Bethany House Academy (BHA) is a community based, nonprofit organization founded in 1962 (as Bethany House Ministry) and dedicated to meeting the needs of high-risk families in Northview Heights on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Pa. For nearly 50 years, Bethany House has provided comprehensive, culturally appropriate prevention and educational services to the African-American residents of these communities. The agency has developed a strong reputation for understanding and attending to the needs of these communities.
The mission of Bethany House Academy (BHA) is to prepare children, youth, and adults of Northview Heights academically, socially, economically, and spiritually for lifelong learning, achievement, health and prosperity.
Bethany House Academy/Ministry (BHA) was formed in 1962 in response to the needs of providing a faith-based social service program for two of the largest public housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, namely Northview Heights and St. Clair Village. Utilizing the United Methodist Church Union as fiscal intermediary, BHA implemented two programs to target the special needs of these children, youth, and families. In 2005, BHA incorporated as a State of Pennsylvania non-profit organization with a focus on family based services addressing issues inherent to this community. In 2010 the community of St. Clair Village was demolished.
Bethany House currently provides services to families that reside in Northview Heights, located on the Northside Pittsburgh, Pa. Sobering statistics reveal just how grave the need is for children, youth, and adult programming in Northview Heights. The community demographics of Northview represents challenges on many levels based on the ranking compiled by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research (2002) of the 90 neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh.
Northview Heights ranked:
#1 by percent of Children under age 18 in Poverty (75.2%)
#1 by overall poverty rate (70.1%)
#3 by rate under 200% of Poverty (87%)
#3 in Adult (16+) Male unemployment rate (42.3%)
#5 in Adult (16+) Female Unemployment rate (63.%)
#4 in Female Headed households with children under 18 (96.%)
#8 by percentage of population age 25 and over with less than a High School Degree (34.5%)
#17 by Black Only Youth unemployed rate (58.5%)
#75 by percentage of Students grade 12 and under enrolled in Private School (1.1%)
#72 by percentage of Population Enrolled in College (Undergraduate Years) (2%)
(Census data for 2010 is not yet available as of 8-1-2011)
Because of the services provided, the following achievements have been made:
- 90% of our children are current on all immunizations
- 80% of our youth have improved attitudes towards school and education
- 75% improved their grades in math and English
- 70% of our participants become members of the honor roll
- 86% increased their self-esteem and self-confidence; and
- 90% improved their cultural awareness/identity and community mobilization activities.
Specific programs for children and youth include:
After-school Program: Bethany House offers after-school programs that serve children and youth (ages 3-18) of our families in Northview Heights, with approximately 120 children enrolled in services at any given time. All children receive on-going developmental screenings, assessments, and an Individual Academic Plan.
Preschool: The Oplenell Montgomery Preschool Learning Academy at Bethany House provides comprehensive services to 20-30 children (ages 3-5) annually. These services include all core components of early childhood learning: letters, words, math (counting and identifying 1-100), foreign languages (Spanish and Swahili), African/African American History, shapes, colors, hygiene/health, fitness, and African drumming.
Youth Services: Bethany House currently offers two youth programs: (1) The P.O.W.E.R. (Positive Outcomes With Excuses Removed) Program, that provides prevention, early intervention, character development services for children and youth (ages 6-18), and Rites of Passage programs for males, and (2) the Community Organic Garden and Café that teaches self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial skills. The youth programs provide culturally based after-school and weekend programming that includes self-awareness, tutoring, social, and health and wellness activities that help children recognize their individual and collective greatness.
Bethany House Program activities include:
• Academic enrichment through tutoring and mentoring
• Homework assistance
• Academic games/projects
• Technology Literacy
• Math, Science, and Reading Clubs
• Arts and crafts
• Cultural performing arts, music and drama
• Fitness Programs
• Healthy Snacks