“It’s important to have a reminder of why we do the work we do in Pittsburgh Public Schools.”
James Doyle has a unique relationship with the students at Pittsburgh Public Schools. Not only is he their Out-Of-School Time Coordinator, but he takes the extra step to get involved in his students’ lives by mentoring with United Way’s Be a Middle School mentor program.
“Even in working for the district, we don’t always get to work directly with the kids. Mentoring is an opportunity to do that,” he says.
James is no stranger to the Be A Middle School Mentor program. From the time the program began in 2009, he was involved as a trainer with the Mentoring Partnership. When he heard that the principal at Brookline Elementary needed more male mentors in 2014, he decided to step up into a new role. That’s when he met Alijah.
James and Alijah formed a quick bond, and James was able to foster the deep passion Alijah has for pursuing his goals for the future.
“Alijah is very intelligent, understands people and has a way of thinking about what needs to happen in order to accomplish his goals,” James says. “He also has a ton of energy.”
The two talk a lot about school, colleges and Alijah’s dreams to be an engineer and professional basketball player. James is excited that his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, is on Alijah’s list of colleges – though his first choice is currently Robert Morris University.
“That’s fine,” James says. “RMU is my second favorite basketball team, next to Pitt.”
When Alijah transferred to South Hills Middle School for 7th grade, James followed him there to continue their relationship.
“Reflecting on the last few years, I’ve learned as much or more than Alijah has,” James says. “It’s been a valuable experience for me.”