Current News & Events

February 23, 2018

A Night to Shine with NHS/AVS

On February 9, individuals from NHS and NHS/AVS put on their prom dresses and tuxedos to head to the Night to Shine Prom. 37 individuals attended proms held at two local churches: Woodland Valley Church in Cranberry, PA and The Bible Chapel in McMurray, PA. Each location, hosted by The Tim Tebow Foundation, featured an unforgettable prom night experience for individuals with special needs.

Each guest was welcomed to the event on a red carpet, complete with a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. A television inside the event displayed a live feed for guests to watch as everyone arrived. Once inside, guests received corsages and boutonnieres and were crowned prom king or queen. They also sang karaoke, enjoyed delicious refreshments and danced the night away! Each guest left at the end of the event with a favor to remember their evening.

“This program is amazing,” commented NHS/AVS house manager Nancy Hoover. “The ladies looked beautiful and had a fantastic time!” NHS is grateful for both the area churches as well as the Tim Tebow Foundation for partnering with us in enriching the lives of the individuals that we serve.

February 23, 2018

Play Without Boundaries - March 4

Wicked Sensory PerformanceThe Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia invites NHS individuals to enjoy the museum before it is open to the public on March 4. Activities are designed especially for children with learning and developmental disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum. The event includes sensory toys, performances and guest presenters. In order to cater to its guests, the museum will be calmer and quieter with fewer people and reduced lighting and sound in exhibition areas.

Experiences include activities like the Floreo Virtual Reality Experience - a virtual reality based autism therapy product, creative paper strip sculpture programs, and opportunities for guests to make furry friends with certified therapy animals from PAWS for People. Dance-movement therapy events will be presented in an experiential format, allowing children and caregivers to participate in activities commonly used in a dance/movement therapy session.

Resources from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will also be provided with information on the innovative research and studies happening at their facilities. The event is free of charge (with pre-registration) and will be happening from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. More information regarding the event can be found on the Museum's official website and you can contact the museum either through email (info@pleasetouchmuseum.org) or by phone (215-581-3181) to register.

February 23, 2018

Dancing with the Cars

Guests gathered at the Dancing with the Cars event on February 15 to witness the presentation of the check for the 2017 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP). Hosted by the presenting sponsor, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation (GPADF), the event served as a preview for the 2018 Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

Unveiled at the Ford stage in front of a large audience, Tony Brown from NHS/AVS expressed his gratitude for the PVGP for its importance to the lives of him and his peers. The Autism Society’s Anita Iyengar also spoke about the impact of PVGP on her life. The GPADF then presented both the NHS Allegheny Valley School and the Autism Society with a check for $350,000 – bringing the 35-year charity’s donation total to more than $5 million!

NHS/AVS had more than 64 guests at the event, including 7 ambassadors and their accompanying staff members. The festivities for the event included dancing, delicious food, amazing cars and great company. NHS/AVS is grateful to the PVGP and to all sponsors, donors, volunteers, drivers and more for their commitment to the individuals that we support.

February 16, 2018

Wicked Sensory Performance

Wicked Sensory PerformanceOn February 3, 114 individuals and staff members attended a sensory-friendly performance of Wicked. The show was designed to serve patrons with sensory sensitivities and other special needs. Adaptations included: relaxed house rules, and lower light and sound levels; trained volunteers and staff members were available throughout the performance to provide assistance, as needed.

“We all loved it,” reported House Manager Kristy Fuller. “The show kept everyone’s attention and many were singing and dancing in their seats. It was truly one of the best shows I've been to.” “I observed many of the individuals looking around at the beautiful surroundings of the Benedum Center,” commented staff member Marie Brozenic. “There are so many things for the senses at this performance.”

Attendance at this performance was made possible through a grant from the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

February 16, 2018

NHS IDD’s Certified Investigators Assemble to Sharpen their Skills

It had been quite a week for Sarah Naughton. It was only Thursday, but by then, she had traveled all the way across the Commonwealth of PA, with stops at NHS Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis and PA Child Welfare Center in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, she was five minutes from home at NHS Woodhaven’s auditorium, teaching an eight-hour seminar for the third consecutive day.

NHS IDD’s Certified Investigators Assemble to Sharpen their Skills“Thank you, NHS, for inviting me to conduct three, one-day CI refresher trainings for your CIs,” said Naughton, a certified investigator trainer at Temple University’s Institute on Protective Services. “I truly valued getting to spend the time with people who had conducted investigations, and to hear their questions about and insights into the process. The experience will help me better prepare new CIs for their role.” Clearly, NHS staff valued the time with her as well. Approximately 90 staff members, some from IDD and others from QCO, registered for these workshops, applying the concepts covered to real-life scenarios they had encountered while doing investigations, and to ask questions about those specific situations. In addition, reviewing the basics of conducting thorough, objective, timely investigations helped them more fully understand the various standards of the investigation process and why those standards are in place.

Many of the participants, in each of the three sessions originally went through the CI training many years ago. They said they found it informative and helpful to learn about changes that have taken place to the process since they were first certified. “It was validating for me to hear that people found the training to be beneficial,” Naughton said afterwards. “I too found it beneficial to hear people’s thoughts about the process. Thank you to all who participated in the sessions.”

Photo caption: Trainer Sarah Naughton (right) pictured with LaTonya Bantum-Payton (left), NHS-IDD Director of Program Enhancement & Monitoring, who coordinated the three program days.

February 2, 2018

Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections

CEO Joe Martz visited Special Education and Behavioral Connections, an NHS Company, in Flint, MI on January 30 to talk with staff and children in our care. Joe had the opportunity to tour their ABA Center, and to see (and play on) the sensory equipment that was purchased from Foundation funds. From their smiles, we’re not sure if Joe or the children in the program had more fun!

Group picture: Back row, l-r: Anderson Fernanders, behavior technician, Joseph Martz, CEO, Madeline Tousley, program director. Front row, l-r: Morgan McGuire, ABA clinician, Lauren Phillips, BCBA, Margee Keoshian, lead behavior technician

Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections
Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections
January 25, 2018

Night to Shine – Worldwide Prom for People with Disabilities – February 9, 2018!

Night to shine 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 9, 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!

REGISTER NOW for this FREE event! Each participating church handles its own registration and has a capacity limit. To Register:
• Visit timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine and search for participating locations in your area.
• Once you find a convenient location, Google search the church name and register for the event at the specific church.

Proms are located in states where NHS provides services. Let us know if you have consumers who will be attending. We’d love to share stories about it through NHS Communications. 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.

January 19, 2018

NHS/AVS Attends The Nutcracker

NHS/AVS Attends The NutcrackerThanks to contributions from the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, 47 individuals and staff members from NHS/AVS in western PA attended a special sensory-friendly performance of The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker.

This presentation was designed to serve patrons with sensory sensitivities and other special needs. Adaptations included relaxed house rules, lower light and sound levels, and trained volunteers and staff members. Individuals supported by NHS/AVS have enjoyed sensory performances for several years and are looking forward to an upcoming performance of Wicked in February.

January 11, 2018

Dave Wright Apartments – Integrated Housing

NHS Philadelphia participated in the 25th Annual Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference in Harrisburg this past November. Community and Residential Rehabilitation Directors Marlene Greene from Douglas House and Fanta Richardson from Fishers Lane presented on the topic, “Successful Transition from Prison to Residential.” Marlene and Fanta presented on the pros and cons of individuals transitioning back into the community from the prison environment. This state-wide conference hosts many organizations and subject matter experts from the field of behavioral health. The energy and engagement displayed throughout their presentation demonstrated their commitment to the individuals they serve.

Thank you, Marlene and Fanta, for representing NHS at this conference and for sharing your experience and expertise.

Dave Wright Apartments – Integrated Housing
Dave Wright Apartments – Integrated Housing
Dave Wright Apartments – Integrated Housing
January 4, 2018

2017 Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference

NHS Philadelphia participated in the 25th Annual Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference in Harrisburg this past November. Community and Residential Rehabilitation Directors Marlene Greene from Douglas House and Fanta Richardson from Fishers Lane presented on the topic, “Successful Transition from Prison to Residential.” Marlene and Fanta presented on the pros and cons of individuals transitioning back into the community from the prison environment. This state-wide conference hosts many organizations and subject matter experts from the field of behavioral health. The energy and engagement displayed throughout their presentation demonstrated their commitment to the individuals they serve.

Thank you, Marlene and Fanta, for representing NHS at this conference and for sharing your experience and expertise.

2017 Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference
2017 Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference
2017 Pennsylvania Forensic Rights and Treatment Conference
January 4, 2018

Trip to Cape May

Nick and Susie, individuals from NHS Schuylkill Mountain Center recently visited Cape May, NJ. They enjoyed many things on their trip including, touring the Wild Life Museum, walking the beach, eating lunch at Lucky Bones, and shopping the stores along the boardwalk.

Trip to Cape May
Trip to Cape May
Trip to Cape May
Trip to Cape May
December 27, 2017

Holiday Outing for NHS/AVS Zapp

Individuals and staff members from NHS/AVS Zapp’s Lower Subcontract area had a wonderful and spirited time at the PPG Wintergarden. They braved the cold weather and snow flurries to enjoy the Santa Clause and gingerbread house displays. After the Wintergarden they went to lunch at Eat’n Park where they experienced some true Christmas magic. The group was enjoying a delicious meal when a staff member saw a gentleman from the military also having lunch, so she decided to pay for his lunch with her own money. Not knowing of the kind act, the gentleman decided he was going to pay for the group’s lunch as well. This wonderful gesture reminds us all to pay it forward, especially during this time of year.

Holiday Outing for NHS/AVS Zapp
December 27, 2017

Sensory Santa at Dubois Mall

The Stepping Stones Program in Dubois, PA hosted a Sensory Friendly Santa Event on December 17 at the DuBois Mall. From 8:30 to 10:30 am, the program provided a quiet and comfortable atmosphere for individuals with autism and emotional support needs to visit and take photos with Santa Claus. Santa spent time with individuals that ranged in ages from 1 to 19 years old. Thank you, Dubois Mall, for your hospitality!

Sensory Santa at Dubois Mall
December 19, 2017

NHS Woodland Center Spreads Holiday Cheer

This past week, the NHS Woodland Center Older Adult Services program put together approximately 130 holiday gift bags to deliver to individuals who have difficulty purchasing basic necessities for themselves. The gift bags contained shampoo, soap, razors, deodorant, cleaning supplies, and some fun items such as adult coloring books, cards, games, and beauty items. The Older Adult Services program serves individuals in Fayette, Greene, Washington, Allegheny, and Westmoreland Counties in Pennsylvania.

NHS Woodland Center Spreads Holiday Cheer
NHS Woodland Center Spreads Holiday Cheer
December 19, 2017

NHS Children’s Reach Celebrate the Holidays

NHS Children’s Reach hosted its seventh annual holiday party for children and their families on December 16 at its North Philadelphia facility. Nearly 400 children and their families attended the celebration that featured refreshments, gift distribution and an activity room with holiday arts and crafts. Kids were especially excited to see Santa Claus, and to pose for pictures with the jolly man in the red suit! Special appreciation goes to all the staff that work at 265 and from around NHS that volunteered their time, as well as staff from Philadelphia Insurance Companies who helped prepare for the celebration the day before.

And, thank you to all the contributors of gifts that made this special event another huge success! Click here to view a news clip on 6ABC in Philadelphia!

 

December 19, 2017

Holiday Talent Show at NHS Woodhaven

The Bucks and Montgomery Counties Consumer Advisory Group hosted another spectacular talent show on December 12 at NHS Woodhaven in Philadelphia. Individuals danced and sang the night away while their fabulous staff cheered in the audience! A special thank you to Stuart Blasband, Chris Dragani, Laura Winchester and Sharmyra Bryant for making it a great night for everyone!

 

December 19, 2017

"NHS/AVS DSP of the Quarter" Award Goes to...

NHS/AVS DSP of the Quarter Award Goes to... Norma Seiders was named NHS/AVS’s first Direct Support Professional of the quarter! Norma was nominated by three of her colleagues who highlighted her compassion and commitment to the individuals she supports, her ability to contribute to the team, and her professionalism. Norma has been with NHS/AVS for 29 years. Congratulations, Norma, and thank you for everything you do for the individuals in your care!

The DSP of the quarter award has been made possible through Steven’s Fund to recognize NHS Allegheny Valley School Direct Support Professionals. The fund was recently created by Betsy Friedman, in memory of her son Steven Garlick.

To contribute to the fund, visit avs.nhsonline.org/donate and include “Steven’s Fund” in the “other” and/or “comments/instructions” box.

December 19, 2017

Congratulations, Renee Alexander!

Supporting Victims of Hurricane HarveyCongratulations to Residential Director Renee Alexander for receiving the 2017 Forensic Recipient Award from the Rights and Treatment Conference Awards Committee “in recognition of her personal commitment and outstanding accomplishments which demonstrates how collaboration between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems can be achieved for the mutual benefit of persons with serious mental illness and the community.” Renee provides support to her team, the court system, and judges to improve care for the forensic population that NHS serves in Philadelphia. Renee’s quality traits do not end with her office work. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to individuals in our care, resolving conflicts and handling other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. This award was presented to Renee in November at the Forensic Conference in Harrisburg, PA. Job well done!

Thank you to our Forensic CRR site directors, Marlene Greene and Fanta Richardson, for nominating Renee on this well-deserved recognition.

December 12, 2017

Ringing Bells for a Good Cause

Individuals from the New Ventures program have been volunteering as bell ringers for the Salvation Army at the local mall for the month of December. Thank you to Yvonne, Mitch, and Jared, who all rang in the holiday spirit with local passersby!

Ringing Bells for a Good Cause
Ringing Bells for a Good Cause
Ringing Bells for a Good Cause
Ringing Bells for a Good Cause
December 12, 2017

Giving Tuesday - Thank You!

As part of our Giving Tuesday campaign held in November, The Kimball Group sponsored a raffle for NHS employees and friends who created fundraising pages to raise money for the Merakey Foundation. With their efforts, and everyone else’s generosity, we raised nearly $5,000! Congratulations to our winners who received prizes donated by The Kimball Group, and thank you to everyone for your support!

Giving Tuesday - Thank You!
Giving Tuesday - Thank You!
Giving Tuesday - Thank You!
Giving Tuesday - Thank You!
Giving Tuesday - Thank You!
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