Archived News & Events - December 2018

December 28, 2018

Little Bees Perform for the Holidays

The Bee Me Center in Youngstown, PA, a Merakey Child Development Center, celebrated the holidays at their annual Christmas presentation last week. After weeks of practice, the excited toddlers and preschoolers performed holiday songs for their parents and family members. The youngsters were most excited to shake the "Jingle Bells” and to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". The Bee Me Center staff loved making memories with the kids and families in their care through a very merry holiday presentation!

Recognition
December 28, 2018

Fresh Start Toys for Tots

Veterans from the Fresh Start Independence Hall Program in Coatesville, PA volunteered at Toys for Tots in Chester County in preparation for the holidays. Veterans unloaded trucks and sorted donations for distribution to local agencies that will help 2,000 children this year. The Veterans from Fresh Start are working to obtain permanent housing in the community, so they know what it is like to not have much during the holidays. Their selfless acts helped to make a difference in the lives of children in their communities.

Fresh Start Toys for Tots 
Fresh Start Toys for Tots
December 21, 2018

Employment First Works - It Begins with a Single Step

How beautiful is it when a person radiates positivity and kindness? How powerful is it for people to want to be a better version of themselves because they feel empowered? Melissa and Twanda began their journeys by expressing a desire to help those around them. With the support of a Merakey staff member at Warm Spring Center, these ladies filled out volunteer applications at various locations. After several discussions, Melissa and Twanda decided that they wanted to volunteer at Manor Care, a nursing and rehabilitation center in Chambersburg, PA. Both women were involved every step of the way, from filling out the application, following up with the nursing home staff, attending orientation, and preparing themselves to begin their journeys. It didn’t take long for both to earn the hearts of the residents and also the staff at Manor Care.

One day at Manor Care, a gentleman was sitting in his wheelchair surrounded by three physical therapists who were all kindly asking him to get up and walk. Despite encouragement from the staff members, the gentleman was frustrated and did not want to stand up. As Melissa walked down the hall and the man saw her, his eyes brightened and he gave a big, broad smile. When Melissa approached him, she held out her hands without hesitation. The gentleman eagerly took her hands and stood up as the therapists looked at each other with amazement. The therapists asked Melissa if she would mind walking with him. Melissa smiled and gently began walking backwards while holding his hands. They walked down the entire hallway, turned around and walked back to his wheelchair. The therapists sang Melissa’s praises and asked how often she would be coming in to Manor Care to volunteer because they saw the remarkable impact that she had on the residents.

The story above displays the human connection and experience, as there was no hesitation to engage with one another. Melissa was not seen for her disability but instead as the kind hearted, eager person that she is. Melissa and Twanda are just getting started with the positive impact they are making in their community. The journey begins with a single step.

Employment First WorksEmployment First Works Pictured: Melissa and Twanda volunteering at Manor Care
December 21, 2018

Recognizing Outstanding Employees

Merakey Behavioral Health adult programs in Philadelphia hosted its annual employee recognition breakfast on December 13 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Program managers selected employees for recognition based on their outstanding work in the past year. Each employee received a certificate of appreciation, a Merakey padfolio and a desk ornament commemorating the recognition. Merakey was pleased to have Koren Parker, AFSCME representative join for the event, as well as Charity Bell, HR business partner for Philadelphia Behavioral Health. Special thanks to La Shainnia Peaker Executive Assistant, Administrative Supervisor for organizing the event.

Recognition

Photo: Front row (from left): Sirprena Watts, Anisah Ramsey, Fannie Revell, Theresa Wright, Sheila Anderson, Chante Fields, Leslie Marshall, Amber-Lee Sander, Angela Mikell, Denise Payne. Back row (from left): Rick Trump, Bryant Harris, Joe Williams, Kenyatta Dabney
Not shown: Alexis Koutroulakis, William Willis, Lewis Floyd.

December 21, 2018

Holiday Shoe Boxes

Staff members from Merakey’s foster care program in Washington County, PA teamed up with students from Upper Saint Clair’s Boyce Middle School and Chartiers Houston’s Allison Park Elementary School to collect and deliver holiday gifts to several support agencies that work with children.

“It’s our families who have been amazing with helping us,” commented Allison Park Guidance Counselor Georganne Matise. “The program teaches the kids the act of sharing and giving and helps them to see how fortunate they are.”

At each site, Merakey staff, students and faculty formed human chains to move the shoe boxes from the school to inside the delivery truck. The wrapped boxes were filled by students at the schools with small toys, hats, gloves, treats and hygiene products. Over 800 boxes were collected this year, of which 578 were donated to Merakey programs!

“Just doing this makes me really happy to help people,” said Layla, a 5th grader at Boyce. “I’m glad they’ll have these boxes.”

Eight students were selected to accompany Merakey staff to deliver the shoe boxes to the offices of outreach programs that serve the region, including the Washington County Children and Youth Services and a local soup kitchen. The day wrapped-up with a pizza party at Merakey’s Waterdam office for the students, Merakey staff and Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome. The students shared what they had learned that day and judged a door decorating contest at the Merakey office.

For 15 years, Merakey’s foster care program has participated in this annual holiday activity, which brings joy to so many!

December 21, 2018

Parkside Recovery Gives Back

On December 13, staff from Merakey Parkside Recovery volunteered to set up at the Business Association of West Parkside's annual Holiday Stop-By and Toy Drive. Parkside Recovery donated toys to be distributed to Toys for Tots Program and Parkside Association of Philadelphia. Lori Gabert, Samantha Pich, and Jose Tirado were eager to donate time to help ensure the morning went off without a hitch.

Parkside Parkside Parkside Parkside

December 21, 2018

Register for Night to Shine

Night to Shine On February 8, 2019 Night to Shine, the prom for individuals with disabilities will take place worldwide. 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, churches around the world will host Night to Shine for thousands of honored guests, and we want Merakey 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! The highlight of the night comes when each one of the Night to Shine guests is crowned as a king or queen of the prom.

Register soon for this free event! Each participating church handles its own registration and has a capacity limit.

To Register:

Proms will take place in all states where Merakey provides services.

Note: Photographers, videographers and media will likely be in attendance. If registering an individual receiving supports by Merakey be sure that the individual has full approvals to be photographed by outside groups.

December 21, 2018

Annual Talent Show

On December 18, Bucks and Montgomery County Consumer Advisory Groups hosted their Annual Talent Show.
DJ, Art "DJ Freedman" Khaimchayev, the Master of Ceremony, Michele Morgan, and members of the Consumer Advisory Group hosted the holiday show. Several talented performances were presented including dancing, singing and joke telling. Some of the regular performers included: Stephen, Margaret, Katie, Kevin, Freddie, and David. Performers Michael, Lala, Thelma, Vicky, Edwardo, and Debbie put on an amazing show. Many residents from Merakey Woodhaven Center and the Bucks and Montgomery County members of Community Living Arrangement also came on stage at the end of the show for a final Christmas dance.

A special thank you to Stuart Blasband and Chris Dragani who were significant in planning the event and helping to make it a success!

Talent Show
Talent Show
Talent Show
Talent Show
Talent Show
Talent Show
December 14, 2018

Merakey Participates at National Technical Honor Society Induction Ceremony

On Saturday, December 1, Merakey Director of Talent Acquisition Quincy Stephens and University Relations Recruiter Mary Robinson, attended the Delaware County Community College (DCCC) 2018 National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) Induction Ceremony. DCCC recognized 65 students in the NTHS Induction Ceremony to honor and celebrate career and technical education students enrolled at DCCC. NTHS is an invitation only honor society designed to recognize students enrolled in a career or technical program with at least 9 college level credits, who have earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Quincy served as this year’s keynote speaker and explained to the students that they were “Achievement Warriers” and encouraged students to keep working towards their goals. Quincy and Mary were also inducted into NTHS as honorary members. Kendrick M. Mickens Sr., Ed.D., Director of Office of Student Success and First Year Experiences stated, “NTHS is in its infancy stages and will be celebrating its 1st anniversary at Delaware County Community College. However, in this short period, 134 students have become members since our NTHS Chapter has been established.” Quincy and Mary networked with students, families, and facility members to share the mission and vision of Merakey.

Merakey Participates at National Technical Honor Society Induction Ceremony
Merakey Participates at National Technical Honor Society Induction Ceremony
Merakey Participates at National Technical Honor Society Induction Ceremony
Merakey Participates at National Technical Honor Society Induction Ceremony
December 14, 2018

Junior Board Foundation Event

The Merakey Junior Board of the Foundation hosted a toy drive during happy hour at the Field House in Philadelphia on December 11. They collected toys for the individuals at Merakey Children’s Outpatient Services in Philadelphia. Over 100 toys were collected and will be distributed on December 15 at the annual holiday party. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the event, especially the Junior Board of the Merakey Foundation! So many children will get toys and gift cards thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Junior Board Foundation Event
Junior Board Foundation Event
Junior Board Foundation Event
December 7, 2018

Fresh Start Now "Veteran Ready" by Psych Armor

Fresh Start Now 'Veteran Ready' by Psych Armor

Congratulations to Fresh Start Foundation, a Merakey program, for recently achieving certification in PsychArmor, a well-known Veteran training organization recognized by the Veterans Administration and the national veterans’ service continuum. Fresh Start Foundation received this certification in recognition of the dedication of their staff and volunteers, and their commitment to supporting Veterans and the military community.

Please join us in congratulating the Fresh Start program and their staff for receiving this prestigious certification!