Allegheny West Foundation, a community development center, is a pillar and has made great investments into the North Philadelphia neighborhood.
“What we at Allegheny West are doing is embracing the community as a whole from economic development to educational excellence,” said Ron Hinton, head of the foundation.
Area students can receive after-school support through the foundation in programs like One Giant Step. The 13-year-old program is a comprehensive enrichment reading program available to elementary and middle school students.
The AWF program for high school students allows students to thoroughly prepare to transition into college. More than 40 percent of the 2,000 participants go on to junior or four-year colleges and universities.
Antonia Mitchell, a 23 year-old alumni of Dobbins Vocational Tech and a graduate of the 2008 class at Penn State University, was able to purchase a TastyKake delivery route and works three days a week in the TastyKake Thrift Shop (right).
“Being accepted at Penn State made me become a well-rounded person,” Mitchell said. “I can deal with anyone at this point. It is a shame but everybody don’t make it.”
Mitchell was also a participant of AWF’s Summer Career Exploration Program that allowed him to work through the summer and receive pay. This program requires students to complete resumes, cover letters and portfolios that showcase some of their work.
“The programs made me confident,” said Mitchell. “When I went to Penn State, I was able to do the work and not be overwhelmed or intimidated.”
AWF has also teamed up with Cheyney University and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change to provide mentorships and college preparedness to 200 students.
Students who typically would not have access to educational resources in their communities are now able to take advantage of the AWF programs. AWF also offers students with an opportunity to take advantage of prep sessions through the Princeton Review.
As the students who benefit from AWF programs complete college, they are in a better educational position to give back and help others.