Think of it as one-stop shopping for answers. East suburban residents with questions about what services are available for parenting and other needs can get answers in one convenient place.
Beulah Presbyterian Church is hosting its first Neighborhood Family Connections Day, during which representatives of more than 40 organizations will be on hand to provide information on health, education, child care and other essentials.
The free event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 2500 McCrady Road, Churchill.
"There are tons of people in need, and sometimes they don't know where they can go to get help," said Becky McGhee, a church elder and volunteer who is involved with outreach efforts.
Organizations scheduled to participate include the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Children's Health Insurance Program, Gateway Health Plan, Highmark Caring Place, Penn Hills Library, Child Care Information Services, Child Find, Kindermusik, Boy and Girl Scouts and Penn Hills and Woodland Hills school districts.
Several other area educational institutions also will be represented.
"There are so many different choices now to send your child: to elementary school, private schools, charter schools, online schools," event organizer Patty Gionta said. "Parents can go around and talk to everyone to find out about different kinds of schools."
Attending the event requires nothing more than showing up, she said. Along with light refreshments, bags will be provided to visitors as a convenient repository for printed information.
Although much information is available online, such resources aren't readily available to everyone, planners noted.
"This will give them a little bit more of a personal touch, to ask questions, to actually have a person to talk to," said Ms. Gionta, a church member and 19-year employee of Beulah Christian Preschool and Child Care, which is coordinating the event with the church.
"We are trying to be more purposeful about reaching out to the community," she said. "We've seen the needs of people over the years, even within our own center. They're working parents. They're tired when they get home. They just need extra help."
In that regard, the center last year hosted a "baby-sitting night" to allow moms and dads to do some holiday shopping.
This year's connections event came about through a bit of brainstorming.
"Five of us went to a continuing education class for the preschool, and one of the instructors wanted us to think outside of the box about how we can help parents," Ms. Gionta said. "We made lots of phone calls, and when people called us back, they were just excited to come and share their information."
To learn more about Connections Day, call 412-242-4570.neigh_east
Larry Funk, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org