Innovation Day at North Park, hosted by SHARP

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Innovation Day at North Park, hosted by SHARP

By Karen Price / Trib LIVE

To kids 30 or even 20 years ago, the idea of showing up to a local park and seeing a self-driving car and robots that talk and move underwater would have existed only in the movies.

Now, however, technology is changing what’s possible in everyday life, and on July 15 kids of all ages can experience some truly high-tech gadgets at Innovation Day at North Park. The event is free and runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the skating rink.

“We’re hoping that this allows kids of all backgrounds and ages and kids who maybe haven’t been exposed to engineering to see that they can do this, too, and that this is fun for anyone,” said Christine Nguyen, who runs the robotics program at the Sarah Heinz House on Pittsburgh’s North Side. “You don’t have to be a nerd or a computer scientist.”

The SHARP robotics team — which stands for Sarah Heinz Advanced Robotics Program — is responsible for the programming for the day. The team consists of high school students from around the Pittsburgh area and since 2010 they’ve been competing in various robotics competitions and organizing outreach programs. Katrina Selavko and Lily Buchanan, two recent graduates, worked to coordinate the program at North Park.

Some of the participating companies and groups that will have tables include Thermo Fisher Scientific, non-profit Fine Art Miracles, which combines art and technology and uses a social robot to help interact with children on the autism spectrum, Urban Innovation21, which promotes an inclusive innovation economy, arts and technology community center Assemble and a number of other robotics teams.

Advanced Technologies Group — or UBER — will also be there with one of the company’s self-driving cars that have been testing in Pittsburgh since September. They will have a display showing what the car sees and have engineers to talk to people about the groundbreaking technology in use on Pittsburgh city streets.

There will also be lots of hands-on activities for kids, including making handmade ice cream, aluminum foil boats, LED pins, spin art and oobleck, the cornstarch-and-water substance named after a Dr. Seuss book.

Also on hand will be a Sea Perch underwater robot, VEX robots, competition robots and interactive robots.

The takeaway from the day, organizers hope, is that problem solving is fun.

“If kids are exposed more often they might be interested in taking a class or doing something else with it,” Nguyen said. “You need problem-solving skills in today’s world, no matter what field you’re in. You have to be able to problem solve and think on your feet. The more kids are exposed to it, the less scary it becomes and the more they realize they can be a part of innovation.”

For the full article, Click Here

Paul Rojik – Pittsburgh Magazine’s First ‘Three Rivers Champion’

From Pittsburgh Magazine…

Meet Our First Three Rivers Champion: Paul Rojik

As a longtime volunteer at the Sarah Heinz House, Rojik has impacted the lives of thousands of children.

Paul Rojik, 79, has been volunteering at the Sarah Heinz House every Wednesday evening for the past 50 years.

There, he acts as a mentor to a group of 30 middle school boys, guiding their projects and activities during their weekly meetings.

Rojik enjoys working with the boys and planning activities for his group, such as different crafts and trips to the museum and planetarium. He says this time together is important as it offers the boys a calm, respectful setting in which they can learn to work together.

And he would know. As a North Side youth, Rojik participated in programs at the nearby Sarah Heinz House himself. Through educational and fitness programs, the Sarah Heinz House helps kids in grades 1-12 develop the skills necessary to pursue a variety of careers and become engaged citizens.

“I felt strongly to give back to the ‘house’ because of the guidance, leadership and caring of the staff when I was a member. It had a great impact on me,” he says. “I had to give my time and whatever I could offer back to the ‘house.”

“It’s a very rewarding experience knowing you have been involved in a young person’s life in some way,” says Rojik, who founded Frame Gallery, Inc. in 1980 in Sharpsburg, which is now owned by his son.

Jennifer Cairns, the executive director at Sarah Heinz House, says that by volunteering two hours each week, Rojik has impacted thousands of kids. “His constant presence and calm demeanor help staff as they implement programs and intervene with specific boys as inevitable conflicts arise.”

For the link to the article, CLICK HERE

Bulletin – April 2017

This months bulletin has a calendar of April – June! Check out all that is happening in and around Sarah Heinz House, here’s a sneak peek:

April 3-7                       No Midget or Prep Gym Swim this week (see below- Health Fair)

Apr 4-5                                 PA State Youth of the Year Competition (Good Luck Brie Gerner!)

April 5                         HEALTH FAIR: Midgets and Preps, 5:30-7:00pm, FREE. Counts as Gym attendance that week

April 6 (Thurs.)                  Middler/Senior Dinner Field Trip. 7-9PM. Permission slip in Club

April 7 (Fri)                         Friday Night Special: Family Free Swim! FREE

April 8-9                               Girls Camp Weekend! Cost $10. Open to the first 15 girls who sign up.

Intermediate and Middler Senior Girls are invited to join us for an overnight at Sarah Heinz House’s Resident Camp. We will leave Saturday, April 8th at 3:30pm after program and return Sunday evening, April 9th at 6pm.

April 10-15                                       MODIFIED PROGRAMS! No Core or Extra Programs this week. Please see below for details

April 10 (Mon)                  Last Teen Night – FREE. 6:00-11:00pm open to the first 24 members that sign up. All Intermediates and Middler/Seniors are invited to a Pittsburgh Pirates Game! Participants must turn in a signed permission slip to secure spot. 

                                                Modified Program………….Building open from 3:30-6:00PM

April 11 (Tues)                  TALENT SHOW! FREE. Open to all ages. Members, families, and friends are invited to join us for a very special event with former resident camp member, contestant on “The Voice”, and current singer for Monster High and Barbie, TARRA LAYNE! This is a free event, with giveaways and live performances from Tarra Layne. Families and friends are invited to attend; only members can perform in the talent show.

Please sign up by March 31st (firm deadline) at the front desk to participate!


For the Full Bulletin: Click Here

Steak & Burger 2017 – Thank You Sponsors & Donors


March 9th was a magical night for 50 Sarah Heinz House members who were honored by 170 guests during the annual Steak and Burger Dinner. Generous corporations and individual donors led by Signature Sponsors UPMC Health Plan and The Cindy and Murry Gerber Foundation made the memorable event possible. $140,000.00 was raised to support of the programs provided to nearly 500 members each week after school and on Saturdays.

Click Here to read the Post-Gazette story about the wonderful event

We wish to thank all of our sponsors for making the evening a huge success:

Presenting Sponsors

Cindy & Murry Gerber Foundation

UPMC Health Plan

Champion Sponsors

Allegheny Health Network

First National Bank


PNC Bank

Hero sponsors

Alco Parking

Charlene & Dominic Petrelli

Pitt Ohio


Advocate sponsors

Accenture                                         Enscoe Long Insurance

Calgon Carbon                                 Katrina & Bryan Brantley

Carol Massaro                                  McGuire Woods

Clearview Federal Credit Union      Mascaro Contruction

ComDoc                                           PJ Dick Trumble/Lindy Paving

David & Gabriel Porges                   Schneider Downs

Desmone Architects                        Strope Financial Group at UBS Financial Services

Eden Hall Foundation                      Washington Financial Bank


Steak & Burger Dinner, 2017

When and where: Thursday night at the PNC Park Hall of Fame on the North Shore

#WellDone: Where else in Pittsburgh do the kids eat better than the adults? It must be the Sarah Heinz House Steak & Burger event, where the youngsters nosh on steaks and the adults enjoy the burgers. A Pittsburgh classic, this event honors young people in our community uplifting one another through the Sarah Heinz House. “Every child should have a safe place to go after school, a hot meal at supper time, a place to do their homework, and just be able to be a kid,” said Cindy Gerber who co-chaired the event with her always affable husband, Murry. Youth of the Year, Brieanna Gerner, was shocked that after three years of being in the top five finalists, she finally won. “Sarah Heinz House made me into the woman I am today,” she said proudly. “This place can be your home to anyone who needs it, regardless of age, social class, race, sex or home situation.” Others at the event echoed that sentiment, including 15-year-old Achante Myles. “I want to be a counselor when I grow up and let kids know that someone cares. If you have a bad home, I’ll be your home.” With future leaders like these, the world seems to be in good hands! Learn more: http://​

#SEEN: Executive Director Jennifer Cairns, emcee Sally Wiggin, board chair John Sebastian, Scott and Sue Lammie, Doug and Marylynne Heuck, Janet Gibson, Brian and Renee McGuire and Kara Buncher.


Afterschool Champion – Kyle Glaser

The PA Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network recognized Kyle Glaser with an Outstanding Quality Award at their Annual Meeting in Harrisburg.

Here is his full nomination:

In less than three years, Mr. Kyle Glaser has richly enhanced the success and energy of the Sarah Heinz House Boys and Girls Club. The afterschool environment has taken on new life since he has joined the Program Staff. Not only has Mr. Glaser been able to identify gaps in curriculum, but he also begun to fill those gaps with new programming that is consistently engaging and meaningful. The participants in Kyle’s afterschool activities find themselves exploring storytelling through multiple art, STEM, and media vehicles. Through these programs there is self-discovery, self-expression, and self-efficacy. A number of youths have shared their projects at fundraising events or put them on display throughout the halls of Sarah Heinz House. Their work is always impressive, but the best part of these projects is the sense of accomplishment and confidence that radiates from the artists. It is because of the dedication and hard work that Kyle pours into these programs, that such creativity and achievement are possible.

Mr. Glaser has also been instrumental in the development of a new engineering program, called “Design Factory.” This program provides members with an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of sustainable design, construction, and community development. Two years ago the participants created a building model and plans for the new bathhouse at Sarah Heinz House’s resident camp. Last year they initiated a community service project to beautify nearby Troy Hill through restoration of the neighborhood’s Lookout Garden.

Just as Kyle supported and promoted the work of “Design Factory”, he has also contributed to positive growth of Sarah Heinz House’s afterschool programming across the board. There are numerous special events throughout the program year, but it is because of Kyle’s influence that these events have taken on an innovative and fresh appeal. During Mr. Glaser’s first year he revamped the “Education Nation” space. In this program youth participate in academic-themed activities and access homework help or tutoring. Kyle’s influence made the space lively, with comics, science fiction, and fantasy themed interactive decor. Originally, he choose a Marvel Comics theme that was hugely popular with all of the youth, volunteers, and staff alike, that it became the theme for all special events and activities that year. The following year Star Wars played the same role.

Mr. Kyle Glaser’s work over the years has truly had a meaningful and successful impact on Sarah Heinz House’s afterschool programming.


Thank you to the PA Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network for the recognition and support!

Thank you Kyle for all the work that you do!

Bulletin – March 2017

Sneak Peek:

Summer Camp Registration is Open!

We offer 4 different types of Day Camp activities.

Our Preschool Day Camp is open to kids ages 3- completed Kindergarten (participants must be FULLY potty trained). Each session campers swim in the big pool and in our outdoor kiddie pools, go on field trips, create art projects, explore science and robotics, and play interactive games.  Sarah Heinz House offers a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn and grow in a safe and fun environment! Our Preschool Camp fills up every year, so make sure you sign up ASAP!


Our School Age Day Camp is for children who have completed 1st-8th grade. The day is filled with a variety of fun activities.  Campers will receive snacks daily, participate in specialty activities, make new friends, go on field trips and adventures, and have access to the pre and post care. Make sure you take advantage of your membership status and sign up early.



Our Summer Leadership Development Program is for campers who have finished 8th – 12th grade. Participants must submit an application and take part in an interview process to be accepted into the program. The days will be filled with fun, learning, and opportunities to display your creativity and leadership skills.



Our Robotics Camp features many engaging and fun programs such as engineering in teams, problem solving through challenges, building with LEGO’s and assembling VEX robots. Robo Campers also participate in afternoon activities, field trips, and special events with Day Camp.


Resident Camp:

Now is the time for members (and parents) to start thinking about Summertime and Heinz House Camp!  We have some information as your family plans for the summer.  FYI, for our newer families, our Resident Camp is located in Ellwood City, PA, about 45 miles North of Pittsburgh.  We offer 2 Boys’ sessions, then 2 Girls’ sessions, late June through mid-August.  The kids stay at Resident Camp for 11 days (or 22 days if they sign up for both sessions). Session dates are listed below.  Cost per session is $175 for Members (all inclusive – no more additional Camp Store expenses), and $350 for Nonmembers.  Registration will begin in early March, but you can start saving for Resident Camp NOW!!!  Please check the following article which can help you to decrease your cost for Resident Camp.  For additional information, please call us, or contact Dan Turkovich (Boys Camp Director) at 412 231-2377 or

Resident Camp Stamp Savings Incentive Program

Camp Stamps are a great way to save up and pay gradually for our Resident Camp rather than all at once!  We want to motivate and reward those of you who participate in our Camp Stamp Savings Program for Resident Camp, so we created a new incentive program!  If you prepay and have at least $80 saved toward the Resident camp Fees through the camp savings program ($160 saved for non-members) toward Resident camp fees by March 1, 2017, then we will give you a $10 credit towards your remaining 2017 Resident Camp fees!  This program is only offered for Resident Camp.

For the full March Bulletin, Click Here:

Girls On The Run – Spring Season!

Program Alert for Girls in 6th – 8th Grade!

Sign-Ups for Girls on the Run is now open!

Registration Page:

2017 Spring Season runs March 13 – May 21

Sarah Heinz House is putting a team together, here’s a few highlights: Participants will be able to receive free running shoes, some Girls on the Run gear, get a snack during each practice, and will get to run on the Three Rivers Trail.

The goal at the end of the program is for each girl to improve her running and to be able to complete a 5k!

Want to learn more?
Contact Danica:

2017 Youth Of The Year

Sarah Heinz House, Youth of the Year!

Congratulations to our teen members who were selected as finalists for our Youth of the Year program and competition: Kara M., Brieanna G., Sydney S., Kaitlin H. and Haley L.

All worked extensively to prepare and present their written packets, speeches and interview skills to a panel of judges.

Brieanna G. was selected to move forward and represent Sarah Heinz House at the state competition of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Congratulations and Good Luck!

A special thank you to our panel of judges from Comcast (Bob Grove), UPMC (Chaton Turner, Esq.), CCAC (Dr. Quintin Bullock) and Kathy & Lou Testoni.

Bulletin – February 2017

Sneak Peek:

February is “CAMPAIGN For OTHERS”   Month

 During the month of February, the members of Sarah Heinz House take time to consider others who may be less fortunate than ourselves.

Selected by our members, this year’s recipient is Community Human Services.

Community Human Services, better known just as CHS, is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit that has spent the last 46 years making sure people have the basics: access to healthy food, connections to community resources, and most of all, a safe place to call home. Many of the people CHS serves have been through a housing crisis, which could be unstable or unsafe housing, losing their housing, or even ending up on the streets. The CHS street outreach team, known as Operation Save-a-Life, is a critical resource for connecting to people in crisis. The team visits people who are living outside in the evenings to bring food, warm clothes, hygiene items, and other tangible goods, while also building the relationships and working to connect people to a safe place to stay – and hopefully a permanent home. You can learn more about CHS, its programs, and its outreach efforts at

 Many exciting fund-raising activities are scheduled to benefit the Campaign for Others. Enclosed is a program schedule including dates, times, and fees for many of this month’s events. Take comfort knowing that by participating in the fun and exciting activities, you are providing resources to benefit other kids.

For the full February Bulletin: Click Here