Latrobe’s Adelphoi celebrates success of former at-risk youths, opens center | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Latrobe’s Adelphoi celebrates success of former at-risk youths, opens center

Jeff Himler

Alex Yawitz, 21, is pursuing a two-year business degree at Westmoreland County Community College with plans to open his own small business.

Aayla Beck, 20, is studying fine arts at the college and intends to pursue further university courses in animation or web design.

Their futures didn’t seem so bright several years ago when Yawitz, of Delmont, made poor decisions about substance use and Beck was a 14-year-old student at Derry Area School District who was struggling with panic attacks and mood swings.

They turned their lives around while attending the Ketterer Charter School at the Latrobe campus of Adelphoi, an organization that offers treatment, education and housing for at-risk youths.

Among 400 graduates of the program who have received two-year college scholarships and support services through the Adelphoi Promise initiative, the pair returned to the campus Thursday to take part in Adelphoi’s Showcase of Stars and to help inaugurate the new 7,000-square-foot Youth and Family Center.

Yawitz told those attending that Adelphoi “gave me hope that I still had a chance to be a successful, functioning member of society even when I was at the lowest point in my life.”

Beck noted she used to be an “emotionally unstable, angry girl who hated her life and herself.” But, she said, the Adelphoi staff “didn’t give up on me.”

Graduating in a hot gymnasium in Adelphoi’s Scalise Recreation Center, the pair returned to speak in the air-conditioned Youth and Family Center that was added to the building at a cost of about $1.8 million.

Students of Greensburg’s Stage Right! performing arts school and theatrical company joined Adelphoi students for a production number on the new center’s stage.

The new building also offers comfortable surroundings where Adelphoi youths can meet in privacy with visiting family or social workers, said Blair Kucinski, Adelphoi board chairman and former CEO.

Such visits used to occur “in a conference room at the school or in a living room of one of our group homes,” he said. “We just didn’t have a great facility to do it in.”

The new center also can function as an overflow site for recreational activities at times when gym space on the campus is at a premium.

It includes a coffee bar/kitchen, lounge areas, casual meeting space, conference rooms and an outdoor patio.

Adelphoi, started in 1971 as a group home for troubled boys, now provides services to more than 2,500 abused, neglected, delinquent and other at-risk youths and their families from a 30-county area.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .


1157478_web1_gtr-AdelphoiCenter1-051719
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Stage Right! theatrical students, in front row, and Adelphoi youths, on stage, sing in a production number during Adelphoi’s Showcase of Stars on Thursday, May 16, 2019, at its new Youth and Family Center in Latrobe.
1157478_web1_gtr-AdelphoiCenter2-051719
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
At right, Ketterer Charter School graduate and Adelphoi Promise scholarship recipient Alex Yawitz, 21, of Delmont, visits with Adelphoi Promise coordinator Angela Apple before speaking at Adelphoi’s Showcase of Stars on Thursday, May 16, 2019, at its new Youth and Family Center in Latrobe.
1157478_web1_gtr-AdelphoiCenter3-051719
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Mitch Lesko, of Adelphoi’s information technology department, adjusts the sound board for the new Youth and Family Center’s stage before Adelphoi’s Showcase of Stars on Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Latrobe.
1157478_web1_gtr-AdelphoiCenter4-051719
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
At center, Kim Costanza (left) of Simpson and McCrady, Adelphoi’s insurance broker, chats with Adelphoi board member Eileen Amato at a reception preceding Adelphoi’s Showcase of Stars on Thursday, May 16, 2019, at its new Youth and Family Center in Latrobe.
Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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.