Story and photo by Debbi Casini Klein | Audio edited by Louis D’Aria
Fourteen-year-old Ethan Woodfill recruited friends and classmates to form the Do-Something Club to better his community.
If it’s a Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., while most kids may be playing video games or at after-school activities, you may find Ethan holding his club meetings with fellow eighth graders at The Fire Escape Coffee Shop in Ben Avon, strategizing what community project to do next.
Ethan is the president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Do-Something Club — a club he started a year ago, when he read about the national club that involves kids making their community a better place.
He said thoughts of volunteering began at around age 10.
“I just always wanted to help people” Ethan said. ” I look out the window and see something wrong and just feel the need to help and do the best I can do.”
The Do-Something Club has grown to 16 members, including Sarah Bett, who is the vice president of the club.
“Ethan has inspired me to go into the community, be more involved and help others and be more grateful for what I have,” she said.
Ethan tries to tackle all kinds of causes that are important to him, including environmental issues, hunger, animals and bullying. Their most recent project was a successful food drive.
“We had a project called PB&J Slam. It was a food drive,” he said. “We collected 35 jars of peanut butter and jelly and took them to the North Borough’s food pantry, and the people there were so happy.”
Sometimes the reaction from other teens is not always so positive, but that hasn’t stopped Ethan.
“We’ve seen it all from ‘Oh, is that all that you do, you guys have no life,’ stuff like that, and we don’t think too much of it because we like to help people,” he said.
Ethan has even recruited his 10-year old brother Luke as a junior member. Luke has learned some valuable lessons from his big brother already.
“I just feel that everybody deserves to have stuff that everybody else has” Luke said. “He’s shown me that if you can put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything, and just because it’s hard, you shouldn’t give up!”