In the second year of its volunteerism campaign, the city of Pittsburgh plans increases in the number of blocks that are beautified, students who are mentored and senior citizens who are helped during snowstorms.
The new goals were announced Wednesday at an event marking the first anniversary of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's ServePGH initiative. The event was held at a Perry South lot that's being converted into a community blueberry garden, one of the projects launched during ServePGH's first year.
In all, about 1,000 volunteers have taken part in projects so far.
"I think we have harnessed one of Pittsburgh's great treasures, which is our willingness to help," said Colleen Fedor, a member of the ServePGH advisory council and executive director of the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
In a statement, Mr. Ravenstahl, who has been ill the last two days, said the projects have transformed blighted areas. "I'm proud of our accomplishments, and look forward to achieving even more in the year ahead."
Last fall, volunteers launched 10 "Love Your Block" projects that improved about 50 blocks, including the project that included the community garden in Perry Hilltop. In coming weeks, the city will announce 10 more projects. In the fall, it will announce plans for another 50 projects, some of which will carry over into 2013.
Rebecca Delphia, who oversees ServePGH at the city's chief service officer, said other goals include:
• Doubling, to 110, the number of city school students to be helped through the "Mayor's Mentoring Initiative." City employees receive release time each work to work with the students. The program, now serving middle-school students, may expand to include younger children in coming months.
• Increasing to 40, from 26, the number of Redd Up Zones, half-mile stretches of city streets that are regularly patrolled for litter by volunteers.
• Completing 50 home weatherization and improvement projects for seniors and veterans; 22 projects were completed in the first year of the program.
• Increasing to 200, from the current 185, the number of seniors who are assigned "snow angels," students and adults who clear walks and driveways in winter. Ms. Delphia said the increase is modest because the existing "snow angel" corps was only moderately tested during the mild winter.
Joe Smydo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1548.