ESC Volunteer Spotlight on Ellen Estomin

Advice from an ESC volunteer:  Be passionate about what you do


Ellen Estomin worked with the Pittsburgh School District for 40 years in various capacities that involved helping special needs students.  When she retired in 2009 from her position as Executive Director for Students with Exceptionalities, she was ready for a new challenge that allowed her to continue to work with inner- city school children and their families.  That’s where the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management came in.

“I wanted to continue my commitment to inner-city families,” Ellen says. “I started with the Bayer Center by working on a project for Brothers and Sisters Emerging, a group that began as a sports and cheerleading program inthe Garfield section of the city.”  The program has now expanded to include other services, such as mentoring.

Estomin’s other projects have included the Providence Family Support Center, a North Side organization that provides services for infants through 8th grade; ACH Clear Pathways, an afterschool and summer program introducing underserved children to the arts; and BoardsWork! retreats including Shady Lane School, the Spina Bifida Association, Divine Ministries and the Chuck Cooper Foundation.

One of Ellen’s most rewarding experiences was when Brothers and Sisters Emerging received a grant from PACE (Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise).  “I didn’t realize how much of an impact we had made until Brothers and Sisters Emerging representatives got up and sang the Bayer Center’s praises. That helped me to focus on what we are actually doing to help in the community.”

If you’re thinking of volunteering, Ellen says the best way to choose a volunteer organization is to feel as passionate about its success as the staff who work for the organization.

Article written by Chris McClure, ESC volunteer