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Bakery Square Quality of Life Awardee: Community Empowerment Association/T. Rashad Byrdsong


The Quality of Life Award is given to an organization who is helping residents access the larger economy and quality neighborhood amenities. They do this through assistance, support and programming to build assets, accumulate wealth and connection to economic opportunities. They are also actively contributing to make their neighborhood safe while positively impacting the health and well-being of families and neighbors.

Community Empowerment Association (CEA) was founded in 1993 in order to establish an organized, structural approach to address the specific needs of at-risk youth and families in distressed, marginalized communities. Their mission is to restore, reclaim and transform distressed communities through strategic planning, collaboration, advocacy, education, and training.

Mr. Byrdsong of Community Empowerment Association, Inc. is the lead principle on a collaborative project with Pitt Public Health entitled, “Live Longer, Empowering Pittsburgh Communities”. The project is geared towards identifying health issues in low income communities that are the causes of premature deaths to the citizens living in those low income communities, thereafter providing viable solutions to help those same citizens understand and make changes to their lifestyle to prolong their lives. During the height of the project, COVID-19 hit the country, putting the project on hold. That didn’t stop Mr. Byrdsong! He jumped in right away and started a bi-weekly emergency food distribution program entitled “Food First Program”. He gathered all his donors and volunteers and began handing out and delivering food and supplies to our community’s most vulnerable citizens (senior citizens and the disabled) while practicing social distancing. While Mr. Byrdsong was responding to the crisis, the work he was doing was not new; He was simply helping to feed the community that he has served in many ways for over 25 years. From youth-focused after-school programs, to providing families with basic necessities, to workforce development, CEA serves as a welcoming and trusted space for Homewood residents and a resource center for all of Allegheny county. Mr. Byrdsong is an inspiration to so many–proving that you can’t and shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and do the right thing, even in the face of huge uncertainty.


Watch Community Empowerment Association’s Awardee Video!


Thanks to our partners at Pittsburgh Tech Council for interviewing Rashad!

You can listen here by clicking on the player below!


READ: Community Empowerment Association’s Food First Program Provides Food & Supplies to the Community | 2020 Quality of Life Healthy Neighborhood Awardee

  • Photos of Emergency Food Distribution, courtesy of CEA's Facebook page.


READ: Community Empowerment Association’s ‘World Changers’ Program Empowers Youth to become Change Agents for a Better World


Check out some of the Facebook posts from CEA’s highlight week!


We were excited to be able to hand-deliver CEA’s official Healthy Neighborhood Award!

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