Social Services & Recreation 

Rec Room Basketball Courts

Social Services

The basic purpose of Social Services is to develop a therapeutic environment designed to assist youth in adjusting to detention. Goals and responsibilities include:
  1. Providing individualized direct services to residents
  2. Consulting with staff on observations, interpretations and management of resident behavior
  3. Serving as a focal point in the exchange of information about residents between detention and probation staffs
  4. Coordinating student internships and community volunteer programs

The Social Services department provides enrichment programs that further resident development:

Animal Care - This program is facilitated by the Western PA Humane Society and teaches residents about proper ways to care for and handle various animals; educates residents about the history of various species; discusses potential career opportunities working with animals; affords the residents an opportunity to handle and nurture animals.

Service Learning - Residents produced gifts and crafts for the seniors at the Kane Regional hospital in Glen Hazel. Residents constructed centerpieces for Valentine's Day and greeting cards for the holidays.

Shuman News Telecast - Residents learn how to produce a real newscast. With the assistance of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Oakland, residents learned to shoot video, utilize lighting, record sound, and edit video to produce a local news show for Shuman Center .

Career Week - Local professionals are invited to discuss various careers and the necessary steps young people should take to achieve them. Carpenters, bakers, funeral directors, fire fighters, and an aquarist are just a few of the professions we've had represented.

Community Resource Day - Community agencies set up presentations highlighting many of the services provided throughout Allegheny County, including topics such as:  healthcare, housing, recreation, employment and more.

Garden Program - Residents have the opportunity to produce a garden on the grounds of Shuman Center . They prepare the land, plant the seeds, and harvest the produce. Residents see how hard work can pay off in tangible ways and they get some time out in the sun.

One Vision One Life - Staff come to Shuman to do outreach with at-risk youth. They discuss the consequences of living the “street life,” and the violence often associated with it.


The purpose of the Recreation Program is to provide residents access to positive, healthy release from the pressures of confinement. Programs include sports, arts and crafts, canteen, games, social events, special events, and opportunities to earn privileges and to participate in a range of activities because of good behavior.

Recreation staff is responsible for planning, organizing and supervising activities. They manage activities in the gym and canteen, and on the playground. They also manage arts and crafts and special events. Activities are available to all residents with limitations on participation permitted in instances of unacceptable behavior or risk of threat to security and safety.

Recreation staff should make every effort to provide opportunity for a minimum of forty minutes of strenuous physical exercise and forty minutes of planned free time during school days, with an additional forty minutes of strenuous physical exercise when school is in recess.

Recreation programs should be developed so that residents benefit from their detention experience. They should include acceptable leisure time activities to alleviate idleness and boredom. Programs should be designed to give positive reinforcement and to teach cooperation and sportsmanship. Recreational activities should allow for instruction in new skills and participation in vigorous tension releasing activities as well as experiences that give residents a sense of comfortable, warm and pleasant involvement. Programs should be co-educational when possible. At no time will residents be required to do physical exercise as punishment.

Recreation staff manages an incentive system to reward the good behavior of residents. Points are based on the evaluations done by Child Care Workers on resident development records. A range of rewards is developed and managed through Recreation.

The Recreation Program also recruits and coordinates community volunteers to sponsor and assist with special programs and events. The standards established for Social Services volunteers apply to those assisting the Recreation program. Both recreation and social services staff cooperate with each other when activities occur that involve areas of responsibility of both work units.

Recreation staff will facilitate the constructive use of time in the living units by providing games and equipment. Primary responsibility for initiating and organizing informal activities in the units rests with youth care staff, but recreation staff will serve as resources and consultants.

Activities should reflect the needs and preferences of residents. Organized sports such as basketball, volleyball and weight training are part of the program. But other activities of a noncompetitive nature should supplement organized sports so residents with different talents and interests have opportunities to succeed and enjoy participation.

Certain activities, such as weight lifting, should be conducted only with a skilled recreation person present. Although, unit G can manage their own weight training program as long as the staff in charge is qualified and responsible.

Arts and crafts are included in the Recreation Program to build skills and provide means of creative, nonverbal expression.

All residents are scheduled for activities. The Social Service Manager or Supervisor determines mandatory attendance. Resident participation is encouraged. Residents should be made aware of this requirement before they decide to attend. Child Care Workers should actively encourage residents to participate, but failure to participate should not result in punishment.

Recreation staff are responsible for planning and organizing activities. They supervise residents and participate in activities to the degree that they are able. But primary responsibility to supervise resident behavior, facilitate participation, and interpret activity rules rests with the youth care staff. Staff are encouraged to be involved in sports and games with residents to the extent that involvement does not impair their ability to supervise residents and ensure that health, safety and security are not jeopardized. Child Care Staff's activity in sports must be limited to non-active roles.

The Recreation program is responsible for a number of activities in addition to the daily routine events described above. Activities include movies, parties, exercise programs, games, and sports tournaments.

Only movies rated G, PG and PG-13 may be shown. The Social Services Manager is responsible for selecting movies and video materials according to standards appropriate to adolescents. The recreation staff is also responsible for proper care of audio-visual equipment and supplies. No movies or tapes may be shown without the explicit approval of the Social Services Manager. No movies, tapes, video equipment or video games are to be brought into Shuman Center without prior approval from the Social Services Manager.