Hosanna House: “This is our house”

Fostering Education
Inspiring Hope
Celebrating Life

February 22, 2024 | Sharon Sedlar

Back in the 1980s, Pittsburgh was dealt a massive blow with the decline of the steel industry. One of the hardest hit areas was Wilkinsburg, east of Pittsburgh,  experiencing a 40 percent population loss, substantial lowering of household income, increasing crime rates, and major change from two-parent households to single, female heads of households. In 1987, it was declared a distressed community.

Pastor Leon E. Haynes III of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh (across the street from an abandoned district school in the heart of the town) saw an opportunity to help his community. Six years later, Hosanna House, Inc. – Wilkinsburg Community Center of Western Pennsylvania opened its doors, and due to the 500 volunteers over 11 years, the building renovation was completed.

The community garden next to Hosanna House
Hosanna House is home to a toddler and preschool education center, a Kindergarten program, after-school care, teen programming, and summer camps. They even have an aviation lab, a STEM Makerspace, interactive exhibit spaces, and the Tuskegee Airman Museum – and that’s only their children and family programming. The 2 building sites are also home to economic transformation projects, such as new housing plan development, retail space construction, and beautiful green spaces. And these mentions don’t even start to touch the wealth of community and partner services that are also housed within the house walls. In the words of Randy Goodnight, Director of Youth Services at Hosanna House:

“Our commitment to our children comes in a statement: ‘Daring our children to dream again.’ With all that has transpired in these last few years, it has tried to steal the expectations of Hope & Dreams. Where one dreams there is HOPE – Hope provides Faith to expect and see one’s self-dream become a reality. Through the supports (emotional, provisional, academic, social) our children begin to see themselves in various fields. Through these supports our children can begin to DREAM again. Success in continual growth in the classroom changes our children’s mentality to not fear challenges in education. Hope & Future.”

Randy Goodnight, Director of Youth Services

PaFEC was unbelievably fortunate to come across this amazing building (and even more amazing staff!) while searching for a National School Choice Week School Fair site. It has inspired us to seek out other children, families, and communities that perhaps could benefit from a similar structure and plan.

If you know of an organization in your area serving children and families such as this, let’s celebrate them! And if you’re thinking that your community could benefit from its own “House“, please reach out to us! We would love to see these wonderful community organizations duplicated across our Commonwealth!

Scroll to Top