Achieving self-sufficiency

SHIM helps our neighbors build a better life for their families by offering programs that focus on parenting, education, youth development, financial assistance, employment counseling and more.

Students, in grades K-5 at Paynter Elementary, get support that their foreign-born parents may not be able to provide, along with a healthy snack after school each day. Students also receive one-on-one homework assistance, study weekly themed lessons, complete activities in art, gym, library and more. But it’s not all hard work – we also have movie days, guest speakers, pizza parties and outdoor games.

For more information, please contact:

Becky Brown

(412) 304-1592

Each week, three- and four-year olds come to SHIM’s Early Childhood Program (ECP), where they learn and have fun together as they get ready to take the next step to Kindergarten. But it’s not all fun and games; a study by the RAND Corporation found benefits of early childhood education can last up to 35 years.

The kids come to school excited with tons of energy and start each day with a healthy breakfast so they are ready to learn. SHIM’s ECP teachers use a variety of techniques to ensure students are learning in the most productive way and work with curriculum that engages and inspires all of the kids—many of whom are children from international families with limited English language proficiency. Students achieve new goals through purposeful play and learn fundamental concepts in fun ways.

In ECP, children are learning useful basic life skills during school hours, such as writing their names, learning to read and speak English, and getting ready to enter the world; brushing their teeth and keeping up with good hygiene; eating nutritious foods; and memorizing their phone numbers and addresses for safety purposes.

For more information, please contact:

Diana Hunsberger

(412) 892-4673 ext. 325

Because a strong community starts at home, SHIM’s team works with parents on health and well-being, positive parenting, economic self-sufficiency and keeping their children safe at home. SHIM South Hills Family Center is free to all families with children up to age five living in Whitehall Place and provides home visits, child development screenings and group activities to families in need.

Families also participate in field trips, discussions with guest speakers, a weekly Family Group and monthly Family Council meetings. These activities allow families to spend time together, foster community and provide opportunities for English language development.

Casey Rich  

(412) 892-4673 ext. 315

ROX helps girls develop skills to deal with social, personal and academic issues. Learn more about this national, evidence-based empowerment program for girls in grades 6-8 at

For more information, please contact:

Susie Backscheider

(412) 892-4673 ext 340

At summer camp, children in grades Pre-K-8 engage in arts, crafts, games, group activities and playground time. Special events include swimming lessons at the Whitehall Borough Pool, camp Olympics, guest speakers and field trips. A healthy breakfast, lunch and snack are provided each day.

“It’s awesome, fun and exciting!” – summer camper

For more information, please contact:

Courtney Macurak

(412) 854-9120 ext. 103

The South Hills is home to the largest community of refugees in the Pittsburgh region. For 11 years, SHIM has been providing comprehensive support to refugee and immigrant families who have resettled in the United States, helping them make a better life.

Programs for refugees include Immigrant Services and Connections, in addition to programs for our whole community that benefit refugees like the SHIM’s Family Services, Youth Mentoring Program, Early Childhood Program, After School Program, Ruling Our eXperiences and more.

Immigrant Services and Connections (ISAC)

ISAC assists refugees and immigrants in accessing existing services like shelter, education, healthcare and legal support in Allegheny County. In 2018, we served 373 individuals in our community.

As one of five sites in the multi-agency partnership coordinated by Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh, interpreters are available to enhance communication.

For more information, visit the ISAC site here or contact:

Michelle King

(412) 892-4673 ext. 345

Our mentoring program is designed to foster the academic and emotional development of middle and high school students living in Whitehall Place, empowering them to graduate from high school and achieve post-high school success in college or the workplace. Many participating students came to the United States with their families from refugee camps around the world and are working hard to adapt to life in their new country. Mentors join us for two hours, one evening a week, to plan fun activities, lead discussions about positive decision-making and help students think about options for their futures.

Winner of the ‘Striving for Excellence in Mentoring’ Badge from The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA for dedication to high-quality mentoring, our program is powered by experienced staff and caring volunteers.


  • 87% of students in the mentoring program maintained or improved their grades.
  • Helped 50% apply for Allegheny County’s Learn and Earn summer internship.

Youth Mentoring Program hours:
Monday through Thursday, 6 – 8 pm

For more information, please contact:

Susie Backscheider

(412) 892-4673 ext 340

When women support each other, our community is stronger. Each Friday afternoon, SHIM’s Community Counselor gathers with women living in Prospect Park to educate the community and start conversations about domestic violence, and to provide women access to resources and emotional support.

For more information, please contact:

Know a senior who could use a friend? Join CheckMates for a friendly, weekly check-in. CheckMates is designed to connect caring volunteers with local seniors who might live alone and sometimes feel lonely or isolated for a weekly, confidential phone call. It’s friendly. It’s reassuring. And it’s a helpful check-in for seniors across Allegheny County and beyond.

Are you age 60+ and could use a weekly check-in? Or do you know someone who is? Or Would you like to be a friendly volunteer caller?

For more information, please contact:

Mary Amatangelo

(412) 854-9120 ext. 116

If you’re unemployed or underemployed, we can help. WorkAble connects you with a professional career consultant, local employers, career fairs, our alumni and a strong volunteer base to help you find meaningful employment. Your career consultant will work with you one-on-one to help you build your resume, conduct a job search, develop strong interview skills, learn to network, get the most out of LinkedIn and more. We are your job search champions with support and encouragement every step of the way.

SHIM, in partnership with JFCS Career Development Center, provides holistic career counseling and support to reduce barriers for residents of Allegheny County. WorkAble is a FREE service for those who qualify.

Major funding provided by the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For more information and referrals, please call: