Clairton resident Paulette Bradford was surrounded by family and friends as she graciously accepted accolades for the two decades of dedication she put into helping the city’s youth succeed in society.
So when she was told that she was being honored for her selflessness with a banquet at the Ascension Hall, Bradford didn’t think she deserved it.
“I don’t like all the hoopla. I just do what I do,” said Bradford. “Everyone always complains about the kids, but when it boils down to it, there’s not a lot for them to do and there are not a lot of volunteers to help people when you need to do something. They are always too busy and there are only a handful of people trying to do something.
“I try to teach kids about teamwork and you need to learn how to work together,” Bradford continued. “It’s not an individual thing. I try to teach them not to be angry and to check their attitudes and treat people fairly.”
Bradford was honored by the People’s Choice Committee, a group of Clairton residents who got together to thank Bradford for her years of service to the youths of the community.
“Following the theme of “Everything for Everybody,” Paulette has been just that,” said People’s Choice Committee member, Sharon Gressem. “She gives her heart in all she does. Sometimes we need to say thanks to people who do the right thing. Paulette works feverishly to help the community.”
Bradford is involved in numerous sports-related activities that she uses to help make teenagers successful.
She and her husband, William, founded an elementary school basketball program for third to sixth grade boys. The 10-week program, which runs from February to May, is held on Saturdays in the Clairton Educational Center gym. She is also program director of the Clairton Midget Football Association, all while serving as a member of the Clairton City School District for 11 years. In that post, she is on the recreation and athletics committees. When she isn’t working with kids, Bradford attends Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Clairton where she is a member of the choir and chairperson of the pastor’s anniversary committee.
“My theory is if you can catch the kids when they are young, you have the chance to instill things in them. They are at the age where they can learn and you can have an impact on their lives,” Bradford said.
Clairton City School District Superintendent Lucille Abellonio has seen the effect Bradford has on students in the Clairton City School District.
“Paulette does an outstanding job with young people. She is a tremendous mentor for the kids. She helps to form their character and she teaches them to have respect for people in general and she instills good qualities in the children to help them grow up and be good citizens. It’s a pleasure to see someone who gives of themselves so freely. She’s an exception to the rule. She deserves to be honored.”
Although she was thankful for the gesture, Bradford doesn’t see herself as special.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the kids,” she said. “There are a lot of things I’d like to see happen in Clairton. We don’t have a boys and girls club and the city’s recreation board is non- functioning. I’d like to see the churches or someone come together to provide some kind of recreational center for the kids.”