Good things are happening in Homewood, and community leaders want to get that message out.
“People need to know this—to understand the rich history of our community and its assets,” says Raymond Robinson, Senior Manager of Partnerships at Homewood Children’s Village. “We are changing; the community is changing; the infrastructure is changing.”
To share and celebrate the progress happening in this eastern Pittsburgh neighborhood, Homewood is once again participating in the Remake Learning Days festival. Robinson’s organization, Homewood Children’s Village (HCV), serves as a Neighborhood Navigator, working to partner with other organizations to host events.
HCV is a community-based organization that strives to improve the lives of Homewood’s youth and families while reweaving the fabric of the community. Robinson says. “We want our families to thrive, our children to succeed, and our community to transform, and to do this, we take action to unite people and partners to provide the resources, services, and programs that holistically supporting our families and community.
“And because we rely on partners in our day-to-day work, Remake Learning fits in nicely with what we do by convening organizations that collectively will create dynamic learning experiences for children and families in our neighborhood. “
One of the events Robinson is most excited about is HCV Cooks, which he calls “our version of a cooking show.”
With the help of a local filmmaker and a partner organization that has a studio kitchen, “we will be preparing a dish,” he says, “and we will instruct people in the process of making the dish.” We hope that this experience will encourage families to come together more regularly to cook, incorporating children into family meal preparation.
Participants can pre-register, and the ingredients will be delivered to them ahead of time. “Instead of just watching and thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be nice to make that,’” Robinson says, “they’ll have an opportunity to make that with us.”
The festival, happening during April and May in southwestern Pennsylvania and 16 other regions of the country, includes hundreds of events celebrating learning innovation. They’re held at a wide variety of organizations—from schools, museums, libraries, community hubs, tech startups—and give parents and caregivers an opportunity to learn alongside their kids (pre-K through high school) and discover learning resources in their community. Nearly all the events are free.
Homewood will hold about 20 in-person or virtual events between May 6 and May 16.
To help make this ambitious festival happen, the Neighborhood Navigator program is funded by the Heinz Endowments. Homewood Children’s Village received funding to help the participating community groups and organizations host events in Homewood.
Additional events in Homewood include:
- May 8 and 15: Black Monarch, a collective that helps engage Black youth through the arts, invites young people to experience what it’s like to be a fine artist. With hybrid instruction, they will create a fine art piece using a paint-by-number/by instructor format.
- May 11: The Ruach Bicycle Club will teach the science behind bike riding at an event at The Wheel Mill, which already has been helping some of the young people at the Homewood Children’s Village.
- May 15: The Alloy School Open House, a collaboration between the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and PearlArts Studio inviting families to learn new dance styles.
- May 16: Rhythmic Movement through Dance Fitness invites children and families who’ve been cooped up at home to get some physical exercise. “Hopefully, they’ll be intrigued,” Robinsons says, “and think, ‘Hey, this is something fun, I enjoy this,’ and they might think of joining on a regular basis.”
As much as he’d love to see community members gathering in person, Robinson sees a real benefit in hosting many virtual events this year.
“Not all families are comfortable going out in public yet, and this is making sure everyone has access and something to do for Remake Learning Days. Also, learning new technology will be a plus — we’ll have more kids getting new skills, using virtual formats in a different capacity, whether it’s a cooking demonstration or dancing.”
As for the effect Remake Learning has on a community such as Homewood, that’s immeasurable, he says.
“It literally puts us on the map,” Robinson says. “It gives people who aren’t in the community information about some of the things that happen there. It will bring in some people who necessarily don’t come to Homewood.”
After years of combating negative news about the neighborhood, “we know a lot of good things are happening in Homewood,” he says. “Something like Remake Learning Days allows us to show that to the outside world.”
For more information about events in Homewood and southwestern Pennsylvania, click https://remakelearningdays.org/southwesternpa/