Gateway grad feels called to give back
Brittany Smith is helping students in need at her former high school, one family at a time.
The 2004 Gateway grad used her own money to purchase needed items for a Gateway School District family — clothing, supplies and other things. Now she's calling on other Gateway graduates to do the same.
“I know I'm not the only person from Gateway that can help others in need,” Smith said.
Smith, 30, of Monroeville said she is looking for help from Gateway graduates to join the recently created “Gators Give Back” page on Facebook— with the hope of forming a brigade that will continue giving to needy families in the district.
She said she got the idea to help when she was on social media and saw there were people who were commenting on some sacrifices they had made to ensure that their children had what they needed to attend school.
Smith said she is thankful that her family didn't have to endure similar circumstances.
“The thought had never crossed my mind,” Smith said. “I know (parents) sacrifice things that are luxuries for their kids to go to school, but some sacrifice necessities.”
With the help of school Superintendent Bill Short, board President Chad Stuebenbort and counselors in the district, a family who had been displaced and in need was identified. The family had children attending Evergreen Elementary.
Montaire Taylor, the school's counselor, called Smith's actions “one of the more unprovoked, generous offers I've seen by a community member. She just felt compelled to give to a family in need.” Smith credits her mother, the late family medical practitioner Dr. Gloria Kasey, for instilling the belief that “if you can help others, you should,” and said she's confident that her mother would “expect nothing less.”
Smith, who earned her degree from Duquesne University and works as a power plant project manager, said her dad, who lives in Monroeville, is “proud that I'm in a position to be able to give back to a district and community that has helped shape the person I've become.”
Gators Give Back will focus on supplying new items for children.
“Getting something of your own that's new is better than getting something that was passed down,” Smith said. “It makes you feel better in a way, like you have something of your own.”
Her goal is not only to donate money, but to have Gators Give Back members take the children shopping for the gifts.
With the holidays coming up, she wants to be able to assist five families this season. Then she'll set her sights on identifying and helping families in the 2017-18 school year.
“If there are 100 kids that show up on that list, I want to help 100 kids,” Smith said.
Samson X Horne is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.