Interview Series: Darelle Porter, Program Director at Ozanam, Inc

Darelle Porter
Darelle Porter

Darelle Porter is a Program Director at Ozanam, Inc., a Pittsburgh nonprofit that provides educational programming, athletic competition, social and cultural activities, and support services to enhance the lives of local youth.  Darelle has been involved with Ozanam for 35 years. He is also a volunteer with Cash For Kids – Swin Cash’s foundation that works with youth from the McKeesport area.

Years in the Pittsburgh area:

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

What was your first job?

My first job after high school was working at Ozanam. I started working at Ozanam in the 11th grade.

How were you drawn to nonprofit work?

I was drawn to nonprofit work to give my children and other kids the experience I had with Ozanam as a youth.

What is the first thing you do each day?

The first thing I do each morning is check my phone for any new messages. My son Darelle Jr. is a freshman in college and my daughter Michaela is a sophomore in high school. My cell phone is my computer, alarm clock, phone book and clock with all the modern technology.

What keeps you motivated?

The thing that keeps me motivated is thinking any kid who walks through the door could have been me 35 years ago. I want to give each and every one of them a positive experience and a place for that to happen.

"The thing that keeps me motivated is thinking any kid who walks through the door could have been me 35 years ago."
“The thing that keeps me motivated is thinking any kid who walks through the door could have been me 35 years ago.”

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?

The best advice I have been given is something my grandfather told me when I was in the 1st grade. He told me in life there are not that many things that are free, but an education is one of them…take advantage of your education so you can live a better life than I have now.

What are you reading?

I am currently reading up on some of the best practices for nonprofit organizations.

What current trend(s) or issue(s) do you see currently affecting your corner of the nonprofit sector?

The current issues I see affecting our program are the difficulty getting funding and getting more parents involved in the program. I think parental involvement is one of the problems that having more funding can address. With proper funding, Ozanam would be able to get a social worker/counselor to establish a safe haven for children and their parents to deal with some of the issues they face on a daily basis. Ozanam would also be able to make dinner available for adults with additional funding that keeps the parents involved. This would allow Ozanam to bridge the gap that is present with family bonding time.

What is one goal that you hope to accomplish in 2015?  

 The one goal I hope to accomplish in 2015 is to promote the Ozanam brand to more people. I feel if more people know about what we are doing, the more children Ozanam can serve in a positive way.

What is the best thing about the nonprofit sector in Pittsburgh?

The best thing about the nonprofit sector in Pittsburgh is the amount of foundations that support nonprofit organizations. However, there are so many people doing similar things that go after the same funding.

What does Ozanam have coming up? 

We have a Youth Leadership Conference on May 27, 2015 at the Ammon Recreation Center at 2217 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219.

June 6, 2015, 18U Girls Summer League starts

June 15, 2015, 12U Boys Summer League  starts

June 17, 2015,  16U Boys Summer League starts

June 22, 2015, Summer Camp  starts