Beck brings new vision to Boyd programs
Josh Beck sometimes confuses his cellphone number with the number for his desk phone at Boyd Community Center.
Maybe that's a good sign because it means he is at home at the Locust Drive site.
Beck started working in September as the center's program director.
He just completed his first catalog that promotes the winter and spring classes.
January, he said, will be a whirlwind as time is spent preparing the summer schedule of programs and activities.
“I'm always looking for new ideas,” Beck said. “I'm passionate about the community.”
Beck sees a sure winner when parents come to him with an idea suggested by a group of children.
“It really gives me the green light,” he said.
A homework club, staffed with a certified teacher and volunteers, is the newest program at Boyd.
Open Mondays through Thursdays, starting Jan. 14, there will be two sessions: from 4 to 5 p.m. and then from 5 to 6 p.m.
The homework club offers youngsters a chance for extra help and gives parents an option after school.
Beck views Boyd as a safe haven, a center of learning and culture that enriches the lives of the area residents, and a huge resource for residents of O'Hara and all of the surrounding communities.
However, he isn't rushing to speed new ideas into the area.
“I don't want to step into the situation without a full investigation,” he said. “We're looking for lasting partnerships to empower the community.”
Getting all aspects of a community to work together is the path Beck has followed for many years before taking the position at Boyd.
For the past 10 years, he worked in 17 countries and traveled through 20.
His last stint was in western China, where he trained trainers to help residents of the earthquake-prone land to build better housing.
Public and private community leaders combined to “invigorate” communities.
Beck visited many international sites over the last decade to help create groups to problem solve.
He has worked in large cities and countries such as Moldova in Eastern Europe.
A Bethany College graduate who majored in political science, Beck attended the University of Amsterdam for his master's degree.
After touring the world and living in the pressure-cooker of consulting, Josh and his college sweetheart, Colleen, returned to the U.S.
“It was time to jump off the banana wagon and put down roots,” he said.
Beck, a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, and his wife are natives of West Virginia.
Moving to Pittsburgh means he can tap into institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh to create partnerships.
One of his first connections has been with local school district officials.
Moving to the area also has meant Beck has been able to get involved with SEED Farms International as the board chairman. SEED stands for Sustainability through Empowerment and Educational Development.
The organization fosters leadership locally and internationally.
Beck said there are many positives aspects of the local community.
He notes the strength of parenting and generosity of the residents.
As Beck and other community center officials look forward to a spring groundbreaking for a new building, he foresees a grand future.
“This (community center) will be one of the best in the country, making this a thriving community,” Beck said.
Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lower Valley observes Memorial Day with parades, services
- Sharpsburg marina home to pontoon boat rental company
- Path to offer O’Hara office park walkers room to roam
- Aspinwall native dedicated majority of life working to support servicemen
- Drake: Promoting community center O’Hara woman’s new duty
- Morningside VFW honors veterans with fishing day at O’Hara park
- Fox Chapel Area budget plan includes technology upgrades