May Bulletin

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May Bulletin

The afterschool program year may be over but there’s still a lot going on this May at Sarah Heinz House!

Read all about it here: May 2022 Bulletin

Women’s History Month @ SHH

Did you know that in 1903, just two years into its existence, the Covode House (now known as Sarah Heinz House) became the first Club of its kind in America to welcome girls for programming? Over the past century-plus, girls have excelled alongside their male peers at the House. Women and girls have always been leaders here (we are, after all, named for one!) but that has never been more true than in recent years.

Today’s Sarah Heinz House is led by women. In 2013, Jennifer Cairns Esq. (pictured in middle photo on left and middle right photo on right) became the first woman in Sarah Heinz House’s history to serve as Executive Director, a role she continues to serve in today. Demeshia Seals (pictured in middle photo in middle) has been a Board member at Sarah Heinz House since 2014 and is in her second year as our Board President. After years in leadership at Massaro Corporation, Demeshia began her own consulting firm DLRS Consulting.

50% of our Board members are women! Those members include:

Susan Ardisson Esq.– Susan was the CEO of bit-x-bit, LLC, a digital forensics and e-discovery firm, until 2020. Susan is a past co-chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) Legal Technology and EDiscovery Committee and used to practice business litigation in San Fransisco! Susan is the Chair of our Alumni Committee.

Andrea Clark Smith Esq.– At UPMC, Andrea leads a team of immigration, employment, and labor law specialists on all legal matters including equal employment law, wage, and union-related labor law. Andrea was named one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine in 2019! Andrea serves as our Board Secretary.

Mary Kapetanovich- Mary has held various risk management and credit-related positions at PNC and is part of the Commercial Real Estate management team. Mary is an SHH alum and an Event Chair for our upcoming Camp Centennial! (Read more here)

Other women Board Members include:

Carol Caroselli– Governance Committee Chair

Michelle Figlar– Vice President of Learning, Heinz Endowments

Joah Iannotta Ph.D.- Senior Vice President, PNC Bank

Wendy Koch– Director of Volunteer Engagement, United Way of Southwestern PA

Tishekia Williams Esq.– Director, Regulatory Legal Group, Duquesne Light Company

Girls also lead in our programs. 6 out of our last 7 of our Youth of the Year winners have been girls. Youth of the Year candidates write personal essays and give a speech for a panel of outside judges each February and the winner moves on to the state competition against other Club winners.

2021’s winner, Hannah P., is pictured in the top right of our collage. Laniya W., our 2018 winner, is pictured in the right middle photo on the left. And our 2017 finalists, all of whom were girls, are pictured in the bottom right.

Girls lead today on our Swim Team (middle top) and in Robotics (middle bottom), where the pictured all-girls VEX squad won a competition in early 2020 and would have gone on to the State Competition were it not for COVID-19.

We know women and girls will continue to make their presence known, leading the way for another 100+ years at our organization!

Black History Month @ SHH

Black History is American History, and we always look for ways to recognize the achievements and contributions of Black Americans each February during Black History Month.

In our Starter and Prep Club (1st-4th grade) programs on February 20th, members learned about Mae C. Jemison, the first Black woman to travel to space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. They then constructed their own rockets and let fly in our gym (photos on top and bottom left)!

In the Media Lab suite, a series of posters were hung in each room highlighting the creative contributions of three great Black creators from Pittsburgh. Among the three was poet and comics writer Yona Harvey (pictured top right), who is a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and co-writer of World of Wakanda, a Black Panther spinoff with famed essayist and novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates. Also included was the great photographer and chronicler of Black life in Pittsburgh in the 20th century Charles “Teenie” Harris (pictured bottom right).

We hope the aspiring engineers in our Club, comic creators in our Comic Book Lab, and photographers in various Media Lab programs are inspired by their example!

Campaign for Others

Each February, Sarah Heinz House members raise money for a worthy cause to demonstrate our care for our community and the good work others are doing in it. This year, Sarah Heinz House members have selected 412 Food Rescue as our recipient.

412 Food Rescue partners with food retailers, volunteer drivers, and nonprofit organizations to connect surplus food with individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity. You can read more about their mission and how you can help here:

While our events schedule is modified from that of previous years due to COVID-19, we are still looking forward to these fun activities for our members.

Please also be sure to contribute to the Penny Race, now taking place in our Great Hall between Starters/Preps and Juniors/Intermediates/Middler/Seniors!

SHH Ninja Warrior (February 19th; 6-8pm) $2

On Friday, February 19th, our 1st-4th grade members can put their skills to the test in a “Ninja Warrior”-themed obstacle course competition in our New Gym. This will serve as the replacement for Starter and Prep Gym/Swim for the 19th, but anyone in membership, even if they substitute Gym/Swim, may join the fun!

Contact Program Director Yasir Al Salih with questions about the Esports program:

Fitness Center Challenge (February 22nd; 6-7pm for Juniors/Int) (February 24th; 8-9pm for Middler/Seniors) $2

On Monday February 22nd and Wednesday February 24th, our 5th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade members, respectively, can put their mettle to the test in a series of challenges in our Fitness Center during our scheduled Fitness Center period from 6-7pm for Juniors and Intermediates and during our normal Middler/Senior gym time on Wednesday. Do you have what it takes to pie Pitt Interns Ms. Lizzy and Ms. Anna in the face?!

Contact Program Director Hannah Komita with questions about the Fitness Center program:

E-Sports Competition (February 23rd; 7-9pm for Juniors/Int) (February 25th; 8-9pm for Middler/Seniors) $2 to spectate; $5 to compete

On Tuesday, February 23rd, and Thursday, February 25th, it’s time to face off against the staff in this year’s Campaign for Others Staff vs. Teens Competition, this year in a new format: Esports! Face off against the SHH Staff in Super Smash Bros., Madden 21, and Rocket League for ultimate bragging rights! (and maybe a chance to pie staff in the face 😊) Donation for competitors is $5 per tournament, but anyone who just wants to hang out and spectate may do so for $2.

Contact Program Director Nick Gindele with questions about the Esports program:

Drive-Thru Halloween!

On Friday October 23rd, our staff hosted our first-ever “Starter/Prep Drive-Thru Halloween” for our 1st-4th grade members!

Participants took photos in front of our green screen with our Media Lab Coordinator Amelia who then turned those pics into amazing compositions, Healthy Choices Directors Hannah and Yas led an amazing obstacle course on our blacktop, and everyone took home lots of candy!

To see photos from this great event, visit our album on Imgur: