creating a family of friends

Ali Callahan knows the value of family. Being the only child of Greek immigrants is a proud part of her history. So, it isn’t surprising that Ali’s greatest connection to this community is the family she’s built here by choice: a network she calls, “my Mt.-Lebanon-girlfriends family.”

Ali knew no one except the people in her own household when she arrived here from Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2006.

Her husband, Bill, was starting a new position with Pennsylvania’s state historic preservation office. This prompted the relocation of her family of four, including Jim (now a Jefferson Middle School 8th grader) and Natalie (currently a Mt. Lebanon High School Junior).

Upon arriving in Mt. Lebanon, Ali used her friendly nature to build relationships with other parents and anchor her family in the community.

School pick ups at Hoover Elementary were events full of laughter, car pools and playdate exchanges. Soccer games, where Ali often had a camera in her hand and was known for sharing her photos with other parents, were opportunities to get to know still other families.

Over time, one group emerged as illustrative of Ali’s Mt. Lebanon family: the Beach Girls.

The group was born when eight Hoover moms planned a weekend vacation together to Bethany Beach, Delaware. This immediately became an annual event, now in its 10th year.

The women have an insoluble pact to continue their pilgrimage to sit in the sand, no matter how old they get.

Because even when the weather requires sweatshirts, the time to gather without husbands and children is cherished. And the Beach Girls have found that the family nature of their friendships is essential for handling both life’s surprises and triumphs.

Note: The writer of this profile, Nichola Moretti, is also lucky enough to be a Beach Girl.

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