Cami Teacoach of Marshall has degrees in journalism, sociology, and psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in social work and public health. But her most important credentials are not hanging on the wall; they are found within her kind heart.
In February 2021, she founded VolunTOTS, an organization committed to teaching young children the importance of giving back to their communities. With chapters now located across two states, VolunTOTs coordinates volunteer opportunities for children and their families, focusing on “tots, teens, and everyone in-between.”
In addition to volunteer work, foster care has always been on the mind and in the heart of Teacoach. After seeing the somewhat sad conditions of the visitation rooms in which foster children were meeting with their biological parents, she decided to act. With her network of volunteers, she new there would be many helpers and givers to step up to the plate with her.
Teacoach called upon the expertise of Kara Huffmyer from Happy Lark Home Organizing and Melanie Marsh, a well-known realtor in the area to assist with the project that has become known as the Bridge to Home initiative. Partnering with Pressley Ridge Allegheny County Treatment Foster Care, this team -‑ plus a host of loving volunteers – has totally renovated a foster care visitation center located on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Five rooms received fresh paint, new furniture and décor, plus age-appropriate toys, activities, books, and more. The rooms are each geared toward a specific age group and are all named after Pittsburgh bridges, as a nod to the initiative’s name.
In the early morning hours of February 3, 2023 (in freezing cold temperatures, no less), the entire team gathered for a very special ribbon cutting ceremony. Hard work, dedication, and loving hearts came together to make this project a success.
The goal of foster care is always family reunification, and by giving these important spaces some TLC, Teacoach says she wants to send this message to biological parents: “We believe in you. You can do this. It takes a village.”
The efforts of Teacoach, Marsh, and Huffmyer along with Pressley Ridge and an amazing team of volunteers have brought the Bridge to Home initiative to life, supporting parents and children through life’s challenges.
To learn more about how you can help, visit VolunTOTS.org or PressleyRidge.org/FosterCare