Christmas seems like an appropriate time to share a profile on Urban Impact. At its heart, Christmas is the story of God responding to humanity’s great need by sending His Son to be the light in the darkness. That’s really what Urban Impact wants to be as well. They want to be a light. They want to connect, and love, and help. Their mission of transforming a community flows from this desire: one person, one family, one block at a time.
Over 20 years ago, Ed and Tammy Glover, Urban Impact’s founders, were living and working on the Northside of Pittsburgh. The problems in much of their community seemed big, even overwhelming. As they prayed for direction, they felt like they were being led to see that communities change when families change, and families change when individuals change, and individuals change when their hearts change, and hearts change when they know that they are loved.
This is the approach that Urban Impact has maintained, even as they have grown into an organization that was able to serve nearly 2,000 children last year. Little hearts changed as relationships are built in a number of different contexts. Urban Impact has partnered with Northside schools, churches, and other nonprofit organizations to create a wide variety of programs that offer things neighborhood children and teens both want and need.
The list of programs is impressive. I’ll just scratch the surface here. They have broken it down into four categories, each with a wide variety of options.
- Performing Arts – There are choirs and instrument performance lessons with groups for a variety of ages. There are a number of different theater classes and performance groups. Students can learn to dance, or work in a number of different visual arts disciplines like painting, photography, and stage setup.
- Athletics – As a Northside resident myself, I had my first introduction to Urban Impact when my oldest son took part in their Spring soccer program. I was impressed to learn that in addition to soccer, they offers kids the opportunity to participate in basketball, baseball, and swimming programs for all different levels of skills and abilities.
- Education – Urban Impact is able to offer in-school and after-school support with both literacy and math for Northside students. The Sumer educational structure at the organization’s very popular Summer Camp can help ameliorate some of the unfortunate drop off that may occur when students are away from the classroom for three months of vacation.
- Options – Urban Impact’s most recently developed program category looks to help prepare middle and high school student for employment and life after graduation. There is a job readiness program, a program that helps students consider various careers and educational avenues, a mentoring program, and an SAT prep course.
From what I’ve heard, the program are excellent and the leaders are caring. This is a good place for kids to come participate in activities they love, get the help that they need, and be a part of a community of caring adults who are invested in their success.
In addition to these programs, Urban Impact also hosts and leads Bible studies for spiritual nourishment and provide meals or snacks for students when programs extend through meal times so that the kids are physically nourished as well.
There more, including a number of special events throughout the year, but I’ll leave you to explore these as you look at their website. Participation in the various programs isn’t limited to Northside children, although all of the programs are located on the Northside because it is Urban Impact’s home turf.
I met with Urban Missionary and Director of Athletics, Seth Reichart (please watch the interview below), and he said there are three great ways to partner with Urban Impact. They invite you to:
- Volunteer – There are a number of different volunteer opportunities with Urban Impact. Just reach out, and they will help you find the right fit.
- Give – especially now. There is currently a large matching grant that will match your gift dollar for dollar. If you are considering an end-of-the-year donation, your gift to the Urban Impact Foundation would be doubled.