East Pittsburgh is home of the George Westinghouse Memorial bridge, a bridge that spans from East Pittsburgh to North Versailles and whose central arch was once the longest concrete arch span in the world. An even more impressive part of the community, however, are the volunteers of the local Community Development Corporation that meets monthly to plan positive events and outreach in their neighborhood. We interviewed Mary Carol Kennedy, over 7-year member and President of the East Pittsburgh Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC), about her experience volunteering in this organization. Read the Q&A below to find out more about EPEDC!
Q:Why did you first get involved with EPEDC?
A: Because I believed the work the group did would benefit our community, which it certainly has.
Q:Tell us about a time when you felt proud of something your organization accomplished for your community.
A: Organizing events such as our Christmas Party, the Health Fair, the completion of the mural and the rehab for resale, Shamrock Square and the MVI rental properties gives me a sense of pride. Having a safe, affordable and decent place to live is most important and rewarding. I am humbled to have a hand in that.
Q:Does your CDC ever partner with other communities to put on events or host activities? If so, tell us about those partnerships.
A: We and North Braddock Cares, Inc. have a Girls and Guys Night Out scheduled for the fall, and we have also partnered with NBC to receive grant funding for a multi-municipal zoning plan. In the past we have sponsored the industrial workshop with the Turtle Creek Development Corporation. I would like to partner with other communities more often.
Q:Why does it benefit your CDC to be a member of the MVI Coalition?
A: None of what is done could ever happen with only a handful of volunteers or without a group of communities. I have so much gratitude for MVI it is really hard to put into words.
Q:What are your plans for the future of the organization and of the community?
A: I want to continue to do what we’ve been doing, I want to develop more ideas of how to improve our community in ways that I can not even imagine today. I want to attract new young members to the organization. I want to learn about new resources for betterment and change.
Q: If you were recruiting the person reading this to join your CDC, what is the reason you would tell them they should join?
A: There is no feeling like the one you get from being part of improving your community, meeting a grateful homeowner, seeing the kids play basketball because you helped to support the purchase of the hoops, talking to a neighbor who got a job through the MVI Workforce Development Program, or having a view of Shamrock Square from your front porch. It’s your little piece of the world and you made a positive difference in it. I have a lot of gratitude.
Hear more about EPEDC from Mary Carol in this 2009 interview: