We believe that all children in Sto-Rox should be happy, healthy, and safe – supported by loved ones in a broader community that offers the necessary education, training, and opportunity for a bright future.
The Sto-Rox Youth Partnership is a platform for youth program leaders, school employees, businesses and other community members to collaborate, in order to improve the lives and futures of our children. By identifying existing resources and coordinating our efforts, we systematically address issues that adversely affect the wellbeing of Sto-Rox youth, using data-driven metrics to guide our progress. Together, we are better equipped to confront and improve the pervasive problems of poverty, crime, and disenfranchisement that too frequently affect the lives of our kids.
McKees Rocks and Stowe Township (Sto-Rox) are a community of roughly 13,000 residents just three miles from the Ohio River. Once a thriving industrial community, five decades of decline have left the area with concentrated poverty and a decimated commercial core. This pervasive poverty and liabilities that accompany it, are the greatest contributors to an overall lack of vitality and reduced quality of life. These factors are also the greatest obstacles to the community as it continues to reinvent itself through attracting new economic vitality around several planning efforts.
The Sto-Rox community is blessed with a number of amenities for our young people, such as the Father Ryan Arts Center and the First Tee of Pittsburgh at Pleasant Ridge. Similarly, Sto-Rox has a number of youth-serving organizations, both large and small, that provide a wide array of programs and services.
What has become evident, however, is that there is not a coordinated effort between these organizations to strategically leverage their resources and amenities existing in the Sto-Rox community.
The result is that we hear routinely from parents, educators, and other stakeholders (including children themselves) that our young people need more enriching activities and learning experiences. These become even more critical in a community where the home environment often times lacks stability.
Through existing relationships and networks, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) is seeking to first convene potential partners throughout Sto-Rox to discuss the roles and function of existing entities and solicit feedback as to individual (and collective) needs, challenges, and opportunities.
MRCDC can explore potential new collaborative ideas and projects that are suggested and facilitate connections between youth partners through its Neighborhood Stabilization function.
In short, this community doesn’t have to build new places or organizations, just better utilize what already exists within Sto-Rox and what is offered in the Pittsburgh region.
The Youth Partnership enabled me to identify individuals in the neighborhood who were working toward the shared goal of providing enriching programs to children and youth. I work at a housing site where I constantly see the need for youth programs. After Lisa from the Sto-Rox Elementary School spoke about her successful afterschool program and mentioned the need for more programming, I knew she would be a valuable partner. Through brainstorming, planning, and partnering with the Sto-Rox Elementary School, Lisa and I were able to begin a successful running program for young girls at the housing site that teaches teamwork, confidence and life skills!
One of the great benefits of the Sto-Rox Youth Partnership is the opportunity to network with other youth-serving organizations. I met Adrienne of the Second Baptist Church at a meeting and now we are hosting their kids at our facility. Without this partnership, those kids wouldn't have the opportunity to learn about golf and all of it's inherent values. The kids are discovering how skills essential to success on the golf course can help them in their lives at home and at school.