“If we can create positive situations for kids, it can significantly change the outcome of their lives. I believe in them.”
United Way’s Be There initiative promotes excellent school attendance to children so they will have greater success in school and more opportunities following graduation. Officer Tiffany Kline-Costa received one of the 2017 “Be There” Awards for going above and beyond for local kids in her position as community resource officer in Pittsburgh Police Zone 6.
Knowing that a lot of local kids spend time at the libraries after school, Officer Costa felt that would be a good place to start in her zone.
“The library in Sheraden was in need of adults. There are always so many kids in there,” Officer Costa explained.
And with that, Officer Costa set out on a mission to help the kids in the community be the best they can be. She decided to start a chess club at both the Sheraden and Beechview libraries, which after just several months has more than 100 kids signed up.
“At chess club, kids are learning turn-taking, resiliency, teamwork, sportsmanship, confidence and so much more,” Officer Costa said. “Attendance has been important to the kids who come to chess club. They know I’m there for them each week and that I am expecting them.”
Many of the kids are now participating in local chess tournaments. Officer Costa is humbled by receiving a Be There Award. She knows her work in Zone 6 is long-term.
“We can make a huge diference in the lives of these kids. I am so grateful, and I hope the recognition can inspire other young officers to do similar programming thorughout our community,” Officer Costa added.