Project SEED was founded by Joanne Cecchi and Ruth Carson, two retired educators from the New Kensington-Arnold School District who have devoted a combined 74 years of service to the district. Day after day, and year after year they saw children who were in need of healthy food during the times they were away from school--children who were unable to focus on learning because they didn't have enough to eat.
Ruth Carson passed away in August 2016, and Project SEED continues on in her memory--thanks to her efforts, kids are getting the food they need to succeed!  Help us to keep Project SEED going strong in honor of Ruth.

Our founders:

Joanne Cecchi
 
Education
  • 2000: Post-Graduate Studies in Educational Administration to acquire Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1979: Master's Degree in Education, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1976: Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, Graduated Cum Laude, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • 1974: Associate Degree in Applied Science, Westmoreland County Community College. Honored as Distinguished Alumni, 1986
Professional Experience
  • Assistant Superintendent, New Kensington-Arnold School District, 2003-2008
  • High School Principal, Valley High School, New Kensington-Arnold School District, 1997-2002
  • Assistant Principal, Valley High School, New Kensington-Arnold School District, 1993-1997
  • Instructor, Westmoreland County Community College, 1979-1990
  • Business Education Teacher and Department Chair, Valley High School, New Kensington-Arnold School District, 1976-1993
Awards
  • Volunteer of the Year, 2016-17, by Alle-Kiski Valley Chapter of PA Association of School Retirees  - for logging over 1600 hours with Project SEED
  • Paul Harris Fellow - awarded by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for Project SEED community service  June, 2014
  • Melvin Jones Fellow - awarded by Lions Clubs International Foundation for Outstanding Humanitarian Service - August, 2014
  • NAACP Allegheny-Kiski Valley, John C. Lovelace Human Rights Award, October, 2014, for initiating Project SEED
  • Glimmer of Hope Award Recipient - American Cancer Society 2012
    
Community Service/Volunteerism
  • Member of UPMC Patient & Family Advisory Council,     St. Margaret Hospital, Aspinwall, PA 
  • Board Member & Treasurer, Alle-Kiski Senior Citizen Center, New Kensington, PA  
  • Member of Westmoreland County Community College Alumni Committee for current Capital Fund Project
  • Fund-raiser & Committee Member, Alle-Kiski Relay for Life, American Cancer Society
  • Advisory Board Member, Westmoreland County Community College, Alle-Kiski Center
  • Member, PA Association of School Retirees
  • Member, New Kensington Lions Club
  • Graduate of Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley (LAKV Class 7). Elected as class representative to the LAKV Board of Directors
Ruth Carson
 
Education
  • 1976: Received Reading Specialist Certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • 1972: Graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with Master of Education Degree
  • 1966: Graduate of Clarion University with Bachelor of Science in Education Degree
  • 1962: Graduate of Springdale High School
Professional Experience
  • 42.5 Years (January 1966 – June 2008) as an Educator in the New Kensington-Arnold School District as Head Start Summer School Teacher, Classroom Teacher Grades 4-6, Kindergarten Teacher, Reading Specialist Grades 1-9, and Federal Project Coordinator
Awards
  • 2015 Volunteer of the Year, Alle-Kiski Chapter of PA Association of School Retirees
  • Inducted to the Allegheny Valley School District Alumni Hall of Fame for outstanding community service and humanitarian efforts, April, 2015
  • Paul Harris Fellow - awarded by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for Project SEED community service - June, 2014
  • NAACP Allegheny-Kiski Valley, John C. Lovelace Human Rights Award, October, 2014, for initiating Project SEED
  • Children’s Champion Award – United Way of Westmoreland County – March 2005
Innovative Projects
  • Parent/Child Created Summer Reading Tips with Comcast TV
  • Exciting Summer Reading Program
  • Title 1 Pre-K Program with strong Head Start Collaboration
  • Even Start Program with collaboration with the Private Industry Council, Valley Point YMCA, and Alle-Kiski Learning Center
  • Pre-K Counts Program Community Collaboration with Early Childcare Providers
Present Passions
  • Conducting a Community Bible Study Group each Monday Night in my home for the past 13 years
  • Being Aunt Ruth to nieces Julie and Jen, nephew Jason, great nieces Brook & Emma and great nephews Zack, Parker, Nate, James, Lucas, and Joshua
  • Enjoying my dog Winston Churchill II
Most Admired Educator: Marian Wright Edelman, a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans and President of the Children’s Defense Fund