Youth

Beta Theta Pi Fraternity Preliminary Hearing by Justin Merriman

Parker Jax Yochim, 1 member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity arrives for the preliminary hearing at the Centre County courthouse on Monday Morning, June 12, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa. Today's hearing will determine whether the 18 brothers, as well as their fraternity, should stand trial for the death of Timothy Piazza.

Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Timothy Piazza, the 19-year-old pledge who died following a Feb. 2 event at the Beta Theta Pi frat house at Penn State University, leave the Centre County courthouse following a preliminary hearing on Monday Morning, June 12, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

Luke Visser, a member of the Beta Theta Pi frat house at Penn State University, leaves the Centre County courthouse following a preliminary hearing on Monday Morning, June 12, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa. Visser faces 56 counts: involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Timothy Piazza, the 19-year-old pledge who died following a Feb. 2 event at the Beta Theta Pi frat house at Penn State University, wait to enter the Centre County courthouse prior to a preliminary hearing on Monday, July 10, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

Piazza family attorney Tom Kline speaks with members of the media outside of the Centre County courthouse at the conclusion of the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Monday, July 10, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

Brendan Young, president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, arrives back at the Centre County courthouse for the continuation of the preliminary hearing in the death of Timothy Piazza, 19, who died following a Feb. 2 pledge event at the frat house at Penn State University, on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa. 

Young faces 200 counts including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, tampering with evidence, recklessly endangering another person, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, and unlawful acts relative to liquor.

As the preliminary hearing for the death of Tim Piazza continues, fog sits over Bellefonte, Pa., on Friday, Aug., 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

Leonard Ambrose, the attorney for Joe Sala, a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, arrives at the Centre County courthouse for a continuation of the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Aug. 30, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa. Sala faces 55 counts including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor.

Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity walk to the Centre County courthouse after a break in the 7th day of the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Aug. 31, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

Luke Visser, a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, arrives at the Centre County courthouse for verdict in the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Sept. 1, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa. Visser faces 56 counts including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Brendan Young, president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, stands in front of the Centre County courthouse after the verdict in the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Sept. 1, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa after a judge threw out the most serious charges for the fraternity members.

Tom Kline, the attorney for Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Timothy Piazza, 19, who died following a Feb. 2 pledge event at the Beta Theta Pi frat house at Penn State University, speaks with media in front of the Centre County courthouse after the verdict in the fraternity members' preliminary hearing on Sept. 1, 2017 in Bellefonte, Pa.

On Feb. 4, Tim Piazza, a sophomore pledge at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State University died after a night of heaving drinking and hazing by fraternity members. After falling down a flight of stairs and suffering sustained multiple traumatic injuries from the fall, it would be 12 hours until his fraternity brothers would call for help. In pretrial hearings that lasted throughout the summer, it ended with the most serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault dropped; however, 14 of the Beta brothers will still face a total of 328 criminal charges.

Dezmaire Baker by Justin Merriman

Dezmaire Baker, 17, gave birth to her son in eighth grade and is now a sophomore at Woodland Hills High School. Her son, Dorian, has just celebrated his second birthday.

Dezmaire Baker sits on the couch watching her 2-year-old son, Dorian, play at her family's Braddock home. Dezmaire gave birth to Dorian when she was in eighth grade.

Dorian, 2, plays with a flashlight at his Braddock home on Feb. 28, 2017.

Dorian Baker, 2, stands in the doorway of his Braddock home on Feb. 28, 2017. 

Dezmaire Baker, 17, poses for a portrait at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead on Feb. 16, 2017.

Ronnika Baker, 36, holds her grandson, Dorian, 2, in the dining room of their Braddock home on Feb. 28, 2017.

Dorian Baker, 2, lays on the ground and laughs at a family gathering to celebrate his 2nd birthday at his Braddock home on April 3, 2017.

Dezmaire Baker, 17, helps her son, Dorian, 2, to ride a scooter along the sidewalk in front of their Braddock home on April 3, 2017.

Ronnika Baker, 36, holds her grandson, Dorian, 2, as she sits on the porch of their Braddock home on April 3, 2017.

Dezmaire participates in the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Project ELECT Program, which helps low-income pregnant teens and teen parents focus on education, training and employment goals. Here, her son, Dorian, looks out the window at his grandmother, Ronnika Baker, 36, at their Braddock home.

As the family gathered for her son's second birthday, Dezmaire Baker watched after him and stood near the edge of the sidewalk to stop Dorian from running into the street.

Dezmaire gave birth in eighth grade. As a teen mom in Pittsburgh, she’s fighting to beat the odds and graduate. Read her story at PublicSource

Monet Spencer by Justin Merriman

Monet Spencer, 18, smiles as she is photographed in her Hill District apartment. Spencer was left homeless after her mother passed away in February 2016, leaving her and her twin brother to care for themselves. Spencer now lives on her own, in a subsidized apartment. Spencer attends Brashear High School and was recently accepted to Carlow University.

Monet Spencer, 18, walks from Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5 after tutoring young elementary students on February 13, 2017.  Thirty percent of Spencer's salary from her tutoring job helps pay for her apartment at Action Housing's My Place, which provides housing and intensive case management services to young people who have aged out of the foster care system in Allegheny County and are either homeless or at risk homelessness.

Monet Spencer reads to elementary students at Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5 on Feb. 8, 2017. She tutors at the school Mondays though Thursdays for a job through the Neighborhood Learning Alliance. 

Monet Spencer looks at a game with Tya Carter, 10, as Aminyah Dooley, 5, looks on after an after-school tutoring session at Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5. Spencer earns about $100 every two weeks from the tutoring job. She pays $50 a month in rent.

Monet Spencer, 18, left, sits with her best friend, Maya Smallwood, 18, at her North Side home where Maya and her mother took Spencer in to live after her mother died and she was left homeless. 

This is Monet Spencer's home. Here, she's looking through videos on her computer. She uses her phone to connect to the Internet through a hotspot. Spencer and her twin brother were considered homeless after their mother died. Spencer eventually acquired an apartment through ACTION-Housing's MyPlace Youth program. "It was the happiest day of my life," Spencer says about getting her own apartment.

Monet Spencer, 18, plays her flute during her band class at Brashear High School on February 16, 2017.  

Even after losing her mother and becoming homeless, Monet Spencer continued to make it to classes at Brashear High School. She was recently accepted to Carlow University.

Monet Spencer, 18, works on a computer during a study hall at Brashear High School on February 16, 2017.  

Monet Spencer, 18, walks home from her job tutoring at Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5 in Pittsburgh's Hill District on February 13, 2017.  

Monet Spencer, 18, was left homeless after her mother passed away in February 2016, leaving her and her twin brother to care for themselves. Spencer now lives on her own, in a subsidized apartment. Spencer attends Brashear High School and was recently accepted to Carlow University. You can read Monet's story at PublicSource.