Propel is pleased to share that both the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Derric Heck, along with Project H.O.P.E. Project and Activities Coordinator, Devyn Swain, will be honored with the New Pittsburgh Courier’s FAB 40 Award for 2013. The New Pittsburgh Courier’s FAB 40 Awards highlight African-American young professionals in the region and demonstrate the city’s potential to cultivate young minority talent. The FAB 40 Awards provides a great opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of young professionals as they strive to become the future leaders of Pittsburgh region.
Derric Heck began at Propel Schools just before the 2011-12 school year kicked off. Since then, he was charged with the important and challenging task of expanding Propel by five schools in five years, per a U.S. Department of Education grant. Both Propel Pitcairn (2012) and Propel Northside (2011) are schools opened as a part of that initiative. Mr. Heck builds connections between Propel and various communities in the Pittsburgh region, introducing Propel to new neighborhoods, new families and new organizations. Through his work on both expansion and program innovation, the boundaries and efforts of Propel’s impact on transforming education so that all children have access to high performing schools will be felt more significantly in the Pittsburgh and education communities.
‘Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living…’. As a 2013 FAB 40 Award recipient, I am proud to represent the efforts of a community of people committed to finding and implementing solutions. While this award is given to individuals, I recognize and appreciate the many hands, hearts, and heads that have contributed to progress. Those hands are as diverse as they are dedicated and I proudly share this honor with those with whom I serve. This award reminds me that the job may be well done but it is also not done,” said Mr. Heck.
Devyn Swain has always been passionate about making meaningful contributions to the Pittsburgh community, since earning his Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) degree at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
As Project and Activities Coordinator for Project H.O.P.E., Mr. Swain mentors 20 young men at four of Propel’s nine schools. Throughout each week, he conducts scholar development sessions with his students, in order to motivate them to excel academically. In addition, Mr. Swain writes lesson plans for H.O.P.E.’s after school program, which aims to encourage the young men to ask questions about their racial identity pertaining to their potential to grow into successful black men. The boys will take the wisdom that they have gained from the program and impart that wisdom on the lives of other young black men.
Propel congratulates Mr. Heck and Mr. Swain, along with the other honorees, who have portrayed a passion and commitment towards making Pittsburgh a thriving place for young men and women to live and work. All honorees will be presented their award on Friday, March 22, at the FAB 40 Awards Presentation at the Fairmont Hotel.