Meet our team
Muzz Meyers took a long and winding road to become the Executive Director of the Day One Program. After completing his undergraduate degree and Masters in Teaching at Colgate University, he followed the normal path of all young teachers by going into the restaurant business. He spent the next eighteen years with his partner, Bobby Feldman, operating the Shadyside Balcony and Hotlicks Restaurants. The restaurants were recognized for the great food, service, fun and amazing jazz.
Upon leaving the restaurant business in 1998 he took his experience and talents into the non-profit sector and spent the next 18 years working with underserved youth. He has worked for the East End Cooperative Ministry, Neighborhood Learning Alliance, The University of Pittsburgh Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and primarily for Communities in Schools of Allegheny County. Through Communities in Schools he was placed at Westinghouse High School in various supportive roles with students and staff. His last few years at Westinghouse HS, he was employed by Pittsburgh Public Schools as a Project Manager. During this time, he witnessed the daily trauma of housing insecurity. He recognized that a transient life created hardships and obstacles in the ability for students to succeed.
In 2015, he decided to take his social service and entrepreneurial experience and envision a way to address these problems. With a push from his friend Hope Feldman, he began the groundwork for the Day One Project. This work included research into existing programs, meeting with community organizations and government entities, and talking to families in need. In the fall of 2016 he decided to take the leap and began a private fundraising campaign. By January 2017 he was ready to recruit families and by April, 2017 educational programming had begun. On July 1, 2017 5 single parent families moved into Day One housing.
Since then, support from the Opportunity Fund, the Hillman Family Foundation, and the Heinz Endowments have enabled Muzz to become the first Executive Director of the Day One Project. He has committed himself to creating a program that offers real-life education, connection to resources, and support to empower single parent families to thrive. As the program develops, the dream is to grow and to provide housing stability, opportunities, and hope for all single parent families in the city of Pittsburgh.
“If not me, then who?” These are the words that have resonated with Brandi since the year 2008 when she returned home to Pittsburgh. She became interested in and committed to bridging gaps within the communities. As a participant of the 2012 CORO, Next Leaders Northside cohort, Brandi first introduced her idea as a class project to empower young single mothers and fostering growth mindsets. It was then that she realized her calling.
While completing coursework at Community College of Allegheny County, Brandi began working with the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) as a Community Liaison where she made connections and built relationships with community organizations, political and public figures, as well as school administrators and students. While serving as the Community Liaison, she successfully organized an Anti-Violence Youth Summit with five area High Schools within the Pittsburgh Public School District.
Brandi is currently employed as a Training Manager with A Plus Schools where she supervises, trains and develops three Parent Organizers to mobilize and develop other parents to be the voice for their children in marginalized neighborhoods. She developed her community organizing skills through a Professional Fellowship Training Managers track with Organizing for Action (OFA) during the summer of 2015 in Chicago, I.L. Brandi also served as the Campaign Manager for the 19th District State Representative Jake Wheatley in 2016, Campaign Assistant to the 6th District City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle in 2017 and currently serves as a Board Member for A Piece of Mind Inc. She is a licensed Restorative Practice Trainer, trained in Trauma and Adversity through the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) to support her work with parents and training opportunities throughout the city.
She believes that she is part of a small group of committed citizens who can be the change they seek and who will make a difference through transformative power. She is passionate and dedicated to both education and mental health awareness. From her work with youth, to politics and education advocacy she is committed, this work is her purpose, it is her life.
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” ~Harriet Tubman~
HALIMA TAMMY THOMPSON's personal route from Bluefield, West VA to Pittsburgh was led with obstacles. She overcame them to become being an incredible inspirational speaker, a financial literacy expert and a homebuyer education counselor who has helped hundreds of families save their homes from going into foreclosure, as well as learn how to become “savvy savers”. That journey led her to owning her own company, Thompson Real Estate Consulting. She is currently working as a consultant, facilitating and developing programming for Circles East Liberty and the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of Circles.
Thompson’s story has resulted in the creation of “The Psychology of Poverty” a workshop that gives participants an opportunity to see a perspective that can recreate how they’ve been impacted by the psychological implications of poverty—it provides an avenue to re-route their relationship with money. She says “Poverty is not just about NOT HAVING MONEY. “ This is the message that undergirds these powerful sessions, it is this message that is explored within the workshops that allows each individual his/her personal ticket out of the emotional damage, left by what it is we believe poverty says about us.
She says “facing our Truths will be the key to adopting new habits and having new experiences that can guide us to new futures for us and our children.”
New sun rising
New Sun Rising, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, builds vibrant communities through culture, sustainability, and opportunity. New Sun Rising provides strategic support for the development of programming, outcomes, development, and long range planning.