Green Ambassadors and Apprentices Northside (GAANs)

GAANs is a 9 month long community empowerment program seeking to create a network of resourced individuals that can coordinate green community projects. Over a dozen Northside residents will go through an intensive 10 training course that will build their knowledge base in the areas of Green Economy, land use, leadership, community organizing and comprehensive community development. Aside from training, participants will be charged with designing and implementing their own participation own Northside based green project.

Meet the Participants!

Vince Pallus

Vince, the corresponding secretary for the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, is a born and raised Northsider. Hailing from Brighton Heights, he currently lives in the home that he was raised in. Vince Looks forward to participating in the GAANs program and sharing his knowledge with his community.


Stacy Robinson

Stacy is the Training Coordinator for the Breaking the Chains of Poverty Program at the A. Phillip Randolph Institute. She is a Green Jobs Training Facilitator who has completed the OSHA 30 course in General Industry and Construction, OSHA 501 in General Industry and Train the Trainer as well as her HAZWOPER40.

Phinehas Hodges

Phinehas is the director of a local arts series called ‘Speaking of…’  He also works as a freelance writer, video editor and fiction writer.  


Mark Williams

Mark, a proud husband and father of two, is the Community Outreach Coordinator at The Pittsburgh Project. Coming to us by way of Perry North, Mark’s dream is to turn the vacant lots on Charles Street into U-Pick blueberry gardens.

Lisa Freeman

Lisa is a Manchester resident who is interested in restoring historic homes and reclaiming vacant land.


Kelly Day

Stemming from her work for Love Your Block, like some presidents, saints and heroes, Kelly Day is the namesake of a day. Kelly Day Day, taking place on October 26th, has been created in her honor by order of a mayoral proclamation because of her efforts to create a rain garden project on a city owned vacant lot.


AJ Tarnas

A recent home owner, Spring Garden’s own AJ Tarnas is a man with plans.  AJ would like to open a membership-based tool lending library this summer.  Besides that, AJ’s interests include getting Allegheny County to produce its own food and building materials as well as open source ecology.  


Jean Binstock

Matthew CicconeJean is a health professional whose career emphasis has been optimizing the individual’s and group’s motivation and self  reliance based upon strengths.  Jean plans to add to the GAANs program by enthusiastically applying herself alongside her peers.  

Ginger E. Underwood M.S.

Marshall-Shadeland’s Ginger Underwood is one with many interests.  Besides her green jobs/economy related interests, Ginger would also like to provide career education and training for women.  She is also interested in starting her own business and working with under-served communities.


Debbie Reed

Debbie, who is a nurse, has lived in the Northside for most of her life and has worked in California-Kirkbride for over 13 years. Debbie is very interested in reclaiming vacant land, of which there is plenty in California-Kirkbride.

Cheryl Gainey

Cheryl has come to join GAANs from Central Northside.  Cheryl’s interests include cleaning up the environment, community development, youth entrepreneurship and education.  


Janet Gunter

Matthew Ciccone Janet comes to GAANs from Perry Hilltop.  Aside from figuring out ways to get rid of deer, Janet is interested in all things Perry Hilltop.  In fact, when asked about herself and her interests, Janet responded by saying "Perry Hilltop Perry Hilltop Perry Hilltop Perry Hilltop Perry Hilltop."  

Jordan Kay

Jordan is a recent transplant to the Mexican War Streets from the East End of Pittsburgh. His company Bloodhound Branding, currently helps small businesses in the Pittsburgh area with their growth and creative needs. He has been involved in the local food movement since 2008 and sits on two of Pittsburgh’s non profit organizations, Grow Pittsburgh and Neighbors in the Strip.




Goals and Objectives

This objective of this program is to create a network of involved, motivated and informed Northside residents. Participants will learn from and engage with green business owners, workforce agencies, community development experts and other local green economy stakeholders throughout the program. The program is aimed at providing these emerging leaders the tools they need to understand how green initiatives can be useful and how to incorporate them into their communities.

Consider applying to GAANs if you are a member of any neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s Northside and are interested in: