Team Pittsburgh is a non-profit organization serving the inner City of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Its purpose is to serve the community by promoting youth sports, primarily dek hockey, as a means to keep youth ages four to 18 busy with productive ventures to keep them on the right side of the law.

The organization operates an in-house program at its site in Marmaduke Park, Brighton Heights. It also operates a travel program that allows participants who work hard to participate in tournament dek hockey. Those teams travel throughout the country and Canada; some players have also had the opportunity to participate on U.S. teams where they have gone as far as the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.

In the spring of 2009, Team Pittsburgh was struggling to rehabilitate its dek hockey facility in Marmaduke Park and was concerned about the future of its program. I was approached by its leadership to see if I could assist with funding for the project.

After a year of advocating, I was able to secure $30,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the project. This commitment allowed Team Pittsburgh to meet one-third of its $93,400 goal.

Thanks to the joint effort of local leaders, sponsors, businesses and friends, the organization was able to meet its goal and made the transition to their new facility earlier this year. The site now gleams with a ProWall rink board system, an MS3 outdoor sports surface, and ancillary supplies such as fencing, players’ boxes and nets — resulting is an brand new and improved rink.

This project was not about jobs, training or buildings, but it was about the quality of life in the neighborhood and in the lives of the families served by this organization. The kids that benefit from this organization have a sense of purpose, look forward to their practices and games, have the opportunity to build teamwork and improve their own feelings of self-worth. Team Pittsburgh participants develop skills in sportsmanship and leadership and bring courage and dignity to their efforts. I am proud to be a supporter of those efforts.

Senator Wayne D. Fontana

42nd Senatorial District

www.senatorfontana.com