Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has officially launched Pittsburgh's first citywide, high-impact service plan and called on city residents to help the city fulfill its commitment to citizen service through impact volunteerism.
The plan, servePGH, seeks to match community volunteers with five key service initiatives addressing the mayor's top priorities of youth engagement and neighborhood revitalization. The initiatives will be launched throughout 2011, with the first, a mentoring initiative. The creation of this plan was made possible through a $200,000 Cities of Service Leadership Grant awarded to the city last June, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
"The servePGH plan is a direct result of the commitment to service that was made in 2009 when I joined the Cities of Service coalition and signed the Declaration of Service," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "This plan represents the beginning of Pittsburgh's renewed focus on volunteerism and will show the inspiring difference that dedicated residents can make when they work together toward the common goal of improving our neighborhoods and the lives of Pittsburgh's young people."
Last September, the city hired its first-ever chief service officer, and in November the Mayor's Service Advisory Council was formed to help create the service plan. For the last six months, an intensive analysis was conducted, which included focus groups, community surveys, and expert interviews, to identify specific challenges facing the city and to develop initiatives that capitalize on the city's already strong service infrastructure.
The mayor launched the first service initiative called the Mayor's Mentoring Initiative by signing an Executive Order that gives special allowance for city employees to serve as middle-school mentors during work time. The initiative is being launched in partnership with "Be a 6th Grade Mentor," the largest mentoring recruitment effort in the region's history, initiated by the leadership of the Youth Futures Commission and developed through the collaboration of The United Way of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Employees are encouraged to apply to be a mentor at www.pittsburghpa.gov/mentor. The mayor has committed to becoming a mentor himself next fall.
Additional initiatives include: Love Your Block; Redd Up Zone; Snow Angels; and a youth Civic Leadership Academy. Each initiative highlighted in the servePGH plan has its own official launch date, but all will be launched by the end of 2011. Residents who are interested in getting involved with any of the service initiatives are asked to visit www.pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh for more information and to sign up for email updates.