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Civic Leadership Academy Empowers Citizens to Learn About Local Government

Joe Wos

The Civic Leadership Academy, run by Pittsburgh's volunteer initiative Serve PGH, provides citizens with an opportunity to learn more about their local government. It is also hoped that some of the city’s most pressing needs can be tackled with help from volunteers who go through the program.

Melanie Ondek, the Grants Officer who oversees Serve PGH believes that the program will benefit both the city and the people who take the class.

“We know that strong neighborhoods really start with strong leadership. So really the hope of this program is to foster more informed and empowered residents. Giving them the tools and sort of the relationships that can be helpful to them to bring resources back to their own communities."

Ondeck said the goal of the program is to also include representatives from every neighborhood in the city.

"We've touched 60 of the 90 neighborhoods. So each application period we try to have a diverse population. So eventually our goal is to reach all 90 neighborhoods and have representation of each of them."

Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum participated in the most recent Civic Leadership Academy class and talked about why it was a beneficial experience for him.

“You learn that we are all equal partners in improving the city, under Mayor Peduto and that is something that he has really embraced. That we each have the power to change Pittsburgh but we have to work together to do that."

The registration deadline for the Academy is this Friday, register at the ServePGH website. Contact ServePGH with any questions about the Civic Leadership Academy by calling 412-255-4773 or email

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