Current News & Events

December 6, 2019

Thank you, Local Men's Ministry!

The Men's Ministry of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, a local North Philadelphia church started collecting clothes and toiletries from their congregation. Partnering with Merakey IDD Executive Paul Dixon, the church worked with Fresh Start Program Director Douglas Spegal and donated the items to the Fresh Start veteran's program in Philadelphia. The first drop off of donations was in October, and they continue to bring donations on a monthly basis for the Veterans.

Thank you, Men's Ministry!
Thank you, Men's Ministry!

1st picture is IDD Divisional executive Paul Dixon (left) and Fresh start veteran's program Director Douglas Spegal (right). 2nd picture is program's location.

December 3, 2019

Merakey Foundation’s #OpenYourHeartChallenge

Today, December 3, is Giving Tuesday. Instead of asking for donations, the Merakey Foundation wants to challenge you to perform acts of kindness, to share those acts on social media, and then to challenge three others to perform acts of kindness. The goal is to promote random acts of kindness through a viral campaign that begins today and runs until the end of this year. This all starts with YOU.

Check out the video below to learn how to participate!

 
 

Don't forget to use the following hashtags so that we can see how far and wide this campaign is shared:
#MerakeyFoundation #OpenYourHeartChallenge #GivingTuesday

November 25, 2019

StudioMake Visits Merakey

On November 18, StudioMake with CentiMark returned to Merakey Stepping Stones Plus in Butler, PA to craft “Thankful Trees”. The students were creative and truly made their projects personal. After wrapping sticks with yarn and adding pipe cleaners for branches, each student was responsible for adding things they were thankful for to the tree. Beads and other items were then added to decorate the tree.

Thank you, to Kathy Slencak and the CentiMark team for continuing to provide these awesome opportunities for the Stepping Stones Plus program. The students love these activities and it is evident based on the pride and joy displayed on their faces!

Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
Studiomake
November 25, 2019

Thank You, Philadelphia Insurance Companies and Philadelphia Phillies

On November 20, the Merakey Foundation received a check for $10,000 from Philadelphia Insurance Companies at the Phillies Run for Charities Honoree Dinner at Citizens Bank Park Diamond Club in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Insurance Companies teamed up with the Phillies for the 2019 season and supported the community through the Philadelphia Insurance Runs for Charities program. This season, for every run scored by the Phillies, Philadelphia Insurance Companies donated $50 to Phillies Charites. Through this sponsorship and the success of the Phillies runs, Philadelphia Insurance Companies honored and granted funds to local nonprofits in the community, including the Merakey Foundation.

The Merakey Foundation is grateful to Philadelphia Insurance Companies for their donation and commitment to the Merakey mission.

Merakey Foundation at the Phillies
Mike Mitchell, Chairman of the Merakey Foundation, receives a donation from Philadelphia Insurance Companies
Merakey Foundation at the Phillies
Trish Pisauro, VP of Marketing and Foundation, the Phillies Phanatic, and Ted Dallas, President and COO
Merakey Foundation at the Phillies
Derrick Yacovelli, CFO, Leah Pason, CSO, and Julia Rubio, Senior Development Manager for the Merakey Foundation
Merakey Foundation at the Phillies
Merakey Foundation at the Phillies
Ted Dallas, Leah Pason, Joe Martz, Mike Mitchell, Trish Pisauro, Marty Purcell, Julia Rubio, and Derrick Yacovelli
November 25, 2019

Honoring Veterans at Merakey Fresh Start

The residents at Merakey Fresh Start Veterans Programs in Philadelphia were honored on Veterans Day, November 11, with a commemorative plaque that featured cards and signatures from over 100 residents and staff from the Office of Addiction Services (OAS) and Scholarship Programs. The entire company came together in a unified way to show support of our veterans and to thank them for their service. We also had a number of staff members bake a variety of cookies, cakes, and pastries along with a big home-cooked meal, served by employees, to finish the day.

Merakey is grateful to all veterans for their service and bravery. Thank you to our committed team of professionals from Merakey Fresh Start who support these special individuals during a difficult and long road to recovery.

Fresh Start Veterans
Fresh Start Veterans
November 15, 2019

World Kindness Day and Cardigan Day

On November 13, Merakey showed their support for World Kindness Day by wearing cardigans in honor of the late Mr. Fred Rogers. WQED in Pittsburgh, created a holiday called Cardigan Day to be in conjunction with Word Kindness Day. Those who grew up watching Mr. Rogers, fondly remember the man and his kind spirit. Merakey thanks everyone who celebrated Cardigan Day and World Kindness Day.

November 15, 2019

Philadelphia Inquirer - This Ability

Philadelphia Inquirer - This Ability

Earlier this week, The Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted individuals with disabilities who have been hired by well-known companies around the city and their amazing stories of success.

Thomasina Justice, recipient of the Fran Egan Courage Award at the 16th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala, and Mike Mitchell, Chairman of the Foundation Board of Directors, Vice Chairman of the Graham Company, and recipient of the Leading the Way Award at the same Gala, are featured.

Click here to read the article!

November 11, 2019

16th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala – Shattering all Records

The 16th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala, held on Saturday, November 2 at Vie in Philadelphia, was a huge success. Breaking records with over 525 people in attendance and $607,000 raised, everyone partied like it was 1969! The successful night was an incredible tribute to the Leading the Way Award honoree, Mike Mitchell, and the Fran Egan Courage Award recipient Thomasina Justice.

The generosity of sponsors and attendees from that evening enables the Merakey Foundation to continue to touch the lives of the individuals Merakey serves and to have an enormous impact in our communities.

Check out our photo album on Flickr or browse through pictures below.

Another fantastic party is already being planned for October 24, 2020!

November 11, 2019

Thank You, Reed Family, for 25 Years of Service

On October 28, Lehigh Valley Community Residential Rehab (CRR) Host Home celebrated the retirement of foster parents, Carol and Joe Reed. The Reed’s provided a loving home for foster children for 25 years, the last 18 years with Merakey. Carol was presented with a certificate of appreciation from Joe Martz and a commendation for community service from Congresswoman Susan Wild. Foster parents gathered, along with CRR Host Home staff and Merakey leadership, to share memories, stories, and give thanks to the family that has brought so much love and happiness to children within our community.

Reed Family
Reed Family
November 11, 2019

Merakey Louisiana Supports New Hospital Symposium

On November 2, Clinical Director Dr. Catherine Lark and Regional Director of Operations in Louisiana Alvanisha Ford from Merakey Education and Autism Center in Baton Rouge, attended the opening of the new Children’s Hospital at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Lark and Alvanisha learned new medications, diagnoses, tests and measurements for clients with autism. They also learned ways to work with the adolescent population, how to manage staff burn out and much more. Over 40 pediatricians attended the symposium. In addition to attending the event, Merakey was recognized as one of the sponsors.

Symposium visit
November 11, 2019

New to You Clothing Drive

On October 30 and 31, Merakey and the Case Management Unit in Harrisburg, PA hosted the New to You Clothing Drive to give clothing to community members in need. Thank you to everyone who donated clothing, and to staff members who volunteered their time. Special appreciation goes to staff Heather Mayberry and Mary Pyle for coordinating this special event.

November 11, 2019

Merakey Receives Three Year HET Certification

ComplianceCongratulations to Merakey’s Quality and Compliance Office (QCO) for being awarded another full three-year certification by the Health Ethics Trust (HET). The HET panel completed an extensive review of Merakey’s practices, policies and other documentation, conducted interviews of leaders around the company, and visited a Merakey program. The QCO would like to thank everyone who helped make the evaluation process a success, especially those who participated in the interviews and the program visit at 27 E. Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. Executive Director Paul Sachs and his team graciously welcomed the Health Ethics Trust and answered their questions honestly and completely. Click here to read the Certification.

In celebration of Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week, the QCO will recognize Compliance Champions throughout Merakey. Employees will be highlighted for embodying the culture of compliance at Merakey. Individuals who will be featured are just some of the many dedicated staff who stand out as true champions of integrity and doing what is right even when no one is looking. Merakey would not be what it is today without our Compliance Champions! Be sure to look out for these champions in future editions of the Pulse.

November 11, 2019

And, the Nancy Kolb Award Goes To...

The Board of the Business Association of West Parkside voted unanimously to award Merakey Parkside Recovery with the “Nancy Kolb Award” for 2019. This award is given each year to celebrate a company which has an excellent business model and is an exemplary community steward. In the past few years, Merakey Parkside Recovery has been successful with enhancing community relations through various activities and events that benefit Merakey and the surrounding neighborhood, such as the Parkside Clean-Up Event held in September. At a recent ceremony held to honor Merakey Parkside Recovery, Program Director Lori Gabert accepted the award on her team’s behalf. Also in attendance at the ceremony was Suzanne Campbell, vice president of administrative services for behavioral health, Josh Vigderman, executive director of addiction services, and Jermaine Graham, associate executive director addiction services. Congratulations, Merakey Parkside Recovery for this special award!

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BAWP Event BAWP Event
November 1, 2019

Blue Bucket Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween, a Merakey mom from our Autism Center in Grand Rapids, MI was featured in the local news for supporting the use of blue pumpkin Halloween buckets for neighbors to recognize children who may have autism and to be patient and compassionate when trick or treating.

Click here to watch this video on ABC13's website.

November 1, 2019

Merakey Presents at PAR Conference

Merakey’s Elizabeth Humphrey, Carol Erzen and Kimberly Katruska presented at the PAR Annual Solutions Conference in Harrisburg on October 22. The trio discussed – Transformation: Making a Cultural Shift from Traditional Day Program Services to a True Person-Centered Approach – which shared the process, the joys and the challenges of this important, and ongoing, shift in the way services are provided. “True transformation involves a serious challenge to existing practices and assumptions about supports for persons with disabilities,” noted project consultant Christopher Liuzzo. “It often means turning those assumptions on their heads and disrupting familiar practices and rituals. It does not mean tinkering around the edges.” For the past 18 months, Merakey IDD in Western PA has been taking on this challenging task and the team was delighted to share their experience with others.

"Our program transformation is ongoing and is taking place one person at a time," commented Staff Development Executive and project lead Carol Erzen. "Change is challenging and doesn’t happen overnight. We are so grateful to have the opportunity – through a grant from Polk Foundation – to thoughtfully and carefully undertake this very important initiative."

A highlight of the presentation was hearing from Pathfinder Elizabeth who shared how the transformation project has impacted her. “I want to live a normal, everyday life just like all of you. My person-centered plan gave me hope and helped to make changes in my life. I am excited about what the future will bring.”

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