Hazelwood Welcomes all for Remake Learning Days

Posted on Thu, May 2, 2019 by

In its heyday, some 30,000 people lived the neighborhood of Hazelwood, when it was home to J & L Steel, which later became LTV Steel. Once the steel industry left, like many Pittsburgh communities, economic decline befell this 1.5-square-mile area on the banks of the Monongahela.

Despite having a fraction of the population now — the 2010 Census said about 4,300 — Hazelwood is making a comeback. In April, Hazelwood Green, the former LTV Steel site, was reopened to the public for the first time in years, thanks to a partnership between The Heinz Endowments, Benedum Foundation, and Richard King Mellon Foundation. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported pedestrians and cyclists now could use the Hazelwood Trail to connect to the Eliza Furnace, Three Rivers Heritage and Great Allegheny Passage trails.

“People would be surprised to know to know that Hazelwood is an extremely diverse neighborhood,” said Joy Cannon, director of programming at Center of Life, a community empowerment organization that hosts after-school and summer programs, working with students, K-12, and their parents and families.

“It is a very welcoming place,” she said. “It seems like everyone knows everyone. It has traditions and a sense of community I have not seen in other neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.”

The “center of the community” is the Hazelwood branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, says James Graham, teen library assistant.

Which is one reason the library also will host four events in Hazelwood during Remake Learning Days.

“We are a lab site — creative technology and STEM. We have tons of creative technology equipment,” Graham said. “I see the benefit in the creative technology programming Remake Learning does.”

Edith Abeyta of Arts Excursions Unlimited loves that Remake Learning Days “really calls attention to and focuses on the awesome activities” happening in Pittsburgh.

“It’s kind of like a festival that’s happening, but it’s not a festival,” she said “It’s stuff that is going on all the time in places like Hazelwood, and Remake Learning Days highlights that. I appreciate that.”

Arts Excursions Unlimited is a three-tiered arts and cultural program designed by and for residents in the greater Hazelwood area. The programs foster creative self-determination, and include free monthly arts and cultural excursions, Abeyta said.

“We’ve gone as far as Washington, D.C., and as close as working with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation on a historic neighborhood walking tour,” she added.

AEU offers studio space for residents to make “everything from pre-planned projects to creative activities residents bring and want to pursue,” Abeyta said. “A lot of times it revolves around people wanting to make things for celebrations. So, we’ve done everything from custom designed necklaces to kits for someone’s baby shower, from pieces for people’s yards to centerpieces for birthday parties.”

AEU also participates in creating temporary art within the neighborhood, such as beautifying the fence around Uber’s autonomous vehicle test track or a creating mural commissioned by the city.

One of the many program Center of Life offers is a hip hop program for high school students.

“We have songwriters and rappers, producers make beats and work with the music portion. There is an instrumental component, dancers, and there are tech students shooting videos, taking photos and doing social media,” said its programming director Cannon.

Hazelwood Family Festival

It also offers a jazz program that provides vocal and instrumental instruction to children, K-12. “We are open to students as young as kindergarten, and there are not a lot of opportunities to expose children to jazz at an early age,” Cannon said.

Center of Life is again hosting the Hazelwood Family Festival, but, this year, they’re doing something different.

“I was looking for ways to engage people further, ideally, to do something, to participate in the event,” Cannon said. “We are going to have hands-on learning stations so people are not just walking around getting brochures.”

What makes Remake Learning stand out for Cannon is its emphasis on creative and hands-on learning.

“A lot of the time, education is thought of in a very traditional and antiquated way,” she said. “I like that Remake Learning encourages that you can learn anywhere, not just in your classroom. You can learn in your community. Learning opportunities are all around the city, not just in our schools. It is a good thing for students everywhere. I am glad that Remake Learning has the reach that it does to work with students.”

Remake Learning Days is an excellent opportunity for Hazelwood, adds Abeyta.

“I see it as an opportunity for us to potentially share what it is we are doing in Hazelwood with people outside Hazelwood,” she said. “I am hoping people might come from other neighborhoods and have the great experience everybody here has all the time.”

We would like to thank The Heinz Endowments for their generous support of Remake Learning Days in Hazelwood.

Remake Learning Days events in Hazelwood:

STEM All Hands On Tech: Game Controller Design
5 – 6 p.m., Thursday, May 9 | Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood
Experiment, play and learn in an interactive technology featuring Makey Makey. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) All Hands On Tech programs support learning and literacy by introducing children to technology. This program includes creating game controllers.

STEM All Hands on Tech: Pop-up Arcade
5 – 6 p.m., Thursday, May 9 | Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Experiment, play, and learn in an interactive technology program featuring Makey Makey controller creation for our pop-up arcade. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) All Hands programs support learning and literacy by introducing children to technology.

Night Hike
5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Friday, May 10 | Arts Excursions Unlimited
Spend an evening in the urban woods of Pittsburgh decorating a walking stick, making a cast of plant materials, finding objects on a scavenger hunt and hiking through the forest of Hazelwood. There will be a surprise for those who make it to the end. Long-sleeved shirts, full-length pants, socks, and closed toed shoes are recommended.

Little Learners: Coding Concepts
10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 14 | Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood
Children will get to know the world around them through play and exploration while bonding with their family and developing social skills. This program includes exploring developmentally appropriate robots, exploring patterns and developing early math skills through play. Recommended for children, ages 3 to 5, and their caregivers.

Labs Workshop: Screenprinting with AIR
3 – 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 14 | Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood
Make something cool! Learn to use digital technology and traditional tools. Stop by, see what we’re up to this week and how you can access our equipment and tools in the future. All experience levels welcome. Materials and equipment will be provided. For teens in grades 6-12. In this workshop AIR will support teens in learning to screenprint.

Restorative Justice For Life and For School
6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 15 | The Three Rivers Village School
The Three Rivers Village School will be hosting an evening event on the topic of Restorative (Transformative) Justice, with keynote speaker, Jonathan McRay, leading the discussion. Later, TRVS will describe how restorative practices are used in its Justice Committee, with students and staff explaining how it works and how it differs from the top-down structure most schools have in place. There also will be a “Mock Justice Committee” so guests can gain a better understanding of how it works.

Hazelwood Family Festival
12 – 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18 | Center of Life
Join Center of Life and the Hazelwood community for its third annual Hazelwood Family Festival – a day of live music and hands-on learning experiences for all ages.

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