Current News & Events

March 07, 2017

Autism Awareness Month is Coming Up

National Social Work Month2017 Join NHS as we recognize individuals with autism during the month of April, and Light it Up Blue on April 2!

Light it Up Blue is a campaign spearheaded by Autism Speaks to bring awareness to autism by shining a bright blue light on the issue. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, which represents that kickoff of Autism Awareness Month. During this time, world landmarks, buildings and iconic structures turn blue to show their support. In the past, the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Sydney Opera House and over 7000 other buildings and landmarks have participated in Light it Up Blue. NHS also encourages you to build awareness for autism. We challenge you to Light it Up Blue for those fighting hard to communicate to understand others. How can you do this?

  • Change existing light bulbs from white to blue
  • Put up blue Christmas lights in your windows or around your home
  • Challenge your street to become a “Blue-evard” by lighting every house up blue
  • Project the Light it Up Blue logo on a wall or a building
  • Put a Light it Up Blue sign in your yard
  • Use washable car window paint to show your support
  • Put up blue balloons in your office or on your mailbox
  • Dye a strip of your hair blue or use a blue clip-on hair extension
  • Use the hashtag #LIUB to be a part of Autism Awareness Month on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  • Turn your website, Facebook or Twitter profile blue or use the LIUB logo
  • Personalize your own LIUB Selfie Sign

Light it Up Blue – It is your time to shine! Visit for resources and tools to LIUB!

March 17, 2017

Goals for Giving 2017

The NHS Blue Thunder faced off against the NHS White Lightning at the 13th Annual Goals for Giving Hockey benefit on Sunday, March 12, 2017 to raise money in support of the mission of NHS and the NHS Human Services Foundation. The teams, comprised of hockey enthusiasts and Philadelphia hockey celebrities, “battled” each other on the ice, in a fierce – but friendly – competition at the Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philly. This year the Foundation raised more than $100,000 to support the NHS IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) Prom, the NHS Schools lunch program (Pantry for Pride), NHS Behavioral Health addiction services (Recovery House Scholarship), and other NHS programs. Debbie, an individual in our IDD program at NHS Woodhaven in Philadelphia, proudly dropped the puck to kick-off the game for her 13th time at the event! Many individuals, staff, and families also came out on a frigid Sunday afternoon to cheer on the teams.

A Meet and Greet Reception at the Southampton Room followed the exciting game, where guests had a chance to get autographs, and to take photos with the hockey celebrities. A huge thank you to all who supported Goals for Giving, especially Lintons Managed Services, the players, celebrities, sponsors,  donors, volunteers and NHS staff! 

Check out news coverage advertising the event and at the event on PHL17 and NBC10 News!

MArch 07, 2017

NHS Autism Center Open House and Ribbon Cutting

More than 250 families, providers, and state representatives in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas came out on March 7 to be part of the grand opening of the new NHS Autism Center in Louisiana! NHS CEO Joe Martz began the program and welcomed everyone to the event. Karen Markle, EVP of Education and Autism Services, introduced the new staff at the Center who gave tours and answered questions from the many families in need of support. After opening remarks, everyone gathered outside to witness the sign unveiling and ribbon cutting.

Due to her incredible support of NHS and for helping to develop the new facility, the Center has been named in recognition of Shelley Hendrix, advocate for children with autism. Shelley’s surprise reaction after the unveiling left everyone in happy tears! “My hope is that the Center will provide an additional resource to families that are living with autism and have that continuum of care that’s available to children…to make sure their needs are being met, not only for the person with autism, but for the whole family as well,” said Shelley. The NHS Autism Center officially opens on Monday, March 13.  

Visit to watch a clip of Karen Markle and Shelley Hendrix discuss the new NHS Autism Center with BR Proud host Chad Sabadie!

Check out news coverage advertising the event and at the event on PHL17 and NBC10 News!

March 07, 2017

Congratulations, Tom Morgan, Executive Management Award Winner

National Social Work Month2017Tom Morgan, Vice President for Information Technology, was recently acknowledged and awarded an Executive Management Award from SmartCEO. Tom received his award at the 2017 Philadelphia Executive Management Awards celebration held at the Ballroom at the Ben in Philadelphia on March 8.

The Executive Management Awards program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of the region’s executive management all-stars. These individuals uphold the highest ethics, lead collaboratively and creatively, and enhance and support the organization’s mission. Click here to view Tom’s video profile on SmartCEO’s website.

Congratulations, Tom, and thank you for all that you do to support the mission and vision of NHS!

March 07, 2017

March is National Social Workers Month

National Social Work Month2017Our nation’s more than 600,000 social workers have amazing tenacity and talent, confronting some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, communities, and society. They forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our nation a better place to live. NHS celebrates the contributions of social workers during National Social Work Month in March.

Visit to read more about National Social Work Month and how you can celebrate our staff!

March 02, 2017

NHS DDTT Wins Mental Health America 2017 Innovations Award

NHS DDTT Wins Mental Health America 2017 Innovations Award Congratulations to the NHS Dual Diagnosis Treatment Teams (DDTT) in Westmoreland County, PA for receiving the 2017 Innovations Award for “Recovery” services! The DDTT programs will be honored in May 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!

March 02, 2017

Goals for the News

Philadelphia Flyers alumni and NHS Human Services Foundation Board member Brian Propp and Executive Director of the NHS Human Services Foundation Sylvia Purnell participated in radio and television interviews this past week to promote the 13th Annual Goals for Giving Hockey Benefit scheduled for Sunday, March 12. Brian and Sylvia sat with radio host Brad Segall from “The Philadelphia Agenda” to discuss all the details of the event, the NHS Foundation, and about NHS services. The show will air this Sunday, March 5 at 6am on WOGL 98.1, WTDY 96.5, and at 7am on WXTU 92.5. The show will air multiple times as well as on their affiliate HD channels.

Brian and Sylvia also participated in a promotional ad with 6ABC News in Philadelphia, which will also air this weekend.
Great job, Brian and Sylvia, and thank you for promoting Goals for Giving!

Goals for the News
Picture 1 - L-R: Samantha Byles - Bellevue Communications, Mike Neilon - Bellevue Communications, Sylvia Purnell, and Brian Propp
Goals for the News
Picture 2 - L-R: Brad Segall, Sylvia, and Brian
MArch 02, 2017

NHS/AVS 'A Night to Shine' Prom

“It was a lot of fun,” said Liz, “I thought it was a really cool thing to go to.”  Added Jonathan, “I can’t wait to go back next year.”

On Friday, February 10, individuals from NHS and NHS/AVS put on their prom dresses and tuxedos and headed to the Night to Shine Prom. In western PA, 28 individuals attended proms at two local churches including Woodland Valley Church in Cranberry and The Bible Chapel in McMurray.

The event, hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs. On one night, churches around the world hosted Night to Shine for thousands of honored guests. Every guest entered the complimentary event on a red carpet to a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. Once inside, they were given the royal treatment at hair, makeup and shoe shining stations, and as they received corsages and boutonnieres, sang in a karaoke room. They then danced the night away! The highlight was when each guest was crowned as a king or queen of the prom. “We walked down the red carpet,” commented Tess. “My favorite part was the dancing.”  Megan added, “We got our hair and make-up done!”

We are grateful for the area churches and the Tim Tebow Foundation who partner with us to enrich the lives of the individuals that we serve.

March 02, 2017

A Story of Hope

Bob is a 77 year old man who resides at the NHS Lehigh Valley Center IDD program in Slatington, PA. This past year has been quite a challenging year for him medically, but due to the strength, love, and dedication of his team he has overcome these challenges and is on his way to recovery and back to being the Bob they all know and love. In June of 2016 Bob had become so ill that he was hospitalized and then went to Manor Care for rehabilitation. He was discharged back to the NHS Lehigh Valley Center IDD program and his outlook was not good. He was hospitalized again in September and October and the team was not sure he would return this time. Well, Bob proved all of us wrong! With the dedicated staff visiting him almost daily, he returned back to the program in November and has been improving every day with leaps and bounds.

Thank you to this dedicated team at NHS Lehigh Valley Center for helping Bob get back on the road to recovery.

A Story of Hope
A Story of Hope
March 02, 2017

Celebrating Mardi Gras

Individuals and staff members at NHS/AVS Kennedy Program Center in Pittsburgh celebrated Fat Tuesday on February 28 with a Mardi Gras parade. Each classroom created a theme for their parade float, and they were announced as they came down the halls. The celebration was enjoyed by all!

Celebrating Mardi Gras
Celebrating Mardi Gras
Celebrating Mardi Gras
Celebrating Mardi Gras
Celebrating Mardi Gras
February 24, 2017

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties had laid the foundation for significant social change, and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. NHS recognizes and celebrates the talents of all our individuals with disabilities!

For more information about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, please visit:

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
February 24, 2017

NHS Congratulates Robert N.C. Nix III, Chairman of the Board of Directors

NHS Congratulates Robert N.C. Nix III, Chairman of the Board of DirectorsRobert N.C. Nix III, Esquire, Chairman of the NHS Board of Directors, was recognized at the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2017 Outstanding Director Awards for his service on several Boards in the Philadelphia area. The Outstanding Director Awards honors directors who have demonstrated the vital leadership and business savvy necessary to help guide their businesses' success. Bob was appointed Chairman of the NHS Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting in November 2016, and has served on the NHS Parent Board for over 31 years. Bob was presented with the award on February 23 at the Union League in Philadelphia.
Congratulations, Bob, on this incredible recognition and thank you for your years of service to NHS!

February 22, 2017

Fashion Show at NHS/AVS

NHS Allegheny Valley School in Philadelphia recently held a Fashion Show at the Verree Day Program. Staff helped individuals to dress fashionably, and then walked with them down a red carpet. There were three different themes for individuals to participate in, including “Pajama Jam”, “Sports”, and “Formal Wear”. Everyone enjoyed the show as expressed by their smiles and laughter.

Thank you to Program Assistant Tabitha Johnson and all the dedicated staff who planned the event and supported our consumers throughout.

February 22, 2017

Record-Breaking PVGP Check Presentation

The check presentation for the 2016 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) was held at the Dancing with the Cars event on February 16, 2017. Hosted by the PVGP’s Presenting Sponsor, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation (GPADF), this event is the preview for the 2017 Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

Guests gathered at the Ford stage for the big check unveiling to the PVGP charities. NHS/AVS resident Elizabeth Humphrey and the Autism Society’s Anita Iyengar both spoke about how the PVGP has impacted their lives. The GPADF then handed over a $405,500 check to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and NHS Allegheny Valley School, surpassing the prior year’s record donation. This is the sixth year in a row and the tenth time in the last 12 years that a new record has been set, bringing the 34-year charity donation total to $4,752,000.

NHS/AVS had more than 75 guests at the event, including 12 Ambassadors and their accompanying staff members. Everyone enjoyed dancing, delicious food, amazing cars, and great company. NHS/AVS is grateful to the PVGP, its presenting sponsor, and to all its supporters for their commitment to individuals that we serve.

Record-Breaking PVGP Check Presentation

February 22, 2017

Partners in Kindness

On Friday, February 17, NHS/AVS residents Helen, Jonathan, Sharon, Shequala and Vicki, accompanied by Assistant Program Director Jeff D’Eramo and Behavior Specialist TeTe Green, visited Guardian Protection Services’ Warrendale, PA office for the 2nd annual "Partners in Kindness" event.

The day was planned to show appreciation for the Guardian employees who, for 20 years, have delivered holiday gifts to the individuals at NHS/AVS. “Partners in Kindness” banners decorated Guardian's employee cafeteria, cookies and Valentine’s Day themed cupcakes were served, and dozens of prizes were raffled off. As more than 100 Guardian employees came through the cafeteria, they were greeted by and enjoyed visiting with the NHS/AVS guests, who handed out home-made thank you cards to acknowledge the holiday gifts. Guardian employees in Tempe, Arizona, who have participated in the holiday gift giving from afar, joined in on the celebration event via video conference. It was a celebratory day!

We thank Guardian's Joe Colosimo, Mary Lynn Moriarity and Emil Parent for their dedication to and coordination of the event. Thanks you also to the Guardian employees who stopped by to say hello and to spend time with the individuals. We are grateful to Guardian Protection Services for their continued commitment to the NHS/AVS mission.

February 16, 2017

Local Students Bring Smiles and Cheer to NHS/AVS

High school students from Seneca Valley and Quaker Valley spent their morning on Saturday, February 11, visiting with individuals at NHS/AVS. The students facilitated activities that brought tremendous joy to those we serve.

Led by senior Julie Milton, Seneca Valley hosted a Bowl-A-Thon for eight residents at the Patricia Hillman Miller Campus (PHMC). Students helped individuals use a ramp to roll the bowling ball down the alley to knock over the pins, were at the far end of the lanes to reset the pins, kept score, and helped to keep the activity rolling. To date, the Bowl-A-Thon has raised $1,500 to purchase sensory equipment at NHS/AVS’ PHMC. Julie and her friends scored big for NHS/AVS, and we are so grateful for their fundraising efforts and for the time they dedicated to enrich the lives of the individuals in our care.

That same morning, the Quaker Valley Boys High School basketball team led arts and crafts activities for 40 individuals from the Pittsburgh Campus, PHMC and nearby community group homes. The students worked with the individuals to make Valentine’s themed crowns, pillows and picture frames. The team also led a parachute activity which brought together the entire group of students, consumers, and others there to support the activities. Everyone also enjoyed watching the team run some basketball drills.

Thank you to the 7th graders of Holy Trinity Catholic Church who provided a sweet snack mix for those attending the events! We are grateful for our friends in the community who support NHS/AVS!

February 10, 2017

NHS/AVS Cheers On the Pittsburgh Penguins

On February 7, NHS/AVS individuals David, James, Heather, Jennifer, Kelly, Anna, Tricia, Cathy, and accompanying staff members cheered on the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Sidney Crosby Charity Suite at PPG Paints Arena. In the luxury suite, everyone enjoyed snacks, watched the game and had a visit from the Penguins mascot Iceburgh. The group from NHS/AVS was announced and featured on the electronic scoreboard. The game ended in a loss after a shoot-out with the Calgary Flames, but everyone still had a great time! We are grateful to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins for providing this opportunity to NHS/AVS.

NHS/AVS Cheers On the Pittsburgh Penguins
NHS/AVS Cheers On the Pittsburgh Penguins
February 6, 2017

NHS’s New Autism Center in Louisiana – In the News

NHS’s New Autism Center in Louisiana – In the News NHS hosted a community presentation on February 9 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to discuss the new NHS Autism Center that will open in March. More than 130 people from Baton Rouge, and surrounding areas, attended the event to hear Karen Markle, EVP of Education and Autism Services and our new staff at the Center, provide information and answer questions on how we will support children and adolescents with an autism diagnosis. Since there is a tremendous need for these services in the community, the media was out in full force to cover the event and to interview Karen about the Autism Center. "We are really excited. I think having a service center that has customized programs for ages 3 to 21 is something that isn't widespread and we are really excited to support a continuum of individuals and their needs," said Karen.

Click the links below to see how NHS is making a difference in the Baton Rouge community!

Clarence Buggs Talk Radio Show
WAFB - Channel 9, NBC
Talk 107.3 - Rock it Right Radio
Baton Rouge Proud

February 6, 2017

TIC is Bilingual

Providers of education and human services in Spanish-speaking communities can face language barriers when addressing trauma, hindering their ability to provide quality, comprehensive care. Additionally, Spanish-speaking individuals may not know that trauma-informed services are available to them if providers lack culturally and linguistically appropriate materials, or may feel embarrassed about a lack of English language proficiency. The National Council for Behavioral Health have responded to this need by translating their “Hope Beyond Hurt”, a promotional poster that encourages trauma survivors to seek out therapy and support services in order to live a fuller, healthier life. Click here to access the Spanish language version of the poster and click here to access the English version.

January 26, 2017

NHS Schools Expand into Louisiana

NHS Schools Expand into Louisiana!NHS Education and Autism Services are excited to expand into Louisiana and to support the communities in the Capital Region! Visit to read an interview with Executive Vice President Karen Markle on the new school. For more information about the school and the services provided, check out the NHS Facebook page!

January 26, 2017

Welcome Sylvia to the NHS Foundation and Grace to Professional Development and Education

Grace Odums Director of Professional Development and Education (PD&E)

Join us in welcoming Grace Odums as the new Director, Professional Development and Education (PD&E). For more than 20 years, Grace has been an independent Leadership and Strategy consultant, with an impressive client list that boasts Fortune 500 and Fortune Global 1000 companies including: Disney ABC Media NetWorks, Waste Management, Fairmount Southampton Resorts, Chevron-Phillips, Siemens Medical Solutions, and more. A much sought after international speaker, Grace welcomes the opportunity to partner with organizations and professionals in the areas of management coaching, revenue recapture, change leadership, optimum customer care, talent performance enhancement, productivity improvement, increased efficiencies, balanced scorecard architecture, and diversity & inclusion strategy creation with D&I scorecard/strategy map development and system-wide implementation. Grace has even spoken at several NHS events, and has always received high praise and positive feedback from staff.

We are excited to have Grace join us, and take our Professional Development team to the next level in support of our strategic planning goals and core values. Grace’s office is located at 350 Sentry Parkway in Blue Bell PA, and can be contacted at

Sylvia Purnell, Executive Director of the NHS Foundation

Join us in welcoming Sylvia Purnell to NHS as she leads the NHS Foundation in expanding the safety-net for our programs. Sylvia comes to NHS with more than 25 years experience in program development, project management, fundraising, and community and public relations.

Prior to joining the NHS Foundation, she worked with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey where she implemented and managed workplace fundraising campaigns for a diverse group of accounts that included: nonprofits, government, local and regional corporate partners. Sylvia also spent ten years at Drexel University in Philadelphia as the Executive Director of the Drexel Fund, where she created and managed the department’s fundraising initiatives and programs, which supported the University’s academic programs, scholarship, research and general operations.

We are excited to have Sylvia on board at NHS! She is looking forward to continuing the mission of the Foundation of raising awareness and financial support for the children and adults supported by NHS. Sylvia’s office is located at 620 Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, and she can be reached at

January 13, 2017

Night To Shine – Worldwide Prom for people with disabilities – Friday, February 10!

Night To Shine – Worldwide Prom for people with disabilities – Friday, February 10 The Night to Shine (hosted by The Tim Tebow Foundation) is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs/disabilities ages 14 and older. On one night, February 10, 2017, churches around the world will host Night to Shine for thousands of honored guests, and we want NHS to be a part of it!

Every guest of Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet to a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining stations, corsages and boutonnieres, a karaoke room and, of course, dancing! The highlight of the night comes when each one of the Night to Shine guests is crowned as a king or queen of the prom. REGISTER SOON for this FREE event! Each participating church handles its own registration and has a capacity limit. To Register:

Proms are located in all the states where NHS provides services. Contact if you have consumers who will be attending. We would love to share stories of how our consumers enjoyed this experience in the newsletter.
Note: Photographers, videographers, and media will likely be in attendance. If registering an NHS client, be sure that the individual has full approvals to be photographed by outside groups.