Steel Smiling Organization in Residence


The Organization-in-Residence initiative is an innovative pilot program co-created by Neighborhood Allies and Steel Smiling designed to nurture the organizational growth, capacity building and sustainability of Steel Smiling so that they can continue to serve community members to their highest potential.

Goal of the Program

The intention of the Organization-in-Residence program is two fold–to incubate a nascent and growing, Black-led organization to eventually launch as an independent non-profit entity and to bring a holistic, more person-centered approach to community development by aligning Steel Smiling’s Black mental health programs with Neighborhood Allies’ economic mobility and digital inclusion work.

What We Provide

Through the Organization-in-Residence partnership, Steel Smiling has heightened capacity to meet the needs of those they serve by accessing Neighborhood Allies’ organizational infrastructure. Having the ability to share in these structures, policies and internal services means that the Steel Smiling team will be able to both broaden and deepen their reach in ensuring that every Black person in Allegheny County has at least one positive mental health experience by 2030.

Steel Smiling’s Direct Programs: 

Beams to Bridges (BTB) provides 50 hours of comprehensive mental health training and education to community members, grounded in:

    • Self-care through education, self-exploration, healing and practice, and
    • Community care through sharing experiences, group support, community conversations, and connections to mental health and wellness providers.

Training activities include:

    • Comprehensive mental health education, topics include Culture, Identity, and Development, Trauma, Substance use and recovery, Grief and loss, Relationships and conflict, How to find help and treatment, and Mental Health First Aid
    • Developing a personal self-care practice,
    • Facilitating supportive mental health conversations, community conversations and mental wellness activities, and practices
    • Meeting local mental health and wellness providers.

Participants experience diverse training techniques including lectures, large and small group discussions, role-playing activities, journal assignments to meet the following learning objectives:

    • Identifying mental health signs and symptoms,
    • Supporting the mental health needs of others, and themselves.
    • Championing/Advocating for mental health experiences in their neighborhoods.

Steel Healing 

Since March 2020, Steel Smiling has paid over $400,000 in treatment services for Black community members with no barriers or eligibility requirements other than identifying as Black, African American, and/or of the African Diaspora, and a desire to participate in treatment voluntarily. This incredible accomplishment has been made possible through our Steel Healing program! 

Originally launched as the “Black Mental Health Fund” in 2020, Steel Healing was born in response to increased community demand for mental health services during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the collective outrage sparked by the murder of George Floyd.  

What began as an effort to ensure Black community members had financial access to treatment and other mental health supports during a time of heightened national stress and uncertainty, has grown into a thriving program that supports residents along their respective healing journeys. Steel Smiling honors that every person is unique – with different wants, needs and desires, and that our mental health and wellness resources should reflect that reality. We also recognize that many residents seek additional support in navigating their mental health and wellness – beyond the financial component.

That’s why Steel Healing now has three official pillars to our program: 

    • Wellness Navigation Services: Steel Smiling offers “matchmaking” support for community members seeking a variety of Black-centric clinicians, therapists and/or other wellness practitioners.
    • The Black Mental Health Fund: The Fund contains fundraised resources intended to subsidize and/or cover the cost of mental health treatment for Black residents on a fixed-term basis. Resources are limited as the demand remains high. The BMHF is currently paused for replenishment. Check back soon to see when our resources will reopen.
    • Peer Services: Steel Smiling’s Peer Service offerings make both one-on-one check-ins and access to our community support groups available to residents. Our Peer Services are held communities and led by individuals with lived experience in caring for their own mental health and wellness.

To connect with the Steel Healing program, please contact our Program Manager for Wellness Service Robin Sheffey at 412-390-5544 (calls are responded to Monday through Friday 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM). All inquiries are responded to within 72 hours.  

**Steel Smiling is a community support program for Black mental health, we are not a clinical or medical service and we do not offer treatment at this time. Steel Smiling is also not an emergency or crisis response provider.  If your inquiry is related to a mental health emergency, we encourage you to call Resolve Crisis Services at 888-796-8226, or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. 

How We Engage

Click here to learn more about Steel Smiling’s program offerings and impact. To connect with a staff member, please feel free to call or email us: (412) 248-0253;

Stories of Impact

Steel Smiling Welcomes Cheyenne Campbell as Peer Support Fellow

Steel Smiling Welcomes Cheyenne Campbell as Peer Support Fellow

Please join us in welcoming Cheyenne to the Steel ...
Steel Smiling Beams to Bridges Program Graduates 3rd Cohort

Steel Smiling Beams to Bridges Program Graduates 3rd Cohort

Steel Smiling is proud to share that our third cohort, BTB3, has ...
Media Coverage |  Black-led Steel Smiling centers importance of Black mental health in Pittsburgh region

Media Coverage | Black-led Steel Smiling centers importance of Black mental health in Pittsburgh region

By: Courier Newsroom | October 18, 2023 | Read the full ...