Neighborhood Allies and Verizon open new​ Verizon Community Forward Homewood-Brushton Youth Learning Center​​ in​ the Homewood-Brushton YMCA Branch​

May 15, 2023

Youth in the Homewood neighborhood will have access to new cutting-edge technology for enhanced STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning and career development opportunities through the Verizon Community Forward Homewood-Brushton Youth Learning Center located in the Homewood-Brushton branch of the YMCA.

This center was created by Verizon in partnership with Neighborhood Allies to remove barriers to Pittsburghers in under-resourced communities to accessing and achieving technology and digital skills in an increasingly digital world.

“The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is proud to host the Verizon Community Forward Homewood-Brushton Youth Learning Center. It is a great example of what can be accomplished when we all come together in service of the community” said Y President and CEO, Amy Kienle. “We thank our partners for their continued commitment to help all youth grow and develop to their fullest potential.”

“Neighborhood Allies is excited to bring such an advanced, tech-forward space to the Homewood-Brushton YMCA – a trusted community anchor that will now house new resources for young people exploring STEAM-related learning and career paths,” said Neighborhood Allies President and CEO Presley Gillespie. “With this generous investment from Verizon, we are able to continue working towards bridging the digital equity gap in Pittsburgh and creating healthy neighborhoods of opportunity for all. We could not have achieved this without our many valued partners, including those at the Homewood Children’s Village, University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Centers, and Community College of Allegheny County.”

This is the first of two centers to open in Pittsburgh as part of the Verizon Community Forward Initiative, which aims to reinvigorate community spaces in cities across the country, providing access to free resources and enhancing hands-on learning with cutting-edge technology. Pittsburgh was selected as one of four pilot cities for the program, and the second center serving adult learners is slated to open in August 2023 at the Community College of Allegheny County Homewood-Brushton Center (CCAC).

Neighborhood Allies’ partnership with Verizon has also extended to supporting STEAM and digital skills programs at the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center (CEC) in the Hill District, and the Homewood Children’s Village, who will be utilizing the new Verizon Community Forward Homewood-Brushton Youth Learning Center in the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. With Verizon’s generous support, these programming partners have served over 8000 participants since spring 2021.

About the Partners:

About the Verizon Community Forward Initiative
The Verizon Community Forward Initiative is part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Launched in 2020 to move the world forward for all, Citizen Verizon leverages technology, innovation and resources to address the world’s most pressing issues across digital inclusion, climate protection and human prosperity.

As part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s total 2020-2025 responsible-business investment is slated to exceed $3 billion.

About Neighborhood Allies
Neighborhood Allies’ vision is for all neighborhoods to be resilient, thriving and equitable. Our mission is to engage Pittsburgh area residents and organizations with innovative tools that expand opportunity for transformative community change. We believe the elimination of barriers begins with uplifting creative community ideas. We promise to create pathways of opportunity that lead to healthy neighborhoods. For more information, visit:

About the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh
As a leading non-profit organization, the YMCA serves Greater Pittsburgh by building healthier families, empowering youth, and fostering inclusive communities. At the Y we ensure that everyone regardless of age, income, or background has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, regardless of ability to pay. We work hard each day to make a difference in the lives of those in our community through programs that impact our area’s youth, families, and older adults.

About the Homewood Children’s Village
Homewood Children’s Village serves children and families through a holistic, multi-generational approach by providing direct services, support, and resources that help break down the barriers to social and economic success. Since the formal launch of the Children’s Village in 2010, HCV has been working diligently to forward a collaborative, multi-agency approach to addressing the complex challenges facing Homewood’s youth. For more information, visit:

About the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Centers (CEC)
The University of Pittsburgh CECs are part of Pitt’s Neighborhood Commitments in Homewood, the Hill District, and Greater Hazelwood. The commitments are guided and shaped by a network of collaborators – neighborhood advisory councils and longtime University and community partners who work in the neighborhoods – to help build stronger communities and a stronger University. Community Engagement Centers anchor the commitment, creating a front door to Pitt right in the community and a vibrant and welcoming space for programs and collaboration.

The CEC in the Hill District was established with a community-led focus on Digital Equity and STEAM, particularly in relation to youth enrichment and workforce development, through discussions with the Hill Community Development Corporation and recommendations of its #NewGranadaSTEAM Task Force. Beginning in 2019, the CEC worked with its Hill District Neighborhood Advisory Council, Remake Learning, Partner4Work, and others to co-imagine a Digital Inclusion Studio – a suite of physical and programmatic assets that would enhance the Hill District’s existing STEAM ecosystem. With the support of Neighborhood Allies, the CEC’s Digital Inclusion Studio partners with Pitt students, faculty, staff and community partners to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for children, adults, and seniors in the community. For more information about the CEC in the Hill District, visit

About the Community College of Allegheny County – Homewood-Brushton Center
The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) offers classes geared towards adult students, who can earn a range of degrees and certificates like the CompTIA A+, or enroll in computer-related courses within the Computer Information Technology discipline. For technical fundamentals or career-driven studies in a fast-growing sector, from basic to advanced skills, our programs and courses help students thrive in the fascinating world of computer technology. For more information on CCAC’s computer courses, visit

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA