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#SEENMoneyWellSpent: Sarah Heinz House helps Pittsburgh community

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

On March 13,  in my SEEN column I highlighted the Sarah Heinz House’s Steak & Burger Dinner at the Hall of Fame Club in PNC Park. It dawned on me recently that readers might be interested to learn where the money raised at events like that one actually goes.  Hence, here is a special edition for my blog:  #SEENMoneyWellSpent!

Last week, I visited the Sarah Heinz House and chatted with director of development and marketing Janice Wasson and Bob Bechtold, who has been a member of the SHH (Sarah Heinz House) since he was a little kid and for many years has been working there as a physical education teacher. It was inspiring to see how generations of children have benefited from the work done at SHH.

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Bob Bechtold and Janice Wasson

 

The SHH began serving the community in 1901, and they recently added a new building, which is Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified. This green space offers an indoor pool, has floors made from recycled rubber tires (very cool!), and a new cafe area where they can serve more than 17,000 meals each year (along with 22,000 snacks). This is of great value to the community; as a social worker I have come to realize and see first-hand how many kids in our own backyards go without food on a daily basis.

“We want Pittsburghers to know that the Sarah Heinz House doesn’t just serve the North Side. We work with families and elderly people from all over the city. There are 130 structured after-school programs and each day we serve roughly 300 kids from 90 different schools,” Janice said.

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Kids working on Robotics #SEENFutureEngineers

 

Bob was equally enthusiastic about the program as he was giving me a tour of the building. “The Sarah Heinz House was there for me as a kid, and I am happy to be serving generations of families. Mrs. Heinz wanted it to feel like a home away from home, and I think we have achieved that,” he said with a smile.

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Future Olympians!

 

The one thing that SHH is lacking is transportation to take students from schools to their facility. This service was cut due to budget constraints on the state and local levels. If you want to contribute or become a volunteer of the SHH, please visit their website: http://www.sarahheinzhouse.org/


This truly is #moneywellspent.

Follow Sarah Heinz House on Twitter: @sarahheinzhouse

 

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Plant pansies and violas for instant color (and happiness too)

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog big pansy wat 414The vibrant colors of pansies are the perfect cure for the winter blues. Photos by Doug Oster

Pansies and violas offer an unending myriad of colors. They love cool weather, can be planted in containers or right in the garden. They bring happiness with every blossom.

Both plants are easy to grow. Be sure they get plenty of water and some liquid organic fertilizer every other week to keep them growing strong.

In my garden I fill as many containers as I can, mixing the pansies and violas at will. The front of the house is a rainbow of colors to great visitors. Many have a subtle, but wonderful fragrance too.

Since the flowers can take anything Mother Nature has left in her, they are the perfect choice to plant now.

I'm a cheap gardener (as you know) and I prefer to buy the plants in flats, it's the best bang for the buck. I did have to buy some of the 'Hip Hop' violas at Chapon's Greenhouse. They are sold in plastic pots and are pricey in comparison to buying a flat, but I love them, so I purchased four of them.

Get some pansies in the garden and soak in the beauty, it's guaranteed to make you smile.

blog hort viola 414Mixing violas like these with pansies makes a great combination.

blog pansy 040114In the foreground are 'Hip Hop' violas from Chapon's Greenhouse, I love them.

Blog vert viola 414'Hip Hop' violas have an interesting flower shape.

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Some like it cool, veggies to plant now

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog arugulab 0331This arugula is so hardy, it lived over the winter. It will thrive in spring weather. Photos by Doug Oster

In the '70's my mother would march us out to the garden on Memorial Day to get the garden weeded, turned over and planted. On Labor Day everything came out.

Today, I garden differently. Peas, arugula, lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach, radishes and more can be planted right now. They love cool weather.

In fact, the arugula above survived the winter. If a plant can take 10 below, it will thrive in spring temperatures.

The trick is to make sure the garden soil is ready to be turned. If it sticks to the shovel, it's too wet. In that case, just buy a bag of compost at a garden center and spread it over the bed. Seeds can be planted directly in the compost.

Peas are traditionally planted on St. Patrick's Day, mine went in even earlier, March 11. That day it was 64 degrees. I soak mine for 24 hours before planting to improve germination. I knew it would get really cold again, so I covered the small bed with a plastic skylight. A sheet of clear plastic would work too. That might help them sprout now too.

The peas are a couple inches tall already and should be able to be picked in late April or early May depending on the weather.

blog peas 0331Starting early also lets you brag! I'm telling everyone who will listen my peas are already a couple inches high!

It's not just seeds which can be planted now either. I used the same compost technique on March 11th to put in small transplants of lettuce, arugula, spinach and cilantro. The next day it dipped to eight degrees. By protecting plants with skylights, plastic and floating row covers, they all survived and now are taking off. A floating row cover is a spun bound translucent fabric available at nurseries which acts as a greenhouse in the garden. It's so light, the plants themselves can hold the fabric up. It's cheap and reusable, one of the best tools for the spring garden.

Nurseries carry seeds and plants this time of the year. It's fun to see what each one has to offer.

Get something in the vegetable garden now, you'll be harvesting before many gardeners even start planting.

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Free rose pruning/care seminar with the experts from the Pittsburgh Rose Society

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog roses societyThese roses were blooming in England outside the Tower of London. Photo by Doug Oster

There's no one better to teach you about caring for roses than the rosarians from the Pittsburgh Rose Society. The rose garden at Renziehausen Park is one of the finest collections of roses in the country.

The Pittsburgh Rose Society will be holding its spring pruning demonstration at the Renziehausen Park Arboretum in McKeesport on Saturday, April 4th and 12th at 1 P.M.  Rosarians will be in the garden to conduct hands-on pruning demonstrations as well as answer questions about planting, fertilizing, and pest control.  You must bring your own pruning tools, gloves, and knee pads to learn and participate.  The event will go on rain or shine.  This demonstration is free and open  to the public.  For more information visit www.pghrosesociety.org.

Here's a video I did about this amazing garden.


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#SEENFamilyFriendly + Fashion

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

What a fabulous week we have had! So many fun events to check out, lots of things to do with your kids, and Sara Bauknecht gears up for baseball season...in style!

Enjoy our latest video for "Setting the Seen."

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @NBSeen and @SaraB_PG for more society and style news!

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To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.