Changing lives one person, one family, one block at a time.
That is the inspirational mission statement of the Urban Impact Foundation. Founded by Pastor Ed Glover in 1995, Urban Impact serves the North Side of Pittsburgh through a wide array of after-school and summer programs for underprivileged youth. Mentors, staff, and volunteers participate in these programs to provide not only a means to keep youths off the street and involved in healthy and educational activities, but also to structure a healthier approach to relationships, self respect, and the Christian faith.
I once volunteered with Urban Impact’s basketball program for a season and acted as my father-in-law’s assistant coach. Two things struck me from that experience that convinced me of the validity of the UIF vision for the North Side community.
First, many of the youth came from fatherless homes. Their behavior often reflected this poignantly. But when father figures directly participated in these UIF activities, those same youth changed and they clamored over one another for the attention of these men. The programs provided an opportunity for the fatherless to gain some paternal nourishment where they might otherwise starve.
Second, the character of Pastor Glover and the raw power that fuels his tenacity, passion, and dedication astounds me. He often tells stories of the difficulties that surrounded him when he first moved to the North Side and began to implement his vision. Multiple times, his car was stolen right in front of his home. The community distrusted his efforts and many scoffed at him. Yet, he endured. Now, players from the Pittsburgh Steelers partner with UIF and participate in many of its programs. Heath Miller is one of them. And he’s not the only one. Even Coach Tomlin’s makes appearances and lends his support to the Foundation.
The role of principles within UIF undoubtedly drives much of the moral instruction and education aimed at teaching youths not only the hope offered through the Christian faith, but also redefining how they perceive the value of themselves, other people, and the importance of integrity.
I’ve heard testimonies of men and woman who grew up in the foundation, and they often talk about how their value system changed – how they learned the necessity for self-respect and the power of a good education. Where education made little sense before, UIF encourages inner-city youth to not only complete high school, but also pursue secondary education through colleges and trade schools. This kind of encouragement and empowerment equips young people with tools to succeed and the desire to excel in life beyond the circumstances and hopelessness that dominate their daily lives.
Despite the hardships in the early years, Pastor Glover’s zealous compassion for the North Side community paved the way for brighter futures for many children that might otherwise slip unnoticed forever into the background of the poverty and violence around them.
We encourage you to learn more about the organization, and to support its cause by visiting the Urban Impact Fund website. You can also donate to the Urban Impact Fund directly, or through the United Way by using the Urban Impact’s Contributor Choice Agency Code #9532. If you like to get social, you can find and connect with Urban Impact via Facebook and YouTube.
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