Trying Together

Supporting the Work of Early Childhood

Pittsburgh, PA   |  www.tryingtogether.org

Mission

Trying Together supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them. Trying Together works regionally (in Southwestern Pennsylvania) and takes its expertise and models to statewide and national audiences.

Ruling year info

1967

Executive Director

Ms Cara Ciminillo

Main address

5604 Solway Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15217 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children

EIN

25-6089906

NTEE code info

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Unknown (Z99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Professionals in the early care and education field play a vital role in the lives of young children and their families, providing both the support and opportunities they need to thrive in the 21st century. However, for many families in the United States of America, high-quality pre-k and child care remain out of reach due to limited slots, hours, training, and funding. Additionally, early childhood professionals remain underpaid and undervalued, with many leaving the field due to increasing demands and stagnant wages. By collaborating with early care and education professionals, families, and community leaders, Trying Together aims to create a future in which caregivers feel valued; children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning environments; and families have the resources they need to support their children’s early learning experiences.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Professional Growth Opportunities

Trying Together is committed to supporting and valuing early care and education professionals.

Support is offered through professional growth opportunities offered in person and online, and through sharing resources and coaching/mentoring services.

While Trying Together has worked primarily with home and center-based educators in the past, it aims to expand engagement with home visitors and school-based providers as part of its strategic goals through 2022.

Population(s) Served
Caregivers
Adults

Local, state, and federal government policies significantly affect how early childhood care and education are funded, provided, and supported.

These policies in turn impact the ability of communities to respond to the needs and rights of young children, their families, and the caregivers who interact with them.

Trying Together regularly engages with policymakers to ensure they understand the importance of high-quality early care and education and the barriers to access and affordability that exist.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Caregivers

Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center

In January 2016, Trying Together became lead organization for Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center. Beginning in 1992, Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center is an essential community resource that assists parents by helping them develop the skills necessary to provide their children with caring and responsive interactions. Through programs and strategies that facilitate confidence and leadership skills-building, the goal for individuals who participate in Center programs is to work together with staff to build healthy lives and strong legacies for themselves and their families.

The Center began using The Family Check-Up model in early 2017. This family-centered approach aims to reduce problem behaviors in children by strengthening parenting practices. With more than 20 years of research, positive outcomes have been documented for children, adolescents, and parents who participate in the program.

Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center is part of the Allegheny County Family Support network. The network includes 28 centers and 11 lead organizations funded by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and serves nearly 6,000 children and families annually.

The Homewood Early Learning Hub

Through continued relationships with community partners, families, and neighborhood child care professionals, The Homewood Early Learning Hub continues to provide a place for the community to gather, learn, and play.

The Raising Readers Together Club provides families an opportunity for families to engage their young children in early literacy skills and themes. At Raising Readers, families participate in conversation, interactive storytelling, shared reading, and receive a high-quality book to add to their home library. Weekly, more than 100 participants attend sessions for children six and older at Willie Tee’s Barbershop in Homewood and sessions for children six and under at The Homewood Early Learning Hub.

Accompanied by their children, home-based child care professionals and families come weekly to take part in Come Play! Designed to emphasize the importance of play and healthy interactions in a young child’s life, Come Play! Allows home-based providers an opportunity to receive professional development coaching while their children play with Hub staff. Later in the course, providers model what they have learned at the Hub with the children in their care.

Through Play Pop Ins, families can bring their children to the Hub for free play dates. Resources, activities, and materials are supplied by staff and collaborative partners such as the Heinz History Center. Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM) based, Play Pop Ins are facilitated in collaboration with the Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center.

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative

Founded in partnership with and facilitated through Trying Together, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is a group of organizations dedicated to advancing the importance of play in the lives of children, families, and communities in the Pittsburgh region.

In fall 2017, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative hired its first full-time Director. Working with the Remake Learning network and Trying Together, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative developed and published the, If Kids Built a City Report in spring 2018. The report provides an overview of play spaces in the City and the ways that many Collaborative member organizations are maximizing them to build play awareness. By the end of summer 2018, the Hazelwood Play Trail which the Collaborative has been working on for several years will be completed.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Caregivers

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

By 2022, Trying Together aims to be:

• A national leader offering its expertise in coordinating and connecting systems at the neighborhood, local, and regional levels to support early childhood development and early learning.

• The premier provider of in-person and online professional growth opportunities for home, center, and school-based professionals to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early childhood and early learning experiences.

• A ‘go-to source’ for families to aid them in making well-informed decisions regarding their child’s early experiences.

• An expert policy resource in western Pennsylvania and a leading state advocate for high-quality early care and education in the state, mobilizing its network to take action on issues important to young children and their families.

Trying Together’s organizational strategy is to catalyze and deliver a range of solutions to influence and improve early childhood care and education while our programmatic strategies connect and build on one another to achieve this strategy.

ENGAGE, SUPPORT, AND DEVELOP EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

Our in-person and online sessions focus on early childhood educators working in home, center, and school-based settings. We plan to expand engagement further to engage home visitors and school-based providers. With this, we offer customized professional development, coaching, mentoring, and more.

We partner with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, and The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers to support ELRC Region 5. ELRC Region 5 provides a single point-of-contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to access information and services that support high-quality child care and early learning programs.

EDUCATE AND INFORM FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

To support early childhood development, we host innovative family programs, such as the Raising Readers Club and Community Check-Up, and connect families to critical early childhood information.

We regularly engage underserved children, families, and early childhood professionals in Homewood, Northside, and Wilkinsburg. Trying Together is the lead organization for the Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center and the Homewood Early Learning Hub.

CREATE AND CONNECT SYSTEMS

We utilize research and data to inform our decision-making, capturing learnings from our work in neighborhoods throughout the region. These findings are then shared on a local, regional, and national level to help create and connect systems.

We work with our partners at the Department of Human Services and others to strengthen existing data systems. By integrating available child-, family-, and provider-level data, we provide thoughtful analysis that better informs city and regional planning and decision-making, allowing us to monitor and evaluate collective goals and outcomes.

INFORM AND INFLUENCE POLICY

We advocate with our partners to educate policymakers and promote policies that benefit children, families, and early care and education professionals. With the development of a bi-annual Public Policy Agenda, we established our position on doing what’s best for children. In the future, we will enhance relationships with providers and legislators; develop expert research, communications, and messaging; and explore opportunities to better support campaigns that affect children and families.

At the state level, we sit on committees for policy campaigns that advocate for high-quality child care (Start Strong PA), pre-k (Pre-K For PA), and home visiting (Childhood Begins At Home).

COMMUNICATIONS

We maximize our brand and grow our audience with messaging that is meaningful for community members, families, and early childhood professionals.

ENGAGE, SUPPORT, AND DEVELOP EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

Programs designed to support early childhood educators represent our most mature and longest-standing area of work. We use a professional development logic model as a framework for understanding and achieving a positive impact on the early childhood educators and professionals these programs reach.

With this, we are working with higher education partners to formalize arrangements for the provision of credit hours for these offerings. Hours accumulated through participation in our sessions could articulate into a professional certificate, credential, and/or degree in early childhood.

EDUCATE AND INFORM FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Through our programs at the Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center and the Homewood Early Learning Hub, Trying Together connects caregivers to critical information, services, and programs to help foster responsive, caring family-child interactions.

As a founding member of the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Trying Together also works to cultivate understanding about the importance of play at any age among families and community members.

Trying Together is developing a 12-part evidence-based family resource series, with initial topics highlighting: access to high-quality child care, developmentally appropriate practice, and early childhood health. Over the next three years, resources will be released online and in print and will be translated in multiple languages.

CREATE AND CONNECT SYSTEMS

Trying Together utilizes research and data to inform our decision-making, capturing learnings from our work in neighborhoods throughout the region. These findings are then shared on a local, regional, and national level to help create and connect systems. Further, we work with our partners at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and others to integrate and strengthen existing data systems.

INFORM AND INFLUENCE POLICY

Trying Together advocates with our partners to educate policymakers and to promote policies that benefit children, families, and early care and education professionals. With the development of a bi-annual Public Policy Agenda, we have established our position on doing what’s best for children.

As a founding partner of Early Learning PA (ELPA) and other statewide campaigns, Trying Together regularly connects the provider community to policy-makers through our committee work in the areas of home visiting, child care, and pre-k. Our campaigns regularly encourage public participation in advocacy efforts, sending regular action alerts to inform stakeholders and the public about local and statewide needs and opportunities.

COMMUNICATIONS

Our efforts extend further when considering online engagement, as Trying Together’s website, social media platforms, and newsletters regularly highlight important research, tools, articles, and information on early childhood topics.

ENGAGE, SUPPORT, AND DEVELOP EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

• In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, Trying Together provided more than 1,800 hours of professional development.

• In 2019, Trying Together began their partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, and the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers to support Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5.

ELRC Region 5 provides a single point-of-contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early learning programs. Trying Together is the quality partner providing support to Allegheny County providers.

EDUCATE AND INFORM FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

• Through the efforts of the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative (an initiative of Trying Together), the Elizabeth Street Parklet in Hazelwood was officially reenvisioned as a green space for local youth to use art, poetry, and music in summer 2019.

• The Hi5! Transition to Kindergarten campaign is a collaboration of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Trying Together, and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania to engage all 43 public school districts in Allegheny County, around best practices for Kindergarten transition. As a result of the campaign, 41 Allegheny County school districts reported an all-time high for on-time registration at 97% for the 2017–2018 school year.

• Trying Together is currently developing “Developmentally Appropriate Parenting,” an evidence-based family resource content series that will feature 12 early childhood topics over the next three years (2020-2023). These resources are being developed to empower caregivers to establish these high-quality conditions at the earliest stages of their child’s life.

INFORM AND INFLUENCE POLICY

• As a member of Early Learning PA, Trying Together sits on the committees for three statewide policy campaigns including: Pre-K For PA (pre-kindergarten); Start Strong PA (child care); and Childhood Begins At Home (home visiting). Trying Together works with several statewide partners to engage parents, educators, legislators and other community members to advocate for high-quality early learning experiences.

In early 2019, Start Strong PA launched to support all healthy child development, working families, and the economy by advocating for increased access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs, beginning with infants and toddlers.

• In August 2019, Trying Together launched the “Call It Child Care” initiative to support the passing and intention of House Bill (HB) 1677 in Pennsylvania. HB 1677 seeks to update Pennsylvania’s regulations and code to use the term “child care,” rather than “day care,” to accurately reflect the complexity of early childhood programs and services.

Financials

Trying Together
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Trying Together

Board of directors
as of 2/16/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Dr. Todd Wolynn

Kids Plus Pediatrics

Term: 2018 - 2021


Board co-chair

Ms. LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill

Consultant

Term: 2018 - 2021

Mara Frank

Ernst & Young

Julie Klasen

PNC Bank & PNC Grow Up Great

LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill

Consultant

Todd Wolynn

KidsPlus Pediatrics

Kristin Ash

Highmark Health

Jennifer Beer

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Karian Wise

Carlow University

Fern Schwartz

Merrill Lynch

David Andros

AE Works, Ltd.

Christine Herring, EdD

Sewickley Academy

Sherie Painter Cannin

Pribanic & Pribanic, LLC

Casey Mindlin

Scholastic Inc.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes