A pep rally this morning at Pittsburgh's CAPA School kicked off a day of volunteering for Pittsburgh Promise recipients. The recent college graduates are spending Thursday and Friday in service projects to show their appreciation for the scholarship funds.
Approximately 1,000 students spread out across the region volunteering their time at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Pittsburgh Project, World Vision, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Dress For Success, Just Harvest, and many other locations.
Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise, said it is all part of the program's three key promises: to provide up to $40,000 in scholarship money to pursue higher education, to reform urban public schools so as to better prepare students for academic success, and to develop urban neighborhoods into more conducive learning and living environments.
"Now that we are about to graduate our first class with Bachelor's degrees, we thought, 'All right, it's time to deliver on the promise by making sure that our graduates and our students do their part by giving back and paying it forward in their city,'" Ghubril said.
The community service is part of a two-week celebration including a career launch. Ghubril said it will be an opportunity for graduates to explore their career options.
"There will be also workshops in interview skills, writing skills, etc., and then eventually interviews. Our hope is to get maybe 200-plus interviews conducted next Thursday and Friday between our graduates and Pittsburgh's employers," Ghubril said.
Ghubril added this year's graduating class marks their first big milestone. "This is the first class to graduate from four-year institutions. We've already had about 200 students already graduate from two-year institutions and already join the workforce, but this is the first class with a four-year degree," Ghubril said.