Mrs. Renne’s Delicious Snacks at BYP

This school year at BYP, the Renne family has contributed a lot to our program! We want to give special thanks to Joyce Renne for sharing her wonderful cooking and baking with us. Every week she contributed the most delectable homemade meals, desserts and snack platters. In this post we will share just a few of her stand-out food contributions.
Pancakes were a recurring favorite of the youth at BYP, and a staple during Maple Syrup season. Kept warm in a large slowcooker, and always served with Pennsylvania maple syrup and butter… Breakfast for snack is always welcome.
Mrs. Renne delighted us with seasonal specialties, such as this decadent Trifle for St. Patrick’s Day. This was a highly praised treat, wowing the youth with its layers of pudding, whipped cream, mint chocolate and Oreos. Other holiday treats included Groundhog Day Chocolate Bundt Cake (complete with a groundhog in the middle of the cake) and Fudgey Raspberry brownies for Valentine’s Day.
Along with an assortment of desserts (such as face-sized Chocolate chip cookies), Mrs. Renne made us the most filling comfort food, such as Lasagna with Garlic Bread and Macaroni and Cheese.
Towards the end of program, we were treated to the richest Oreo Cheesecake. Another favorite (not pictured), was homemade Poptarts.
Here’s a final thank you to Mrs. Renne was keeping the youth and staff happy and well-fed through the winter and spring. We can never thank her enough for the time and care she took to donate her cooking to us!


All About BYP Girl’s Club

This spring, BYP Jr. just finished a program for girls called BYP Girl’s Club. It was a series of six workshops for the girls at HOST (Heritage Out of School Time). Eleven girls participated, ages 8-14. The BYP youth attended as peer mentors for the younger girls. We had a wonderful time… here are some highlights from the sessions!
For the first session, we entered into the topic of self-esteem and self-confidence. We made paper flowers that explored the traits that we like about ourselves. We also did a planting project, which involved learning how to make origami seed planting pots out of newspaper squares. We planted zucchini, okra, and green beans. When the sprout they will be transplanted into a garden next to HOST!
Our second session involved thinking about inner beauty versus outer beauty ideals. We had a special guest join us, spokesmodel Jess Chernovet. She gave a presentation on the modeling industry and how we can foster inner beauty instead of focusing on outer beauty. We did an exercise in which we sorted the things we notice when we look in a mirror. To remind us of positive thoughts about ourselves, we made charms collaged with magazine clippings on recycled plastic lids.
The third session was all about food. To celebrate food and make new friends, we played a game that involved guessing what food was posted on your back, and then finding your food match. For example, one girl would find out that she was macaroni and she would have to find a girl who was cheese. After the game, we engaged in a “Battle of the Smoothies” cooking demonstration. We made two smoothies: Power Gold and Angel’s Favorite Strawberry Banana. We voted on our favorite-the group was fairly split in half on which was the best. After that, we made some cucumber-cherry tomato sandwiches.
For the fourth session we focused on feeling healthy, both emotionally and physically. We played some games about emotions: an exercise called “Up and Down,” in which we explored the feelings we encounter in daily life and supported one another, as well as Emotion Detective, in which it pays to be a reader of other’s emotions. To practice exercise to promote emotional health, we did a session of yoga. Maggie White visited and lead us in an awesome yoga session. We learned a little about India, and even picked up some Sanskrit!
Our fifth session revolved around creative expression and the arts. Our main project involved creating a recycled stain glass window panel. Each girl designed individual rectangles, repurposed from plastic salad containers. The project involved outlining our designs with marker and then painting the other side. Once glued together, all of the designs made a lovely window hanging! After painting, we also got a crash course in how to make a mini zine from one sheet of paper!
Our last session was about fostering leadership and community. Most of the session involved a public speaking exercise that got the girls super excited. This was their prompt: If you were suddenly crowned Queen of the World, what five laws would you make everyone follow? The girls wrote their responses on index cards. Then, they had the opportunity to stand behind a podium and declare their laws, and then answer questions posed by the group. After the speech making, we played a game in which we found commonalities with one another and made a web with yarn. This was an excellent way to end the spring sessions, because each girl cut a piece of yarn and tied it onto another girl’s wrist while giving her a compliment.

Thank you to the following for making BYP Girl’s Club possible: Junior League, New Voices Pittsburgh, Jessica Schmid, Flavia Bleahu, Michele Blazina, Dr. Lisa Hinkleman, Gisele Fetterman, and Maria Cruz. Special thanks to the four young women who acted as peer mentors: Chawntay, Brandy, Angel and Deisha. Thank you also for our special guests: Jess Chernovet, Maggie White, Jenn Stover, and Alicia Luke. I also appreciate the added support of fellow BYP Staff: OnTae Smith, Brendan Renne, Evelyn Greene and Katya McCoy. And of course, thank you to all of the young ladies who participated!


Summer Application Intake Sessions

BYP will be holding two day-long intake sessions, where youth and families can turn in their application and documentation at the Nyia Page Community Center versus going to the intake centers listed on the application for summer youth employment.

These dates and times are:
Tuesday, 4/21 and Tuesday, 4/28. 10 AM to 8 PM.
Nyia Page Community Center

Families will need to show up with the following paperwork in order to complete their application that day:

  • Birth Certificate of Youth
  • Social Security Card of Youth
  • Proof of Address (dated within the last 6 months): Utility bill, Lease, Parent ID, Report Card or Other School Record
  • Proof of Income: Most recent pay stub, Proof of SNAP, SSI Information, Etc.

Parents can show up and do everything without their child, but the child will need to stop in after-school to sign the application.

If families cannot attend one of these sessions, they can still turn in the application to any of the centers listed on the first page of the application packet found here:

If you have questions, please call Jessica Schmid at 412-918-0079 or email at


T-Shirt Projects with BYP Jr.


On the mentoring team, BYP Jr., we’ve been making the world more colorful and brighter with T-shirt crafts! We completed a service project making t-shirt quilts, and several other creative activities repurposing t-shirt material.


More than 200 t-shirts were donated to help us make quilts for the homeless, an initiative started in Pittsburgh by the Homelost Project. BYP hosted a successful sew-in and several sessions of a sewing club to complete 3 t-shirt quilts and cut nearly 200 t-shirt squares. The project was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, through which material and sewing notions were donated. The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) also donated over 100 shirts for us to repurpose! Thank you also to the individuals who donated shirts, including artist Edith Abeyta.



We had an excellent team of youth, volunteers and KEYS AmeriCorps members that attended our sew-in! A whole quilt top was finished in one night, and we exceeded our goal of cutting 180 t-shirt squares. The quilts also included artwork created by the children we mentor at Heritage Out of School Time (HOST).


With t-shirt sleeves and scraps, volunteers also made educational bean bags to give to the kids at HOST. This was a great opportunity for children to help and learn to sew.


Another great use for leftover t-shirts is sewing them into hand puppets! We brought blank puppets to HOST to celebrate Fred Roger’s birthday. The kids got really creative, gluing on feathers, fabric, buttons and yarn to create their puppet. We even had some puppets that were inspired by Frozen characters.


The next frontier was turning the shirts into t-shirt yarn! Armed with lots of t-shirt spaghetti, we taught our kids how to weave pot holders on cardboard looms. This was an excellent craft for teaching kids patience.


To culminate our t-shirt projects, BYP Jr. hosted a Crafty Wednesday at the Braddock Carnegie Library. We brought piles of t-shirt string and taught library-goers how to weave potholders, make t-shirt lanyards, and finger knit. The possibilities for repurposing t-shirts are endless!


BYP Summer Application Update

In years past, applications for Braddock Youth Project summer positions have come out at the end of April and been due at the end of May. This year, however, the process is going to be very different due to recent changes made by our summer program’s primary funding source.

We will be updating information as it becomes available to us. In the meantime, we would like to advise families of youth wishing to apply to gather together the following materials, in order to ensure they are ready when the time comes:

  • Youth’s social security card
  • Youth’s birth certificate
  • 6 months of income information for household (including pay stubs, social security benefits, etc.)
  • If family is receiving SNAP benefits, proof of this (letter from caseworker, ComPASS printout, etc.)

If you have any additional questions, please call (412) 918-0079 or email