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Serving Youth & Families Since 1880
Serving Youth & Families Since 1880

Navigating a Second Century

Navigating a Second Century Serving Children, Youth and Familie

4777HCC Termon Ave
Three Rivers Youth is an independent not-for-profit child welfare agency advancing a mission to preserve and unite families, combat homelessness, enhance educational opportunities, and build life skills for at risk youth. Our comprehensive programming is designed to ensure that abused, neglected, troubled, homeless, and runaway youth receive individualized services to help them succeed in life.

Three Rivers Youth traces its origins to 1880 when Reverend J.M. Fulton a local minister was unable to find a orphanage that would provide care and shelter for little Nellie, a 4-year old African American girl he found wandering the streets of Pittsburgh’s North Side. Established by the efforts of activist Julia Blair and the Women’s Christian Association, the Home for Colored Children became an unprecedented safe haven for Nellie, and children like her, who were barred from all-white orphanages. The organization later became the Termon Avenue Home for Children.

Three Rivers Youth is actually the result of a merger between the Home for Children and another predecessor child welfare service agency. The Girls Service Club, founded in 1924 and incorporated in 1932 as a home for “wayward” girls, merged with the Termon Avenue Home for Children to become Three Rivers Youth in 1970.

Three Rivers Youth is the second oldest organization in the U.S. providing services for vulnerable adolescent children regardless of race, color or creed. In 2005, celebration of its 125th anniversary launched Three Rivers Youth’s annual signature fundraising event, the Nellie Leadership Awards and a scholarship fund for at risk youth. From Colored Orphans to Youth Development, a multimedia exhibition and was curated, produced presented by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Affairs in 2006.

More on the history of Three Rivers Youth:
From Colored Orphans to Youth Development: The 125-Year History of Three Rivers Youth 1880-2005. © 2006 University of Pittsburgh Press. A Publication of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Public Affairs. A comprehensive introduction to the history of Three Rivers Youth; illustrated by photographs and artifacts from Three Rivers Youth’s archives.

Child Care in Black and White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages, Jessie B. Ramey © 2012 University of Illinois Press. A study of the development of institutional childcare from 1878 to 1929, based on a comparison of two “sister” orphanages in Pittsburgh: the Home for Colored Children and the all-white United Presbyterian Orphans Home.