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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ward Home, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services for Adolescent Parents, Foster Care, Human Services, Residential Care & Adult Day Programs

Mission: Ward Home''s mission is to train at risk young adults in practical life skills in safe, nurturing environments in order to live independently as effective, contributing members of the community.

Target demographics: at-risk teens and young adults become independent members of their communities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 138 teens and young adults

Geographic areas served: Allegheny County

Programs: Mission Ward Home’s mission is to train at-risk young adults in practical life skills in safe, nurturing environments in order to live independently as effective, contributing members of the community. History Ward Home’s legacy began in 1905 in Allegheny City, now the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Robert B. Ward, a young entrepreneur and president the Ward Baking Company, then the largest baking company in the United States, had a great passion for the welfare of children. Ward established a day nursery for the children of his employees, and was known for his generosity and his dedication to the Pittsburgh community. When Robert B. Ward passed away in 1915, his family home on Bigelow Boulevard in Pittsburgh was donated by his wife and dedicated in his memory to the care of orphaned children. The Robert Boyd Ward Home for Children would go on to help 1,000 children over the next forty years. As times changed, we responded to the increasing number of foster teenagers who were unlikely to be reunited with their biological families or adopted. In 1955, to support these teens in need, the Robert Boyd Ward Home opened its doors at a new, larger location in Mt. Lebanon, PA, to address a growing population of at-risk teenagers and young adults who had no place else to call home. Since 1997, when social services agencies were encouraged to become more community oriented, our mission has focused on our Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Program serving at-risk foster teens and young adults in nurturing environments located in neighborhoods throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Now known as Ward Home, Inc., we have grown to become an independent, nonprofit social service agency, which has strong roots and a proud history of serving our community’s most at-risk youth for over 100 years. Programs Ward Home’s Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Program is a community-based, residential program that serves at-risk foster youth, 16 to 21 years old, who have grown up in the foster-care system. Ward Home foster teens live in apartment-style housing with 24-hour supervision, where they are taught vital life skills in our Life Skills Training Program. The SIL Program is designed to teach foster teens the responsibility of independence through the philosophy of self-discipline. The SIL sites are more than just temporary housing; they are safe, nurturing home environments where the teens are encouraged to reach their individual goals and grow into successful, independent members of the community. Our teen girls site is located in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh, our teen boys site is located in Swissvale Borough, and our teen moms site is located in Wilkinsburg Borough. Emphasis is placed on developing social and life skills, obtaining and maintaining employment and/or volunteer work, completing an education plan, staying safe, and developing healthy relationships. Our foster teens are engaged through enhanced creative and academic enrichment programming so that they become skilled enough to sustain independence. In January 2017, Ward Home was awarded a grant from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to pilot a program that addresses the self-care needs of foster youth in Allegheny County. Ward Home’s My Best Self Program ensures that all foster youth 12 to 21 years old in Allegheny County have access to hair care services and products. Through the My Best Self Program, foster youth have the opportunity to participate in social skills workshops with the goal of enhancing each foster youth in Allegheny County to look good, feel good, and to be their best self.

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have only know about Ward Home for a little while but it is easy to say the work that they do it amazing! Not only is the staff friendly they are also so aware of how much their work actually helps the teens they work with. It is so good to see such a giving nonprofit that cares so deeply about what they are doing and who they are doing it for.

Jan B.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Ward Home fan and contributor for well over a decade and recently became more involved as a Board Member. I have always been impressed with the Ward Home mission to support foster teens to become thriving young adults. I believe wholeheartedly in this mission and have welcomed the opportunity to see up close how this organization achieves it's goals. Leadership and staff are truly dedicated to supporting foster teens to learn skills so they can emerge as independent adults and it is an honor to participate in this quality organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board member, I continue to be impressed by the heartfelt dedication of our staff to improving the welfare of our teens. I am privileged to be part of this wonderful organization.

The commitment of ALL the staff to enhancing and enriching the lives and independence of our teens is to be admired.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a new Board member I have found the staff to be skillful,highly committed, and caring. All of their actions and efforts focus on the teens and improving their welfare and outcomes.

The teens themselves are a dynamic group with a tremendous sense of resiliency. In conversations with them, they feel The Ward Home environment allows them to establish their sense of independence and move forward in pursuit of their life goals.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I was a board member for four years, and now am honored to serve as an advisory council member. I had a wonderful experience as a board member; this organization is filled with staff who care deeply about the youth they serve, and they do a great job. It is a privilege to be associated with this organization, and I cannot say enough good things about them.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I got involved with Ward Home when they supported two foster children in my parent's home. They care so deeply about youth and young adults, and they do a phenomenal job supporting these young people as they transition out of the foster care system and into adulthood. I am proud to be affiliated with this wonderful organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Ward Home for almost 2 years. I've helped with their fundraising events and done pro bono HR consulting for them working with staff, managers and HR. This is a group of very dedicated individuals who are making a real difference in the lives of their clients. They constantly strive to improve both their programs and themselves.

Phyllis Hartman, PGHR Consulting, Inc.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an attorney with 20 years experience working in the child welfare system, I have seen up close and personal the good work that Ward Home is doing to prepare foster youth for a smooth transition into adulthood. I am also familiar with this nonprofit's board of directors and can attest that these directors work very hard to ensure that the program is financially sound.

Donor

Rating: 5

Such an important organization to help at-risk teens learn life skills. I have a great appreciation for this nonprofit as we have seen homelessness.

Linda Matis L.

Donor

Rating: 5

Ward Home is doing great work for foster kids in Pittsburgh.

Sandy W.1

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have donated to Ward Home for many years because -- as its name implies -- it serves as a home to children who who have little to no support system. Not only do Ward Home staff members teach young men and women practical living skills, including time and financial management, but also serve as "parents" who help to build and strengthen self esteem and offer encouragement and love.

Donor

Rating: 5

My name is Richard DiBella. I am an attorney in the City of Pittsburgh and a past board member and chairman of the Ward Board. Too often in life, we forget that there are others struggling to find a way, and their way, because of life circumstances that they did not control. Ward Home is a refuge for youth, helping these young persons to find not only their way, but a way in life, in spite of the hardships and cards they were dealt as children. Ward Home is a very special place, a place with a heart and a home for so many.....

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization is changing the lives of foster teens in our community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A few years ago, I became aware of the Ward Home and the support they give to foster teens. Within those few years it's wonderful to see Ward Home's programs continue to grow and their commitment to help these teens is undeniable the strongest I have seen. I look forward to reading the growing success stories and seeing more smiles being made on our teens faces.

Sydney B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For a project, I produced a video capturing the essence of Ward Home, Inc. When visiting for the first time, I spoke with both kids and alumni who were apart of this program. After hearing their stories, I could truly tell how each one of their lives’ were positively affected through being a part of this program. Whether they were learning how to cook, budgeting money, or just developing better relationships, the Ward Home truly made and continues to make a difference in these teenagers’ lives.

Nora E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Ward Home is an excellent example of a nonprofit that truly benefits the community of Pittsburgh. The nurturing environment that Ward Home creates is best described as a loving home for young adults to grow and achieve their dreams. The staff at Ward Home are people who care and really want the best for these young adults. The Ward Home is truly a gem of Pittsburgh and we are so lucky to have this nonprofit as part of our community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ward Home’s mission is to train at risk young adults in practical life skills in safe, nurturing environments in order to live independently as effective, contributing members of their community.

As board member, I have had the oportunity to hear many of the stories of these amazing young adults that have benefited from Ward Home’s program. They overcome many challenges and grow into successful, independent members of their communities. Furthermore, they become adults who give back to their communities.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ward Home is a wonderful organization that is making a significant positive impact in the lives of our local at-risk foster teens. Through my volunteer work on the "Picture This" event I have enjoyed meeting some of the alumni from this program. It's inspiring to hear about their life successes which they in large part credit to the great staff and programs at Ward Home.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Ward Home has been providing essential support and services to children of our community for decades. While my association with Ward Home as a board member hasn't been long, I can attest to the passion an dedication of the staff and leadership of the Ward Home. I'm proud to be associated with such a great group of people dedicated to bringing hope, support, and guidance to these children.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ward Home has a critical mission of helping teens without a stable home life to become successful, happy and productive adults. The staff is top-notch and is passionate about fulfilling their mission. The board is engaged, supportive and provides strong governance and oversight. Donating to Ward Home is an excellent use of your charitable contributions.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became involved with Ward Home Inc, when I was 15/16. This program changed my life and helped me set the foundation for the woman I am today. The program helped me to gain independent livings skills that I was not able to get from my home environment. Some of those skills included: Cooking classes. resume writing, driving lessons, balancing a checkbook, opening a bank account, educational trips, and even college tours. Even when I had an issue this program was there to help. My first semester of college I wanted to drop out because I did not like the school I was at. My worker went above and beyond to take me to different schools until I found one that was right for me. Today I have my bachelors degree! These things may seem simple but a lot of foster kids do not get these services in there foster homes because they are constantly moving from place to place. This organization had an impact on my life from the services that they provided as well as there phenomenal staff. There staff was always there to help and encourage youth, especially the W.I.S.E program staff.