Photo courtesy of Bethany House Academy
According to the 2010 Census, there are about 515 children under the age of 18 and about 160 under the age of 5 who live in the Northview Heights area.

By Alyse Horn

For over 50 years, Bethany House Academy in Northview Heights has provided a handful of core educational programs for the families and children who live in the neighborhood.

Although, because of the Pennsylvania budget impasse, and funding cuts in programs like the Educational Improvement Tax Credits, Executive Director Keith Murphy said the uninterrupted service to the community almost came to a halt for the first time since 1962.

“It left us scrambling to run the programs,” Chris Sweeney, Bethany House board member and Northside resident, said.

Particularly, the Summer Program that supports 35-40 children was in danger. After a funding request send out by Bethany House and help from the Northside Leadership Conference, Sweeney said several organizations immediately stepped forward to fulfill $15,000 needed to fund the program.

The organizations that stepped forward include: Alco Parking Corporation, Allegheny Health Network, Huntington Bank, Northside Pittsburgh Lions Club, PNC Bank, SSB Bank, and WesBanco Bank.

Murphy said between the organizations and private supporters, Bethany House was able to raise the needed funds within 10 days.

The Summer Program is geared towards children ages 4 to 14, and runs for six weeks starting in June. Murphy said it was critical to keep this program funded, as students already experience a loss of learning during the summer months. But for children in low-income neighborhoods, it’s a bigger blow.

“We are a reliable resource for families and they know their kids are getting a quality education,” Murphy said. “The atmosphere creates a different dynamic for children of what they can be and become.”

Bethany House focuses on the STREAM approach — Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Murphy said “research” was added as a component that can apply to all subjects and helps the children become better students. Participants in any program run by Bethany House have access to the computer lab and the new Hydroponic Greenhouse, as well as the KABOOM playground.

“We are committed to having the kids Pittsburgh ‘Promise Ready,’” Murphy said.

The six week program schedule runs from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes: STREAM/Academic Enrichment, creative activities, physical fitness, and breakfast and lunch for the kids.

Murphy said programs like Bethany House aren’t seen in Northview Heights anymore, and Sweeney echoed that statement.

“Many have departed, but we are still here,” Sweeney said.

Besides the Summer Program, Bethany House has six other programs for children and adults who live in Northview Heights.

For more information of Bethany House Academy, or if interested in donating to the preschool or after school programs, click here. If interested in volunteering, click here.

If interested in enrolling your child in the Summer Program, or participating in other programs, call (412) 889-9329.