Posted 6/7/2024

Vice President for IDD Services Beth Caraccio visited the residents and staff members at the Pear Orchard home in Orangevale, CA last week. TJ proudly showed Beth his garden that he tends to everyday. The garden is nicely growing zucchini, peppers and basil. Staff report that TJ loves to spend time outside watering the garden and checking out how well things are growing!

Michael arrived at Merakey’s Susquehanna Center six months ago. With the assistance of Cindy McCulloch, his Clinical Specialist, and his team of Direct Support Professionals, he has been working on being an active member of the community. The team slowly increased his outings to eventually include a local egg hunt, swimming at the YMCA, trips to Knoebels Amusement Resort and Lake Tobias where he explored and learned about various animals. Michael also goes to the mall to participate in smile for miles, a walking program and he just had his very first successful grocery shopping trip. He has overcome a lot of obstacles since his arrival at his forever home. Michael’s team is dedicated to making his life meaningful every day.

Michael Doing Fun Activities (June 2024)

It was a great day for fishing at Brady’s Run Park! The guys from Merakey AVS Windy Ghoul home spent a sunny afternoon having a picnic and enjoying the outdoors.

Congratulations to James for catching a fish!

Fishing at Brady’s Run Park (June 2024)

It was a day filled with water tables, space exhibits, and more as the guys from Windy Ghoul home visited the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

Windy Ghoul Carnegie Science Center (June 2024)

Merakey individual Elizabeth recently enjoyed some quality time in the Patricia Hillman Miller Campus pool with Aquatics Instructor Peyton and Recreational Therapist Katie.

atricia Hillman Miller Campus Pool (June 2024)

Dwayne and John from Merakey Franklin/Fulton had a great time making shirts during a trip to a Michael's craft night event.

On May 22, Slippery Rock Program Instructor Cindy Solman took a small group to the Avenue of Flags in Hermitage, PA. The individuals enjoyed seeing all the flags (there are more than 900 displayed) and the memorials. Cindy’s area has been learning about Memorial Day throughout the week, so this was a good local place to visit to tie in with their studies. Afterwards, their group had a nice lunch at Golden Corral.

Avenue of Flags (June 2024)

On May 16, Slippery Rock Program Center individuals from Branchton House were scheduled to do a community trip to Phipps. Due to parking issues, they were unable to get into the museum. Everyone decided to go to McDanels Launch instead, as many of the guys enjoy fishing.

While at McDanels, the guys from Branchton met a fisherman who noticed their interest in fishing. He spent a good part of the afternoon showing them different fishing lures and how they are used. All the guys were excited to make a new friend and hope to see him at McDanels again soon.

Tyrone went on a stroll with his two staff at Merakey AVS Verree Road in Philadelphia to the new local playground. The playground is now equipped with a swing for people with disabilities. The playground also has a giant harp that he played with as well.

Slippery Rock Program Center Program Instructor Megan Jesteadt took a small group from her area to the Carnegie Science Center. The group had a great time exploring all the exhibits, and they look forward to returning again someday to see the things they missed seeing the first time.

Megan's Group at Carnegie Science Center (June 2024)

The gentlemen from the Harmony house in Slippery Rock, PA took a CPS trip to Steele’s Brushes and Ceramics in Butler to create works of art. Steele’s offers classes for folks with differing abilities at a low cost. The guys had a great time painting ceramics, and they can’t wait to see how they will look after their pieces are fired in the kiln.

Steele’s Brushes and Ceramics (June 2024)

The individuals at Slippery Rock Program Center helped design bags to be used as centerpieces for the Merakey Leadership Conference this week at Kalahari Resorts and Hotels in the Poconos. Everyone put on their creative thinking caps and got to work. Each bag was unique and created with love to reflect the ideas of “Unity,” “Togetherness” and “Inclusion.” After doing some research, an area discovered there is a flag that represents disability, so they used this design on one of the bags. All the individuals were really excited to know their work was displayed in such an honorable way.

Merakey Leadership Conference Bags (June 2024)

Merakey/AVS individuals at the Verree Road Campus continue to benefit immeasurably from their monthly Horticultural Therapy sessions! As a therapeutic modality, Horticultural activities improve immune function from exposure to Vitamin D while enjoying the seasonal weather outdoors, stimulate nearly all human senses, encourage mental engagement and contribute to peer relationships. Horticultural Therapy has unique qualities that lend themselves to the individuals, as plants respond to anyone providing care, regardless of any other factors. Spending time with plants intrigues the innate sense of fascination. This ability of plants to capture attention involuntarily enables all to take a "rest" from more stressful and fatiguing tasks that require direct attention and provide space to reflect and restore attention capacity.

Horticultural Therapy Monthly Sessions (June 2024)

Jonathan, Kregg, Keith and James from Wildwood home at Merakey AVS visited Keystone Safari in Grove City, PA. They all had a roaring good time!

Keystone Safari (June 2024)

On Saturday, May 18, Lee, Joesph and Robert from Delaware and Chester Counties IDD programs enjoyed watching a baseball game live at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. All three fans rooted for their hometown team the Philadelphia Phillies as they out-run the Washington Nationals 4-3. A special thank you to Wolf Richard, Kieth Trotman, and Sam Williams for accompanying the gentlemen and making this a fun time for all. Everyone is looking forward to the next game.

Citizen Bank Park (June 2024)

On May 30, individuals from residential, home and community, Life Sharing, and autism programs in Chester and Delaware County IDD services gathered for their long-awaited Spring Fling at the Exton Hotel and Conference Center. Everyone enjoyed music and danced along with a catered feast. New and old relationships were a highlight of the evening, and Jordan and Gina danced together. Lee was reunited with his brother Gary for an afternoon. A special thanks to Dayna Warren, Shaina Bailey and Darlene Paterson for planning and coordinating this celebration.

Spring Fling (June 2024)