Auberle to use funds to launch community wellness initiative
With a $500,000 boost from Harrisburg and matching funds from supporters, Auberle is launching a community wellness initiative.
Traditional and not-so-traditional means of improving physical and mental health are included in the program announced Thursday for Auberle’s 18-acre McKeesport campus by the agency’s CEO.
“It will upgrade recreational facilities,” John Lydon told Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Bishop David A. Zubik and other members of Auberle’s board. “There are opportunities … to reach people of all ages throughout the region.”
Ball fields, practice fields, outdoor basketball courts, gymnasium renovations and a community walking trail are on the drawing board — as well as a challenge/ropes course and climbing wall.
“On a ropes course, I can teach a child in 30 minutes the difference between a good touch and a bad touch,” mental health therapist Carrie Six said.
Lydon said state Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak, secured $500,000 from the state’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program. It will be matched with funds from foundations, private individuals and corporate entities.
Lydon’s announcement coincided with the completion of a three-year fund-raising campaign that set a $4 million goal — and came in at $5.5 million.
“Auberle works because of the great investment you put into it,” board chairman Vince Locher said. “At the end of the day we never lose sight of the fact that our role is to change the lives of kids and their families.”
Lydon said it was the beginning of a new era for Auberle. The bishop said he felt electricity in the meeting room.
“There is an excitement that is palpable,” Zubik told Lydon. “You can count on continued support from me personally as well as from the diocese.”
Auberle officials said the wellness initiative was conceived in discussions that began in 2008 with McKeesport Mayor James Brewster and city council.
McKeesport Area School District already makes use of Auberle facilities. Lydon noted the Founders’ Hall Middle School eighth-grade football team practices on Auberle’s fields.
Thursday’s announcement was the second this week of a major initiative involving Auberle.
Auberle is one of four regional agencies named as recipients of $250,000 from a BNY Mellon global workforce development initiative designed to help youth make the transition from foster care to adulthood.
The annual board meeting also was an opportunity to honor some of Auberle’s partners. Awards were given to the Eaton Corp. and WDVE-102.5 morning co-host Randy Baumann.
Eaton was honored, as Lydon put it, for sharing time, talent and treasure for several years with Auberle and its young charges.
Pauline Auberle Foundation said Eaton engineering, human resource and marketing professionals have volunteered to make a long-term impact, donated money toward such projects as a newly-built fish pond and worked alongside Auberle’s kids on such tasks as raising a flagpole and putting in a walking trail.
Baumann was honored for his work over six years with Auberle’s “Voices Carry” project. The latest edition of that fund-raiser was Sept. 28 in the East Hall at Heinz Field.
Lydon also honored Food Service, Hartman Male Shelter, Independent Living and Aftercare and Movin’ On Transitional Housing teams for going beyond goals and metrics set for them.
Four retiring board members also were honored.