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Hilltop Alliance honored with service award at Bravo! Brashear luncheon

 

Maureen Hoagan (center) presented Brashear Association's Community Service Award to members of the Hilltop Alliance Board of Directors at Bravo! Brashear. Members of the Board attending the ceremony included (from left) Ricco Brown, Donna Smith, Suzanne Photos, Nicole Stephens, Denise Fillips and Tom Smith.

The 99th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon of the Brashear Association was held October 27 at the LaMont Restaurant on Mount Washington.

The luncheon featured the awarding of the Charles and Georgina Peters Scholarship to Brandi Law and the association's Community Service Award to the Hilltop Alliance. Additionally, preliminary plans were announced for Brashear's Centennial Gala next year.

Presenting the Community Service Award was Brashear Board Member Maureen Hogan. Ms. Hogan worked with Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development (PPND) at the time the Hilltop Alliance was brought together in a deliberative democracy process of South Pittsburgh Hilltop stakeholders. PPND was one of the first organizations to provide operating support for the Alliance.

She noted the deliberative democracy took place over more than a year and identified problems in the Hilltop neighborhoods. Out of those discussions, four neighborhood organizations, the Allentown CDC, Carrick Community Council, Hilltop Economic Development Corp. and the Mt. Oliver City/St. Clair Block Watch, came together to form a collaborative organization, the Hilltop Alliance.

Since that time the Alliance has grown to work throughout the Hilltop neighborhoods and the Borough of Mount Oliver as an umbrella organization. Their mission is to preserve, collaborate, enhance and build on assets.

Ms. Hogan said Brashear has had a history of helping Hilltop neighborhoods, as well as the Hilltop Alliance. The Association participated in the deliberative democracy process and later had staff serve on Hilltop Alliance committees.

Early on, the Alliance's staff worked out of Brashear's Neighborhood Employment Center (NEC) in Allentown.

Now, Brashear works with the Hilltop Alliance in the Allentown Neighborhood Partnership Program, a state tax credit program.

"It's a two-way partnership, the Hilltop Alliance has helped Brashear with sustainable resources which include science grants and bringing other partners to the table to help with Green Playces around ALEC (Allentown Learning and Engagement Center)," she said.

Accepting the award were Alliance Board Member Suzanne Photos and Executive Director Aaron Sukenik.

Ms. Photos said it was a long journey and the Alliance had help from PPND and Brashear along the way. "We couldn't do it without your help."

On a personal note, Ms. Photos told those at the luncheon that when she was a young girl growing up in Mt. Oliver City, she attended Brashear's summer camp, Camp Claudine Virginia Trees at the time.

"You guys are the older sibling, we're the new kids on the block," she said in closing.

Mr. Sukenik acknowledged the work of the Board and staff in making the Alliance what it is today. He also recognized many of the organizations responsible for funding the Alliance, including PNC Bank, Dollar Bank, UPMC Health Plan, Birmingham Foundation, Neighborhood Allies, The Mayor's Office and Councilman Bruce Kraus' office.

Ms. Law's, the Peters Scholarship recipient, introduction to Brashear came when she stopped in the Neighborhood Employment Center seeking assistance with employment issues. Often while working at the NEC on her resume and job applications, she would take the time to help others who lacked computer skills.

While juggling employment, school and kids, Ms. Law also found time to help at the food pantry, too.

A graduate of Clairton High School and now a resident of Beltzhoover, Ms. Law is a trained phlebotomist. While maintaining steady employment, she is looking ahead to a career as a registered nurse and is enrolled in the nursing program at Community College of Allegheny County.

Her "ultimate goal" is to become self-sufficient for her children so they can have a better life and education without limits, Ms. Law wrote in her scholarship application.

When she completes the nursing program at CCAC, she hopes to work in an operating room or emergency department.

Joining Maureen Hoagan (center) in accepting Brashear Association's Community Service Award were staff members of the Hilltop Alliance (from left): LaShawna Russ, Sarah Baxendell, Aaron Sukenik, Tim Dolan and Siena Kane.

Cathy Niederberger, managing director of Community Development Banking at PNC Bank and chair of Brashear Centennial Celebration, announced next year instead of holding Bravo, Brashear! the Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a gala at the Heinz History Center.

"We want this to be a fun filled social event with music and I'm envisioning 'pin the telescope on John Brashear,'" she quipped. The gala will be the climax of a year-long celebration of events including the annual soup contest, Christmas in July and a Brashear Camp reunion.

Ms. Niederberger is collecting memories from members of the Brashear family to be displayed throughout the year and at the gala.

The event is planned for Thursday evening October 19, 2017.

 

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