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Western Pennsylvania has a strong tradition of neighborhood, personal and community commitment. Our pride in pulling together goes far beyond supporting our deep-rooted sports teams. 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference honors the individuals that are making a difference in people's lives on the ground level and reminding us we are all truly a part of each other's lives.This special series, supported by UPMC, will highlight, honor and celebrate Western Pennsylvanians who are unsung heroes daring to make a difference to others in our community.00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770c8000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770ca000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cc000090.5 WESA PA listening area counties:Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland, Butler, Armstrong, Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Fayette, Indiana00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cd0000This project is made possible by a generous contribution from UPMC.

Joe Lagana, Providing Equal Opportunities For Homeless Children

Debbi Casini Klein
90.5 WESA

Read and listen to a story about Joe Lagana as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

While many look to retirement as a time to relax, golf or travel, Joe had other plans.

At his retirement party in 1999, he had a special request for everyone: “I had mentioned that in lieu of a gift, that they would make a contribution to homeless children, and to my surprise, $7,000 was leftover, so that was the beginning of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund” Joe said.

Prior to his retirement, Joe spent 40 years as an educator in the Penn Hills and North Allegheny school districts as a teacher, counselor, administrator and as a superintendent.   

As the founder of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, or HCEF, Joe is committed to ensuring that homeless children have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. Through individual and corporate donations, fundraisers and grants, HCEF has raised public awareness and helped these children get proper education.