Family Volunteering Challenge

Many people want to volunteer but think it’s too hard when they have kids.  Now, the United Way is making it easy for families with their “Families for Good Challenge.” They want to get families from around our region to volunteer 5,000 hours altogether by May 20, and everyone can join in.

The Tuttle family of Fox Chapel has already started. They gather at their dining room table —  not to eat, but to volunteer. 8-year-old twins Ella and Wylie help their mom and dad while their baby sister sleeps upstairs.  They are assembling toiletry kits for homeless people and literacy kits for children who don’t have enough books.

This is one of many volunteer ideas on the United Way’s #FamiliesForGoodChallenge website.

Parents Maya and Chris Tuttle have been volunteering for years with their kids.  Wylie remembers, “Once we helped to make the Aspinwall Park,” and Ella adds, “at school we raise money.”  The also like to have lemonade stands and donate the money to charities they want to support like Bethlehem Haven or Children’s Hospital.

It’s a conscious effort to teach their children how to help people who don’t have as much or who are going through a rough time.  “Not only is it the right thing to do for them,” Chris says, “but hopefully it’s a cyclical thing, and maybe the people we help today will help someone else out down the line.”

Maya adds, “Making other people’s days just a little easier or better is something we can all do, and (our children) can do, and it’s so simple.”

Lois Mufaka Martin with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania says they’re facilitating these volunteer projects because parents asked for ways to teach children about compassion and empathy.  She says it’s as easy as buying “plus one” when shopping.  “So if they’re buying shampoo for their children, don’t forget to add one large shampoo for someone who doesn’t have.  Add one large conditioner for someone who doesn’t have.”

Some of the other organized volunteer projects that are part of the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge include tidying up a park in Clairton on May 6, sprucing up the playground at Turtle Creek Park on June 10 and going door to door spreading the word about summer programs for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on May 20.  The website also has more ideas for volunteering at home, including making kits for seniors, veterans, and women in shelters.

For more information on this and lots of other helpful information for parents and families, go to