District 20 News: State Rep. Kinkead
School will soon be out for summer but that doesn’t mean kids should stop learning, growing and having fun! As a state representative, ensuring that families with children can safely enjoy the summer months in our community is of utmost importance to me. Our region hosts a variety of affordable — and in some cases free — programs and resources for families. I encourage you to take advantage of them and share them with anyone who may benefit.
Learn at the library
Libraries throughout Allegheny County offer educational and creative programming at no cost throughout the entire year. With activities ranging from puppet shows to knitting classes to tabletop game nights, there is something for kids and teenagers of all ages at our libraries. Adults can learn at the library, too! Things like composting and gardening classes, résumé building workshops and basic financial planning meetings are already on the schedule for the coming months. The Allegheny County Library Association has created a fantastic online tool to easily explore what’s happening at area libraries. Visit aclalibraries.org/whats-happening to see all the summer events going on!
I’m grateful to help support our local libraries by advocating for state grants to help fund their programming. Earlier this year, I announced a state grant of $750,000 awarded to fund the rehabilitation of the Northland Public Library. Because they are free to access, libraries grant low-income families in every community entry to a wealth of educational resources, as well as tools to access government programs and apply for jobs. I will continue advocating for investments from the state to help our libraries grow so that they can continue to help our communities thrive.
Summer camps and child care
Summer camps are an opportunity for kids to make new friends and learn new skills while soaking up some sun! There are countless summer camps throughout the Pittsburgh region for nearly every niche interest — far too many to list here. Some of them are rather pricey, but affordable and free camps do exist.
As an ALCOSAN board member, I am proud that ALCOSAN offers two free summer programs to students attending schools or living in the ALCOSAN service area. Through their Summer Science Camp, students in grades fourth through eighth can enjoy an exciting week of hands-on activities and field trips related to the sciences of wastewater treatment and engineering. High school students in grades ninth through 12th can attend the Clean Water Academy — a two-week program providing content and lab activities related to wastewater treatment in the fields of science, technology, engineering, chemistry, microbiology, and math. Students will also get to engage with STEM professionals and embark on an in-depth tour of ALCOSAN’s plant and laboratories! More details and registration forms for each of these programs are available on ALCOSAN’s website.
Another option for a free week-long summer camp is Camp Cadet — which focuses more on things like discipline, self-esteem, and teamwork. Created by the Pennsylvania State Police, Camp Cadet is structured similar to the training at the State Police Academy and has the goal of introducing participants to the diverse criminal justice system and establishing a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel. Meals, lodging, and programs are all provided free. Apply at troopbcampcadet.com.
For many parents, summer camps also serve as a form of child care. If you’re struggling to find a camp or adequate child care for this summer, you can use the comprehensive search tool at Find.AlleghenyChildCare.org to browse early learning programs, summer camps, and other forms of child care available in Allegheny County.
Stay fed and stay cool
While learning and having fun are critical, perhaps nothing is more essential than accessing proper nutrition and escaping extreme heat during the summer. Many working families in Allegheny County are struggling to afford the rising costs of food and energy.
There are many local organizations offering food resources to hungry community members. I encourage you to share the list below with anyone who may be food insecure.
- North Hills Community Outreach — (412) 487-6316 or email@example.com
- North Hills Food Bank — (412) 366-7477 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- West View HUB — (412) 301-8381
- Northside Food Pantry — (412) 323-1170
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank — (412) 460-3663 ext. 655 Additionally, the City of Pittsburgh typically activates cooling centers at Healthy Active Living Centers throughout the city when temperatures are forecasted above 90 degrees. So, if you or your neighbors lose power during a heat wave — don’t panic! Resources are available and when we work together and communicate, we can make sure everyone is remaining safe and healthy.
I hope everyone has a fabulous summer! Remember, if you need help navigating any state-related issues, never hesitate to call my office at (412) 321-5523 or email RepKinkead@pahouse.net. My staff and I are eager to help you however we can.