Elena, 14, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School
The biggest problem that my city and community is facing
is that people are moving away from Pittsburgh and from
feel like there are actually not that many job opportunities
available in Pittsburgh for people to take and I think that's
probably the main reason why people are moving away. I would
really like to see the city working on ways to open up more
job opportunities for younger people to stay and work and
to keep the population here stable.
What we are concerned about is our future and whether or
not we really want to move back to Pittsburgh after where
we are going to want to go to college. And just deciding
if Pittsburgh is really a place where we want our children
to grow up.
I feel like a lot of people are still waiting for Pittsburgh
to prove that to us.
Environmentally-wise, I feel like we are really improving
back from a while ago in the early 20th century from at
noon it being completely dark outside to now there is a
huge difference in our environment. I feel like we've really
taken steps toward making our city cleaner, we really promote
the environment and our rivers are a lot cleaner.
We are still doing things now to make our rivers cleaner
and to make them more accessible to people to go kayaking
to go boating, crew -- a lot of my friends do crew here.
It's such a beautiful thing because rivers are what made
Pittsburgh and so the fact that we are able to keep them
clean now and are able to respect them is a really great
way to promote our city.
Raquel, 15, Pittsburgh Oliver
shootings, not too long ago in my neighbored someone got
shot in front of the elementary school. My dad got shot,
I saw that. People around me I've seen get shot. It's not
safe at all, I don't think. You can't hang with certain
people because of where they live and stuff like that.
You have to worry about what's going to happen when you
walk out in the hallway or when you walk out of the building
to go home. We have actual police in our school sometimes.
I try to stay away from where I know bad things happen,
to be cautious with my life.
I would recommend not to come to Pittsburgh. It's not safe,
I think it's dirty. If I could leave I would leave now.
I plan on going to college far, far away.
Shane, 15, Pittsburgh Allderdice
I travel downtown a lot and the biggest challenge our city
and our community specifically is facing is a lack of greenery
in the downtown area. I go down and it's obviously characterized
by the weather, gray, the buildings are also predominantly
gray and it doesn't provide the best aura.
we allotted some land downtown to forests and parks that
would definitely be a contributing factor to the improvement
of downtown's appearance and improvement of life downtown.
In terms of the election there are countless aspects that
are fascinating, one of which is obviously education. A
lot of us are part of the public education system and I
haven't been for a while, but having come from a private
schools I've experienced both sides.
Over the course of at least the last decade the Pittsburgh
public schools have been busing in kids from other neighborhoods
and trying to filter in certain kids from certain neighborhoods
into other public schools.
The restoration of the neighborhood schools would have
a profound impact because it would strengthen the community
and it would also strengthen the school because the school
is based on money from the community and support from the
community. So if you are getting kids from a neighborhood
20 miles out you're not going to receive that same support
that you would if that school was comprised of just kids
from that community.
Mara, 14, Pittsburgh High
School for the Creative and Performing Arts
I think there are many challenges. There are the national
challenges including the economy, a possibility of a recession,
and global warming of course, but there are other ones closer
to home, such as violence in schools and general public
a big city, you can never really trust that everything will
go well and for a student, especially a student in the city
downtown, it can be a stressful environment if you are unsure
of how safe you are.
People are very concerned about the election and there
are a lot of issues going on. The war in Iraq seems to not
be as prominent anymore. It's been going on for so long
and I think what people are really counting on is that the
next president will eliminate the war for good, so I don't
think it's so much on people's minds now.
It's more of the concern over the economy, because it affects
everyone. Even if you are young, if you have a job you can
fear getting laid off, you can fear about losing money,
you can fear the value of money going down and so I think
that's a big thing.
Universal health care is important and just giving people
a safe country. I think people are more concerned right
now about what is directly affecting us more so than international
issues, which may or may not be something that people should
concentrate more on.
Michael, 14, Pittsburgh High School for
the Creative and Performing Arts
I live in the south side area of Pittsburgh, to be exact
I live in Knoxville, and I would have to say that one of
the biggest challenges our community faces is violence.
Violence and drug use, which I think is a major issue.
good friend of mine, his parent is just ready to put him
in a place, because of the group he got a hold of, he is
now smoking. You have young people who are out having sex
at a young age, you have young people not going to school,
feel as though they don't have to show up at home. They
don't even want to go home to sleep anymore, they go to
their friends' houses.
I think that all ties into a big problem and it leads to
violence and it leads to the drug issue and stuff like that.
I would really love to see something for the young people
to do, because it seems as though because of the bad actions
of young people now days a lot of the youth programs such
as Boys & Girls Club in the city of Pittsburgh have
been taken away.
It seems as though we are punishing the youth, the city
of Pittsburgh has been punishing the youth, because they
have been acting wrong, but when someone does wrong you
don't want to give up on them and punish them, you want
to try to help them. It would really be helpful. I'm part
of the One Small Step organization in the Belt Hoover community
and I think that is one major program that is helping young
men especially to better themselves as youth.
When people you don't know come into your life and show
you that they do care about you it makes you feel some type
of way, a little bit better about yourself and I think that
with these little small organizations that we can have,
it would be better.
H.D., 15, Pittsburgh High
School for the Creative and Performing Arts
would say the biggest challenge facing the city as a whole
would be the fact that we've lost such a great portion of
our population because of the steel mills being no longer.
We could still be doing so much more to attract young people
to the city, and that's what I feel is the biggest problem.
I feel like Pittsburgh doesn't have much to do, at all.
I really have absolutely nothing to do ever in Pittsburgh
whenever I'm hanging out with my friends in Squirrel hill,
there's not much to do. So just to get more fun activities
for everyone to take part in.
Last year I did a project called future city and in our
research we found out that Pittsburgh is one of the greenest
cities in the country. And also the convention center which
is the world's largest green building, that kind of represents
how Pittsburgh is moving forward and taking steps to become
a green city.
Hannah, 15, Pittsburgh Allderdice
I think the biggest challenge that Pittsburgh is facing
is the fact that some communities are getting worse.
communities are so great, they are really thriving, tons
of people are living there and there are stores and apartments.
Then there are other ones in comparison that are falling
apart. If you really want the community to treat it nicely
you have to renovate it and make it nice so they want to
stay there and they want to live there.
I think that people don't look at younger students to help
because I think maybe in the past kids our age haven't done
that much. But there are so many -- I think 1,600 -- kids
at Allderdice and if you put them all together we can make
a difference. This is just one school so if you put all
those schools together we can make a huge difference. So
I think if people really give us the chance and the opportunity
it would be great and we could really help the environment
and the community. Community service would be really good,
whether it's just picking up trash in a community or park
or if it's just giving ideas to make the community more
I think the environment is mainly what I'm concerned
about because I think once one city starts doing it, hopefully
it will have a domino affect and everyone will start doing
Ammad, 15, Pittsburgh Oliver
biggest challenge I would have to say is some of the violence
in my community. I believe it's slowed down a little bit
but I believe it's still there. Sometimes you can't even
walk down the street because the thoughts are still in your
head that something is going to happen.
So I would say that would probably be the biggest challenge
in my community at the moment. First it was gang violence,
then it was just certain individuals and I just couldn't
understand how it happened.
I see it more around where I'm going to school than where
I'm living, but it also happens around my community as well.
I believe we need to enforce laws even more than we do now
and make sure that the police are not influenced by the
criminal activity themselves, because sometimes there are
dirty cops out there.
Copyright © MacNeil-Lehrer Productions All Rights Reserved