A Journey of Transformation:

From Adelphoi Youth to Inspirational Employee

Alex Yawitz begins each shift at Sweeney House in Latrobe with a warm and genuine smile. He goes above and beyond by personally greeting each individual upon his arrival and maintains his positive attitude throughout the day.


The young counselor garners a unique level of respect from the youth he works with. This is not only due to his pleasant demeanor, but also a result of his ability to relate to their experiences on a deeply personal level.


Alex, an Adelphoi alumnus, has walked in their shoes, enabling him to establish an authentic connection and serve as a relatable role model.


“It’s nice to be back on the other side as staff,” he said. “It has been a cool little journey.”


The journey Alex speaks of started during his teenage years when he had high hopes of playing college football. Unfortunately, the Delmont native and student at Franklin Regional High School experienced a series of concussions while playing the sport he loved.


It was determined that continuing to play football could jeopardize his health, shattering his dreams in the process.


“Boredom is your worst enemy,” said Alex, now 26. “I started hanging out with old friends and smoking weed. I went down a bad path.


“I ended up on [juvenile] probation for a couple of marijuana charges and different things. I was getting into trouble a lot then I got into an accident and got a DUI. The judge had enough of me and said ‘you’re going to Adelphoi,’” he recalled.


Alex was assigned to the Mon Run facility on Adelphoi’s main campus, where he lived and underwent inpatient treatment for three months. Upon his release, he remained on probation and was subsequently put on house arrest.


A dilemma arose regarding Alex's school credits, as returning to Franklin Regional High School would require him to repeat the eleventh grade. Adelphoi presented him with an alternative solution — attending the Ketterer Charter School, where he would be considered a senior. He made the decision to embrace this opportunity and successfully completed his senior year at Ketterer.


Alex, who was named valedictorian of his class, was released from probation upon his graduation.


“After graduation, I immediately started with the [Adelphoi] Promise program and started at Westmoreland County Community College for business,” he said.


The Adelphoi Promise program presents current and former youth within the organization with the opportunity to pursue an Associate's Degree or certificate without the burden of tuition fees. Additionally, participants receive financial aid for books, a refurbished laptop if needed, comprehensive life skills, and academic support throughout their educational journey.


“I got halfway done with the degree then it got put on the back burner, but I’d still like to go back and finish it.”


However, Alex's pursuit of education did not end there. Approximately one year ago, he reconnected with Brooke Pierce, the principal of the Ketterer Charter School.


“I told her I wanted to go back for my real estate license and she was more than happy to help. I graduated with my certificate in real estate and brokerage in December of 2023,” he proudly stated, noting that he received all A’s and B’s in his courses.


“I really enjoyed it,” said Alex, who plans to apply the knowledge he obtained to purchase his own home in the near future. He currently resides in Harrison City.


While attending school, Alex applied for and accepted a position as a counselor at Sweeney House. This opportunity not only felt like a homecoming for him, but also reaffirmed his longtime belief that Adelphoi is where he truly belongs.


“I always wanted to go back,” he said, adding that he attends, and has been a guest speaker, at the annual Alumni Day events. “This just happened to be the right time.”


As a counselor, Alex works with the youth on their day-to-day schedules, takes them to school and on the weekends, spends time bonding with them.


“I definitely think the kids respect me a lot more and trust me a lot more,” he proclaimed. “They relate to me, talk to me and open up to me. It’s hard to open up to someone who doesn’t know what you’re going through. I can connect with these kids.


“I lived a little bit of what they’re going through,” he continued. “I wore one of those shirts. I can share my experience and how I did things. The kids say ‘I want to be like Alex and come back here and work.’ It motivates and inspires them and shows them it can be done.


“I tell them all the time that this is such a small time, a small chapter out of so much more in life.”


Alex expressed his passion to build a successful and gratifying career with Adelphoi, while working in real estate on the side.


“I’ve always had big goals,” said Alex. “I’d really like to climb the ladder and be a boss or unit director or even be on the board at Adelphoi. I’ve been a part of the organization for a while and I’ve seen how it has grown.


“I enjoy the benefits they offer and it’s really rewarding. I have fun. I enjoy coming to work and hanging with the guys. I come in with a positive attitude because the kids reflect off of the staff and I realize it’s the little things that make your day better. I don’t view my job as just a paycheck. With Adelphoi, I feel an impact. I’m not just a number,” he stated.


“I think I have a lot to offer the kids and the organization as a whole.”


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