Thomas Kilcrease

Rev. Thomas Kilcrease (Photo by Germaine Watkins)

Rev. Thomas Kilcrease (Photo by Germaine Watkins)

Through its ups and downs, Homewood has remained a neighborhood where togetherness is a cherished value. Many community members have established initiatives to keep Homewood from becoming disjointed. One of them is Thomas Kilcrease, who has worked to spread a positive influence in the community. Now, he is helping others, especially young people, to leave their own legacy.

Kilcrease, who is 29, grew up in Homewood, with both sides of his family hailing from the area. He attended Crescent Elementary on Bennett Street, and continued his education in the Penn Hills School District.

Kilcrease has been involved in community mentorship, fellowship, and ministry since his teenage years. In his youth, he discovered his service calling as a part of Bethany Baptist Church. He joined the church’s Youth Christian Conquerors (YCC) program and in 2001, received the opportunity to work as a summer missionary in Mexico at 14 years old. His ability to bring in teenagers from around Homewood and encourage them to participate in Bible study and church activities allowed for the expansion of YCC.

After returning to Pittsburgh from Liberty University, where he studied psychology with a focus in child and adolescent development, Kilcrease began heading YCC as its youth pastor. In addition to regular programming for Homewood children, he also takes his students to Summer’s Best Two Weeks camp, a co-ed Christian sports summer program. His involvement in the church and YCC not only strengthened his love for God and his community, but also his leadership skills. Through Bethany, he has made connections with Faison Elementary, Homewood Children’s Village, the Homewood-Brushton YMCA, and the Lighthouse Project.

Earlier this year, Kilcrease was ordained as a deacon at Bethany. He continues to minister to young people and other members of the church as a mentor and friend. He also has helped with community projects, such as building a neighborhood playground with KaBoom!, spending his time with young people as an academic assistant, and participating in community clean-ups. Kilcrease, who received his master’s degree in education from Liberty University, is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in educational psychology at Regent University. However, he is still motivated by his friends, family, and neighbors in Homewood to continue his service. His wish is to see the community embrace and exceed its potential. The relationships he has built with young people has made a lasting impact on their lives as well as his own.