Gilfillan Trail

Harry Funk/The Almanac

The Gilfillan Trail is one of many prime places to walk or run in Upper St. Clair.

As someone who runs to help maintain her good health, Danielle Pirain is encouraging others to join in.

Of course, taking a walk around the neighborhood and beyond also is fine as far as she’s concerned.

“I think it’s a good idea, now that the weather is changing, to get to know your community,” she said. “Upper St. Clair has so many wonderful routes, and places to go and explore.”

With that in mind, she and Terry Kish, both Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair trustees, have come up with a program called “Step Out St. Clair!” as a way to motivate fellow township residents to get moving.

“This is a great initiative at a good time, when everyone wants to get outside,” she said, referring to the combination of agreeable temperatures and a significant portion of the population becoming vaccinated against COVID-19.

Launching June 5, Step Out St. Clair! is intended to encourage folks of all ages to keep track of how many steps they take, using a pedometer or one of the many applications available for mobile devices. And then the goal is to aim for more and more steps.

“We’re trying to make it really easy in that we have an Excel spreadsheet that people can use,” Kish said. “You just put in your daily step count, and it will track it for you.”

She and Pirain suggested inviting others to join in walks or runs as a way to socialize while moving.

The initiative is scheduled to wrap up Aug. 7, with count logs to be turned in the next day. Prizes will be awarded for participants in various age groups.

“We thought this would be a good way for people to get back outside, to see their neighbors, to become a little bit more healthy in the process, and to try to encourage people to make walking or running a daily habit,” Kish said.

They also want to make a concerted effort to remind motorists to avoid distracted driving, such as using their cellphones, and to remain focused on their surroundings while watching for pedestrians.

Pirain and Kish are co-chairing the community foundation’s health focus area – the other areas are art and Science, Math, Engineering and Technology – and they plan to develop a new initiative every other month. In August, the concentration will be on the importance of staying hydrated, especially during the heat and humidity of late summer.

Organized by civic-minded residents nearly three decades ago, the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair has a goal of providing financial support for special programs and projects that are not funded by tax dollars.

That includes awarding grants, such as one this year to the nonprofit Horses With Hope, a therapeutic riding center located at Gilfillan Farm in Upper St. Clair, toward the purchase of a mounting block.

“We really encourage the community to apply for these grants in any of the three major focus areas,” Kish said.

Other recent mini-grants went to Book Buddies for collection and resale of used SAT Prep Books, Tri-Community South EMS for the purchase of specialized equipment to sanitize ambulances and the base station during the pandemic, and to provide assistance to more fragile members of the community.

The initial CFUSC event was a concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performed at Upper St. Clair High School March 27, 1993, raising $54,000 for the foundation.

In conjunction with Upper St. Clair’s Community Day, the foundation conducts a children’s toy duck race in McLaughlin Run. Although Community Day has been canceled the past two years, a virtual race took place this spring, using a random number generator to choose prize winners.

“We are so looking forward to it next year,” Kish said. “That’s definitely an Upper St. Clair tradition. I think that everybody loves to see those little ducks bobbing down the creek.”

For more information about Step Out St. Clair! and the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair, visit

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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