AYD is a faith-based nonprofit organization that improves the academic performance and self-control of at-risk teenage boys through after-school and evening programs.
Young men, especially inner-city teens, can’t change their tough circumstances. But, by developing a sense of personal responsibility they can change themselves to become resilient to trouble and achieve success. AYD helps break the cycle of failure and despair, both in the short term and long term.
AYD's Mission and Vision
AYD’s mission is to educate, equip and empower our inner-city youth to reach their God-given intellectual, social, physical and spiritual potential.
AYD’s vision is for the North Side to become home to generations of men who serve and mentor boys and young men to become strong, positive adults; where boys and young men know that if they dedicate a certain portion of hard work and faith they can expect a proportionate, predictable benefit; and where individuals and organizations can invest their resources of finance, time or prayer and expect proportionate, predictable results.
The concept of “proportionate and predictable” results, received in return for work and investments, drives our day-to-day programming, in which we seek measurable outcomes in one to three years. These short-term results lead to the long-term success of boys growing into men who become leaders among their families and community. We strive to break the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, and despair.
AYD uses a highly structured afterschool format to reverse a failing student’s downward slide and place him on a path toward academic success within one year. AYD has developed a “90-30-90” program format, consisting of 90 minutes of academic assistance immediately following the school day; a half-hour hot supper; and 90 minutes of recreational programming that includes a self-control development curriculum.
Most members enter the program in sixth or seventh grade because they’ve been referred by their schools as high-risk for failing or dropping out. Most students remain enrolled in AYD until high school graduation. We work to maintain their success all the way through graduation, with the longer-range goal of guiding young men toward a successful, productive future.
When the venerable North Side ministry Youth Opportunities Unlimited closed in 1994, a small group of teenage boys were abruptly left without a source of academic, social, or spiritual support. Pittsburgh was in the midst of one of its most violent summers on record as drug and gang wars raged, and young men and teenage boys were the chief victims. A handful of Y.O.U. parents and staffers banded together to keep educational and Christian programming together for these boys; that fall, they incorporated as Allegheny Youth Development. Many of Y.O.U.’s sponsors shifted their financial support to the new organization, including foundations, churches, and individuals. After-school classes were held in church basements, and the “office” was in Executive Director Brian Foltz’ dining room.
Over the years, AYD moved among various program sites and office locations on Pittsburgh's North Side. As we developed a reputation for strong academic and behavior results for a remarkably low cost-per-participant, the Pittsburgh Public Schools took notice and began referring their struggling middle school students to our organization. In 2009, Pittsburgh Public Schools formally recognized AYD as an approved after-school program provider, allowing us to provide our programs and services on-site in public school buildings.
Founding members of AYD, 1994