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Bulletin – October 2017

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2nd Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ slated for Saturday, October 21st

Article, image and video from Tribune Review, for Full Article, CLICK HERE

Catapulting pumpkins in the air and other autumn-friendly activities are coming up over the next few weeks at Hartwood Acres, located in Hampton and Indiana townships.

Returning for a second year is Punkin’ Chunkin’ on Oct. 21, a free event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In collaboration with Allegheny County Parks and SHARP Robotics of the Sarah Heinz House, pumpkins will be catapulted over the amphitheater field to see how far they go, according to Christine Nguyen, director of the robotics program at the Sarah Heinz House.

She and a group of students from local high schools of the Sarah Heinz House’ Boys and Girls Club are bringing last year’s catapult as well as building an 8- to 10-foot trebuchet, which is a different type of launching device to toss pumpkins.

The wooden devices are pretty much like the ones used centuries earlier, she said. Last year, they succeeded a few 100-yard tosses, she said. While it was a dreary, cold day, Nguyen said they still attracted approximately 100 gourd-loving spectators.

They’re hoping for better weather and will also have opportunities for children to build free mini-catapults and have pumpkins to paint, said Nguyen.

Uber will also be there showcasing a vehicle, she said.

Sarah Heinz House invites students from local schools to take part in its afterschool programs, like the robotics one, said Nguyen. She said these students may be interested in robotics and engineering but may not have the programs available at their schools.

They do the Punkin’ Chunkin’ to spread the word about engineering.

“We’re really there to make engineering fun for everyone and show that anyone can do it,” said Nguyen.

Kevin Evanto, director of communications for Allegheny County, said there will also be crafts, balloon artists, face painters, and food trucks there.

“It’s a unique event that’s fun for both kids and adults,” he said.

For details, call 412-767-9200.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

Bulletin – October 2017

Here’s the intro from the Executive Director and to this month’s bulletin:

Our Doors Are Open to You…

Come as you are

We are thrilled to once again open our doors and welcome all to enter.  For over 115 years, Sarah Heinz House has been a safe and welcoming place for children, and we remain committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment where all children, regardless of life circumstances, economic backgrounds, zip code, sexual orientation, race or culture can be who they are and become who they are destined to be.  We know that much work remains to be done in order to bridge divides that exist in our communities and foster understanding, tolerance and appreciation of our differences so that all may be valued and inequities eliminated.  We also realize and accept our responsibility to do our part to facilitate positive change.  As Frederick Douglass so eloquently said: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” and “Power concedes nothing without a demand…It never did and it never will.”  It is thus through building strong, thoughtful and inclusive young leaders who feel empowered to pursue what they believe to be true and just that will create the rally cry needed for growth and healing.

As our valued partner, we call on you to examine how you may do your part as well.  Whether it be by supporting our internal efforts and serving as a volunteer who models the behavior and inclusiveness we are seeking to impart in our youth, or by sharing constructive feedback of where you see us falling short and providing helpful suggestions as to how we can be and do better. We acknowledge that we are far from a flawless organization and look for ways to continually grow and improve.   Your support plays a critical role in our ability to deliver on our promise and Mission to empower all youth, especially those who needs us most, to laugh, learn and lead.  Thank you in advance for helping us to make the 2017-2018 program year a positive and memorable experience for our kids!

Warmest Regards,

Jennifer Cairns

Executive Director

For the full bulletin, CLICK HERE


Student Police Academy

LEARN WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A PITTSBURGH POLICE OFFICER BY ATTENDING THE STUDENT POLICE ACADEMY! Learn from instructors of Pittsburgh’s Police Academy and find out what it’s like to walk in their shoes! This isn’t some TV show… it’s your chance to be a part of the real side of police work and to learn from Pittsburgh’s law enforcement professionals on what they need to know.

Check out what you will get to experience!
~ Patrol Tactics
~ Fire Arm Safety
~ Crime Scenes
~ Emergency Response
~ K-9 Unit
~ Use of Force
~ Search and Seizure


Complete both of these forms:
Student Information Sheet
SPA Registration Flyer

And send to John Tokarski

Registration Ends Saturday October 6, 2017

Classes Start 6 PM, Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For Info Contact John Tokarski, 412-255-2117,

Community Day

Thank you so much for attending and spending time on Community Day at Sarah Heinz House! We hope you had as much fun as we did. We also hope you’re planning to see us again this fall as you enroll you child or children in grades 1-12 as members.

Membership registration is happening ON-LINE right now and can be done anytime from the comfort of your home or office. We are also taking Preschool and Kindergarten program signups for many classes, but they are filling up quickly, so reserve your spots now! All program registration links can be found here: Click Here

If you have any questions about the schedule or membership options and requirements please contact us at 412 231 2377.  Through Friday Sept 22nd we have extended hours to take your call or for you to visit and register until 8:00pm.

With our new program and membership options and online registration, it has never been easier to become a member here at Sarah Heinz House, so please help us spread the word! Regular programs begin Monday October 2nd for membership programs with Pre-K and kindergarten programs starting just a week later on Monday October 9th.


Families had fun with Members in Media Lab to film and produce some Star Wars action clips. So Much Fun!

Sarah Heinz House youth members and their parents join Executive Director, Jennifer Cairns in accepting a BIG check for $10,000 from the Rite Aid Foundation. This very generous gift will underwrite high quality after school programs for youth in grades 1-12.

The presentation of this generous gift occurred during Sarah Heinz House’s 2017 Community Day where Rite Aid operated a free flu clinic for children and their family members  More than 75 flu vaccinations were given by Rite Aid pharmacists during a 2.5 hour period.

Special thank you to another Caring Partner: Comcast, for their generous donation of school supplies!




Bulletin – September 2017

Sneak Peek at this months bulletin…


  • For the first time in our history, Sarah Heinz House registration can be done entirely online! Simply go to our website on your smartphone, home computer or tablet and click the “Become A Member” icon on the homepage OR  CLICK HERE . There will be five links, one for each age division. Click the correct grade level for your child and fill out the online forms within. You can also sign your member up for electives (extra programs) online, all while registering for membership!
  • Within 3 business days you’ll receive a comprehensive email which will include the following information OR an email requesting additional information and/or consultation.
    • Please understand that your members’ application has not been finalized until you have received your confirmation email. It is only after a confirmation email has been sent and received that your member may attend afterschool programming as a member.
  • Families that wish to pay cash or with a check will need to register onsite at Sarah Heinz House.


  • Sarah Heinz House has a proud tradition of members regularly attending two weekly programs: Club and Gym. However, SHH recognizes that families in the 21st century may wish to customize their experience by substituting an “elective” course for a traditional Club or Gym. SHH now invites families to do so.
  • Members may SUBSTITUTE ONE of their Traditional programs with an elective course from the same program department (Healthy Choices or Life-Skills). We believe this change will allow members and families to have more flexibility while still ensuring that we see all our members for at least two programs per week. Regular (over 50% attendance) must be maintained in any elective substitution in order to remain a member in good standing.
  • If you would like to customize your experience in this way, please sign up for the elective while registering for membership and then contact us during regular business hours (posted online) via phone, email, or by visiting our front desk!

For the Full Bulletin, CLICK HERE

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.