Pittsburgh mom creates VolunTOTS to help little kids volunteer

If you’ve ever tried to find a place to volunteer with your younger children, it’s almost impossible.

When one local mom encountered that, she created her own organization for little kids to volunteer, and it’s taking off.

Cami Teacoach, of Marshall, created the organization in February when no one would allow her 3-year-old son, Bennet, to volunteer. “I know he can do this,” Teacoach said, “and we’re going to figure this out if, and if I have to do it myself, that’s what we’re going to do, and that’s what ended up happening.”

She put the idea for VolunTOTS on Facebook, volunteer projects for kids three years old through kindergarten, and it took off.

“At the end of the first weekend, we ended up having 400 people in the Facebook group,” Teacoach said.  “Immediately, VolunTOTS took on a life of its own that I had never anticipated, but it’s really exciting.”

“I want to help the Earth stay healthy,” said Keira Pater about why she volunteered with VolunTOTS last month to pick up trash along a trail in Frick Park with other families. Her mom, Alyssa Pater, said, “I think it’s an important resource to get younger kids volunteering. It’s never too young to give back and be considerate of others.”

There are now 1,200 members of VolunTOTS, and Cami is working on forming a legal non-profit and website.

With one project each month, they’ve already planted seeds at Millvale Gardens, donated toys at the Islamic Center and packed and delivered “thank you” baggies for our healthcare heroes.

And Cami’s now forming VolunTYKES for kids from first to fifth grade to volunteer too. The desire to give back all started with Cami’s own mom and grandmother. “You give back. You are grateful for what you have. Make sure that you lift up everyone else who’s around you.”

VolunTOTS next event is August 21st from 4 to 6 pm. They’ll be packing 40 backpacks for underprivileged kids for the group “Hello Neighbor.”

Want to learn more? Click onto this story: I can do it! VolunTOTS empowers little kids to do good in Pittsburgh communities.