As Program Manager at United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Kiandra Foster oversees a number of critical programs that assist families in need. From helping thousands of low-income families in five counties access the Earned Income Tax Credit to preventing gender violence in all of its forms to working with area food pantries and homeless shelters, Kiandra is passionate about empowering others. An Austin native who has also lived in Denver, Kiandra resides in Point Breeze. This week, we can all join Kiandra in supporting the Father’s Day Pledge—a statewide campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Monday, June 12

I’ll head right to work at United Way of Southwestern PA, where I have a meeting with United Way and the FISA Foundation staff to plan upcoming events with Southwest PA Says No More—an initiative that supports innovative solutions to prevent gender violence from occurring.

During the meeting, we’re planning to tie up loose ends for the upcoming Father’s Day Pledge Event on June 16. We’ll also be discussing an upcoming Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) training, being hosted and supported by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The CBIM program provides high school athletic coaches with tools to have conversations with athletes about healthy relationship skills—teaching lessons they can carry into adulthood.

Tuesday, June 13

I’ll get going at 6 a.m. with a trip to LA Fitness in Bakery Square. I have a great trainer, and we usually work on lifting and circuit training in my Tuesday morning sessions.

I’ll rush into work to attend part of United Way’s Board of Directors meeting, where I’ll encourage our board members to sign the Father’s Day Pledge.

Later that day, I’ll join a webcast with the IRS to hear updates on the outcomes of Free Tax Prep Programs nationally and begin to plan how the United Way can continue providing this valuable service in the 2018 tax season.

After work, I’ll head home to Point Breeze to relax and make dinner. On Tuesday nights, I typically make teriyaki steak and shrimp, a small salad and brown rice for dinner. I’ll have strawberries and grapes for dessert.

Kiandra Foster

Kiandra Foster with Sam Mudrak, a volunteer free tax preparer, at United Way’s Good Neighbor Day Awards.

Wednesday, June 14

Wednesday is a normal work day for me. I have some meetings, but mostly, I’ll be at my desk working away.

In the evening, I’m excited to head out with my colleague, Kathryn Vargas, Director of APOST at United Way, to go to a networking event at Steel Cactus where we hope to meet other professionals doing great work in the region.

Thursday, June 15

I’ll get back to LA Fitness at 6 a.m. to work out with my trainer.

This will be a long (but exciting) day, as I’ll be working on homelessness prevention and doing some volunteering.

I’ll spend my afternoon volunteering for United Way’s Build-a-Bike event, where 200 volunteers will help 150 community kids build their very own bikes. For most of the kids, this will be their first bike, so it’s always moving to watch their excitement as they learn to build and ride a bike for the first time with the help of caring community volunteers.

This annual event is always one of my favorites because it reminds me of how empowered I felt learning to ride a bike when I was a child. It’s so great to be able to pass that on.

Friday, June 16

Another crazy day! Southwest PA Says No More’s Father’s Day Pledge event will start at noon in the Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard. The Father’s Day Pledge encourages parents, coaches and adults to live in a way that helps prevent violence against women and girls.

And after quite a hectic work week, I’ll be celebrating my birthday with some friends over dinner at Green Forest Churrascaria in Penn Hills—one of my favorites.

Kiandra Foster

Kiandra Foster and friends participating in Pittsburgh’s Night Nation in 2016.

Saturday, June 17

I like to get the weekend going with hot yoga to relax after a work week. My favorite class is the 90-minute morning Bikram at I am Yoga Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill.

I usually follow a yoga class with a little treat to myself. My guilty pleasure is a waffle cone at Coldstone Creamery. I will pick up some white lilies at the Squirrel Hill flower shop before heading back home.

In the early afternoon, I’ll read, enjoy a show on Netflix or head to the Waterfront movie theater with friends.

I’ll spend the latter part of the afternoon traveling to Toronto, where I’ll join friends for drinks to celebrate a friend’s birthday at our favorite local bar.

After celebrating Pittsburgh’s Pride Week last week, I’m excited to attend Toronto’s with a group of friends!

Sunday, June 18

Typically, I love to have Sunday brunch at Social in Bakery Square, Eleven in the Strip District or Local on the South Side. I love to chat with friends over French toast and a mimosa, catching up on all that we’ve done over the last week and talking about plans for the next.

See who else is NEXT Up here.

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About The Author

Arts + Events editor

Former arts & culture editor of Pop City; worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art. Co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania and co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. In a band called The Garment District; founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.

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