Green committee meeting for volunteers on January 27


The Green Committee (aka the PHCA Green Team) is always looking for more volunteers.  The committee will have it’s first 2015 meeting at the PHCA office on January 27 at 6:30 p.m.  At the meeting, we’ll be discussing goals for this year, scheduling cleanups, and more. (There will probably be snacks, too.)  Anyone interested in being involved in green projects this year is encouraged to attend.  Please RSVP by calling us at 412.681.1950 or emailing

(Photo:  Green team volunteers during a neighborhood cleanup, June 2014.  Photo by Leslie Clague)

While we’re on the topic of green stuff, Grow Pittsburgh is again offering a great class for those who are thinking about getting into gardening this year.

a garden

A Garden Primer is a 3-part educational series offered in February and March. The class covers all the basics, including which tools beginner gardeners will need, what and where to plant and when to harvest.

The February series is on Tuesdays: February 3, 10 and 17.  The March series is on Thursdays:  March 5, 12 and 19.  Both options are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and are held at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church on 116 S. Highland Avenue.  The course is $50 for Grow Pittsburgh members or $60 for the general public. Free childcare and a limited number of scholarships are available. For more information, email Jake or call 412-362-4769.

West Penn Recreation Center 2015 Programs


West Penn Recreation Center has released their 2015 program guide with new programs for kids and adults.

Exercise rooms
Open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mon – Fri,  10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays.  Fee: $5/month for unlimited visits.

Athletic Trauma Unit (Mondays 8-9 p.m.)
A workout group dedicated to help everyone reach their own personal fitness goals.  Free.

Girls Volleyball
Ages 9-16.  Registration and info meeting January 5th 7 p.m.  Fee:  $20.

Yoga    (Mondays 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Starting in January, with instructor Caitlin Laskey of Pittsburgh Yoga Collective..  Fee:  $20 for 12 sessions.

Bocce Ball League (Wednesdays 10 – 12 p.m. )
Starting Jan. 7.  For adults 18 and over.  Fee:  $10 for the season.

Youth/Teen Karate  (Wednesdays and Fridays)
Co-ed groups 8-11 yr (6-7 p.m.) and 12-17 yr (7-8 p.m.).  Fee:  $20/12 sessions

Kindersports (Tuesdays 10 – 11 a.m.)
Starting in February.  For kids 0-5 years old and a parent.  Fee:  $20/12 sessions.

Youth Soccer (Fridays 6-7 p.m.)
Starting in February.  Co-ed ages 6-8.  Fee:  $10.

And coming up this spring and summer,
Sand Volleyball (starting in June)
Summer Sports Camp, a weeklong camp focusing on single sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, skateboarding, and more.

All fees go to the West Penn Advisory Council to benefit youth programming and equipment needs.  Check out the West Penn 2015 Program Guide for more details.  To register for any program or for more information, call 412.622.7353 or email

Grow Pittsburgh’s vegetable gardening course is back for 2014



Who says that gardeners have the winter off?  Once the gardens have been put to bed for the winter, it’s time to study and plan next year’s growing season.  For those who are new to vegetable gardening and hope to start next year, this is a great time to learn.  Grow Pittsburgh has just announced the 2014 dates for its Garden Primer course, which covers all the basics, including which tools beginner gardeners will need, what and where to plant, and when to harvest.  In addition, those taking part in the course will be given step-by-step instruction on everything from starting a compost to properly transplanting seedlings.  All classes will take place at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church and will run from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

The class will be offered three times:
On Tuesdays:
February 11, 18 & 25  OR    March 4, 11 & 18

On Thursdays:
April 3, 10 & 24 (note: there is no class on April 17th)

The cost is $60 ($50 for Grow Pittsburgh Members)and includes a detailed resource manual and some light snacks.  To secure your place in a class and make your payment online visit and select from either the February, March, or April sessions.  Payments can also be made by sending a check to Grow Pittsburgh at 6587 Hamilton Avenue, #2W, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.  A limited number of scholarships and childcare are available.  Please email or call the office at 412-362-4769 for more details.

Apply now for the fall 2013 Civic Leadership Academy

Applications are now available for the fall 2013 Civic Leadership Academy, a free 10-week course that aims to educate residents about local government.  Beginning September 18 and concluding on November 20, participants will attend 10 weekly sessions on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. to learn how different City departments work to ensure a safer, more livable City and to become more informed civic leaders.

Participants are given the opportunity to interact one-on-one with City departments, directors and staff members.  Session topics include urban redevelopment and processes, city planning and park services, protection of waterways and rivers, public safety efforts, animal control ventures and more.  Sessions also include tours, interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations and engaging activities.  Throughout the 10-week course, the civic leaders plan a service project that they will complete after graduation to address the pressing challenges in and around the City of Pittsburgh.  Previous graduates have conducted river cleanups in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewage authority, raised money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, planted native plants at the Larimer Community Garden and revitalized a parklet in East Carnegie.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and live within Pittsburgh City limits and/or be a business owner who operates within Pittsburgh City limits. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday August 23rd.  Click here for more information and to apply.

In May, a later start for the Thursday yoga class at West Penn

The Vinyasa yoga class at West Penn Recreation Center is usually at 6:30 on Thursday evenings.  During the month of May, our instructor Erin has work obligations that required her to make the class a little later.  So on May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, the yoga class will be from 7:30 – 8:30.  We hope that this doesn’t make it difficult for any of our regulars — or new students — from attending.


Free home improvement workshop on Saturday, February 23

Do you want to add value to your home or storefront, but don’t know where to start?  Join Councilman Patrick Dowd and the District 7 office for the second Home Improvement Workshop, where residents can learn about property design, property renovation, City of Pittsburgh services, local neighborhood groups, and other resources for making improvements to their home or storefront.

The workshop will feature presentations and information tables on a wide range of topics.  Volunteer architects, landscape architects, and interior design consultants will be available for brief one-on-one renovation consultations facilitated through the Design Center’s Design Consults program.  RSVP is required only for the one-on-one consultations.

To get to the West Penn Wintergarden, which is in the North Tower, we suggest you enter via the Friendship Avenue entrance.  If you enter through any other door, be sure to follow the blue N arrows to the North Tower and then find your way to the first floor.  The Wintergarden is across the hall from the Friendship Cafeteria.

To register for a one-on-one consultation, please contact the District 7 office by February 19th by calling 412-255-2140 or by emailing

Civic Leadership Academy: applications for Spring 2013 session due on Feb 22

The Mayor’s Civic Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for the Spring 2013 session.  The Civic Leadership Academy is a free 10-week course about local government created to foster more informed, effective, and inspired community and civic leadership.  Participants learn about different City departments and the services they provide to make for a safer, more livable city.  The class includes tours, hands-on demonstrations, and fun activities that give an up-close and personal view of how the City of Pittsburgh is governed and run.

The Spring class will kick off on March 13, 2013 and wrap up on May 15th, 2013.  Classes will be held every Wednesday evening from 6-8:30 pm.  Applications are now available and individuals can apply online at:  Applications are due this Friday, February 22.  Please contact (412) 255-2280 with any questions and concerns.

Free computer classes and job workshops at the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh

Okay, if you’re reading this blog post, you know at least a little bit about computers.  But maybe you’d like to learn more, or perhaps you know someone who could use some help learning how to use the Internet, or some basic programs.  Carnegie Libraries have ongoing free computer classes at various locations.  Classes include  Computer Basics, Internet Basics, and programs such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

The sessions, particularly the Computer Basics classes fill up quickly — but there are always more.   Click here to see the upcoming classes.  The same list includes a series of workshops with area companies where you can learn about upcoming job openings and get tips on how to apply.

Want to learn about organic gardening? Enroll in A Garden Primer

Don’t know the first thing about organic vegetable gardening, but want to learn? Know a thing or two but need a refresher?  Grow Pittsburgh’s A Garden Primer will cover all the basics, including which tools beginner gardeners will need, what and where to plant, and when to harvest.

Classes will take place on Tuesdays: February 12, 19 & 26   or Mondays: March 11, 18 & 25.

Classes will be from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  in the McKelvy Room at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Avenue in East Liberty.  The cost is $50 for Grow Pittsburgh members, $60 for the general public.  (Not a member? Join here.)

Tickets can be purchased at  Select February or March.  A limited number of scholarships and childcare are available, please email or call 412-362-4769 for details.  City Growers says: please select the month you wish to participate in carefully as they are not able to accommodate transfers to different classes or refunds due to complicated logistics.  Classes sell out fast so purchase your tickets early!

January 24 and 31 yoga class sessions at West Penn will start at later time

Th PHCA-sponsored vinyasa yoga class at West Penn Recreation Center usually happens from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. each Thursday evening.  But for the January 24 and January 31 sessions, the class will start one hour later, and run from 7:30 – 8:30.  The time change is just for these dates, then the class will revert back to the 6:30 start time.

If you’ve been thinking about checking it out — please do!  This is a basic-level class open to teens and adults.  This is a small friendly group with a really nice instructor, Erin Pace, and very welcoming to beginners or to people with previous yoga experience.  There’s no need to register — just show up with a mat, some water, and comfortable clothing.  It’s run on a donation basis, with a suggested donation of just $7.

For information about the class, contact us at 412.681.1950, or email