Archived News & Events - February 2018

February 23, 2018

A Night to Shine with NHS/AVS

On February 9, individuals from NHS and NHS/AVS put on their prom dresses and tuxedos to head to the Night to Shine Prom. 37 individuals attended proms held at two local churches: Woodland Valley Church in Cranberry, PA and The Bible Chapel in McMurray, PA. Each location, hosted by The Tim Tebow Foundation, featured an unforgettable prom night experience for individuals with special needs.

Each guest was welcomed to the event on a red carpet, complete with a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. A television inside the event displayed a live feed for guests to watch as everyone arrived. Once inside, guests received corsages and boutonnieres and were crowned prom king or queen. They also sang karaoke, enjoyed delicious refreshments and danced the night away! Each guest left at the end of the event with a favor to remember their evening.

“This program is amazing,” commented NHS/AVS house manager Nancy Hoover. “The ladies looked beautiful and had a fantastic time!” NHS is grateful for both the area churches as well as the Tim Tebow Foundation for partnering with us in enriching the lives of the individuals that we serve.

February 23, 2018

Play Without Boundaries - March 4

Wicked Sensory PerformanceThe Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia invites NHS individuals to enjoy the museum before it is open to the public on March 4. Activities are designed especially for children with learning and developmental disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum. The event includes sensory toys, performances and guest presenters. In order to cater to its guests, the museum will be calmer and quieter with fewer people and reduced lighting and sound in exhibition areas.

Experiences include activities like the Floreo Virtual Reality Experience - a virtual reality based autism therapy product, creative paper strip sculpture programs, and opportunities for guests to make furry friends with certified therapy animals from PAWS for People. Dance-movement therapy events will be presented in an experiential format, allowing children and caregivers to participate in activities commonly used in a dance/movement therapy session.

Resources from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will also be provided with information on the innovative research and studies happening at their facilities. The event is free of charge (with pre-registration) and will be happening from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. More information regarding the event can be found on the Museum's official website and you can contact the museum either through email ( or by phone (215-581-3181) to register.

February 23, 2018

Dancing with the Cars

Guests gathered at the Dancing with the Cars event on February 15 to witness the presentation of the check for the 2017 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP). Hosted by the presenting sponsor, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation (GPADF), the event served as a preview for the 2018 Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

Unveiled at the Ford stage in front of a large audience, Tony Brown from NHS/AVS expressed his gratitude for the PVGP for its importance to the lives of him and his peers. The Autism Society’s Anita Iyengar also spoke about the impact of PVGP on her life. The GPADF then presented both the NHS Allegheny Valley School and the Autism Society with a check for $350,000 – bringing the 35-year charity’s donation total to more than $5 million!

NHS/AVS had more than 64 guests at the event, including 7 ambassadors and their accompanying staff members. The festivities for the event included dancing, delicious food, amazing cars and great company. NHS/AVS is grateful to the PVGP and to all sponsors, donors, volunteers, drivers and more for their commitment to the individuals that we support.

February 16, 2018

Wicked Sensory Performance

Wicked Sensory PerformanceOn February 3, 114 individuals and staff members attended a sensory-friendly performance of Wicked. The show was designed to serve patrons with sensory sensitivities and other special needs. Adaptations included: relaxed house rules, and lower light and sound levels; trained volunteers and staff members were available throughout the performance to provide assistance, as needed.

“We all loved it,” reported House Manager Kristy Fuller. “The show kept everyone’s attention and many were singing and dancing in their seats. It was truly one of the best shows I've been to.” “I observed many of the individuals looking around at the beautiful surroundings of the Benedum Center,” commented staff member Marie Brozenic. “There are so many things for the senses at this performance.”

Attendance at this performance was made possible through a grant from the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

February 16, 2018

NHS IDD’s Certified Investigators Assemble to Sharpen their Skills

It had been quite a week for Sarah Naughton. It was only Thursday, but by then, she had traveled all the way across the Commonwealth of PA, with stops at NHS Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis and PA Child Welfare Center in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, she was five minutes from home at NHS Woodhaven’s auditorium, teaching an eight-hour seminar for the third consecutive day.

NHS IDD’s Certified Investigators Assemble to Sharpen their Skills“Thank you, NHS, for inviting me to conduct three, one-day CI refresher trainings for your CIs,” said Naughton, a certified investigator trainer at Temple University’s Institute on Protective Services. “I truly valued getting to spend the time with people who had conducted investigations, and to hear their questions about and insights into the process. The experience will help me better prepare new CIs for their role.” Clearly, NHS staff valued the time with her as well. Approximately 90 staff members, some from IDD and others from QCO, registered for these workshops, applying the concepts covered to real-life scenarios they had encountered while doing investigations, and to ask questions about those specific situations. In addition, reviewing the basics of conducting thorough, objective, timely investigations helped them more fully understand the various standards of the investigation process and why those standards are in place.

Many of the participants, in each of the three sessions originally went through the CI training many years ago. They said they found it informative and helpful to learn about changes that have taken place to the process since they were first certified. “It was validating for me to hear that people found the training to be beneficial,” Naughton said afterwards. “I too found it beneficial to hear people’s thoughts about the process. Thank you to all who participated in the sessions.”

Photo caption: Trainer Sarah Naughton (right) pictured with LaTonya Bantum-Payton (left), NHS-IDD Director of Program Enhancement & Monitoring, who coordinated the three program days.

February 2, 2018

Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections

CEO Joe Martz visited Special Education and Behavioral Connections, an NHS Company, in Flint, MI on January 30 to talk with staff and children in our care. Joe had the opportunity to tour their ABA Center, and to see (and play on) the sensory equipment that was purchased from Foundation funds. From their smiles, we’re not sure if Joe or the children in the program had more fun!

Group picture: Back row, l-r: Anderson Fernanders, behavior technician, Joseph Martz, CEO, Madeline Tousley, program director. Front row, l-r: Morgan McGuire, ABA clinician, Lauren Phillips, BCBA, Margee Keoshian, lead behavior technician

Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections
Joe Martz Visits Special Education and Behavioral Connections