This Weekend’s Rankin Bridge Flower Site Clean-Up

Volunteers at the Rankin Bridge Flower Cleanup

This past Saturday, we prepared the Rankin Bridge Flower Site for the upcoming winter months.  BYP would like to offer special thanks to the hard-working volunteers who helped up clean up the site: Amber Lutsko, Shannon Fink, Alyssa Crawford, and Julia Baker.  You guys were a huge help!

Meet our new VISTA

Hello All:

My name is James Swonick, and I am the newest VISTA that will be
working with the Braddock Youth Project. I wanted to take a few
minutes to introduce myself and give everyone a little more information
about me. I graduated from McKeesport High School (Go Tigers!) in
2003, received my Bachelor’s Degree from PITT, and last August I
earned a Masters Degree in Social Work, from PITT as well. For the past
6 years I have also been coaching for a youth Futsal (a form of indoor
soccer) organization called The Barbarian FC. Below are some questions
that only paint a small picture of me, so I encourage everyone to come
and say hello so that I can tell you more as well as learn about you!

Why I wanted to be a part of BYP: I was left almost speechless when I started
looking at what the community was doing, and how BYP was supporting that effort.
A lot of the projects that the youth of Braddock are completing are in areas that I am
interested in as well, and have a passion for, so I knew that I this was a program that
I wanted to be a part of.

Future Goals: Possibly joining the Peace Corps and going back to school to earn
a Ph. D. I also hope to see The Barbarian FC continue to grow and attract talented
youth from around the country.

Hobbies/Interests: Gardening and landscaping, most sports but my favorite is
soccer, video games, technology, Politics (domestic and international), all forms of
Art, Star Wars, board games, Dungeons and Dragons, reading, browsing the Internet,

Favorite Movie: Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back

Fun Fact: I have been to Cuba

Favorite Books: Dante’s Inferno, The Odyssey

Favorite Subject: Psychology

Least favorite subject: Chemistry

Recent Personal Achievements:
• For the Barbarians – Back to back (2011, 2012) USFF regional champions,
Two National Champions in 2010
• College – National Honors Society during Undergraduate

Favorite Website:

Who Inspires Me: My father

Favorite Quote: Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, Gandhi

If I could talk with anyone living or dead, who would that be and why?: Gandhi.
His non-violent resistance freed India from British rule, and inspired some of the
greatest people to ever live, even in America.

I look forward to talking with everyone soon, and working together with
the youth of Braddock and the community as a whole!

Voices of Braddock

The Braddock Youth Project presents “Voices of Braddock,” a short film about the people of Braddock and how they see their community, through their own eyes.  In a combination of interviews “Voices of Braddock” explores the work, love, and hopes of people that live and/or work in Braddock and how their voices give valuable dimensions to the story of Braddock.

Voices of Braddock is now on the Braddock Youth Project’s Youtube channel for your viewing pleasure.

Collecting Supplies Through the Streets of Braddock

 Journal Entries From the Cafe Group 



“I am a unique and warm-hearted person. Now I know that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. So from now on I’m going to work as hard as I can because I know I can do anything. What I liked about this summer is that I met new friends and learned new things. I’ve been able to work this summer and that’s awesome.”




“Yesterday went very well. I finished my café logo and it looks very nice. Yesterday I looked up how you make a mosaic table. You have to use a lot of supplies. You need glass, cement, cement dye and a lot of other things. I can’t wait to start making my mosaic table. I watched several videos on how to make mosaic tables and it is a lot of work but it looks very fun to make. I never made a mosaic table but I will know how to do it. The mosaic table is very nice and interesting. I hope that we start making it by tomorrow because we only have 6 days left of this program and I don’t think I will be able to get that done in a couple of days. But I will try my best to do what I have to do to make the mosaic table and be done. I went and took a walk yesterday and I saw several mosaic things and sculptures that I liked. They were very cool and I’m going to try to make some things like that.”




“Last Friday we learned a lot of stuff like critiques and logos. We started drawing out our logos and then critiqued them. We learned about lines and logos on PowerPoint. All and all it was a good day.”




“So far this summer I leaned how to use Photoshop better. I also leaned that you have to have patience with the Internet because in projects you need it. Also there are many steps to doing construction work. I learned to be more patient with things and learned that not showing up to work without calling can get you loss of pay or fired. You also need to be correct with your measurements when doing things so things won’t be messed up and you won’t have to do it over.” 

Last Week With the T-shirt Group

The T-shirt group is going strong. The best part of last week was probably learning screen printing. Devon learned it on Tuesday and printed the fronts of all the Fifth Avenue Strings shirts while Tre and Devon printed the backs of them on Thursday. They looked totally awesome and I’m super proud of what they’ve accomplished!

On top of getting some shirts printed, we’ve managed to create some awesome designs as well. We’ve decided upon the name “BYP Gear” for the T-shirt group, so we worked on creating a BYP Gear logo. Through many revisions, Tre has landed upon what I think to be the strongest design yet:

Designed by Trevon R. 

When the BYP Gear Logo was created, this allowed Devon the ability to create business cards using this logo. They incorporate the BYP Gear Logo, as well as BYP’s colors:

Designed by Devon C.

As for Alisha, she was a great model when we began to come up with ideas and photos for our catalog pages. She’s been working on her brochure, though she’s not yet finished, so hopefully she’ll get to work on it more this week and create something she’ll be proud to put up online.

In the meantime, on Friday, Devon created a design for the CityReach Church, based on a design they provided him. I know Devon was pretty psyched about the first draft, and so am I:

Designed by Devon C. 

There’s still some more awesome stuff to come, so I can’t wait to see what the youth will think up next. We’ve been commissioned by two different people for T-shirts, so I’m sure we have our work cut out for us. We still need to create catalog pages for our “look book” as well as finish up our designs for the Braddock Boxing Club. I’m proud of what our youth have managed to create in such a short amount of time!