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scan0043From the Heart:  Children Speak

This FOCUS heart graphic is one of many thank you notes Backpack Project children sent to FOCUS at the end of the school year.  During 2013-2014, FOCUS will give Backpacks to 300 school children every week in Hill District and Southside Public Schools.  Your Wal-Mart Grant votes made this year’s program possible.  Many, many thanks from FOCUS and the children it serves.

Some of the many Thank You Notes (See more below)
Some of the many Thank You Notes (See more below)

100_0004Driving Home
the Message

In FOCUS’ recent campaign, 26 bumper stickers ($100.00/each) were purchased—a very successful outcome.  Purchasers included:  Dr. Rocco Adams, Fr. Christopher Bender, Dr. Filitsa Bender, Katerina Yannoulis and Dimitri Varotsis, Eric Paljug, Lia Koumbaridou, Nicole Jokola, Michael Sider-Rose, Mark Opacic, Durwood Hill, Kathleen Hazeem, Andrew and Alexis Cross, Darlene Esper, Jim Arthur, Carol and Peter Tsudis (Beechwood Properties, LLC), Tula Velisaris, Denny, Mira and Nada Zdrale, Denny Z. Equipment Sales & Inspection Services, Kari Sera, James and Dae Machin, Georgia Katsasanas, and Linda Barrett Starkey.


PDA Academy100_0027
Graduates 2nd Class

On June 26, 2013, FOCUS + Pittsburgh graduated its second Professional Development Academy class.  The eight week program teaches non-technical job skills necessary to obtain employment and achieve success on the job.  FOCUS Pittsburgh’s Assistant Director, Donna Butler, attended this program.  She related how happy she was to be a part of the training that gives insight into the corporate world and teaches participants how to conduct themselves professionally.  Those completing the program included:  Donna Butler, James Cook, Jolanda George, Tracy Lewis Horton, Devaron Hunter, Annette Johnson, Karen Montgomery, Gregory Thomas, DeShawn Toney, Ebony Ines Webb.  FOCUS extended a special thank you to Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Duquesne University, Fifth Third Bank, Mr. Doug Khorey (Professional Development Academy Instructor), The Office of Service Learning at Duquesne University, and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral.

Churches at Work

Holy Cross (Mt. Lebanon) Vacation Church School – Vacation Church School is a very special time for many Orthodox Children across Picture4Western Pennsylvania.  Holy Cross Vacation Church School made this summer extra special for FOCUS by collecting much needed baby care products and making a monetary donation of $520.00.  Way to go!!!!!  Our young people are an extraordinary and integral part of our FOCUS Ministry.  Children shall lead us!  A big thank you from FOCUS!   Dormition of the Theotokos Church (Oakmont, PA) is very committed to FOCUS’ Emergency Food bank, a core part of our FOOD Ministry.  So much so that Dormition automatically provides a generous monthly stipend to help keep the shelves stocked (no easy task for FOCUS).  This is truly a gift from the heart!

Building Community

Lazarus Saturday – Family Day


On Saturday, April 27, 2013, a FOCUS Family Easter Egg Hunt was held from 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM.  Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch of macaroni and cheese, fish sticks, and French fries provided by the Jokola Family and dozens of cookies and cakes baked by Marianne Carmack.  FOCUS was blessed by the attendance of His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Archdiocese who gave a brief homily,
played ball with the children and distributed exquisite chocolate candy Easter Eggs generously contributed by the Sarris Family. Other donors included Katerina Yannoulis-Varotsis and Jim Arthur.  Site volunteers who helped make this day a success, included:  Ebony Webb, Frank Allen, George Frye, Walter Hiells and John Miller, among others.

Picture3SS. Peter and Paul Family Day

FOCUS + Pittsburgh Community Day, held on Saturday, June 29, 2013 from 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM, was an outstanding success.  Site Volunteers, coordinated by Donna Butler, organized and executed the event which included:  picnic foods and desserts, children and adult games and crafts, petting zoo, pony rides, our own DJ Frank Allen, Children’s Bouncy, Cotton Candy, Sno Cones, Art Exhibit, etc.  Sponsors of the event included FOCUS Pittsburgh, Donna Butler, Marianne S. Carmack, Katerina Yannoulis-Varotsis, and the City of Pittsburgh.

It’s so easy. . . .to make a difference

201325100campaignDuring August/September FOCUS + Pittsburgh is conducting an intense appeal for 100 individuals to come forward and donate $25.00/month in support of the ministry.  So many FOCUS clients are experiencing positive life-changing moments as the ministry continues to fight poverty in Pittsburgh.  Dena Williams, a recent graduate of FOCUS’ Professional Development Academy had this to say:  “FOCUS has helped me so much with the Professional Development classes and the women’s group. People care about my problems and those of others–violence, rape and abuse.  Knowing people care about me and keeping me busy through my volunteer work there has made a huge difference in my life.”  (Just click on the photo to enlarge.  Then, use the back key to return to the Newsletter.)  Click here to DONATE NOW.

Backpack Children Thank you Notes
Backpack Children Thank you Notes


“FOCUS has helped me so much with the Professional Development classes and the women’s group. People care about my problems and those of others–violence, rape and abuse.  Knowing people care about me and keeping me busy through my volunteer work there has made a huge difference in my life.”  Dena Williams (Site Volunteer and PDA Graduate)

One thought on “June/July/August

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