Current News & Events

August 19, 2019

Celebrating “Recovery Through Work”

Congratulations to the second group of graduates from the “Recovery Through Work” Program at Merakey Parkside Recovery. Ten participants from the program received their certificates of completion and other awards on August 9. Hosted by Parkside Recovery in Philadelphia, the graduates were joined by CEO Joe Martz, President and COO Ted Dallas, Councilman Curtis Jones, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works Patrick Clancy and staff from Merakey Parkside Recovery. In partnership with Philadelphia Works and CareerLink, participants learn job ready and employment skills to help them obtain and keep jobs in the community. Channel 6 Action News was also there to capture the moment when participants received their well-deserved certificates.

Click here to check out 6ABC's story of the event!

Merakey Parkside Recovery "Recovery Through Work" Graduation - August 2019
August 19, 2019

Merakey Represents at National Autism Conference

More than 20 staff members from Merakey’s Education and Autism Services attended the National Autism Conference held on August 5 – 8 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, PA. Attended by thousands of people each year, this conference provides comprehensive, evidence-based information to assist educators, other professionals, and families in developing effective educational programming for all students with autism spectrum disorders.

As the new school year begins for students and teachers at Merakey, the lessons learned from this important event will benefit the children, adolescents, and families we support. Thank you, Merakey staff, for your participation and continued commitment to your professional development.

Autism Conference Attendees
August 19, 2019

Merakey Parkside Recovery Outreach Program

Over the past several months, staff from Merakey Parkside Recovery in Philadelphia have been meeting with individuals in the community who struggle with addiction and to help them find necessary resources, including treatment. Parkside Recovery has recently partnered with the Police Assisted Diversion program, or PAD to support individuals with addictions.

On August 8, employees Ryan Anderson and Lisa Hutt were doing outreach with PAD when they passed by the Philadelphia Health Department giving free Hepatitis A vaccines to members of the community. Hepatitis A is on the rise in Philadelphia, so Ryan and Lisa decided to get their free vaccinations in hopes of encouraging those who are at risk to take precautions. Channel 6 Action News was on the scene and interviewed Ryan and Lisa, who spoke of their reasons for getting the vaccine. Merakey Parkside Recovery is very proud of the duo for their continued efforts to help individuals in the community.

Click here to check out the news coverage!

August 19, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Pauline Siebert

Pauline

Many employees have been with Merakey for quite a number of years, and they deserve a special spotlight for all their hard work and dedication! Look for more employee spotlights in The Pulse, on digital signage, and on Facebook!

Direct Support Professional Pauline Siebert has worked at Merakey Allegheny Valley School for over 41 years. She is the epitome of the Merakey core values. Pauline is clearly dedicated, considering she has never called out of work in all her years of service! She loves what she does for the individuals she supports and states, “I’m here for them”. Pauline will be retiring soon, and she will be dearly missed by everyone.

Thank you, Pauline, for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!

August 19, 2019

Congratulations, Fresh Start!

Fresh Start, a Merakey company, has again exceeded national standards in several areas within their VA funded housing programs. Check out these tremendous outcomes from October 2018 – July 2019 and join us in congratulating Executive Director Jeff Pittner and his remarkable team. Thank you for providing exceptional care and services to our nation’s Veterans!

Fresh Start Statistics

August 13, 2019

National Night Out with Merakey

National Night Out with Merakey On August 6, Merakey celebrated programs in communities we serve at National Night Out – an event held on the first Tuesday in August that promotes police, firefighters and EMS crews, and the partnerships made within communities in neighborhoods across the country. For 26 years, Merakey has been proudly providing services to individuals and families in the Pennsylvania Counties of Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Juniata. In Yeagertown, PA, Administrative Assistant Beth Hoar, Administrative Supervisor Gail Stringfellow, and Authorization Manager Melissa Stains worked the Merakey booth. They are fantastic employees that have worked a combined 78 years with Merakey.

Merakey was also invited to join the Lansdale Police for their National Night Out. Alexis Moyer, Engagement Coordinator/Hospital Liaison and Jenna Bishop, Outreach Coordinator Recovery Coach spent the evening with the Lansdale Police and spectators. They enjoyed games, talked with Lansdale residents about Merakey services, and watched demonstrations by local police and first responders.

August 13, 2019

1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon

On August 1, Merakey Parkside Recovery, located at 5000 Parkside Avenue in Philadelphia held its 1st Annual Staff Recognition Luncheon. The luncheon was held to honor the past fiscal year’s employees of the month, recognize milestone anniversaries, and award special recognitions. A highlight of the event was celebrating Yvonne Peters-Watson and her 30 years of service with Merakey. Monique Veney, Jenna Scampton, and Lisa Hutt all received special recognitions for their dedication and exemplary efforts over the past year. And, based on Cheers for Peers nominations and voting, Tyrone Frazier was awarded Employee of the Year. Congrats to all!

1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon
1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon 1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon 1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon 1st Annual Parkside Recovery Staff Recognition Luncheon
August 13, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Wendy Charles

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Wendy Charles Many employees have been with Merakey for quite a number of years, and they deserve a special spotlight for all their hard work and dedication! Look for more employee spotlights in The Pulse, on digital signage, and on Facebook!

Payroll Specialist III Wendy Charles has worked at Merakey for an incredible 29 years. Merakey’s vision of creating communities where everyone is empowered to take meaningful steps toward reaching their fullest potential, speaks volumes to Wendy and is a driving force behind her work ethic.

Some of Wendy’s fondest memories include volunteering for Partners in Caring events, where she helped to clean yards and paint the facilities in which our residents live. She enjoys being part of an event that brings different administrative departments together to enhance the living space of the individuals we serve. For Wendy, Merakey signifies “A place where individuals can receive help, coping skills and hope for their future.”

Thank you, Wendy, for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!

August 13, 2019

Celebrating Generations of Family Members & Significant Others Working at

In our continuing celebration of the 50th Anniversary, Merakey wants to recognize the generations of family members and significant others that work within our organization!

Meet Mason, Marie and Deb! Mason and Marie are married, and Deb, Mason’s mom, all work at the Crums Mill Road office in Harrisburg, PA. IDD Regional Director of Business Process and Authorizations Mason Katzman has worked with Merakey for 8 years. Senior Credentialing Specialist Marie Katzman and Charge Entry Supervisor Deb Kaufman have worked for Merakey for almost 7 years.

How did they all end up working together? Mason was referred to Merakey by a family friend. When he received his first promotion, he encouraged both his mom and Marie to apply for his old position. Luckily there was more than one position open at the time and they were both hired. Ultimately Deb, took Mason’s old desk. One of their favorite past times at Merakey has been volunteering together at Merakey events. Their favorite is the Merakey Bowling Tournament. If you have attended the tournament in the Harrisburg area you have probably met the whole family. Be on the lookout for Mason, Marie and Deb at future Merakey events!

Celebrating Generations of Family Members & Significant Others Working at Merakey


Merakey is fortunate to have multiple generations of family members and significant others working together. If you and other members of your family, or a significant other works at Merakey, we want to hear from you! Please complete the Celebrating Generations of Family & Significant Others Working at Merakey Form and submit it to celebrate50@merakey.org. Don’t forget to include high-resolution photos of yourself and your family member and/or significant other. The photos can be of you together or individually.

August 13, 2019

Open House in Escondido, CA

On August 7, Merakey’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services hosted an open house of their newest home in Escondido, CA. Staff members from the Amparo’s Developmental Center and the San Diego Regional Center and members of the community came to tour the beautifully home which was recently renovated, meet the staff who will be working there, and share in the excitement for the individuals who will be moving in very soon! Regional Director Jennifer Hampton, Coordinator of Program Supports Belan Gil and Program Administrator Brandon Waugh, along with all of the Merakey staff, were fantastic in organizing and hosting this event.

Open House in Escondido, CA

Open House, Escondido, CA Open House, Escondido, CA Open House, Escondido, CA
August 9, 2019

Success in California!

When Merakey’s Intensive Transition Services (ITS) Team in Sacramento, CA received their very first individual who had been discharged from the hospital and moved into a community setting, they faced many challenges, including self-injurious behavior, negative reactions to several medications, multiple medical complications, and more. Despite these things, the ITS Team grouped together to provide exceptional care and services by consistently advocating and supporting his treatment.

While it has been a tough couple of months, the individual, who had been institutionalized for most of his life, recently participated in a bowling event in the community. Executive Director of the ITS program in CA Reina Hudson wanted to share this success with all of Merakey because, “I know how hard the team has worked to see him get even a little better, and for him to have the strength to throw a bowling ball is almost unimaginable. I am so proud of him and the team!”  

Success in California! Intensive Transition Services provides person-centered, recovery oriented, and holistic support to individuals who are dually diagnosed with a developmental disability and mental illness, and possibly other co-occurring disorders. Merakey’s ITS Teams understand the complexity of supporting dually diagnosed individuals in the community, particularly those who are transitioning into community-based residential settings from a higher level of care.

Thank you, Reina, and congratulations to your entire team for their hard work and efforts, which clearly paid off for this individual. 

August 5, 2019

Merakey’s Newest BCBA – Erika Guercio

Erika

Congratulations to Baton Rouge’s Erika Guercio for recently passing her Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam! Erika has been working in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) field for seven years, and at Merakey’s Autism Center in Louisiana for the last two years.

“I am excited to be one of Merakey’s newest BCBAs! Having achieved this goal is so fulfilling, both personally and professionally. I appreciate the role our company has played in helping me reach my goal. I am honored to be a team member for a company dedicated to providing expert care for the members of our community. My most rewarding accomplishment in this field is teaching a child how to functionally communicate.”

BCBA is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Erika joins a team of BCBAs across our company that work with youth in our care. This certification provides additional subject matter expertise, as well as an added advantage for when families are looking for quality services for their loved ones.

Great job, Erika, on this significant achievement, and thank you for all that you do to support children and adolescents at the Autism Center in Baton Rouge.

August 5, 2019

CARF Announces New Surveyor – Cindy Hennessy

CindyCongratulations to Director of Adult Autism Services, Cindy Hennessy, for being selected to participate in CARF’s Surveyor Training Program. CARF surveyors are the cornerstone of the peer-review survey process. Surveyors are professionals in their fields with primary employment at CARF-accredited organizations. Cindy’s facilitation of the accreditation process and implementation of CARF standards within her programs make her a perfect addition to CARF’s team of Surveyors.

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities is an international, non-profit organization that was founded in 1966. Accreditation assists service providers to improve the quality of their services and meet internationally recognized standards. Merakey’s Community Housing programs for Adults with Autism are CARF Accredited and are recognized for their dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons served. Merakey was recently awarded another three-year accreditation with CARF, due to Cindy’s and her team’s diligence and commitment to the program and the residents in their care.

August 5, 2019

Celebrating Generations of Family Members & Significant Others Working at Merakey

Anderson Family

In our continuing celebration of the 50th Anniversary, Merakey wants to recognize the generations of family members and significant others that work within our organization!

Meet the Anderson family! Dad Bill and siblings Brittney, Marissa, and Ashley ALL work in our Montgomery County Behavioral Health programs. Peer Support Director Brittney Anderson has worked with Merakey for 7 years, Case Management Supervisor Marissa Doklan has worked with Merakey for 4 years, Case Management Supervisor Ashley Anderson has worked with Merakey for 6 months, and Family Based Therapist II Bill Anderson recently joined the Merakey Team.

How did they all end up working together? When Brittney was promoted from Recovery Coach to a Residential Program Manager, she convinced Marissa to apply for her previous position. Brittney enjoyed working with her immediate team, as well as with management, and she wanted her sister to experience that same feeling. Both Brittney and Marissa then convinced Ashley to explore a Case Management Supervisor position with Merakey. After meeting with the management team, Ashley understood why Brittney and Marissa enjoyed their jobs so much and happily accepted the offer. Most recently, their father completed his Master’s Degree and was looking to advance his career in the mental health field. Through Brittany, Bill learned of an opportunity to utilize his new degree at Merakey.

Having different personalities and appearances has made for fun and interesting stories around the office when they reveal to their colleagues that they are all related. Fortunately for Merakey, they do not take family vacations often or else half the office might be vacant!

Merakey is fortunate to have multiple generations of family members and significant others working together. If you and other members of your family, or a significant other works at Merakey, we want to hear from you! Please complete the Celebrating Generations of Family & Significant Others Working at Merakey Form and submit it to celebrate50@merakey.org. Don’t forget to include high-resolution photos of yourself and your family member and/or significant other. The photos can be of you together or individually.

August 5, 2019

Pippin in Media!

Anderson FamilyBravo to Ted on his performance in "Pippin" at the Media Theater in Media, PA!

Ted, a member of the Adult Autism Program, auditioned for a supporting role and rehearsed five nights a week for three weeks. He performed live 16 times in July! Ted said he was thrilled to be part of a great show.

This is Ted's third musical at the Media Theater, having previously performed in "Tommy", "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Godspell".

August 5, 2019

Street Project Foundation Update

Street Project

Last September, the Pulse published an article on Merakey’s donation of laptops to the Street Project Foundation in Lagos Nigeria. Paul Sachs, executive director of Behavioral Health Services in Philadelphia, who spearheaded the donation in collaboration with Merakey’s IT Department, is excited to provide an update on how the students made valuable use of the laptops.

The group of talented individuals is using the laptops for the Digital Amazons project, helping young women learn technical skills that they can use in the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood – as it is known, third to the US and India in the world in filmmaking).

The second cohort of 25 young women recently completed the three-week program and they are thrilled to share video of their graduation ceremony, to include Merakey as a sponsor! Thank you, Paul and our IT Department, for all that you did to coordinate this special donation, resulting in others fulfilling their dreams. Click here to view the video!

www.streetproject.org.ng

August 5, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Deborah George

Deborah GeorgeMany employees have been with Merakey for quite a number of years, and they deserve a special spotlight for all their hard work and dedication! Look for more employee spotlights in The Pulse, on digital signage, and on Facebook!

Scheduler Deborah George has worked in Merakey’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services for an amazing 30 years. “I work for Merakey because I enjoy assisting the population we serve.” Deborah said about her time with Merakey.

Her favorite memories revolve around her visits to the Variety Club Camp. She recalls the clients being very excited to go to camp. She also enjoyed working with “her guys” everyday and was sad to leave them two years ago.

When asked what Merakey means to her she simply stated, “family!”

Thank you, Deborah, for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!