Kathy Lachenauer
KathyFamilyHouse_NEXTUp_Medium
Photo by Jacquelyn Cynkar


Kathy Lachenauer, executive director of Family House, is originally from Chicago but has lived in Pittsburgh since 1998.

Monday, January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today is a day off from work to honor MLK Day, but 30-plus high school students from Shady Side Academy will be doing a service project of making lasagna at Family House for the guests who stay with us. In the morning I will swing by to say hello and convey my thanks. Joining me will be Mollie Lang, a Family House board member who is also on the Shady Side Academy young alumni board. The kids have such great energy, which our guests so appreciate (as well as the hot meal!). And, this is what I love most about Pittsburgh – how people roll up their selves and get involved in the community. I’ve lived many years in more trendy places like Palo Alto, CA and Boulder, CO but never have seen the giving back spirit like I have in Pittsburgh.

In the afternoon I’m looking forward to taking my middle school age sons, Jack and Gus, to the Carnegie Mellon University MLK Celebration Day. CMU does such an amazing job of celebrating his legacy and inviting the community to join students, faculty and staff. We will go to CMU’s Cohon University Center to hear local high school and college students read their award-winning essays on issues of race and check out The Race Card Project, where people condense their observations and experiences about race into one sentence with just six words.

Tuesday, January 20

I’ll start off the day with exercise in Frick Park. My husband, Al, found us our great home that borders Frick Park on the Rosemary Trail. If we are lucky enough to get snow, I’ll put on my cross-country skis, head right out the door and get a few early morning miles in just gliding on skis down Frick’s Homewood Trail, up the Biddle Trail, down the Overlook Trail and back up the Tranquil Trail (a gorgeous loop on fall or snowy winter days!). If not enough snow, I typically put “Yak Trackers” on, which are little claws on your running shoes to give you traction and stability for an early morning winter jog.

The rest of the day brings several meetings downtown with a former board member at FCC Capital and the staff at the Fine Foundation.

Wednesday, January 21

I will find time to squeeze in lunch at Brioche Dorée in Oakland – which is on the first floor of the University Club off of Fifth Avenue. The food is great and service is quick. We love that every week the café donates bread to the guests at Family House.

Typically by Wednesday night I’ve run out of fresh veggies and bread for my family’s dinner, so I will swing by the East End Food Co-Op, which has terrific produce and breads with an emphasis on vegetarian options.

Thursday, January 22

I’ll start my morning with coffee with Alison Barth, a neuroscientist at CMU and great friend, who helps me think about everything from memory to learning issues. We’ll meet at my favorite coffee spot – Make Your Mark ARTspace & Coffeehouse in Point Breeze.

In the evening, I will stop by the Shadyside Family House for a visit with Frank and Debbie Coonelly, who will prepare a meal to the guests staying at the house. I will also say hello to Bruce Coleman and Jeannine Spinola who will be hosting a Young Business Leaders meeting in our house – this group is made up of young professionals who find ways to support Family House while having fun social time. They welcome new members.

Friday, January 23

In the late afternoon, I will jump on the Carlow Campus School bus with the 60-person student ski club as a parent chaperone. We will drive about one hour to Hidden Valley for school night. Hidden Valley has a great discount for ski clubs and it’s such fun seeing everyone enjoying the activity and brisk night air.

Saturday, January 24

I will start my day with a one-hour Spin Class at Steel Revolution. It’s a great new cardio workout place off of Walnut Street in Shadyside founded by women instructors who in their day jobs are working important jobs like high school guidance counselors.

My sons Jack and Gus are on the Carlow Campus School basketball team and they will have a home game against St. Bonaventure in the afternoon. I will be selling Gatorade at our volunteer concession stand.

Sunday, January 25

Jack and Gus will finish their science fair projects for the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences competition, and Al and I will sneak away for a Spin Class at Steel Revolution, or run in Frick Park, then prep for the week ahead.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...