For Preston Hollow neighbor Jen Fahrenbruch, volunteering is a way to spend time with her family. The mom of four boys and one girl, all between the ages of 4 and 10, is a board member for Family Gateway and co-chair of the charity’s “Day to Play” event. 

Family Gateway, a nonprofit founded in 1986, provides support to homeless children and families. The organization works with churches and groups around Dallas to connect families with the resources and support they need. In 2018, the charity fielded 4,800 calls for help, according to its website. 

Fahrenbruch had a hand in planning the second annual “Day to Play” event, which provides families an opportunity to play together and learn about volunteerism. The celebration April 27, at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Annette Strauss Artist Square, includes activities such as DJ lessons, bounce houses, obstacle courses, games, a disco and more.

“This celebrates families — all different types, backgrounds, sizes, compositions, colors and privileges,” Fahrenbruch says. “The event lets them celebrate each other and do the one thing we all know and love to do best, which is play.” 

Fahrenbruch started volunteering for Family Gateway about two years ago. 

The experience provides her children, who attend the Alcuin School, a unique perspective, she says. 

The Fahrenbruch kids help tutor children through Family Gateway, serve free sit-down dinners for holidays and volunteer at a child daycare program that allows parents to search a holiday store for gifts. They’ve also attended and played at charity basketball games and packed bags of food and produce for families in need. 

“For five kids, there’s always a need to rally others to play fun games and sports with each other,” she says.

When asked how she balances her volunteer work and mothering five active kids, Fahrenbruch doesn’t know how to explain it. 

“What can I compare it to? I don’t know any different,” she says. “There’s always something going on at home.”

For more info, go to

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.