Favorite Moments 2013

By: Sara Innamorato

Our office closed for the holiday break, giving us an opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Just as quickly as you could say, “Happy 2014,” the past few weeks flew by. We took a moment to reflect on the year — five themes emerged as staff shared favorite memories.

1. Sharing the community-development limelight

Majora Carter spoke in Pittsburgh in April 2013

“So many wonderful moments, memories, and events from 2013.  One that certainly tops the list is the opportunity to share the stage at Green Building Alliance’s Inspire Speaker Series with the great Majora Carter as well as the the inspiring team with the Mt. Washington Emerald View Trail Corps in a discussion about what it takes to make the green economy real. ” - Andrew, CEO

2. Project successes

Jr. Green Corp members on Harvest morning this Fall.

Operation Better Block's Junior Green Corp (JGC) taking ownership of these blocks of vacant land.

My favorite experience from 2013 was working on the largest community sunflower project to date. In partnership with Operation Better Block and the Junior Green Corp, GTECH helped  plant and harvest more than 11,000 square feet of sunflowers. Reimaging spaces and creating a sense of place in communities is one of my favorite aspects about my job at GTECH.” - James, ReClaim Associate

“My favorite moment of the past year — also my first with ReEnergizePgh  — was the Energy Fair. It brought more than 75 people together to discuss energy efficiency. The best part of the evening was watching all of the attendees engage with one another, as well as local business representatives, in a relaxed environment. I was so proud to be a part of ReEnergizePgh and the Penn State Center’s efforts to organize the event.  Personally, the event served as a perfect hand off — marking the end of my time with the Penn State Center and the start of a new adventure with ReEnergizePgh.” - Nicole, ReEnergize Associate

3. Connecting with children of all ages

Playing — we mean working — in the dirt.

In 2013, GTECH hosted activities for the children living in East Liberty’s Sojourner House.

“Though there are many amazing moments to choose from, my favorite was a tabling event where I helped present GTECH to a group of Heinz Youth Philanthropists. We set up camp in a conference room at Phipps Conservatory, with a tropical rainforest exhibit serving as the backdrop. After talking with nearly 30 high school students looking to make a change, I was astounded and encouraged by their level of sophistication and knowledge.”  - Dan, ReFuel Associate

I really enjoyed working with the Sojourner House to make the MOMS green play yard even greener and more exciting for the kids. We would have craft prep days in the office “testing” projects (we can make one awesome coffee filter butterfly magnet) prior to going out with the kids and then all our well laid plans would be completely disrupted by their enthusiasm — the kids just doing what they do. But the best was at the end, finally watching them interact with all the new amenities and hearing them talk about how they helped make it happen.” - Evaine, Operations, Policy & Research Director

I loved hanging out with the classes of kids at Propel. They have endless amount of energy and excitement, which is so much fun to capture on film. I think these two boys, attacking the pile of dirt in their school uniform says it all.” - Sara, Communications Specialist

4. Building relationships with our Ambassadors

Lydia poses with Gordon, a ReClaim South Ambassador.

Tim and Zaheen take a group shot with the ReEnergize Ambassadors.

“This past fall, I got to interview our 13 Ambassadors and listen to stories of the neighborhoods where they grew up. Many were nostalgic for the days when being part of a close community in the Hilltop was essential to everyday life. Now as they look toward creating their projects on vacant land, they have a growing sense of hope for the renewed community connections that are emerging.” - Lydia, ReClaim PULSE fellow

“At the completion ceremony of our Ambassadors program emotions ran high. It was very moving to witness and hear individual stories of people who had worked in many places with many people in their neighborhoods and had formed closed bonds with other Ambassadors from all across Allegheny County. This isn’t something you can make up, and I doubt it’s something you can measure. It’s a sense of self accomplishment that is hard earned. I drank in the moment and will carry it with me, forever.” - Tim, ReEnergize Program Manager

“My favorite moment of the year happened during one of our monthly Ambassador trainings.  During this particular session, our keynote presenters included several coalition partners who expressed skepticism about the quality of our Ambassadors.  During training, we had Ambassadors go around the room, and one by one explain their role as an Ambassador, as well as how they planned to help their communities.  It was amazing to watch the transformation in the level of excitement that was visible in the faces of our guests as each Ambassador spoke about their participation in our program.  My heart wanted to burst with joy and pride, knowing that all the months of hard work that we as a team put in recruiting these amazing individuals had been fruitful, and that we had made the right decisions.”  - Zaheen, ReEnergize Program Coordinator

5. Dreams coming true: Brews and Boardgames

Harvesting hops for East End brews.

Playing Ecogames for the first time.

“My favorite moment was October’s Wethoptober event.  It was exciting to see an idea that had brewing in my mind for more than three years come to fruition.  Hops on Lots was a great project with fantastic partners and a tasty final product.  I look forward to its continuation and possible expansion in 2014.” - Megan, ReClaim Director

Turning an idea into reality for environmental educational board games in 2013 was a dream come true for me.  I am passionate about environmental and economics education being connected, because I believe they affect each other greatly and should be taught together, with more hands-on activities and tools.” - Travis, ReFuel Program Manager


Do you have a favorite GTECH moment from this past year? Let us know!



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