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Woodland Hills School District partners with Trey Edmunds, Leon Ford to provide mentorship programs to students

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Woodland Hills School District partners with Trey Edmunds, Leon Ford to provide mentorship programs to students
Andrew Chiappazzi

The Woodland Hills School District has contracted with Pittsburgh activist and entrepreneur Leon Ford and former pro football player Trey Edmunds to provide mentorship programs to Woodland Hills students through their respective organizations. The programs from Edmunds and Ford are currently targeted for high school students in the district.  

NORTH BRADDOCK – Jan. 19, 2023 – The Woodland Hills School District has contracted with Pittsburgh activist and entrepreneur Leon Ford and former pro football player Trey Edmunds to provide mentorship programs to Woodland Hills students through their respective organizations. The agreements were approved by the Woodland Hills School District Board of School Directors during their legislative meeting on January 18, 2023.

“We have made a commitment to provide a wide range of support systems to our students,” Woodland Hills Superintendent Dr. Daniel Castagna said. “Leon and Trey each have an amazing ability to connect with our youth. Leon’s trauma-informed program and Trey’s passion for youth mentorship will help provide our students with valuable resources and tools they can utilize throughout their lives.”

A Pittsburgh native, Leon Ford was paralyzed after being shot by a Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop in a case of mistaken identity. Ford has since used his voice for social change, partnering with former Pittsburgh Chief of Police Scott Schubert to form The Hear Foundation to address gun violence reduction and trauma. His “From Surviving to Thriving” program will start as a six-week interactive mentoring program that utilizes writing exercises, meditation, storytelling, and other forms of self-care designed to help students work through their trauma and “turn their pain into purpose.”

“I can directly relate to a lot of what our young people experience,” Ford told the school board. “I offer the different tools that I have acquired throughout my journey, as well as a host of different mentors who have also committed to joining me to come into schools and share their insights and wisdom.”

Trey Edmunds spent six years in the NFL, including parts of five seasons in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. Edmunds formed the My Brother’s Keeper Foundation with his siblings Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds, both of whom are also pro football players. Edmunds’ program will feature meetings three times a month from February through the end of the school year. It will include larger motivational presentations as well as small group discussions catered to specific school and community issues.

“I grew up in a school similar to what you guys have here and I took on some of these same challenges,” Edmunds told the school board. “My parents were trying to find any avenue or resource to put around me in order for me to get to where I am today. Seeing those positive influences, those positive people in the community, students see that and think, ‘Hey, maybe I could do that.”

The programs from Edmunds and Ford are currently targeted for high school students in the district.