Spectar, the partnership with Flood City Youth “reflects our commitment to student success and improved educational outcomes for all.”

Under Spectar’s leadership, the UPJ has been a key contributor to the quality of life for area residents, including those who do not work or attend classes on campus.

The university has helped with holiday events and facilities for children in the Moxham area where UPJ began.

During the pandemic, UPJ researchers in science and other disciplines have participated in efforts to help area residents understand and address the challenges of COVID-19. The latest in a series of online COVID-19 forums – this one focusing on the omicron variant – is scheduled for Wednesday.

At the youth centre, the impact of “I Rise” goes beyond community benefit.

The program will provide UPJ education students with a place “to gain hands-on, hands-on teaching experience and earn service hours for teacher preparation,” said Gerald Zahorchak, president of the Education Division. of the UPJ and former Secretary of State for Education.

The Flood City Youth Fitness Academy and UPJ will officially launch their partnership Thursday in the lobby of Blackington Hall on campus.

“By working with FCFYA to build a strong foundation in early childhood, we are making a wise investment in the future of our community, our region and our country,” Spectar said.

We agree and consider efforts like this to be crucial to the Johnstown area’s efforts to break down barriers and develop meaningful employment and economic development opportunities.

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