FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2007
Onoroto Announces Plan to Name Jail Activity Center for Gwen Elliott
PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today announced plans to name the Family Activity Center at the Allegheny County Jail in memory of the late City of Pittsburgh Police Commander Gwen Elliott. Onorato will introduce legislation in County Council to name the center “The Gwendolyn June Campbell Elliott Family Activity Center.”
“Gwen Elliott worked tirelessly during her career and after her retirement on programs, initiatives and activities designed to promote, protect and defend our children,” said Onorato. “She was an integral part of our team that developed the Family Activity Center, and it is only fitting that it should be named in her honor.”
The Family Activity Center is part of the Jail waiting room that has been transformed into a more child-friendly area. It offers a craft area, video nook and book corner, as well as mock visiting booths to help children prepare for visits. The Center’s full-time employees and trained volunteers offer caregivers information on services and resources important to the well-being of children.
“It is an honor to name our new Center after such a well-respected and loved citizen of Allegheny County,” said Warden Ramon Rustin. “We are grateful to the Chief Executive for his proposal to remember our friend, who was a determined worker on behalf of the children and families of parents in the Jail.”
The Family Activity Center was designed and built by the County’s Public Works Department with the assistance of 100 individuals and organizations. The Center, which opened last month, is thought to be the first in the United States where children are able to engage in activities and caregivers have access to needed information.
“The champion recruiter of volunteers for the Center, and herself a devoted volunteer, Gwen Elliott poured her heart and soul into this comfort zone for children and their caregivers waiting to visit loved ones at the Jail,” said Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation Executive Director Claire Walker. “We grieve the loss of our friend and champion, and we are deeply grateful to Dan Onorato for proposing to commemorate Gwen by naming the Family Activity Center for her.”
Commander Elliott died on Monday, May 14, 2007, of cancer at the age of 62. When she retired from the Pittsburgh Police, she founded Gwen’s Girls, a non-profit organization for young, unwed mothers and other struggling girls. Her children, Kathie and James Elliott, joined the Chief Executive as he unveiled the sign for the Gwendolyn June Campbell Elliott Family Activity Center.