Kidsburgh celebration at Millvale library

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A "Millvale is Kidsburgh Community Celebration" will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Millvale Community Library, 213 Grand Ave., with the goal of organizers to make the program’s effects long-lasting.

The program will feature stories and images collected from borough youth and families. Ryan Coon, program manager for The Sprout Fund, said writers, photographers and a video team were meeting with the community and preparing profiles from interviews.

The event also will feature Rebel Legion, a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization, which will provide interactive entertainment. There also will be face painting and the mobile Make Shop from the Children’s Museum.

The borough was chosen to be the first neighborhood partnering with Kidsburgh, a collaborative effort to make Pittsburgh communities better places for kids to live, learn and play.

Kidsburgh will work with Allies for Children, a new advocacy nonprofit working with partners to establish a child-centered agenda for Millvale; Hear Me, a project of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University; NEXT Pittsburgh, a new web publication reporting on people and initiatives; and The Sprout Fund, a nonprofit which, along with Hear Me, is documenting the people, programs and organizations serving children in Millvale, and organizing the community celebration.

If one of the initiative’s goals is met, the Sisters of St. Francis at Mount Alvernia will allow greater public use of its property. Three members of the religious community attended a recent meeting about the program and they expressed their interest.

“It’s the biggest green space in Millvale," said Sister Donna Zwigart. "People could use some of our resources there. We are interested in social justice and the environment.”

Others agreed with the premise. Pastor Rich Jones of the Element Church said the town’s children have no place to play and Gregg Dietz, sponsor of Shaler Area High School’s Youth Advocacy League, said perhaps a movie night could be held there.

Patrick Dowd, former Pittsburgh City Councilman who is Allies for Children’s executive director, outlined proposed goal statements. At the top was getting every Millvale child to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Sister Zwigart emphasized the importance of educating parents about getting children ready to attend school.

“Parent awareness is needed. Maybe the school district could identify kids that need help,” she said.

Another goal is a seamless connection between the school district, Millvale youth-serving organizations and the community Mr. Dietz said children from Millvale can’t participate in any sports because there is no activities bus. He suggested trying to get an activities bus for a year.

Also discussed was the concern of children being able to walk safely throughout the community and to Riverfront Park and the possibility of the school district using the park for several events each year.

Library Board Vice President Lisa Seel suggested the school district hold an inservice for teachers in Millvale. Mr. Wolovich agreed, adding the possibilities of an annual summit of organizations, and a newletter publishing any youth- or parent-serving events, like a directory.

Virginia Miller, freelance writer: suburban

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