March 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Semester

Back during my senior year of college I decided to do a semester long Service Learning trip in Pittsburgh, PA. Seems weird, right? Why Pittsburgh? Why take time away from Bluffton University to spend a semester in a city fairly similar to the city I grew up in (Cleveland)?

As in any city, there are a lot of issues to be sorted out. Race, poverty, education, employment and so on. The program I took part in gave us the opportunity to explore in depth the issues of Pittsburgh. Not only did we study these issues but were given the opportunity to become active in the community. I spent my time taking classes, working as a counseling/social work intern at a church, and urban gardening.

All this wonderful stuff took place at the Pittsburgh Project. It is located on the North Side of Pittsburgh. In the heart of an urban neighborhood the Project spends it's time trying to meet the needs of those most vulnerable and offering excellent opportunities for those looking to help. This was not Bluffton. We were not in the comforts of our 'regular' setting. This experience pushed me in a lot of ways. It caused tears. It created frustrations. It impacted me in ways I'll never be able to fully explain.

Having not been back to the Project in quite a while, I asked Matt if he would mind driving me to the North Side so I could reminisce. It was nice to walk the property again and see all the growth that has taken place since my time in the city.

These pictures are from my semester long study, about five years ago. I really did have a wonderful time. Made some great friendships and long lasting memories.

I also celebrated my 21st birthday while living in Pittsburgh. Good thing I had great friends to help me celebrate. 

And a good chunk of our Bluffton friends came to visit us while we lived in Pittsburgh. It made for one of my favorite friend pictures ever. 

And this past week I snapped some new pictures...

The Pittsburgh Project today:

Where I spent time gardening:

My old bus stop:

The "Y" where I worked out each day:

The church that I worked at. Allegheny Center Alliance Church.

And a shot of the counseling office I worked in:

So that was my walk down memory lane. Pretty neat to think that God called me to spend a semester of my senior year living in the city Matt grew up in. Even during my senior year of college I still didn't know that Matt was meant to be my hubby. I actually was pretty sure he was the farthest from my husband. He was just too good of a friend to date. But boy was I wrong. So now that we are married, Pittsburgh is a special city for both of us. Thankful that I stepped out in faith to see what God needed me to see in Pittsburgh. 

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