Current News & Events

June 20, 2017

Youth Day in Baton Rouge, LA

NHS Awarded as Employment First Provider On June 7, the Wraparound Agency in Baton Rouge helped sponsor the Louisiana Youth Day at the State Capitol Building. In support of Children’s Mental Health Awareness, this annual event raises awareness about mental health and other important issues affecting Louisiana youth. Children and families had the opportunity to interact with State Representatives, Senators and other officials to share ideas for improving the services, programs, and systems that serve youth.

<< Pictured are Carolina Jones, Program Director, and Ashley Bauer, Community Resource Specialist, of Baton Rouge Wraparound Agency

June 20, 2017

Fresh Start Gives Back to the Community

Fresh Start partnered with the Philadelphia Office of the Managing Director on Thursday, June 15 to repair and refresh an old community garden in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. The garden that was originally created about six years ago has been overgrown and in disrepair for about 3 years. Fresh Start, along with the city of Philadelphia, coordinated with partners, community organizations, and local residents to rebuild the community garden adjacent to Fresh Start recovery program located at 2868 Frankford Avenue. The garden now consists of 16 raised beds that will allow members of the community to not only help maintain the garden, but to also have full access to the organic vegetables of their assigned garden beds. Fresh Start staff and residents worked in the garden, hosted the BBQ, and interacted with neighbors in an effort to display NHS’s willingness to give back to the communities in which we operate. The day was a great success!


Fresh Start Gives Back to the Community
Fresh Start Gives Back to the Community
June 19, 2017

NHS Foundation’s 19th Annual Golf Classic

Mother Nature waited until 5 pm to end the NHS Foundation’s 19th Annual Golf Classic a little early with torrential rain, thunder, and lightening on Monday, June 19. However, that didn’t end the fun and goodwill from the attendees as they headed into the clubhouse for a delicious dinner and to bid on some great auction items. With more than 105 golfers playing a Scramble on a hot and humid day, the NHS Foundation raised over $277,000 in support of NHS programs and services. This year’s outing featured Fresh Start’s Recovery House Scholarship program, and how the Foundation subsidizes funding for an additional six months of housing and support beyond the state funded maximum of 90 days. Special guest Kelly B. shared her personal and inspiring journey of recovery and how the scholarship program helped her to get a job, become more independent, and to maintain her recovery efforts. We applaud and thank Kelly for her participation and for sharing her story with us. Special thanks to Board Chairman Mike Mitchell, former Chairman and CEO Senator Joe Rocks, members of the NHS Foundation and Parent Boards, CEO Joe Martz, and all the contributors for their incredible support over the past 19 years, helping to raise more than $3 million from this event for NHS programs and services!

June 08, 2017

NHS Awarded as Employment First Provider

NHS Awarded as Employment First Provider

NHS was recently recognized as an Employment First Provider by the Association of People Supporting Employment First for our commitment to the individuals we serve living an everyday life in the community, also known as the framework for Employment First. Being a part of everyday life in the community includes employment, and this award recognizes that we believe all citizens have abilities, strengths, and talents. It confirms our belief in "real work for real pay." NHS is honored to receive this award and grateful for the opportunity to help our individuals become employed and contributing members in their communities.


June 08, 2017

Mickey’s Team – 15 Years Strong

Mickey’s Team – 15 Years Strong

Since 2003, NHS Allegheny Valley School staff members have participated in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to honor Mickey Coleman, an employee who worked for NHS/AVS for more than 20 years and who lost her battle with cancer in 2002. Mickey’s Team, which typically has 40-60 members, gathers each Mother’s Day in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park to walk with breast cancer survivors, and their family members and friends, to raise awareness and funds. Over the past 15 years, NHS/AVS employees have raised more than $28,000 to support breast cancer research and wellness programs through the Komen Foundation.

“The team members run or walk each year to honor Mickey,” states Assistant Regional Executive Director Roni Erath. “Mickey’s positive attitude and strong work ethic influenced so many of us, and we admire and remember her for her unsurpassed dedication to the consumers and staff.”


June 1, 2017

Mental Health Association Bell of Hope Dinner 2017

NHS was well represented at the Annual Bell of Hope dinner held by the Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA on May 25 in Philadelphia. The event honored State Representative Gene Digirolomo (R, Bucks) for his work in supporting behavioral health services, particularly substance abuse services. Pictured in the photo (from left) Rep. Digirolomo, Lisa Quintana, director of Permanent Supported Housing program and a constituent of the Representative, George Ruiz, Mobile Psych Rehab Specialist, Shayla Day, Certified Peer Specialist and Josh Vigderman, Executive Director, NHS Parkside.


Mental Health Association Bell of Hope Dinner 2017
June 1, 2017

NHS/AVS Athletes Participate in Special Olympics

On May 13, more than 50 athletes from NHS/AVS’ Pittsburgh Campus, Patricia Hillman Miller Campus (PHMC), and Allegheny and Beaver County Group Homes participated in the 2017 Allegheny County Special Olympics Summer Games. Individuals from NHS/AVS competed with their fellow athletes from around the area in events including wheelchair races, various track and field events, golf putting, bocce, and the MATP program (Motor Activity Training). NHS/AVS has been a part of the annual summer games for more than 35 years, with the first games hosted at the Pittsburgh Campus in the late 70’s. A special shout-out to Pittsburgh Campus Program Instructor Ashley Hirsh who performed the National Anthem in sign language during the opening ceremonies, and to NHS Staff Development Executive Carol Erzen for her role in helping the local Special Olympics organization plan this spectacular event each year.

“It takes an amazing group of volunteers to support the Allegheny County Special Olympic Summer games,” commented Carol Erzen. “We could not have done it without so many staff and volunteers from NHS/AVS.” Special thanks to: Amanda Thomas (SFR program coordination), Jeff D’Eramo (Pittsburgh Campus coordination), Rick Pattinato (PHMC coordination) and Mary Curtz (coordinator of the MATP program).

May 25, 2017

Italian American War Vets Host Cruise on the Three Rivers

More than 250 consumers and employees from NHS Allegheny Valley School (NHS/AVS), NHS, and Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children enjoyed a cruise on the Three Rivers as guests of the Italian American War Veterans (IAWV) on May 18. The journey aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet’s Empress was the 30th IAWV “Sail for Smiles” cruise. Guests were greeted by members of the IAWV and the Gateway Clipper staff as they boarded the vessel and settled in for a two hour cruise that featured a ventriloquist performance by retired KDKA meteorologist Dennis Bowman, and music by the Red Letter Hymnal Band of Christ Church at Grove Farm, Sewickley. The warm weather brought participants to the top deck of the boat to dance and enjoy the city views. The vessel cruised past Station Square, the Carnegie Science Center, PNC Park, Heinz Field and many other well known tourist spots in Pittsburgh. “How lucky the clients and staff are to have these outings. It makes life richer,” stated NHS/AVS Franklin Group Home employee Marie Brozenic.

This outing was made possible by the Italian American War Veterans, their sponsors and underwriters. We are grateful to the Veterans for their service and for their support of the event. A special shout-out to IAWV Tony Ficarri for his efforts with the 30th annual event!

May 26, 2017

Play Ball

The 2017 Spring Miracle League season is underway. NHS/AVS is represented by 120 individuals on 10 teams. Individuals and staff members from the Pittsburgh Campus and from the following group homes are participating: Barclay, Buckskin, Brodhead II, Clearview, Clinton, Evergreen, Ewings Mill I& II, Fox, Galey, Green Garden, Hookstown, Malcolm, Maratta, Nolte, Nyetimber, Ohioview, Patterson, Pine, Regina, Snyder I & II, Windy Ghoul, and Wiltshire. We are grateful to all the House Managers and staff members who serve as team buddies, helping to make each game a special night out for the participants.

About the game...
Games last approximately one hour with each team playing two innings. The National Anthem is sung before each game. Between the two innings participants, coaches, buddies and fans sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Each team member takes a turn at bat and circles the bases. Staff members, volunteers and fans cheer on the players as they come up to bat and assist them in the outfield, as needed. All games end in a tie. The teams are playing ball every Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) now through June 29. We hope to see more fans in the stands! The Pirates Charities Miracle League Field is located in Cranberry Township, PA at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Sportsplex at Graham Park (260 Graham Park Drive, Cranberry Township, PA 16066). Come out to cheer on our teams!


2017 Spring Miracle League season is underway

 

May 18, 2017

NHS Participates in Trauma Summit 2017

NHS partnered with the Bucks-Mont Collaborative with their "Trauma & Resilience: Creating Organizations & Communities That help Heal" 10th Community Summit on May 18. NHS Executive Director for Bucks and Montgomery Counties Carolyn Lewis, PsyD led a panel discussion on trauma, its many forms, and how it affects those we serve and our own staff. The summit, attended by more than 300 people, focused on learning about trauma and how, together, organizations and communities can be more responsive to the wounds of our individuals served, our coworkers, our neighbors, and our families and ourselves.

The event featured over 20 community agencies that provide Human Services in Susquehanna County and was initiated to make residents of Susquehanna County more aware of the resources available to them. NHS NEPA and Tri-Valley Care were pleased to be invited and to share information about our services with individuals and stakeholders.


NHS Participates in Trauma Summit 2017

Pictured, L-R: Diane Dagenham, M.Ed., Lakeside Global Initiative; Carolyn Lewis; Kerri Flatau, Ed.S, NCSP, Garner Valley School District, Mary Dressler-Carre, MSN, CRNP, Abington-Jefferson Health Children's Clinic; and Scott Hutchinson, MDiv, MS, St. Andrews UCC & Touchstone Veterans Outreach.

May 18, 2017

Visit to the Planetarium

The NHS Stepping Stones Program in McMurray, PA visited the Carnegie Science Center Planetarium on May 5. With the generous support and grant from the CentiMark Foundation, more than 25 kids from the program had an “out of this world” experience. The kids and staff had a blast sitting inside the portable, inflatable dome! They learned about the stars, planets and the solar system, as well as how big our galaxy really is. After learning about the solar system, everyone was ready for lunch, so they enjoyed a delicious picnic outside! Thank you, CentiMark Foundation, for this wonderful opportunity!

Visit to the Planetarium
Visit to the Planetarium
Visit to the Planetarium
May 18, 2017

Develop-Abilities Program Celebrates 25 Years

On May 13, the NHS Develop-Abilities program celebrated its 25th anniversary. The group of about 20 people with intellectual disabilities meets every Saturday to participate in various activities that build interpersonal, social, and coping skills. They also come together to share their life experiences, and to ask the group for support and encouragement. Norm Vetter and Jay Cantor have been the facilitators for over 15 years, and we thank them for their continuous support and commitment to the program members. The anniversary celebration included awards presented to each group member, a walk down memory lane, and remarks from guests including, Senior Clinical Analyst Richard Lewis, Regional Executive Alex Canavan, Executive Director of the NHS Foundation Sylvia Purnell, Executive Vice President Terry McNelis, and family members. The event was capped off with lunch and tasty desserts.

Develop-Abilities Program Celebrates 25 Years

May 11, 2017

In Celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month - A Foster Care Success

Ryan, a little boy in foster care, officially joined the Darkoanim family and the NHS family on May 2! Maxwell Darkoanim is a Behavior Technician at the NHS Woodhaven Center in Philadelphia. Several years ago, his church sister, Henrietta Dua, told Maxwell and his wife Julianna about foster parenting through NHS. Maxwell and Julianna learned more about the program and decided they would like to open their hearts and home to a child in need. They completed the approval process and waited for a placement. Jane Cramer, Foster Care Director, contacted Maxwell on October 17, 2014 to ask if he and his wife were able to take an emergency placement of an 8 year old boy. A few hours later, Ryan arrived at his home. He was frightened after experiencing several traumatic events in his short life. Maxwell and Julianna worked with Ryan to build up his trust and help him heal. He received BHRS services through NHS to further help him. On May 28, 2015 Maxwell and Julianna formally agreed to adopt Ryan. Little did they know, it would take almost two years to complete the process because the adoption was contested. The wait and court proceedings were very stressful, but Maxwell and Julianna’s love of Ryan and faith gave them the strength to proceed. Ryan’s Godmother, Nana Yaa Kwarteng, a Unit Supervisor at the NHS Woodhaven Center was a great support to the family during the long wait. It was quite the celebration when Ryan’s adoption was final last week. His church, NHS, CYS, and birth families were all in attendance to mark this special day! Congratulations to the Darkoanim family and to Ryan!

In Celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month - A Foster Care Success
In Celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month - A Foster Care Success

May 11, 2017

Swim-A-Thon Benefits NHS/AVS

Since 2013, seniors of the Seneca Valley School District in Western PA have held a Swim-A-Thon at NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus. This year’s event was led by senior Jennifer Listwak with help from PHMC’s Program Director Mary Curtz. The Swim-A-Thon was held in April and paired students from Seneca Valley High School with NHS/AVS individuals to see how many laps they could swim in the Pittsburgh Campus pool. The event was well received by everyone involved. The interactions between the students and consumers resulted in lots of smiles and laughter – another sign of the event’s success!

We are grateful to the friends, family members, teammates and staff members who supported this year’s swim-a-thon which raised $2,870! Funds will be used to purchase exercise bikes and/or sensory equipment for the Pittsburgh Campus. A big thank you to Jennifer Listwak for leading this effort, and to everyone that contributed to its success!

Swim-A-Thon Benefits NHS/AVS

May 11, 2017

Visit to the National Aviary

Using their Clear Touch White Board, the NHS/AVS Edward J. Zapp Computers Class followed the National Aviary as they welcomed two Eurasian Eagle Owlets that hatched earlier this year. The group was excited to visit the Aviary in April and see first-hand what they had been studying. Everyone loved seeing the owlets and their parents live at an outdoor exhibit close to the nursery. They toured the other areas of the Aviary including their favorites, the penguins and tropical birds. In addition to visiting the exhibits, the group had the pleasure of eating lunch at Atria’s Kookaburra Kitchen. The outing was made possible by support from the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Susquehanna County Human Services Resources Day

May 11, 2017

NHS DDTT in Westmoreland County – 2017 Innovations Award Winners for Recovery Services

As previously communicated, NHS congratulates the NHS Dual Diagnosis Treatment Teams (DDTT) in Westmoreland County, PA for receiving the 2017 Innovations Award for “Recovery” services! The DDTT programs were recently honored at a special awards dinner recognizing innovative leaders and visionaries throughout the region. DDTT is comprised of a specialized mobile team of professionals including a Psychiatrist, a Behavioral Specialist, Recovery Coordinators, a Nurse, and a Pharmacist, providing treatment, support, and education for individuals in the community diagnosed with a mental illness and co-morbidity development disability. Great job, DDTT, on this well deserved recognition!