Teen workshop in Clairton will focus on relationships

Brandon Ziats, director of programing for Youth Opportunities Development (seated left) meets with leadership group members to discuss their upcoming event. Students are (seated) Andrea Carey, Krislynn Jones, (standing left) Jaden McDougald, Koran Boyd, Anthony Pruitt and Jordan Hines. Photo credit: Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media


Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, 4:21 a.m.



Valentine’s Day could be the perfect time to talk about relationships and how to strengthen them.

Members of Stay Positive Clairton, a project of Youth Opportunities Development, feel that way.

Youth Opportunities Development is a violence prevention organization formed in 2012 that serves as the outreach program for the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime.

Stay Positive Clairton has partnered with TWOgether Pittsburgh to present a Valentine’s Day ECHO Healthy Teen Relationships workshop and luncheon Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Youth Opportunities Development office at 282 St. Clair Ave. in Clairton.

Youth Opportunities Development program director Brandon Ziats said TWOgether Pittsburgh officials will discuss relationships with family and friends, as well as dating.

“I think it’s an interactive program where they also want to hear from the participants,” Ziats said. “It’s important because it really fits in with our vision of helping to create a culture of positive social change in Clairton.”

ECHO stands for Expressing Change for Healthy Outcomes. It is the healthy-relationship program established as the high school education module for TWOgether Pittsburgh’s Healthy Marriage/Healthy Relationship Initiative.

The curriculum is designed to increase communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution skills, with the goal of reducing substance abuse, at-risk behaviors and teen pregnancy.

TWOgether Pittsburgh is a coalition of like-minded agencies and individuals who believe in the strengthening of marriages. The coalition includes Family Guidance Inc. as the lead agency, the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry, the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Smith Brothers Agency and a team of evaluators led by Lucas Musewe and Jean Harvey.

Youth Opportunities Development is supported by the Jefferson Regional Foundation.

“(Our organization is) designed for kids to look at, through their eyes, what problems exist within their neighborhood,” Ziats said. “From there, they design and implement leadership projects to address those problems.”

The workshop and luncheon are the first major public events for Stay Positive Clairton.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees do not have to be from the city. They are encouraged to wear something red and bring a friend.

Contact Donna Hudson at 412-726-6474 or call 412-551-8077 for more information about the workshop and luncheon.

More information about TWOgether Pittsburgh is available online at

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 19

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