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Volunteers Needed for Discussions of Social Issues with Pittsburgh Youth

Pittsburgh Cares is calling for volunteers to speak about societal issues with ninth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public School District (PPS).

The fifth annual "9th Grade Nation In-School Roundtable Discussions" will take place in high schools across the city this winter, with adult volunteers moderating discussions amongst freshmen.

Pittsburgh Cares Youth Programs Manager Nina Zappa said the discussion topics vary.

"Some of the more popular topics that are addressed, and that happen at probably most of the roundtables are things like teen pregnancy, teen violence, drug abuse and prevention, the importance of education, hunger, those kinds of things," said Zappa. "We really try to get topics that would be important and relevant to the students."

Since every PPS freshman is required to complete a community service project, Zappa said the roundtable discussions serve as a brainstorm of ideas for those assignments.

"Some students in the past have gone and volunteered with organizations, maybe even ones that they've heard speak at the roundtables," said Zappa. "Some students can host fundraisers or awareness projects at their school, or education projects, maybe a little bit of both."

Zappa said most volunteers are professionals within the fields about which they speak. For example, she said, Pittsburgh police officers often talk about drug abuse and prevention, while food bank employees have spoken about hunger in the city.

To learn more or to volunteer, visit the Pittsburgh Cares website.