Sparkt Bridges

Meet The Heroes Who Rescue People On Their Worst Day

The Pittsburgh Resilience Project is all about resilience and helping people rebuild their lives.



This story is part of a series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.

Everyone has experienced the trauma of loss. It hurts. It changes us. In most cases we figure out a way to pick up the pieces and move on.

But what if you're someone for whom loss and trauma is a permanent part of how you live?

That's where an amazing group of people in Pittsburgh come in. The Neighborhood Resilience Project recognizes that "resilience" is something you've got to have to move forward when the worst things happen. But they know resilience doesn't come automatically.

Which is why they're helping people who've experienced trauma rebuild their lives in the most unique ways we've ever seen.


The Resilience Project also brings a strong faith-based focus to their effort. The group's building houses a sanctuary space for the community, with worship led by executive director Rev. Paul Abernathy, an Orthodox minister.

Neighborhood Resilience Project staff find support for themselves and their community through their shared faith.

Bisrat Tesfagiorgis, who works in the organization's health clinic, appreciates the fact that staff pray together at the start of their day. "God always provides a lot of beautiful things here," he said.


The Resilience Project's Trauma Response Team van and volunteers respond to scenes of violence, whenever they're called.

Maurice Hickman, the organization's Trauma Response Team coordinator also takes his faith on the road with the team's van and volunteers. As they provide counseling and comfort, the team also offers a spiritual component for people who welcome it. "I like to call it my mobile sanctuary where people can regroup and heal and find a plan for this time they're going through," said Hickman.

The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.


How can you start something good?

If you're inspired by the work that the Neighborhood Resilience Project is doing, there are lots of ways for you to get involved.


Volunteer with the Pittsburgh-based organization. Join the Trauma Team, or spend time at the organization's headquarters, staffing the group's food and clothing pantries.


Don't live in Pittsburgh? The Resilience Project is training volunteers in other communities.to respond to community trauma.


No matter where you live, you can always donate to support the organization's efforts


And if you need support this group is always here to help.


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