Growth Experiences for Pittsburgh Teens


Is your teenager ready to take on new challenges? Are you looking for opportunities for them to grow, learn and develop new skills?  Here are a few local growth experiences that might be just what you’re looking for:

Volunteer: Volunteering can help teens develop crucial teamwork and organization skills, all while exposing them to the world of work. It can also help clarify what they like and don’t like. You can help your teen pick an organization or a cause they believe or are interested in. Here are a few options in Pittsburgh: UPMC Children’s Hospital, Science Museum, Red Cross, Zoo, etc. As you are probably aware, volunteering experience is also very useful when applying to college.

Programs from Colleges: There are many programs for high school students offered by CMU and Pitt that offer exposure to colleges and careers:

Apprenticeship program: The Allegheny Intermediary Unit offers excellent apprenticeship programs on a variety of specialized topics (eg. Architecture, international affairs, journalism, etc). Students get to meet and work with professionals who share their experience, expertise, enthusiasm and zeal for what they do for a living.

Online learning: For an intellectual challenge, your teenager could take an online college-level course (for free) from some of the world’s best colleges. This would expose your teen to fascinating topics and could ignite hidden career and college interests. Through these classes, students have access to online study groups and forums to interact with students from around the world. Here are two sites to check-out first: and

Make a movie: To tap into their creative side, teens can participate in one of numerous filmmaking and digital media literacy programs. Experts say these programs are crucial to building the critical thinking and media literacy skills young people need to succeed in today’s media saturated culture.

YMCA Camp: If you are looking for a more adventurous growth opportunity, the YMCA offers a two-week long teen wilderness camp where teens explore Deer Valley Lake while making life-long friendships and memories.

What other experiences would you recommend for Pittsburgh students and parents?

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