“I come to see how the community is. I feel like the more you come, the more you get a chance to experience and get to know the community and what they like,” said Snell, who is starting a program called Homewood Healthy Smiles that aims to bring dental health and education to teens and adolescents in the community.
On Oct. 16, Snell, along with Pitt faculty, staff and students from Pitt Nursing and the schools of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Education and the Swanson School of Engineering, among others, joined community members and collaborators for an evening of music, food and mingling to celebrate the center’s first anniversary.
They weren’t only celebrating a year of programming that brought resources to the community through intentional partnership. They were also excited for collaborations and initiatives to come, including health and wellness services and new educational programming set to debut in early 2020.
What makes the CEC possible
Over 12 months, more than 4,500 community members have visited the center, attending more than 660 events, including community meetings and family fun nights. The center also offers 41 ongoing programs for people of all ages; topics include economic prosperity, family support, cultural arts, innovation and business growth.
Many were on hand to share resources and work with community residents. Mihloti Williams, project coordinator for the REACT! study in the Brain Aging and Cognitive Health Lab, uses African cultural studies to get older African Americans engaged in activities, including dance, that might be beneficial to their cognition.
‘An extension of our campus’
Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees, emphasized partnership with the Homewood community to event participants. “We worked with the community to find out was needed and how we could be better partners with you,” she said.
“And now in just one year we have a place in Homewood to gather together to collaborate and grow, a place where Pitt has built an extension of our campus that enables us to serve our community,” Humphrey said. “It only happened because we had a good foundation.”
Humphrey expressed excitement at what she called a great year, but also what is to come, including health and wellness programming such as infant health, oral health, medication consultations, nutrition education, physical therapy and rehabilitation services to the center. Additionally, this second phase of community engagement will offer innovative educational opportunities and fitness classes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about what we are doing today; I’m even more thrilled about what we’re going to do in the future,” she said.
Check out additional coverage in University Times.