Baltimore Native Alex Brings Perspective to SHIM’s Board - SHIM

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Baltimore Native Alex Brings Perspective to SHIM’s Board

Board member Alex SamuelBoard member Alex Samuel joined SHIM’s board of directors at the tail end of the pandemic, meeting virtually for several months before getting to participate in person. She was encouraged to apply by former SHIM board chair Tim Millett, a colleague of hers at PNC Bank.

Originally from Baltimore, Alex moved to Pittsburgh in 2004 with her husband Dr. Andre Samuel to attend law school at the University of Pittsburgh. She and her husband lived in the Hill District and Oakland before they decided to move their family to the suburbs. When Upper St. Clair showed up in a google search of “best school districts in PA”, Alex and her husband purchased a home in the Ridgewood Manor development, where they were the first Black family to purchase a home.

During their twelve years in Upper St Clair, Alex was encouraged to see a gradual shift to a more diverse community. Families of various races, ethnicities, and same-sex couples began to move in, adding to the richness of the neighborhood. While some of her older neighbors were resistant to change, Alex embraced the vibrancy that diversity brings to communities. After raising their children in the South Hills suburbs, Alex and Andre moved to Swissvale, where she now resides.

“The city (of Pittsburgh) has done a good job investing resources to attract a more diverse population.” Alex Samuel's family

Alex also appreciates that Pittsburgh’s professional landscape has become more diverse. When she first moved here, she felt like an outsider, as many of Pittsburgh’s residents were native to the region. As the city has worked to attract young families, Alex has noticed a shift in attitudes. Beyond the great cost of living here, Alex values Pittsburgh for its sense of community.

Alex sees her role on SHIM’s board as a connector. Her employer, PNC Bank, is a long-time SHIM supporter. However, Alex is finding new ways to engage them in supporting SHIM’s work. She also connected SHIM with her husband Andre’s organization The Citizen Science Lab. With her help, SHIM began a partnership with The Citizen Science Lab to provide STEAM lessons to kids and teens in our After School and Youth Mentoring programs.

“I’m happy to contribute in any way I can. I feel like the board had a rebirth after the pandemic with many new people getting involved. Lots of people know pieces of what we do but it’s been great to see firsthand how SHIM changes lives.”

Alex Samuel with husband and daughterParticipating on SHIM’s board gives Alex a feeling of fulfillment. She feels it especially when she hears directly from program recipients, like teens in Youth Mentoring who shared their stories at board meetings this year.

With her son at Howard University and her daughter headed to George Washington University in the fall, Alex is looking forward to having more time to devote to helping nonprofits. As her children became more independent Alex and Andre considered moving away, but their connections to the city convinced them to stay.

“There’s something about this place that pulls you. We feel grounded and safe.”

Read more about our board members on our Latest News page.

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