Archived News & Events - May 2018

May 21, 2018

Fix the DSP Crisis!

Message from Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR):

Funds for a rate increase for ID/A services to raise DSP wages are currently not in the FY 18/19 PA Budget that was proposed by Governor Tom Wolf. The budget is now in the hands of the PA House and Senate. The next two weeks leading up to the June 4 Disability Funding Rally are absolutely critical to this year's advocacy to raise DSP wages and Fix The DSP Crisis!

PAR recommends that every PA legislator should hear the message on social media at least 5 times this week. PAR encourages employees, consumers, families, and stakeholders to post a message on social media to their legislators every day this week!

Sample message from PAR: “Please include an additional $60m appropriation in the #PABudget for DSP Wages! #FixTheDSPCrisis @PARdotnet”

For more information, visit PAR's official website by clicking here.
May 21, 2018

Merakey Receives Evidence-Based Practice Program Designation!

Congratulations to the Prolonged Exposure Program at Merakey’s Behavioral Health Outpatient services located at 27 East Mount Airy and at 11082 Knights Road, in Philadelphia, for receiving the distinguished EPIC (Evidence-Based Practices and Innovation Center) EBP (Evidence-Based Practice) Program Designation. Merakey’s status as an EPIC EBP Program Designated provider of the Prolonged Exposure Program is being shared across the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and Community Behavioral Health departments to reflect the significance of this recognition. Merakey received this recognition as a result of successfully passing the review process, which included addressing EBP training and consultation, EBP service delivery, and EBP quality assurance. The goal of the EPIC EBP Program Designation is to identify and roster providers who are offering high quality evidence-based and evidence-supported practices and to increase the number of individuals who receive evidence-based services. Click here for more information about the EPIC EBP Program Designation.

Prolonged Exposure (PE) is a form of therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. This type of treatment can be very effective in resolving symptoms that have occurred as the result of a traumatic event. Congratulations to the Behavioral Health team for receiving this important designation, and thank you for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!
May 21, 2018

Welcome Merakey Foundation Junior Board!

Merakey FoundationWe are honored to announce the members of our inaugural Foundation Junior Board. These individuals come from a variety of backgrounds and professions. They each possess the critical leadership skills and business acumen along with deep compassion and a desire to give back. We are grateful to have them on our team to help promote the work of the Merakey Foundation.

They will host their first fundraising event on August 1, 2018 at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia. They will also be invited on a rotating basis to attend Foundation Board meetings, Merakey Foundation events and more. Look for more information on their first fundraising event and future events!

Meet the Junior Board: Click here to read their bios.
Sean Mitchell, Senior Corporate Accountant at Merakey.
Amanda Mueller, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Delta-T Group & Accutrace, Inc.
Patricia Mundy, Staff Veterinarian in Ophthalmology.
Megan Nolan, District Manager at Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Roma Sawchyn. Business Technology Project Manager at Vanguard.
Iqra Shafique, Vice President of JP Morgan Chase.
Ryan Wellman, Client Services Manager for Accu-trace, Inc.

May 21, 2018

Creating Awareness about Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention

During the month of May, individuals from Merakey’s Community Rehabilitative Residential Services, Transitional Living Coordination Services and Certified Peer Specialist Services in Schuylkill County joined two event campaigns to help spread the word on Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention.

Individuals and staff members participated in awareness walks to help the community understand how to support others who suffer from suicide and mental health challenges. An informational booth provided staff a platform to discuss words of kindness and encouragement for those who struggle daily with these challenges.

A bulletin board was posted at Merakey’s office located at One Norwegian Plaza in Pottsville for the public to see more words of encouragement.

May 21, 2018

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Cure Stigma
Mental Health Awareness Month, recognized every May, brings attention to the various ways mental illness affects people’s lives. Since 1949, organizations across the nation have encouraged awareness by reaching millions through media, local events and screenings. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. NAMI fights stigma, provides support, educates the public and advocates for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. This year, NAMI is promoting the theme of “Cure Stigma”. You can visit NAMI's official website by clicking here or their Cure Stigma website by clicking here
May 21, 2018

Celebration of Success Luncheon

Congratulations to Dyrue McGee and Genevieve Verbonach who were honored at the Richard C. Frech Celebration of Success Luncheon on May 9. The luncheon honored and shared the successes of 21 people and recognized the positive aspects and accomplishments of those who live and work in the community. Dyrue and Genevieve each received an Achievement Award.

Jennifer Edwards shared with guests that Dyrue is an extremely happy individual who likes to dance and laugh throughout the day. His eyes light up when others communicate with him. He now maintains eye contact throughout a conversation and seems to have an increase in attention span. Dyrue enjoys going out and meeting new people!

Thank you to Marge Campbell, Brittney Collins, Laura Cox, Jennifer Edwards, Julia Kenzevich, Kim Sonafelt and Armand Zottola for coming to the event to cheer on Dyrue.

Emily Nickles shared with guests that Genevieve’s personality is blossoming and she is developing friendships with her housemates. During the day, she attends CARES day program where she volunteers in the community and explores educational and recreational ventures. Genevieve works at TJ Maxx where she accepts guidance and applies it on the job. Her goal is to one-day work with children or to open a bakery. Genevieve’s brother, Aaron Verbonach, and uncle, Ron Verbonach attended the event and commented that Genevieve is a caring and loving person. Her hugs will always cheer you up!

Genevieve’s friends, Cierra and Wendy, along with Emily Nickles, Tracy Olivani, Susan White and Amy Rocini shared in Genevieve’s honor.

We are so proud of the accomplishments of Dyrue and Genevieve!


May 11, 2018

Resource Parent Appreciation Luncheon

On April 28, the Merakey DuBois, Meadville, and Altoona Therapeutic Foster Care/Foster Care Plus Programs kicked of Foster Care Awareness Month by hosting a resource parent appreciation luncheon at Luigi's Villa in DuBois, PA. The TFC/FCP Team decorated and cooked for the event. Certificates of recognition, thanking parents for years of service were handed out to all Resource Families. In addition to the celebration, families participated in a door prize auction that included donations from the community.

Everyone had a great time! Way to go DuBois, Meadville, Altoona Behavioral Health programs!

May 11, 2018

Lehigh Valley's Autism Walk

Staff from Stepping Stones Plus met at the beautiful Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA to attend the Autism Walk hosted by Autism Speaks on April 28. The event was a great opportunity to hand out information to families and other providers about our new Merakey Stepping Stones Plus location.

Steel Stacks Autism Walk
May 1, 2018

Merakey Hosts Open House for Second Autism Center in Louisiana

On April 25, the Merakey Autism Center in Hammond, LA welcomed North Shore community members and stakeholders to an open house. The center has been operating since March 2018 and offers Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy and specialized therapy services, such as speech and occupational therapy for individuals up to the age of 21. The center’s Bee Me kindergarten provides a readiness program for children of all abilities and developmental stages between the ages of 3-5. The open house event offered tours of the facilities and introductions to the staff and other key members of Merakey. Over 200 families attended the event!

May 1, 2018

Celebrate National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2018!

Celebrate National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2018!

The week of May 6 to the 12 celebrates National Nurses Week which will feature a host of events across the U.S. to honor nurses and educates the public about nurses’ role in health care. Through their hard work and talent, our nurses provide crucial care to those who desperately need it. Merakey is grateful to all nursing staff for their dedication to the individuals that we serve.

Please take time to say a special "thank you" to the nurses that work with you and the individuals in our care for their devotion to the field of nursing and to Merakey!

Visit the official webpage of Naitonal Nurses Week on for more information!

May 1, 2018

Merakey Partners in Caring 2018

On the beautiful sunny day of April 26, over 100 Merakey administrative staff, employees from the Philadelphia Insurance Companies, The Graham Company, TD Bank, staff and consumers from Merakey Woodhaven volunteered to help beautify the Woodhaven campus. Volunteers were divided into groups and spread out over the 70-acre campus to complete landscaping projects. The projects included mulching and planting flowers in 10 locations around campus, painting the large cement wall at the entrance of the property, painting the Merakey logo in the auditorium, building a green house, and collecting trash around the grounds.

Merakey Woodhaven provides residential and day program services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For over 25 years, the large campus has offered a safe and therapeutic environment for consumers. During lunch residents of Woodhaven handed out thank you cards to express their gratitude of the volunteers.

This marks the third Partners in Caring event since 2015. The event provides an opportunity for corporate administrative staff to give back to Merakey through an all day, on-site service and clean-up effort. Thank you to all volunteers who participated!

May 1, 2018

Merakey Education Center Scranton Supports Local Autism Walk

Merakey Education Center Scranton Supports Local Autism Walk Merakey Education Center Scranton Supports Local Autism WalkThe staff of the Merakey Education Center Scranton attended the annual Parents Loving Children Through Autism (PLCTA) walk at Nay Aug Park on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The walk was a means to raise awareness about autism and raise funds for activities for families and children in the community affected by autism. Mary Griffin, Office Manager, and Cecelia Farrell, School Director, set up a table in the information tent to introduce our schools new name to the community. We gave children the opportunity to make refrigerator magnets to take home. It was a beautiful day with many participants in attendance for the event.

May 1, 2018

Communication Technology Visits Phipps

Communication Technology Visits PhippsIndividuals from the Communication Technology Program at the Zapp Center got to explore the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory. Everyone loved finding their favorite flowers and learning all about new and exciting plants and their "funny names", as some commented. Individuals also socialized with one another while eating lunch at the Phipps Café.

Thanks are due to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for helping to fund this amazing outing.

May 1, 2018

Best Buddies Friendship Walk

The Friendship Walk was held on April 21 at Highmark Stadium, Home of Pittsburgh's Riverhounds soccer team. The event kicked-off with a delicious breakfast. After the opening announcements and awards, the crowd began their one mile walk along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. As they walked, they enjoyed the views of downtown Pittsburgh and cheering from supporters along the way, including cheerleaders from area schools. After the walk, everyone enjoyed a cookout-style lunch donated by Sysco. Our group soaked in some sunshine as they shared some laughs with their friends and talked about their week. They enjoyed being on the Riverhounds field shooting hoops, dancing as the DJ played popular dance music, visiting different team booths for Best Buddies bracelets, cups, noise makers and more.

The Buddies enjoyed the Friendship Walk - and other events throughout the year, making it a year of creating memories, sharing laughs and building friendships that count! The Merakey AVS team was thrilled to wear their new Best Buddies t-shirts which were funded through the Walter F. and Helen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Best Buddies Friendship Walk

May 1, 2018

May is National Foster Care Month!

May is National Foster Care Month!The month of May highlights foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals and members of the community who help children in foster care find permanent homes and connections. According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, over 428,000 children and youth are in foster care. The average age of a child entering foster care is 6 to 7 years old. The Merakey Therapeutic Family Care (TFC) and Foster Care Plus (FCP) programs serve about 450 children and adolescents. Merakey would like to thank all those involved in our foster care programs!

May 1, 2018

Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair

Karen Dunlop, Gwen Miller, and Sabina Tobak put their hearts and souls into representing Merakey at the Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair at the Philadelphia Convention Center on April 10. The ladies introduced Merakey to over 50 potential prospects alongside other leading employers in the Delaware Valley.

Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair Professional & Technology Diversity Career Fair

May 1, 2018

Delco Children’s Night

Delaware County Blended Case Management celebrated its First Annual Dr. Seuss Children’s Night. The event was held to promote literacy and enjoy a night of fun with our families and staff. Children had the opportunity to enjoy a reading by our Executive Director, Chante Smith-Roberson. She read the book Oh, The Places You’ll Go! She expressed to the children that they will face many obstacles in life but never give up on their dreams. In addition, they rotated stations that included face painting, vision boards, and a map activity. Each child was able to leave with a new Dr. Seuss book courtesy of Delco and 906 staff. We had a great time and can’t wait to do it again next year!

Delco Children’s Night Delco Children’s Night

Delco Children’s Night Delco Children’s Night

May 1, 2018

Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Merakey's Education and Autism Division opened a new group, an Applied Behavior Analysis center in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania serving individuals with Autism between ages 3 and 21. On April 26, Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in Bethlehem, PA.

Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Merakey Lehigh Stepping Stones Plus Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony The community showed an outpouring of support. Stakeholders, parents, and politicians toured the facility and met highly qualified staff. PA State Senator Mario Scavello and PA House of Representatives Member Marcia Hahn were both in attendance for the ribbon cutting, and presented Senior Director of Operations, Heather Magaro, with a certificate honoring their grand opening in the community.

May 1, 2018

Delco Morale Monday

Delaware County Blended Case Management implemented Morale Mondays to continue to improve the morale in the department, promote team building and increase team spirit. "We celebrated our last two Morale Mondays with a Twin Day and Decade Day. Our Decade Day included the '70s, '80s and '90s. Our supervisors were dressed as the Spice Girls."

Delco Morale Monday Delco Morale Monday