Newcomers Explore Historic Neighborhoods
The Jewish Family & Community Services’ Newcomers Crew is a virtual after-school mentoring program for recently resettled refugee youth in Pittsburgh. JFCS staff, mentors, and participants share information about their respective cultures, learn about America, Pittsburgh, and their countries of origin.
Sarah Greenwald, PHLF co-director of education, introduced participants to their new hometown through several activities. Club members and their mentors used Neighborhood Stories, Including Mine, recently published by PHLF, to learn more about their family, neighborhood, and community. Then, they explored the Strip District with Sarah, who shared information about its historic landmarks, family-owned businesses, and cultural diversity. Club members then worked with their mentors to add a business to the Strip based on their culture. They envisioned Pizza, Legosã, specialty bakeries, clothes, and grocery stores, among other ideas.
With PHLF, JFCS Newcomers Crew members also explored Pittsburgh’s Market Square, Forbes Avenue and Wood Street area, hearing from the local and woman-owned business Boutique La Passerelle, thanks to owner Adele Morelli. Additionally, club members learned more about the rich history of “Mystery Manor,” the National Negro Opera House in Homewood. Music and poetry came alive for participants in new ways through this particular historic structure and the rich legacy of Mary Cardwell Dawson. Inspired by Mary Cardwell Dawson’s story, some members created short poems in their native language, while others composed original music lyrics.
Each of these activities gave club members a sense of belonging in Pittsburgh. “I am always inspired by these club members,” said Sarah. “We learn from them as much as they learn from us. In the process, we all foster the sense that saving and sharing the historic fabric of our communities is important for our future.”
PHLF thanks the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for supporting its place-based education programs.