December 28, 2021

Free Tax Return Preparation in Allegheny County

The Free Tax Preparation Coalition (sponsored by United Way of Southwestern PA), which provides free income tax return preparation throughout the region, will begin taking appointments in January 2022.

About the Free Tax Preparation Coalition

Every year, Free Tax Preparation Coalition helps low-income households file their income tax return and maximize their tax refund. Many low-income people are eligible for tax credits and other refunds when they file their yearly tax return. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs, and can increase a family’s annual income by as much as 45 percent.

Virtual tax preparation and hybrid tax preparation options will be available to help families safely file their taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schedule an Appointment

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 2-1-1 or by self scheduling on the 211 website starting in mid January. Virtual tax prep will also be available at in late January.

More details will be available soon on the Just Harvest website. Just Harvest is a leading member of the Free Tax Preparation Coalition.

Volunteer Opportunities

With the expanded tax credits in 2021, more families than ever will need access to free and reliable tax preparation.

Volunteer shifts start at three hours per week. In-person and remote opportunities are available, and free tax training is provided to all volunteers. There is a need Spanish/English bilingual preparers to serve the area’s growing Hispanic population.

There also are opportunities for volunteers to greet taxpayers as they arrive for their appointment and help to give them a positive experience.

Visit Just Harvest’s volunteer registration website to view available volunteer shifts.


April 8, 2021

Hi5! Celebration of Kindergarten Registration and Transition

Hi5! is hosting a celebration of kindergarten registration and transition. Hi5! is a partnership between the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Trying Together, and the United Way of Southwestern PA. Over the past year, Hi5! has been gathering the entire region virtually to share and learn with one another.

The pre-k to kindergarten transition marks a critical point in the lives of children and families. Early and on-time registration allows elementary schools to plan for classroom materials, resources, and staff as they prepare to welcome a new group of students. It also enables families to establish relationships with teachers and administrators that are so important for easing the stress and anxiety of children (and their families) as they begin elementary school.

Early childhood professionals play an important role in supporting the transition from pre-k to kindergarten. Children are eligible to register for kindergarten if they are 5, or are turning 5 by September 2021. View the birthdate and registration requirements for the region’s school districts on the Trying Together website.

An online registration form is available for early learning programs to attend the event. Providers should share the number of children eligible for kindergarten at the time of registration. Information will be collected now through May 10, 2021. Participants will be entered into a raffle to receive Lakeshore gift cards or a mini library of books. Early learning programs who participate will also receive a certificate and be recognized at the May 17th virtual celebration event.

More Information

Additional information about Hi5! can be found on the Trying Together website. For additional questions, please contact


June 12, 2020

Allegheny Child Care is Growing

As of this week, we are excited to announce that we have expanded the Allegheny Child Care search tool to include: after-school; out-of-school; and summer programs! If you provide one or more of these services and have not already confirmed your information, we ask that you update your listing as soon as possible at

Promote Your Out of School & Summer Programs Now

If your program re-opened as part of Allegheny County’s move to the “green phase” last week, we hope that your first week back has been a welcomed return for you and your children, families, and staff.

By updating your information, the Allegheny Child Care tool will assist you in promoting and marketing your program(s) to families. In turn, this will allow you to expedite the process for getting children enrolled, thus making an often stressful task less burdensome for families especially at this time. If you have any questions or issues please:

Thank you for your assistance.

Updating Your Information

In order to add the after-school, out-of-school, and summer-time programs to the platform, we pulled public data currently available from our partners at Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

As information may have changed due to COVID-19, we would appreciate you taking a few minutes to review the information listed for your program(s) on the platform and then updating it accordingly at

In particular, please update your:

  • current operational status (open/closed and availability);
  • age group(s) served; and
  • basic profile information.

You will receive regular email reminders to update your vacancy information so parents searching for care can find your program.

More Information

From the COVID-19 crisis, Allegheny Child Care is a unique pilot project that has been developed to support the child care needs of families. Caregivers and parents of young children can now search available child care spots at Allegheny County early learning programs in real-time with the Allegheny Child Care tool.


March 6, 2018

Kindergarten Transition

The transition to kindergarten marks a critical point in the lives of children and families. Students who are ready for kindergarten and attend the first day of school are more likely to read on grade-level by third grade, regularly attend school, make friends, and are less likely to drop out of high school. Early and on-time registration allows schools and districts to plan for classroom materials, resources, and staff as they prepare to welcome a new group of students. It also enables families to establish relationships with teachers and administrators that are so important for easing the stress and anxiety of children (and their families) as they begin elementary school.

Register for Kindergarten

Top 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills

Hi5! collaborated with a group of pre-k and kindergarten teachers to develop a list of academic, social, emotional, and physical skills for children entering kindergarten based on the PA Early Learning Standards. A list of more than 30 skills was sent to educators in school districts, child care programs, and Head Start programs throughout the region—including Allegheny, Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Westmoreland counties. View the checklist (Spanish version PDF).

About Hi5! Partnership

Hi5! Kindergarten transition efforts are led in partnership with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 (AIU3), Trying Together, and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania (who generously fund the project). We have a leadership team that consists of community and state partners, principals, Head Start administrators, and early learning program directors. The Hi5! Partnership focuses on engaging all 43 public school districts in Allegheny County and supports each district to:

    • develop and implement their own kindergarten transition plans;
    • build awareness with families that when “your child reaches five years of age, it’s time to register” them for kindergarten;
    • network and share best practices between pre-k teachers, kindergarten teachers, early childhood program directors, and school administrators; and
    • gather community resources throughout the county.

These efforts align with the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal law passed in 2015 which required states to have a plan that includes thinking about the transition to kindergarten and how districts connect with early learning programs. For more information about the project, transition teams, and activities, please email, or view the Hi5! overview (PDF) and Kindergarten Transition Whitepaper (PDF).




If you would like to receive the Hi5! Kindergarten Transition newsletter, visit our sign up page!

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Hi5 anniversary