Archived News & Events - July 2019

July 26, 2019

Bucks County Business Owners Support our Individuals

Classic Rock Auto Detail

As we recognize the Americans with Disabilities Act today, this story is a terrific example of putting words into action!

Thanks to CEO Joe Martz and his conversations with business owners in Bucks County, PA about hiring people with disabilities, an individual we support and President of the Bucks and Montgomery Consumer Advisory Group is featured on the cover of the Hampton Times! Artur, who works at the Richboro-based Classic Rock Auto Detail, is thrilled to be employed and earning a paycheck. Steven and Chris, two other individuals from Merakey, also interviewed for jobs and are proudly working in the community!

Click here to read the full story on the auto detailer and how they are making a difference in the lives of these very special individuals.

July 26, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Valerie Murchison

Valerie

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!

Community Support Supervisor Valerie Murchison has worked in Merakey’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services for an incredible 32 years. “I work for Merakey because their primary concern has always been to provide top notch care to the communities across the region,” Valerie said about her time with Merakey.

Valerie has numerous memories from working at Merakey and most of them have been shared with her coworkers. She notes that there is a sense of camaraderie and long-lasting bonds. “Their support and continued guidance in my time of need has been one of the reasons that I have remained in this field and with this company for so long. I cannot imagine working anywhere else.” Valerie commented.

Merakey has taught Valerie that the vital community supports could, at any point, be critical for a loved one to provide care. She has learned that compassion and empathy continue to be the primary drivers of the company, “And for that, I am very proud to be an extension of commitment to our clients and colleagues.”

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

July 19, 2019

Celebrating Generations of Family Members & Significant Others Working at Merakey

Tara and Cynthia

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 mother and daughter, Cynthia Bowermaster and Tara Taylor! Site Supervisor Cynthia, has been working at Merakey for 28 years, and Tara, who is the Medical Records Director, joined the organization 8 years ago. Both work out of the 33 State Avenue location in Carlisle, PA.

How did they end up working together? “With such a long commitment, my mother talked about an open position which requires both of us to work as a team. We are perfect together and help create a great working environment!” exclaims Tara.

While working at the same office every day is special enough, Tara and Cynthia fondly remember when they both had lunch with former Chief Operating Officer Mike Breslin in Harrisburg. Tara and Cynthia will never forget the experience and the great time they had with Mike.

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.

July 19, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight – Diane Wright

Diane

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!

Working in residential services within the Behavioral Health Division for an amazing 29 years, Diane Wright, loves having the opportunity to interact directly with the individuals she supports, and to “serve them great food!”

Diane’s fondest memory of working at Merakey (so far) was when she won the talent show at the Outpatient Clinic located at 27 E. Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. Through the years, Merakey has taught Diane how to Interact with residents. “I developed some skills. I was a job coach, taught music and now I provide music for our morning exercise groups where everyone participates. Then, I cook nutritionally good meals.”

In addition to learning how to interact with her residents, Diane believes that having trust with them also gives you the ability to work together effectively. Trusting staff and residents helps everyone feel safe and work towards a common goal.

Looking ahead at Merakey’s future, Diane is hopeful that the company implements new therapeutic tools, such as music therapy throughout all programs, to assist individuals in their daily routines. Smart idea, Diane!

Congratulations and thank you, Diane, for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!

July 19, 2019

Fresh Start Celebrates 5 Years with Merakey

Fresh Start

July 1 marked the 5-year anniversary of Fresh Start joining the Merakey family. Since 2014, Fresh Start has opened 7 new programs and served over 4,000 men and women, with 75% of them being Veterans. Fresh Start’s outcomes are among the best in the country for programs of their size. They are also proud to have received the Veteran Administration’s Award of Excellence from the Coatesville VA Medical Center.

As Fresh Start continues to grow and look for new and innovative ways to serve Veterans and adults suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders, the Merakey family would like to thank every Fresh Start employee and stakeholder for the opportunity to support such an outstanding agency.

Congratulations, Fresh Start and thank you for all that you do to support Veterans and individuals with substance use disorders!

July 12, 2019

Celebrating 20 Years of Service!

On July 1, Denise Ditondo, Montgomery County Recovery Coach, celebrated her 20th year of working with Merakey! Her team and members of the community-based programs in Colmar, PA celebrated by going out to lunch to honor her work and many years of service.

Congratulations Denise on your 20th anniversary!

Celebrating 20 years!
Celebrating 20 years!
Celebrating 20 years!
July 9, 2019

Visit to The Farmer’s Inn

The Consumer Advisory Group from Dubois, PA enjoyed a beautiful sunny day at The Farmer’s Inn located in Sigel, PA. The group ate lunch together and visited the zoo where they saw a variety of animals including a bear, tortoises, goats, wolves, a black leopard, and even a camel named Omar! The group plans a trip to The Farmer’s Inn every year and hosts fundraisers to support the activity. Everyone enjoyed their day and they are already looking forward to going back next year!

farmers
farmers
farmers
farmers
farmers
July 9, 2019

Stepping Out for Tuesdays in the Park

On a bright sunny day, 37 youth supported by Merakey’s Stepping Stones program enjoyed their Elm Grove Park Day on June 25. A special surprise this week was meeting Madiera (a 21-year old box turtle), Piker (a blue-tonged skink), and Mindy (a baby American alligator). The visitors were accompanied by Richie and Sam from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The kids all learned interesting facts about the animals including that turtles “can drink and breathe through their butts,” that the skink’s tongue is blue to scare off predators who think they’re poisonous (they are not), and the baby alligator will grow to be 10-15 feet long and weigh up to 700 pounds!

Each Tuesday during the summer the Stepping Stones program in McMurray meets at Elm Grove Park. “It’s a day everyone – kids and staff – look forward to,” commented Program Supervisor Halle Benusa. “It’s great to get outside, run around, experience new things and have fun.”

The Zoo program was made possible by a grant from CentiMark Foundation. “We are so happy to see the funds at work helping to enrich the lives of the children,” noted CentiMark’s Kathy Slencak.

July 9, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight Campaign - Yvonne Peters-Watson

YvonneMany 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!

Registrar, Yvonne Peters-Watson has worked with Merakey for an amazing 30 years. “I believe my gift is helping others.” Yvonne said about her time with Merakey.

Yvonne has seen the company grow and withstand difficult times. She believes the company has become a strong and reputable organization. Merakey has given Yvonne an opportunity to use her gift of helping others by supporting her colleagues that provide direct care services.

The core value that means the most to Yvonne is COMPASSION and being there for someone else.

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

July 5, 2019

The Employables – More Than Meets the Eye

The Employables on A&E

In case you missed Wednesday’s airing of The Employables on the A&E network featuring Merakey, the full episode can be accessed on A&E’s website, or by clicking here (best viewed in Chrome or Firefox).

You’ll meet Angela, a young woman with Tourette Syndrome struggling to find a job where she can make a difference in other people’s lives. After more than 10 years and countless interviews, Angela applies for a position at Merakey where she can use her experiences and challenges to help others. During her interview, Angela meets with several Merakey staff members, including Director of Program Assistance Robin Cheskiewicz, Staff Development Executive Carol Erzen, Talent Acquisition Jennifer Utzig, Program Specialist Coneath Eldemire, Administrative Assistant Jill Finney, and former Merakey Regional Executive Director Kim Sonafelt. Check out the full episode to find out if Angela gets the job and to see our colleagues in action!

A special thank you goes to our talented team of staff members who participated in this project and supported Angela throughout the process. Their dedication to the Merakey mission and core values was truly reflected as they made the experience as comfortable as possible for Angela. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!

July 1, 2019

NEPA Spring Fling

NEPA Spring Fling The IDD Day Program at Northeastern PA held its annual Spring Fling on June 21 at McDonnell's Grove in Carbondale, PA. The event was held during the day for all day program participants, staff, and family members. Even though it was a damp, cool day, everyone enjoyed the festivities and fellowship. There was dancing, singing, BINGO for prizes, and cornhole.

Everyone enjoyed a catered lunch including hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans, macaroni salad, potato salad, chips, pretzels, soda, and dessert. Thank you to the Merakey Foundation for funding this special event!

NEPA Spring Fling
NEPA Spring Fling
July 1, 2019

50th Anniversary Employee Spotlight Campaign - Beth Scarsellone

BethMany 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!

House Manager Beth Scarsellone has worked with Merakey Allegheny Valley School for an incredible 36 years. “I continue to work at Merakey Allegheny Valley School because it’s my life’s work and my passion,” Beth said about her time at Merakey.

Beth’s favorite memory of working at Merakey is when she was a live-in house manager. She fondly remembers when she and her husband would take individuals on vacations every year, including camping in Cooks Forest and visiting Niagara Falls, Sea World, Disney World, Ocean City and more attractions. Beth’s son enjoyed living with consumers and would join in the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” sessions, even before he could walk!

The core value that means the most to Beth is COMPASSION. She believes everyone should treat others as you would want to be treated.

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