The mission of CEA is to empower communities and families by providing high quality, well-managed, innovative services, including family support services, education, housing, economic development, and employment. The Core belief of CEA is that families develop best in a community with a sense of order, positive social interaction, and opportunities supported by positive adults. CEA’s cultural frameworks are clearly unique to human and social service providers in the Pittsburgh region. CEA capitalizes on the powerful role that cultural influences play within the African American communities.
T. Rashad Byrdsong
CEA Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Community Empowerment Association Inc. (CEA) was organized by Mr. T. Rashad Byrdsong in 1994 to address the needs of the children, youth, adults, and families among African American communities. CEA utilizes an Afrocentric strategy of integrating culture, social identity and empowerment techniques to effectively achieve desirable goals and objectives.
CEA’s distinctive programming works within four identified life-domains (individual, family, community, school), and is guided by 8 core program components which history and research has shown impact family and community changes for self-sufficiency. In order to work with youth, parents and families to strengthen protective factors for keeping children healthy and well, CEA is focused on serving its participants through these 8 core program components — Personal Growth & Development, Educational Support, Cultural Enrichment, Economic/Career Exploration, Health and Wellness, Community Service, Recreational Activities, and Family Empowerment.
Empowerment begins when these factors are positively addressed in consistent and resourceful ways. Hence, as a culturally responsive and community-driven social services organization, CEA is accountable for community empowerment through multi-sector collaboration. Accordingly, CEA is focused on providing violence prevention/intervention, an after-school learning center and summer camp programs, truancy prevention/intervention, workforce development and training, therapeutic support and human services, social support groups, community outreach, employment for youth and adults, and mentoring and family empowerment services. In part, to address unemployment in the black community, CEA also developed a landscaping and materials removal and hauling program. The CEA Maintenance Group is a business initiative created for the empowerment of qualified community residents for hire in maintaining residential and commercial properties through landscaping, painting, cleaning, and hauling. Examples of Community Outreach, CEA’s highly successful and well attended annual Kwanzaa Celebrations, Black Family Reunion Festivals, Peace in The Hood Basketball Tournaments, Community & Educational Forums such as Home Buyer Workshops, Financial Literacy workshops, Healing Pen Workshops, Mental Health Forums, How To Do Business with The City and County Procurement Workshops and monthly MWDBE certifications with the MWDBE Office, Hip Hop Workshops, to name a few, exemplify its ability to galvanize and serve the African American community around common themes and shared cultural experiences.