Posted 5/17/2024

The 2024 Spring Miracle League season has officially kicked off for Merakey AVS homes in Western PA. Everyone enjoyed being back on the field for a fun afternoon of baseball. Thank you to the Moon High School Softball Team for coming out to volunteer with the teams.

We’re looking forward to a great season. Check back weekly for more pictures from games being played at the Moon and Cranberry Township Miracle League fields.

Spring Miracle League (May 2024)

One of the Slippery Rock Program Instructors taught her area a quick way to make homemade butter. To begin, the group put cream, salt, and a couple other ingredients into jars. The individuals then shook the jars for a while and behold – the ingredients mixed together and turned into creamy butter. The individuals taste tested their butter on slices of bread, which made a nice mid-afternoon snack.

Homemade Butter (May 2024)

The gang at Slippery Rock Program Center has been keeping busy this spring. A small group of individuals recently made homemade bird feeders using gelatin, bird seed, and cookie cutters. Once dry, the feeders will be hung in the Sensory Garden to attract some feathered friends. Everyone is looking forward to watching all the different birds.

Homemade Bird Feeders (May 2024)

The Merakey AVS Family Association in Western PA recently came together for their spring in-person meeting. Led by the Family Association officers, the meeting addressed questions and offered updates from local leadership. Senior VP for IDD Services Elise Tretola shared company and IDD Division highlights, focusing on Merakey’s aim to become a provider of choice for IDD services. Senior Executive Director IDD, Employment, and Day Services Theresa Santana shared her vision for continuing to integrate individuals into the workforce to further explore their interests.

Senior Regional Executive Director Roni Erath highlighted Broadhead II House Manager Michelle Schmidt, who has been working for M/AVS for 34 years. Michelle first started as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) and quickly became a live-in House Manager. When M/AVS opened its first Smart Home in 2014, Michelle helped to teach the gentleman and staff about the new technology, leading to greater independence. Her duties go beyond running the Brodhead II household, as she’s on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is often called upon to manage multiple homes. She is the liaison between the gentleman supported by M/AVS, their families, Broadhead II staff, physicians and more.

Michelle shared with the families in attendance, “one of the greatest parts of my job is giving back what your loved ones have given to me.”

Family Association Meeting (May 2024)

Merakey AVS individuals Wendy, Kevin, and House Manager Susan White recently volunteered at Faithbridge Church in McKees Rocks. The group helps out every other week to keep the church looking beautiful for services and activities. They’re thrilled to be friends with Pastor Hogan and to serve as part of the church community.

Volunteering at Faithbridge Church (May 2024)

The ladies from Pittsburgh Campus Lower Brick House enjoyed a fantastic day at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

National Aviary in Pittsburgh (May 2024)

Several years ago, Heather, an individual who is supported by Merakey Slippery Rock Program Center, participated in the Transformation Program. During her person-centered planning session, it was discovered that she had an interest in making candy and wanted a job in the confectionary arts. Program Instructor Bob Graziani assisted Heather in getting a job at Moonshine Chocolate Company at the Prime Outlet Mall in Grove City, PA. Heather has been working there for about six years, and she loves making candy with her coworkers.

Amy, another individual supported by Merakey Slippery Rock Program Center, was also interested in candy making. She saw how happy her friend Heather was and thought she might enjoy that work as well. Once again, Bob offered his assistance, and Amy has been working at Moonshine Chocolate Company for three years. Both ladies have found happiness and sweet success in their jobs.

Merakey Slippery Rock Program Aide Ashley Sutton took a small group of people to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh on May 10. Everyone had a great time looking at the beautiful floral displays. The group really liked the “Under the Sea” theme. They were amazed at the different designs created by plants and flowers.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (May 2024)