Breaking the Cycle
Since 1994, Allegheny Youth Development has combined traditional academic support with social and emotional learning in an out-of-school-time setting to help hundreds of North Side youth break the cycle of poverty, crime, and joblessness.
AYD’s mission is to educate, equip and empower our inner-city youth to reach their God-given intellectual, social, physical and spiritual potential.
When the venerable North Side institution Youth Opportunities Unlimited closed in June 1994, a small group of teenage boys was abruptly left without a source of academic, social and spiritual support. Gang and drug wars raged on Pittsburgh’s streets as the city suffered one of its most violent summers on record. Young men and boys were the main victims. To protect their sons and students, a handful of Y.O.U. parents and staffers banded together to keep educational and faith-based programming alive on the North Side. That fall, they incorporated as Allegheny Youth Development. Most of Y.O.U.’s sponsors shifted their financial support to the new organization, including foundations, churches, and individuals. AYD’s first programs were held in the old Y.O.U. building on North Charles Street, and later moved to a series of church basements and former Catholic school buildings.
AYD quickly developed a reputation for delivering a big bang for the buck, producing strong academic and behavioral results for a remarkably low cost-per-participant. North Side schools took notice and began referring their struggling students to AYD. In 2009, PPS formally recognized AYD as an out-of-school-time provider and invited us to move our programs and services on-site in public school buildings. Also in 2009, AYD established a partnership with Neighborhood Learning Alliance to enhance our academic assistance using their rigorous model. In 2014, responding to demand from our families and the community, AYD expanded its reach to include elementary students and girls in grades K through 8.
Throughout our 25-year history, AYD has developed our children’s potential in two key areas:
Building students’ academic skills and school performance
Teaching students to manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, and achieve positive goals by fortifying their social-emotional skills.
AYD achieves success in these areas by establishing a close, strong relationship between our staff and children, reaching them while they are young, and then retaining them through high school graduation. AYD combines rigorous academics with engaging SEL activities to help students overcome their obstacles, achieve meaningful goals, and advance toward graduation. We’ve found that our students will perform the extra academic work assigned and commit to strengthening their personal development because AYD offers them peers and relatable adults whom they like, plus enjoyable, engaging activities that instill them with passion.
AYD provides a coordinated mix of out-of-school-time programs and activities that fall into four areas:
Rigorous academic enrichment in partnership with Neighborhood Learning Alliance
Social and emotional learning using the proven, well-researched Strong Kids curriculum
Engaging activities such as AYD Judo, golf, and chess that instill and reinforce SEL traits
A summer program that helps counter academic “summer slide” and builds students’ SEL skills
Founding members of AYD, 1994