Center on Race and Social Problems

Homewood Children's Village

Dr. John Wallace created The Homewood Children’s Village as an adaptation of Geoffrey Canada’s internationally acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone, a New York based comprehensive community initiative. Each academic year, the Center on Race and Social Problems provides master's level social work students to work with struggling students in two Pittsburgh K-5 schools. The mission of the Homewood Children’s Village is to “simultaneously improve the lives of Homewood’s children and to reweave the fabric of the community in which they live.”   As a comprehensive community initiative, the HCV partners with residents, faith based organizations and community based organizations, local and state government, the public school system, and local and national funders to transform the educational, health, social service, and physical conditions of one of Pittsburgh’s most challenged, yet most promising communities—Homewood.  While the HCV will engage in limited and targeted service delivery, the HCV operationally is a convener, coordinator, and a capacity builder of organizations who seek to serve the children and families of Homewood. In short, the HCV has created a “Village”, not simply for our children, but also for our many organizational partners as we work to coordinate and elevate the quality of the supports and services provided by the many organizations that serve the children who live and learn in Homewood. 

Research Aim

To engage faculty, students, and community members in community-based participatory research projects designed to produce actionable knowledge needed to address pressing social problems that impact the lives of children and families in Homewood-Brushton. The first research project will engage Pitt students in the identification and assessment of the initial blocks that will comprise the Homewood Children’s Village.

Teaching Aim

To create an educational immersion experience for students by relocating the classroom from the campus to the community through Dr. Wallace’s course, SW 2047 Community-Based Participatory Research. The course is taught in Homewood-Brushton and, in addition to traditional classroom lectures and discussions, offers students hands-on training in community-based research methods and community organizing.

Service Aim

To implement a field-placement model that locates masters-level social work interns in selected Homewood social service agencies and organizations. Interns and faculty members will help to increase the capacity of community organizations and residents as they involve them in the community-based research projects and the classroom instruction.

In the News:

Brown to refocus Homewood Children's Village
New Pittsburgh Courier
September 19, 2015

How the Homewood Children's Village is 'Re-Weaving the Fabric of the Community'
90.5 WESA
March 24, 2014

Making Pittsburgh 'Most Livable' for Everyone
University Times
October 27, 2011