A little over a week ago, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) Creative Arts Corner (CAC) Bedford Avenue audio/video center made the annual pilgrimage to PNC Park to chronicle the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have permitted the American Youth Journalism Corps (AYJC) students all access to the PNC press box for the past nine years.
One of the primary facilitators and supporters of the project has been and continues to be Dan Hart, the assistant media relations director for the Pirates.
It is very rare, one might say almost impossible that the urban youth of today are afforded an opportunity to watch and film a MLB team at batting practice as well as have a pregame meal with professional media and sit and cover a game from the” Ivory Tower.”
From the beginning of the AYJC in 2005 and continuing on with the CAC during the past few years, Dan has welcomed the students to the behind the scenes world of professional sports public relations and media management.
He has been an inspiration to many young minds that hail from some of the “forgotten areas” of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region that could only dream about photographing and shaking the hands of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, ex-St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
In one of his past interviews with Creative Arts Corner students in 2012, Mr. Hart told the student’s that one of the things that could help them pursue a career in sports journalism or media relations was to “get involved with the sports information department immediately upon enrolling at [the college of their choice].” He went on to say that; “the day that I was accepted at Point Park [University] I asked about work study. I had just been accepted that same day, laying the ground work for fall. At that time that I was accepted at Point Park they really didn’t have a sports information department, they had somebody that just did it.”
After performing internships with the Penguins and the Steelers, Dan Hart has become one of the Pirates media “big men on campus” but that lofty position did not close or turn his heart away from at-risk youth who have been disenfranchised and are less fortunate than most.
When Dan Hart allows CAC and AYJC students into the MLB world; that does not mean that he will be spending his time with students from Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel or Upper St. Clair.
When he opens up the PNC Park press box to the CAC students and staff he is helping to mold the futures of kids from North View Heights, the Hill District, Homewood and many other “urban traumatized” areas.
Mr. Hart is `truly helping save and steer the lives of young people in real time. When Dan welcomes students from CAC tread on the hallowed Pittsburgh Pirates playing field to film and record the Pirates on their turf; he doesn’t just meet them face to face but they truly connect “Hart to heart.”
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.583.6741