The Homewood-Brushton YMCA was filled with energy as Homewood residents and Pitt alumni packed the room in anticipation for a panel discussion about the positive impact sports can have in the community. The Pitt Alumni Association partnered with the Community Engagement Center (CEC) in Homewood, to host a “Pitt Stops” event on September 26th that left standing room only and showcased the effort from Pitt to remove barriers to community involvement.
CEC Director Daren Ellerbee kicked off the discussion by thanking the many community organizations in Homewood that have supported the development of CEC, especially the Community Advisory Council and local residents who have guided her efforts in the community since the very start of the initiative.
Vice President of Homewood Community Sports, Ayodeji Young, or “Coach Blue”, as he is more affectionately known, joined Ellerbee as co-moderator of the evening’s panel. Panelists included Pitt alumni Andin Fosam, Ron Idoko, Shayla Scott, and Pitt’s head basketball coach, Jeff Capel. Young opened his comments by sharing a core component of the Homewood Community Sports program: acknowledge your mentors and be humble enough to listen to them. This message set the tone for the night as panelists shared how participation in athletics shaped their approach to other aspects of their life. Idoko stated, “You’re always going to move onto the next play…keep giving strong effort…there’s always more plays, there’s always more opportunities.”
Capel emphasized the importance of education, sharing his take of what it means to “go to the league”. Basketball was everything and it was all he wanted to do, which meant that he worked at it tirelessly. But a ruptured disk in his back took away his basketball career as a player at 24, an injury that confirmed the importance of education and underscored that he was more than just a basketball player. He stated, “Going to the league is about being the best of whatever you choose to do. It’s not just sports.”
This message and the connection with the Homewood community put the event in the “Win” column. Richard Morris, Director of Housing with the Urban League – and a Pitt Alum – acknowledged the efforts of the coordinators, saying, “Kudos on the Pitt Stops event at the Homewood YMCA. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the panelists and the outreach that was done regarding community leaders and residents, WHS alumni, and the Homewood Community sports athletes.”
Thank you to Shannon Mischler and the Pitt Alumni Association for partnering with the Community Engagement Center in Homewood to bring Pitt Stops out into the community. Future Pitt Stops events can be found here. Please join us for the grand opening of the Community Engagement Center on October 18th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Official details here.