September 4, 2020

Early Childhood League Launch & Expansion of Recess Advocacy Team

On September 1, 2020, Trying Together and the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative were awarded grants through The Grable Foundation and Remake Learning’s Tomorrow campaign. Through this funding, both entities will work to address early childhood needs in Pennsylvania.


Trying Together is a leading advocate for high-quality early care and education in Pennsylvania and a co-founder of the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative and Recess Advocacy Team. With funds from the Tomorrow grant, Trying Together will launch an Early Childhood League and the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative will expand the Recess Advocacy Team to engage additional youth, families, organizations, and communities as advocates to address early learning constraints in the region.

“Through the Tomorrow grants, we will be able to work with community members that we may not have previously to learn about their early learning priorities for children so we may support them in mobilizing to take action,” said Cara Ciminillo, Executive Director at Trying Together.

Trying Together

Tomorrow Campaign Project: Early Childhood League

The Early Childhood League will partner with Trying Together, its advocacy partners, and each other to transform early childhood education conditions in the region. Members of the League will include selected parents and other caregivers of young children; community organizations; and a large institution that is to be determined.

The League will achieve improvements in local early learning environments by receiving training, similar to the Early Childhood Advocacy Fellowship, from Trying Together and other experts. Training topics will include:

    • communications techniques;
    • community organizing strategies;
    • early childhood education principles; and
    • public policy processes.

With ongoing programmatic support from Trying Together and the Tomorrow grant, the League will acquire the agency to develop and implement an advocacy plan that further advances the efforts of existing statewide early childhood policy campaigns such as Start Strong PA (child care), Pre-K for PA (pre-k), and Childhood Begins at Home (home visiting).

More information and application details will be available soon. Please continue to monitor the Trying Together website, Facebook, and Twitter page for future updates.

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative

Tomorrow Campaign Project: Recess Advocacy Team

The Recess Advocacy Team’s mission is to educate and advocate for the importance of recess; engage with children, families, and educators on recess experiences; establish a resource for recess-related advocacy, policy, and best practices; and engage stakeholders in recess advocacy efforts.

By partnering with a regional school district, the Recess Advocacy Team will utilize this funding to support efforts to conduct a needs assessment survey and develop a toolkit for children, parents, and educators who want to serve as recess champions. As a part of the toolkit, funding will also support professional development and training related to advocacy and topics such as:

    • creatively using school space for physical activity;
    • indoor recess ideas; and
    • volunteer recess supervision.

While this partnership will focus on one district, the Team’s outcomes and products will be scalable and designed to be replicated with other school districts to best meet their needs. Additional details will be available soon.

For information on how to join and more, visit the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative website.

About the Tomorrow Campaign

A $1.4 million dollar investment in organizations throughout the region, the Tomorrow campaign is an effort to #RemakeTomorrow, one where every learner is prepared to “create the future of learning” when everyone combines timeless ideas and new ways to learn.

Last spring, the Tomorrow campaign asked 17 nonprofit organizations to boldly imagine what smart risks they might take if they had research and development (R&D) funding – not for covering current activities, but for pursuing experimental ideas, testing new concepts, and finding powerful ways to move their field toward the future of learning.

“Each of these projects represents the imagination and resourcefulness not only of the 17 grantees, but also of the many partner organizations who will join them in their efforts,” says Kristen Burns, Associate Director of The Grable Foundation. “We hope these grants will provide a spark that will help move the entire field of learning forward in our region.”

More Information

For more information, read the full press release.


October 11, 2019

Recess: A Community Conversation

Children, parents, and community members are invited to join the Recess Advocacy Team on November 7 to discuss their school recess experiences.

The evening will include conservation, playful activities, networking, dinner, and more!

More Information

For questions, contact

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To register, complete the form below.



September 17, 2019

Ready Set Grow Learning Collaborative

Join United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 26 for their Ready Set Grow Learning Collaborative meeting to discuss ways to collectively create an inclusive and accessible system connecting regional farmers to early childhood providers and educators.

The last of their four gatherings, this event will review what is happening in the region, including best practices, success stories, and resources. Come prepared to participate, network, and ask questions. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. Act 48 hours provided.


To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

Learn More

To learn more, contact United Way at 412.261.6010.


August 19, 2019

Hazelwood Community to Celebrate Elizabeth Street Park Opening

The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative and Trying Together, in cooperation with the City of Pittsburgh, invite community members and stakeholders to celebrate the official opening of the Elizabeth Street Park in Hazelwood on Wednesday, August 28.


Located on the corner of Roma Way and Gloster Street, the Elizabeth Street Park was revitalized thanks to a grant from the Heinz Endowments. Working in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works and Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, and Trying Together contracted with various entities to design and create the park.

Efforts for the park began in March 2015, born out of a community conversation around access to play in Hazelwood. Youth, community members, and community stakeholders joined together to brainstorm and design the park as a stop along the Hazelwood Play Trail. The location of the park was selected to help bridge the division created by the train tracks that split Hazelwood.

Located across Roma Way from a KaBOOM! community-built playground, created with funds from the Heinz Endowments and partnership between the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Trying Together, and the Hazelwood Initiative in September 2016, the park features a beautiful mural inspired by the rich history and community members of Hazelwood. The City’s Public Art & Civic Design Division released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify artists to complete the mural on the bridge, with the highest score going to local artists Edith Abeyta and Sandy Kessler-Kaminski.

Event Details

Community members are invited to join together at the Elizabeth Street Park on August 28 from 5 to 7:00 p.m. for an opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring:

    • food,
    • family-friendly games,
    • music from the Center of Life’s KRUNK program,
    • and Hazelwood-relevant information tables.

Visit the event page to learn more.


The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative and Trying Together thank the following organizations, individuals, and entities for their dedicated support and for the work they have done to make this project a success: the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, Department of Public Safety, Department of City Planning, and Art Commission; Zone 4 Police; the Office of Corey O’Connor; the Hazelwood Initiative; the Heinz Endowments; Studio for Spatial Practice; 1 over 1 Studio; Edith Abeyta; Sandy Kessler-Kaminski; Eisler Landscapes; and the Student Conservation Association of Pittsburgh.

More Information

For more information, contact Sarah Siplak at 412.567.4386 or

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March 18, 2019

Rube Goldberg: Painting on the Floor

Embrace Rube Goldberg’s innovative and wacky ways of utilizing everyday objects to complete a task. Join the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to create a collaborative work of art using unexpected objects and invent our own “Epic Way to Paint a Picture.”

This program is inspired by the Rube Goldberg exhibit but will take place in the Nursery.

This program is designed for our youngest learners (0-5) but is suitable for all ages. The event is drop-in, so guests may come and go as they please!  For more information, visit the event page!


November 29, 2018

Tickets for Kids Book Club

Tickets for Kids and the Sto-Rox Library announced the discussion dates for their new collaborative book club. The book chosen by their group is: “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this book was also the One Book One Community choice of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health.

If you would like to attend, RSVP to Jennifer Gray by email ( or phone (412.771.1222). Parking is located in the parking lot on the side of the building, PNC parking lot after banking hours, or on the street.

Discussion Dates

Discussions will be held at the Sto-Rox Library on the following dates:

  • December 10, 2018: 4-5:30 PM
  • February 11, 2019: 6-7:30 PM
  • April 8, 2019: 6-7:30 PM
  • June 10, 2019: 6-7:30 PM

About the Book

“Evicted” by Matthew Desmond describes the plight of poor families who, for want of a few dollars, are forced to move from their homes, apartments, or trailers. An ethnographer, Desmond shares the intimate vicissitudes of his subject/friends as they struggle to make ends meet while negotiating a bewildering system of slumlords, public agencies, law enforcement, and courts, a system that seems almost designed to reinforce a downward spiral of poverty. The consequences of eviction are especially felt by mothers with young children, whose development is jeopardized by substandard housing, low-quality neighborhoods, and poor nutrition.

*Information provided by Tickets for Kids Charities and Pitt Public Health*


November 20, 2018

KaBOOM! Announces Let’s Play Everywhere Challenge Winners

KaBOOM! recently announced the winners of the Let’s Play Everywhere Challenge. As part of the Challenge, 10 grantees in Allegheny County were selected to receive a combined total of $200,000 in prize funds. Trying Together is pleased to announce that the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative was awarded one of these grants for The Neighborhood Play Stop Project. Learn more about it and the other grantees below.


Challenge Winners

The Let’s Play Everywhere Challenge selected nine organizations as winners, with a total of ten ideas:

  1. Trying Together (Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative)
    • The Neighborhood Play Stop Project
  2. Glassport Community Outreach, Inc.
    • Families Will Go Gaga to Play GaGa
  3. Pittsburgh Fulton PTO
    • From Pittsburgh to Paris and Beyond!
  4. Garfield Jubilee Association, Inc.
    • James Sensory Park
  5. Grounded Strategies
    • MACS Discovery Walk
    • Race Me! Pitcairn Green Playce
  6. Community Forge
    • Number Mountain
  7. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
    • Ping Pong in the Plaza
  8. UniversalWit
    • Play! to End Blight
  9. Focus on Renewal
    • POW! (Place of Wonder)

The Neighborhood Play Stop Project

The Neighborhood Play Stop Project will reimagine existing spaces within Hazelwood by using play stops to encourage community engagement and playful interaction. These play stops may be featured in public spaces near businesses and civic locations such as grocery stores, green spaces,  fire stations, and more. Conversations are underway to identify the finalized play stop locations.


By placing play stops in spaces that are not typically associated with play, this project will prompt community members of all ages to rethink their daily routines. For children, it’s an opportunity for imaginative play. For adults, it may be a space where they can take a mental break and play chess or engage in a calming playful activity. Similar to the Little Free Library movement, these play stops will be stewarded by various entities (the businesses where they are located, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative member organizations, interested community members, etc.).

A Closer Look

Each stop will be based upon the common concept of play and will have playful interactive parts that relate to the location and the party stewarding the installation. For example, a stop outside a grocery store may include play items such as plastic fruits and vegetables to “purchase,” paper and pencils to create grocery lists, and laminated sheets of information about grocery store products.  However, if a stop is located outside of a fire department, their play items may include play items such as firefighter helmets, a mini fire drill tower, and fire safety facts.

Each stop will include a chalkboard with permanently affixed prompts for participants to write their thoughts. Prompts may include statement starters such as “When I play outside I like to…” or “At the grocery store I can find these colors…”

About the Challenge

The Let’s Play Everywhere Challenge is a design competition that took place in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania—presented by Keurig Dr. Pepper and KaBOOM!—to develop innovative ideas for making play easy and available for kids and families. This challenge is about creating opportunities for free, unstructured, unplanned play to ensure that all kids, no matter where they come from or where they live, get the active play they need to thrive.

Learn More

To learn more about the challenge winners and their ideas, read KaBOOM’s post.