Tiger Pause builds concrete life skills
Sledgehammers swinging, boys in Beaver Falls are learning how hard work can help their city and themselves.
Part of the Tiger Pause Youth Ministry in Beaver Falls, the boys are breaking up sidewalks and laying new concrete for neighborhood homes and businesses. Beginning March 30, the boys started work on the sidewalk at the south end of the Geneva College soccer field.
“Geneva has partnered with Tiger Pause for many years,” says the ministry’s director Matt Nance. “We wanted to find a way for the youth to give back to the college.
“They initiated the whole thing,” says Jeff Lydic, director of the Geneva College physical plant. "They even provided the concrete mix and wire mesh. It’s great to see how Matt is looking for constructive ways troubled youth can expend their energy, and trying to marry that with community needs.”
“When I was young, I got into a lot of trouble with fighting all the time,” Nance explains. “My mom used to send me into the backyard with a pickaxe and tell me to start digging. Hard work develops a core of strength inside of you that you can't even get from athletics. Mixing concrete is hard work, something that really tests your manhood, and all around Beaver Falls there are sidewalks that are all busted up.”
Nance got a team together and began teaching them the basics. After a few “practice” jobs volunteered by members of the community, Tiger Pause decided to make Geneva College their first real project.
About 12 Beaver Falls students, as well as a team of youth from First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, worked together to repair the sidewalk. After the boys broke the old concrete and hauled it away, Paul Pishioneri, assistant director of physical plant, showed them how to mix and pour the new sidewalk.
“They are really doing us a service, and it also gives us an opportunity to teach them practical skills,” Lydic says. “It’s a real joint community effort.”
The new sidewalk will be named Jerryn's Way in honor of Jerryn Carson, a dedicated member of Tiger Pause and the higher education department at Geneva College. She walks to work every day, and will now have a smooth pathway to the college.
Tiger Pause has been a part of Beaver Falls since 1988. Through mentoring, tutoring, job training and a variety of after-school programs, the program works to keep kids in school and off the street. Most importantly, mentors and staff members share the love of Christ and lead students through example.