Current News & Events

November 29, 2017

Under the Stars at the 14th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala

More than 450 invited guests, board members, NHS employees, and friends attended the 14th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala on November 18 at the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia, PA. This year’s theme was Under the Stars, celebrating NHS individuals, staff members, and board members who have become stars as they further the mission of NHS. Guests were treated to an evening of Under the Stars themed décor and auction items, including one-of-a-kind art pieces created by our talented individuals.

Demonstrating a lifelong commitment to giving back to the community and helping their neighbors in need, Martha and Joe Besecker received this year’s Leading the Way Award. As founder, chairman, and CEO of Emerald Asset Management, Inc., Joe has always ensured that Emerald supports high-performing charitable organizations addressing high-priority community needs. Joe and Martha also demonstrate their commitment to volunteering, serving in a variety of charitable leadership positions. Martha and Joe (an NHS Foundation Board Member) proudly foster the NHS mission of enriching lives through their nationwide network of business and community leaders.

The Fran Egan Courage Award was given to Benjamin Pollon. Ben is a talented, loving, and caring young man to all who know him, and has meaningfully touched the lives of many. He displays courage every day of his life, and over the course of his 24 years, has survived a number of physical and intellectual challenges which have helped to build his strong character and lovable personality. Ben has accomplished many milestones including becoming a Bar Mitzvah, graduating from Quaker Valley School District, and Varsity lettering in bowling. Ben and his mother, Dorothy, a child advocate and NHS Foundation Board Member, have attended numerous NHS Foundation and NHS/AVS events in support of the organization’s mission.

More than $488,000 was raised at this year’s event, as a result of numerous donations made to support NHS programs and individuals we support. Thank you to our sponsors, friends, staff, and guests for your continued generosity which enabled us to once again exceed our goals and expectations.

 

November 29, 2017

Honoring our Veterans in Philadelphia

In the spirit of Veterans Day in November, NHS honored and thanked the veterans in our newest Fresh Start program located in Philadelphia for their service to our country. NHS partnered with Mission BBQ to provide dinner to over 50 veterans and staff members. Program Director Jermaine Graham (also a veteran) served all of the residents and provided an atmosphere of gratitude and respect for the service of the veterans residing in the program.

Honoring our Veterans in Philadelphia

November 29, 2017

Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ

On Monday, November 13, NHS and Fresh Start held their 2nd annual Red, White and Blue BBQ to honor the service of the Veterans residing in our programs. The event, sponsored by the NHS Foundation, was held on the campus of Coatesville VA Medical Center, and veterans from the Fresh Start programs in Philadelphia and Chester counties were in attendance. CEO Joe Martz and the NHS Executive Leadership team, including CFO Derrick Yacovelli, Chief Strategy Officer Leah Pason, General Counsel Jill Weitz, Esq., Executive Director Paul Sachs, and Executive Director Jeff Pittner once again served dinner to over 160 Veterans and Fresh Start staff members.

This year’s Calvin Savage Memorial Award was given to Fresh Start Case Managers Jen Ficco and Beth Fuller for their dedication to assisting the Veterans in their respective programs. Keynote speaker Eric Arauz donated 200 copies of his book “An American’s Resurrection" to every veteran and staff member in attendance. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ
Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ
Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ
Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ
Honoring Veterans at the Annual Red, White, and Blue BBQ
November 29, 2017

Giving Families in Need a Reason to Be Thankful

Supporting Victims of Hurricane HarveyNHS Center for Hope Assistant Program Director Melissa Yadanza puts together Thanksgiving care baskets for families in need in Newburgh New York every year, and this year was no exception.

Thanks to her and her team, nearly 40 baskets with all the trimmings, including turkeys, were assembled and delivered!

November 15, 2017

Winter Coats for NHS Kids

More than 150 warm winter coats were distributed by the NHS Foundation to children in our PACT (Parents and Children Together) program located at 265 E. Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia on November 8.

Pacifico Marple Ford Lincoln, in conjunction with the Auto Dealers Caring for Kids Foundation, donated the needed coats. The children were delighted and thankful to receive their new warm coats.
If you have problems playing the video on page, please click here to access it on YouTube.

November 7, 2017

PACT Annual Halloween Party

The PACT (Parents and Children Together) program hosted their annual Halloween Costume party on October 29. In collaboration with the Children's Outpatient program at 265 E. Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia, the children Trick or Treated among the Outpatient staff. PACT thanks our friends from Cradles to Crayons for their generous donations of costumes. The children were eager to select their costumes and proudly wore them throughout the day!

PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
PACT Annual Halloween Party
October 20, 2017

Adult Autism Program Celebrates 10 Years

Ten years ago, NHS was approached by a group of parents in Chester County looking to change service providers. Their children were adults with autism who lived in their own homes in Phoenixville. The service model, funding and regulatory requirements were all new to NHS. Following many meetings and much planning, NHS began providing in-home supports to Becky, Elisha, Michael, Matthew, and Michael in September 2007. Terry McNelis, Karen Markle, Astrid Berry, Ceil Kittel, Paula Nerone, and many others were instrumental in helping with the transition of services to NHS. Over the last 10 years, Program Director Cindy Hennessy and her team have worked with the families to create a program built on respect, open communication, and trust. NHS thanks Becky, Elisha, Michael, Matthew, and Michael for trusting and teaching us so much, the parents for their amazing commitment to the Adults with Autism Living and Working (ALAW) model and their strength through some challenging times, and the NHS staff who provide supports that ensure these individuals enjoy life by being actively engaged in their communities, where they work, and where they volunteer.



Adult Autism Program Celebrates 10 Years
Adult Autism Program Celebrates 10 Years
Adult Autism Program Celebrates 10 Years
Adult Autism Program Celebrates 10 Years
October 20, 2017

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Continues

It is week 3 of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We have the unique opportunity to not only support the individuals we serve in entering the workforce, but we also have the ability to support our colleagues and future coworkers. Here are some ways to enhance Disability Etiquette in the workplace, as adapted from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN):

  • Recruitment Etiquette- Post openings with local disability organizations and college and university career centers. Include details about the job location in job postings and highlight accessible features of the location, if appropriate.
  • Interview Etiquette- Inform all applicants that accommodations can be provided upon request and who to contact for more information. Be knowledgeable of travel directions to the interview location, including the path of travel into the building.
  • Greeting the Interviewee- Speak directly to the interviewee instead of any companion, personal attendant or interpreter, when greeting the person for the interview.
  • Interviewing- Always ask similar questions of all interviewees, regardless of disability. Conduct the interview emphasizing abilities, achievements, and interviewee qualities.
  • New Employee Etiquette- Review physical features of the work environment and make adjustments as necessary if any create potential barriers for new employees with disabilities.
  • Workplace Etiquette: Mobility, Sensory, Cognitive, and Psychiatric Impairments
    • Individuals with Mobility Impairments - Do not make assumptions about limitations based on appearance or the use of assistive devices. A person may require accessible parking because s/he is unable to walk long distances due to a medical impairment (e.g., asthma or a heart condition).
    • Individuals with Vision Impairments - Verbally greet and identify yourself before extending your hand to greet a person who is blind. Use the same courtesy when entering/leaving a room or saying goodbye when ending a conversation.
    • Individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing - Take turns when talking during a meeting so the person can read lips if they are able to.
    • Individuals with Speech Impairments - Be patient and listen. Do not complete words/sentences for the individual.
    • Individuals with Respiratory Impairments or Chemical Sensitivities - Encourage employees to use fragrance-free products, and discontinue wearing fragrances/colognes in the workplace.
    • Individuals with Psychiatric Impairments - Avoid stereotypes and assumptions about the individual and how s/he may interact with others. In most cases, it will not be obvious that someone has a psychiatric impairment.
    • Individuals with Cognitive Impairments - Ask the person if s/he prefers verbal, written, or hands-on instruction, or a combination of methods in training and work-related situations. For example, if providing verbal instructions, it may be helpful to follow up with an email that clarifies your request.

To learn more: https://askjan.org

October 20, 2017

NEPA Visits Chocolate World

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Day Program at NHS Northeastern PA (NEPA) presented their experiences with Trauma Informed Care at the RCPA conference in Hershey, PA on October 11. Program Director Madge Dombrosky decided to make a community day of the event. Individuals Madge, Ann, Michelle, and Anita enjoyed a delicious lunch at Red Robin and then went to Chocolate World before their presentation at the conference later that day. Anita loved the free chocolate she was given at the end of the ride at Chocolate World. Everyone had a great time in the community and at Chocolate World!

NEPA Visits Chocolate World
NEPA Visits Chocolate World
NEPA Visits Chocolate World
October 20, 2017

NHS/AVS Participates in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk

Supporting Victims of Hurricane HarveyLed by Administrator Amanda Thomas, 33 individuals in service, staff members, and friends from NHS Allegheny Valley School joined Team NHS/AVS for the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® in Beaver County on October 7.

Participating for the second year, they walked two miles and were joined by 54 other teams to support the cause. “It was so inspiring to see all the participants from NHS/AVS,” commented Amanda. “The group, which included consumers from Galey, Malcolm, Maratta, Nolte, and Windy Ghoul, brought their enthusiasm, energy and commitment to helping others to this wonderful community event.”

October 20, 2017

NHS/AVS Employees Enjoy a Sweet Treat

Employees at NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus and Administrative Office enjoyed a sweet treat on October 10, when family member Mike Pendleton and his crew of volunteers made more than 250 funnel cakes for all to enjoy! Mike stated, “This was one way that we could show our appreciation to the NHS/AVS employees. We just wish we could have visited every location!”

A big “thank you” goes out to Mike and his volunteers, Ron and Nathan Pendleton and Susie and Jenna Suffern, and also to Our Lady of Grace Church for the use of the funnel cake machine. “What a special treat to have Mike on campus, frying up delicious funnel cakes on a beautiful fall day,” states Campus Administrator Cathy Engleka. “Mike and his crew brought a lot of joy to the staff members who were appreciative for this acknowledgement of their efforts. It was a perfect day!”

NHS/AVS Employees Enjoy a Sweet Treat

October 20, 2017

Walking for a Great Cause

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, more than 89 consumers and staff participated in the second annual walk for breast cancer at the NHS Allegheny Valley School (NHS/AVS) Philadelphia campus. A donation of $1,000 was presented to Dr. Sidney Grobman of the Philadelphia Chapter of Susan G. Komen, and Bernadette White, Director of Research in the Philadelphia Chapter. Dr. Grobman said, “Thank you very much for all your efforts. The donation will be put to good use.”

The walk, first held in 2016, is in memory of a resident who had Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and who past from breast cancer. Funds raised by NHS/AVS consumers and staff will assist with funding local programs, including education, screening, and support, community grants that provide free examinations, and research. “After talking with staff, I realized that breast cancer is an issue that has touched all of us one way or another. It was only natural that we started to fight as a team,” said Annette Dixon-Thurmond, NHS Shift Supervisor and walk organizer. The walk began at the NHS/AVS Philadelphia campus located at 9990 Verree Road, and continued southeast to Glenn Street. Thank you to all who participated, but a big thank you to Annette who initiated the event two years ago.



Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause
October 11, 2017

Supporting Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Dr. Mahmood (Mike) Usman, a psychiatrist and Medical Director for NHS in the western region, has been performing disaster response work for the past 15 years. For a week in September, Dr. Usman was in and around Houston, TX helping with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. He worked with Team Rubicon, a disaster response and community service organization largely composed of veterans. Dr. Usman is a Pittsburgh City Coordinator for Team Rubicon. One of the places he helped to restore was Halter, Inc., a farm that trains horses as Pet Therapy animals for special needs children. Dr. Usman won't have much time to rest since he is scheduled to deploy to Puerto Rico in October to assist with the recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Thank you, Dr. Usman, for your support!

Supporting Victims of Hurricane Harvey

October 11, 2017

Fourth Annual Community Health Fair

The Fourth Annual Community Health Fair at NHS Delaware County, held on October 5, included free health screenings, healthy foods, and more than 45 vendors that provided literature on positive lifestyle tips, resources, and giveaway items to attendees. There was also a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, and fun fall-themed activities for kids. In addition to the Health Fair, tours of the Sharon Hill facility were provided to attendees to showcase the success of the integrated care model, where clients have the ability to see a primary care physician, a psychiatrist and a therapist in one location. CEO Joe Martz and VP of Children’s Services Malcolm Musgrove welcomed those in attendance and introduced District Attorney Jack Whelan. The DA reminded attendees the importance of behavioral health services for the community.

Special thanks to all the staff at NHS Delaware County who helped facilitate the Fair, to the vendors for their participation, and to the local police station for their support and for keeping everyone safe!

nbc10 cbs3 - Click to watch footage of the Health Fair from NBC and CBS.

 

October 3, 2017

Lehigh Valley CAG Supports Victims of Hurricane Irma

The NHS Lehigh Valley IDD Program held its first Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) meeting on September 21 at the Slatington Home. This CAG includes individuals from residential and Life Sharing programs. The group's first agenda item was to discuss ways to help the victims of Hurricane Irma. Kenisha Merchant, a staff member, has family that was affected by the hurricane, so everyone pitched in and donated items to send. Great job, Lehigh Valley CAG!

Lehigh Valley CAG Supports Victims of Hurricane Irma
Lehigh Valley CAG Supports Victims of Hurricane Irma
Lehigh Valley CAG Supports Victims of Hurricane Irma
October 3, 2017

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is Here!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is Here! October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s theme is Inclusion Drives Innovation. Everyone has abilities, and through diverse abilities we can experience innovation to propel us forward. What can YOU do to celebrate NDEAM? Share your celebrations of NDEAM with Theresia.Kody@nhsonline.org. Throughout the month, we’ll share resources on how you can increase awareness about this campaign!
This week’s resources include:

October 3, 2017

NHS Participates in Bridges Out of Poverty

For the fifth year in a row, the management team at NHS Pocono Mountain Center provided dinner for participants at Pocono Alliance in the Bridges out of poverty program on September 27. Approximately 50 people were given a hot meal, with additional meals provided to take home. This act of kindness has become an annual event for NHS Pocono Mountain Center. Great job, team!

NHS Participates in Bridges Out of Poverty
October 3, 2017

2017 Friends of NHS/AVS Golf Open

The 26th Annual Friends of NHS Allegheny Valley School Golf Open was held on Monday, September 18 at Chartiers Country Club. A golf scramble was enjoyed by 129 golfers while raising funds to support NHS/AVS programs and honoring Blackburn’s/Har-kel as the 2017 AVS CHAMPion. Event chairperson Rick Mongiovi, of Mongiovi and Son, brought many new golfers and friends to the event which helped us to exceed our goal! Support from sponsors, golfers, underwriters, donors and auction participants resulted in more than $136,000 in proceeds from the day! Net proceeds from the event are contributed to the Capital Development Fund and will help NHS/AVS to maintain and improve the services it provides to nearly 850 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.

Before the golfers teed off, members of the NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus Choir performed the National Anthem. Rick then led everyone in a golf towel wave as the carts took to the course. The sunny day kept golfers in good spirits as they participated in contests around the course. New this year was a twist on a putting contest. Golfers were blind folded and listened to a sound machine next to the hole. Throughout the day, 13 golfers made a hole-in-one on the blindfolded contest. During dinner, the AVS CHAMPion Award was presented to Blackburn’s/Har-kel. The AVS CHAMPion Award recognizes those who go above and beyond to promote and support NHS/AVS. Ron Rukas and Skip Katich from the Blackburn’s/Har-kel team accepted the award on behalf of the company. 

Golf prizes were given at the conclusion of the evening. Congratulations to all the winners of the day!

  • 1st place team (score of 58) Mamaux Supply: Frank Lodovico, John Lodovico and Tony Aucuri
  • 2nd place team (score of 59) CentiMark: Jim Gasper, John Heisey, Dennis When, and Mark Rubenstein
  • 3rd place team (score of 59) Dollar Bank: Jim Wheeler, Gennaro DiBello, Tom Bakaitus and George Hric
  • Longest Drive: Dan Martin and Michelle Miller
  • Straightest Dive: Justin Skerbetz
  • Longest Putt: Jeff Holzerland
  • Closest to the Pin: Gary Rudzik
  • Putting Contest: Ron Rukas

We are so grateful to all who made the 2017 Friends of NHS Allegheny Valley School Golf Open a huge success.

September, 2017

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

NHS Allegheny County celebrated DSP Week in September with “baskets of sunshine” for the Day Program, and pizza for the homes in appreciation of their hard work and support for the individuals in their care. Anna Broadus and Sena Basel enjoy pizza, and Royale Barnett shows off the treat she received from management.

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities program at NHS Woodland Center celebrated their Direct Support Professionals during DSP week with gifts and cards of appreciation from individuals they support.

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

In celebration of Direct Support Professionals Week, the IDD Philadelphia Waiver Programs at NHS/AVS and NHS TAIG management team made gifts of appreciation for more than 600 employees. The bags of goodies included: Tootsie Rolls, Life Savers, Rice Crispy Treats, and “Thank you” phone stylus pens. A card was enclosed with each bag saying “Thank you for the Roll you play; You are a Life Saver; Working with you is a Treat!!!” All gifts were hand-delivered to the dedicated and incredible DSPs working within NHS homes and day programs.

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

NHS High Point Center celebrates Direct Support Professionals' Week at DuBois City Park. Joined by individuals they serve, the DSPs enjoyed brunch and other tasty treats to show our deep appreciation for the work that they do every day! NHS High Point Center is privileged to have such a devoted team of DSP’s and we thank them for their continued hard work, dedication, and commitment in supporting our individuals and upholding the NHS core values! Keep up the GREAT work!

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!


The Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) at NHS Capital Region thanked the DSPs that work in the residential and family living programs by decorating, putting together, and delivering snack bags to staff that work in the programs. The CAB meets monthly to plan activities, such as the annual Christmas Party and Spring Fling Dance. They also plan service projects including collecting food for food pantries, making care packages for community helpers such as fireman and hospitals. They also attend events on Trauma Informed Care and the NHS bowling tournament.

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!
September 26, 2017

NHS School Harrisburg and Stepping Stones Fall Open House

The NHS School Harrisburg School and Stepping Stones Program celebrated the beginning of fall with an Open House, where they welcomed families, stakeholders and community members to tour the programs offered. The Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce helped to kick off the event with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Heather Magaro, Senior Director of Clinical Operations spoke to the crowd, “We are extremely grateful to be able to serve and be a part of this community. Thank you to everyone who came out today to support our programs”.

NHS School Harrisburg and Stepping Stones Fall Open House NHS School Harrisburg and Stepping Stones Fall Open House
NHS School Harrisburg and Stepping Stones Fall Open House NHS School Harrisburg and Stepping Stones Fall Open House
September 26, 2017

Visit to the Art Museum

Members of the Bucks and Montgomery Counties Consumer Advisory Group visited the Philadelphia Art Museum in August. The group enjoyed eating dinner at Boat House Row and admired the art work at the museum. To commemorate the day, the group posed for some great photos outside the museum. Members said that their favorite part of the museum were the armor and swords, spending a large amount of time admiring the details on all pieces.

Visit to the Art Museum Visit to the Art Museum Visit to the Art Museum Visit to the Art Museum
September 7, 2017

Direct Support Professional Recognition Week – September 10 – 16!

Direct Support Professional Recognition Week – September 10 – 16! NHS thanks all Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and staff who work in direct-care positions, for your continuous and tireless efforts to support the individuals we provide services for on a daily basis! Your commitment to more than 50,000 individuals and families does not go unrecognized and NHS is extremely fortunate to have you as part of our team!

Last week, Governor Wolf signed Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability’s (PAR) Gubernatorial Proclamation declaring September 10-16, 2017 to be Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. View the proclamation on PAR's Facebook and Twitter! We are excited that Governor Wolf has recognized this week again as a way to honor our incredible DSPs!

Each of you goes above and beyond your daily responsibilities to show how you embrace the NHS mission, vision, and core values. NHS appreciates the compassion and dedication you show to individuals in our care every single day. There will be events next week recognizing you and your hard work, and we are excited to share these celebrations across the company and on social media. Please remember to send your stories and pictures of celebration to Communications@nhsonline.org so that they can be included in an upcoming newsletter!

Keep up the great work that you do every day and remember our commitment to help one individual at a time!