November 13, 2012
My four children attended Sarah Heinz House from the time they were able to join. Specifically, my oldest son, who is now in his 2nd year at a very prestigious university, has benefited from being a member at Sarah Heinz House. It was his second home where he felt comfortable being himself. In school, he was a very introverted person who was teased for being a "nerd". His social circle was small. He did not feel like he could "let his hair down" so to speak. At Heinz House, he was a totally different person. He used to say that he didn’t have to try to be cool at Heinz House, he could just be himself. It took him several years of being "just a member" to come out of his shell. But because he had to attend Heinz twice a week for membership, then also for all of his “extra” activities, he looked forward to being there almost every day of the week and making a name for himself in a very quiet way. He led by example. He led through encouragement from the staff. He led because it was his home away from home. The motto "Success is never final, Failure is never fatal, it's Courage that counts" made such an impression on him and has helped propel him to be successful in his life! This comfort allowed him to gain the confidence to step up in school socially. He started a Comic Book Club at his high school which had a premise of service...being a hero in everyday life. He participated in the musicals at Heinz House where he had the courage to be on stage to perform. He played on various sports teams and attended the summer resident camp and robotics camp. He enjoyed intense participation in the teen leadership programs, like the Keystone Club and Lead Team. Service learning was a powerful component of his experience, and volunteering became a high priority for him. His holistic experience developed and diversified him as a person. Heinz House is doing this again for my three other boys. We will not move from Pittsburgh because there are no other boys and girls clubs like Sarah Heinz House. Our family are "Heinzies" all the way! Over the past few years, Heinz House and its youth members have received recognition at the state, regional, and national levels, including Nick Foley, a friend of my sons, who earned the honor of 2012 National Youth of the Year through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Nick and my sons are just a few of thousands who have benefitted from Sarah Heinz House.
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