Leonard J. Hammonds II
Founder, Hammonds Initiative
Where I Grew Up: Penn Hills / Swissvale
My Neighborhood: North Bessemer
Education: Penn Hills Sr. High Graduate
Resident Since: Birth
Leonard J. Hammonds II is a busy man.
Hammonds, a Penn Hills native and former Marine, is the founder of the Hammonds Initiative, a community action group undergoing the process of becoming a non-profit organization. In addition, he is a member of Iron Cross Community Ministries, an advisory board member at the Penn Hills YMCA, and the Vice President of the Board of directors for Turning Corners Youth Mentoring Association.
Hammonds is animate about moving Penn Hills neighborhoods and it’s residents in a new direction. He believes that Penn Hills is going through tough times and new leadership must be identified to address the growing needs and concerns of our communities, and wants to be part of the solution.
There’s work to be done to restore the reputation of Penn Hills. Penn Hills is in need of our full attention and I plan on giving it just that. We face many issues and we need leadership that can bring about change to our communities. I choose to dig in and get to work.
Hammonds is a top advocate trying to keep the violence that has plagued many inner city neighborhoods from creeping into the suburbs of Penn Hills.
“A lot of people say that violence isn’t perflate in Penn Hills. Try telling that to all the families of those who lost loved ones to senseless violence in Penn Hills,” he said.
His personal venture, Hammonds Initiative, has already made its mark on Penn Hills with programs such as Strides of Confidence, a program that provides new or gently used shoes to adults and children who face economic hardships, and the Reach & Teach program, which uses African American Arts & Cinema to educate and empower African American youth on culture and history.
A new flagship program is underway that is called the Pipeline To Purpose which looks to combat the "pipeline to prison" by granting at-risk youth with a summer long program that will educate, empower, and equip them to becoming more productive and successful in school and all other endeavors.
Hammonds touts the deep sense of community shared by the residents of Penn Hills, saying, "Penn Hills is changing and so must its leadership, more people must get involved with the political landscape”.
"It's important that leadership reflects the people in the community," he said.
Hammonds shows no sign of slowing.
Those interested in learning more about Hammonds Initiative programs can visit the organization's website at http://hammondsinitiative.org.