By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh has so many organizations working to improve the lives of children, and one of the most significant is Trying Together, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children.

Kristine Sorensen talks with Trying Together Executive Director Cara Ciminillo about what they do and how parents can use their services. Here’s their edited conversation.

Kristine Sorensen: What is Trying Together?

Cara Ciminillo: We’re a regional early childhood nonprofit that works to support caregivers and young children’s lives. We do that in three big ways. The first is through community partnerships and family engagement. We work to help improve the lives of children and the experiences of adults and children together. A lot of times we will have parents say, ‘How do I choose a childcare center for my child? What does high-quality childcare look like?’ We provide resources for that. Another big area that we work on is advocacy. We know that young children often don’t have a seat at the table. They can’t say, ‘Hey, I need more of X, Y, or Z.’ So we say, for example, ‘They need more play.’ We are the ones that help to advocate for ensuring that children have more play. And then the third big area is around quality, especially supporting the caregivers and children’s lives. For example, when we think about pre-kindergarten teachers or infant-toddler teachers, what kind of quality supports do they need? What kind of professional development and coaching do they need?

Kristine Sorensen: As a parent, how will we use the resources of Trying Together?

Cara Ciminillo: We have a lot of resources to help guide parenting and decision-making. We can help with things like how to choose an early childhood center for my child, or how to get funding to support childcare. Maybe I am a working parent and I don’t have enough means to support a high-quality childcare setting. Where do I go to find that? And what funds are available? We can help answer those questions, and there are a number of resources we can provide.

Kristine Sorensen