Sheraden resident Terri Minor Spencer started West End P.O.W.E.R. (Providing Opportunities with Effective Resources) three years ago. The organization aims to redefine and rebuild community in Pittsburgh's West End through the facilitation of multiple neighborhood support initiatives.
Minor Spencer spoke about P.O.W.E.R.'s origins with 90.5 WESA's Elaine Effort, as well as where she sees the organization moving forward.
Below are excerpts of their conversation for our series 90.5 WESA Celebreates: 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Minor Spencer on the motivations for starting West End P.O.W.E.R.:
"You know, just having conversations with our community members and many of them not knowing what was going on [in the community]. Just a lack of support throughout the whole community. Because some people call the West End 'the forgotten community.' That [perception] is what really started it.
We just decided to get together and try to figure out what's going on and bring it to the community. "
Minor Spencer on what West End P.O.W.E.R. does:
"We started an adult GED program, because our men and women were lacking employment because of not graduating from high school. So, me and two other members got certified through the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and now we teach the GED program.
We also partner with the West End Salvation Army -- we do kettle bells, help a lot with some of their community programs. We do a lot of gathering of resources for the community, and just trying to make sure the community [has a voice] at the table."
Minor Spencer on where she sees the organization moving forward:
"I'm a strong believer that if you know something you should share it with someone else. Don't hold it. Because that's how we stay stagnated. You know, if you've got something to share and it can help the next person ... share it. Because that's the only way we can grow.
One of my friends said, 'How can we get our seniors to sit back out on the porch like they used to?' So that's something that we're working on -- getting our seniors back in our community feeling safe and a part of our community.
We're just making sure everyone's included, everyone has a seat, everyone is welcome, and everyone feels like this is part of something they can go to and say, 'Hey, how can we help?'"