Archived News & Events - May 2020

May 28, 2020

Prevention Pebbles Making a Splash

As part of their virtual education project, staff from Merakey Montgomery County’s Student Assistance Program painted rocks of various sizes with bright, eye-catching colors and designs and included messages of hope, facts on prevention of substance use, and tips about healthy lifestyle alternatives. The rocks are placed in neighborhoods throughout Montgomery County, PA for people to find as they are walking by them. The goal of this project is to educate the community on the resources that are out there to support them, as well as to beautify the grounds with the colorful rocks.

These special rocks have been found by several members of the community, including Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, who shared her love of the initiative. Cynthia, a resident in Souderton, PA found a few rocks and messaged the new Merakey Student Assistance Program Facebook page, “I just wanted to acknowledge the people that did these cute and pretty rocks. I found them in Souderton. It was a treat to find them. Thank you!” Thank YOU, Cynthia, for reaching out and showing your appreciation for the hard work that our staff members in the Student Assistance Program are doing to support the community.

For more information and to see all the great things happening with this virtual project, please like and follow @merakeysapmontco on Facebook.

Prevention Pebbles
Prevention Pebbles
Prevention Pebbles
May 28, 2020

Motivating and Encouraging Employees in MI

Motivating and Encouraging EmployeesBrook Spencer, Clinical Director at Merakey’s ABA Center in Dearborn, MI, established a way to motivate and encourage BCBAs and clinicians during this uncertain time. She has been giving virtual "awards" to recognize strengths of each staff member and uses those strengths to help the team develop together. Congratulations to the following staff for receiving these awards and Brook’s words of appreciation!
  • BIGGEST CHEERLEADER/BIGGEST MOTIVATOR AWARD: SHAVAUGHN YOUNG During sessions, she literally makes me feel good about myself with her verbal praise. I can’t imagine how the clients feel! If you want a good model of behavioral momentum…this is your girl.
  • MOST OBSERVANT AWARD: LAUREN GRUNDUSKI
    The way you explain things… I feel like I am present in every single session of yours. Honestly makes my job a lot easier!
  • PARENTS BIGGEST FAN AWARD: JACKLYN CARRILLO
    You have gone above and beyond on performing parent trainings and finding time to present content in the most meaningful way.
  • MOST REINFORCING AWARD: MALWINA POMICHOWSKA You always find activities the kids like that I’ve never seen before. You make the sessions seem so natural because the kids love you and are having so much fun!
  • BEST TEAM PLAYER AWARD: TAYLOR ROSS
    Your communication skills are excellent. You communicate constantly with your clients and those taking your cases to make sure your treatment is quality. I appreciate this Taylor and I know everyone else does as well!
  • MOST FLEXIBLE/POSITIVITY AWARD: WISSEM AHMAD
    You are always picking up last minute shifts, working the weekend so your clients’ needs are met, and providing support to everyone who asks. You never say, “I can’t,” it’s always, “I can”. If staff are having a bad day, I recommend they text you!
  • GO GETTER AWARD: MEGHAN POLLACK
    We are so happy to have you back! You came in like a wrecking ball and didn’t even blink an eye. You’re going to do amazing things this week.
May 18, 2020

Working Together Through a Challenging Time

The management team at Merakey on Verree Road and RWDSU Local 108 are working together to maintain the daily care of 83 individuals living together as a family.

The Union Delegates Leonard Hayes, Peace Thank-God and Camille Yelverton, along with the Local 108 President, Charles Hall, acknowledged the Direct Support Professionals on May 8 with coffee, donuts, and lunch served on all three shifts.

Camille Yelverton commented, “a special thanks to the supervisors and managers for hanging in there with us”. Administration at the Verree Road location placed a large 16’ wide and 2’ high sign acknowledging the heroes working at 9990 Verree Road. The Local 108 contributions made to our “Heroes” further demonstrates our joint labor-management partnership. Joseph Sellers, assistant executive director, has been working directly with the management team and Local 108 members to ensure the safety and well-being of both the individuals residing at Verree Road and the staff working there. “I have a great team and I could not be more proud to work alongside of such dedicated staff”, commented Joseph. Teamwork is essential in a time of turmoil and changes.

Working Together Through a Challenging Time
Working Together Through a Challenging Time
Working Together Through a Challenging Time
Working Together Through a Challenging Time
Working Together Through a Challenging Time
Working Together Through a Challenging Time
May 18, 2020

Special Message from Merakey’s Children & Family Division

Leaders from across the Children & Family Division want to thank everyone for their continued support and hard work during this challenging time. Check out this special message on the home page of the Merakey website: www.merakey.org.

A Special Message from Merakey Children & Family Division

May 18, 2020

DSPs Receive Special Appreciation

It’s no doubt that Merakey’s Direct Support Professionals are doing an awesome job supporting our individuals during COVID-19. To show her appreciation for everything that staff are doing, a mother of an individual supported at the IDD Capital Region program in Harrisburg, who works at Stauffers of Kissel Hill Home & Garden Store, generously donated several flats of flowers for the homes and staff members. The flowers were a gift of thanks for all that staff are doing during this time.

Thank you, Stauffers of Kissel Hill Home & Garden Store, and to the volunteers from Pine Street, Colin, Peron and Nolan Homes for helping to deliver the flowers.

DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
DSPs Receive Special Appreciation
May 18, 2020

Showing Their Phillies Spirit

The Philadelphia Phillies and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has been donating Fanatics face masks created from Philadelphia Phillies Jerseys. IDD Services in Chester and Delaware Counties, PA were lucky recipients of these unique masks. The masks were distributed to the residential homes, as well as the Home and Community Supports Program, to use when going out in the community for critical needs, such as the grocery store and to medical appointments. Everyone is very excited to show their Philadelphia spirit with their new Fanatics face masks!

Special thanks to the Philadelphia Phillies and ODP for these special masks.

Go Phillies!
May 8, 2020

Staying Connected through Technology

At Merakey AVS’ Patricia Hillman Miller Campus in Pittsburgh, PA, technology makes it possible for individuals to still connect and express their love and care for others, especially family and friends. They can hear their voices, see their faces, and share words of encouragement.

“It has been heartwarming to witness and share the moments between individuals and their families using [technology] devices,” comments PHMC Administrative Assistant Cortney Miele. “We hope that these pictures brighten Merakey’s day and even everyone’s outlook, and that they remind and reinforce what we all know to be true: we all need human touch, even if it is through a media screen for now.”

May 8, 2020

Women's Soccer Random Acts of Kindness

The Mercyhurst women's soccer team has taken its new-found free time and used it for the better. Returning student-athletes and incoming freshman have taken time to write cards, put together care packages, painted rocks and more to help encourage frontline staff working to fight COVID-19 and their local communities. One of those players, Sydney Snyder, daughter of Senior Vice President of Adult Behavioral Health Tinnesia Snyder, wrote thank you cards and gave gifts to direct care staff who work in Merakey’s behavioral health residential programs in the Pittsburgh area. Click here to read more about this amazing story of community support during these difficult times.

Thank you, Sydney, for helping to lift the spirits of Merakey staff members.

Women's Soccer Team Shows Support!

May 8, 2020

Making Masks to Keep Staff Safe

Rebecca and Elisha, who receive Merakey Adult Autism Services in Phoenixville, PA helped to make 100 masks for Merakey employees. Director of Specialized Services Cindy Hennessy gathered donations from family and friends, while Program Coordinator Amy Scharff shopped for additional materials needed to make the masks. Program Manager Sara Flammer brought in her sewing machine, and the ladies, along with DSPs Dottie, Erica and Katie, made the masks.

“This was a great team effort,” commented Cindy.

Making masks to keep staff safe
Making masks to keep staff safe
Making masks to keep staff safe
Making masks to keep staff safe
May 1, 2020

Our Staff, Our Heroes

Director of Program Supports in the IDD Division Robyn Cheskiewicz shares her message to Direct Support Professionals throughout Merakey:

“To our staff, our heroes - We know it takes a lot for you to go into work each day. It may be a struggle to understand why you are considered ESSENTIAL. You might not see it, but you are the definition of ESSENTIAL. Just showing up each day has a lasting impact on the individuals and families, and that has made you invaluable team members. Nothing goes further than just being there.

We are very proud of each of you, and to be honest, jealous. The companionship, support and compassion you show each day is what it will take to weather this storm. You are our true HEROES, now more than ever, critical to the success of Merakey and what we envision when we hear ESSENTIAL!

Stay strong, stay healthy and know that we are very proud that you are the staff supporting the individuals we call our family.”

Our Staff, Our Heroes
Our Staff, Our Heroes
Our Staff, Our Heroes
Our Staff, Our Heroes
Our Staff, Our Heroes
Our Staff, Our Heroes
May 1, 2020

ACT Helps Individuals to Stay Healthy and Safe

The Pocono Mountain Center Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team in Stroudsburg, PA continues to support each other and the individuals they serve by encouraging the use of face masks, practicing social distancing, and sharing other precautions that can be taken to reduce the spread COVID-19. Staff also pitched in to make and purchase masks, which were donated to individuals in their program. Great job, team, and keep up your incredible efforts!

ACT Helps Individuals to Stay Healthy and Safe

May 1, 2020

Advocating for Merakey’s DSPs

In response to a request from PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability), individuals and family members across the state are advocating for increased supports for DSPs through personal video messages.

Merakey thanks Mr. and Mrs. Leonard for submitting their video and for sharing their reasons why DSPs are so critical to the individuals and families served.

Check out the video to view the Leonards' support for DSPs.

 
May 1, 2020

Thankful for Masks

Employees at Merakey Parkside Recovery are grateful for masks that were recently donated so that they can continue to provide critical services to members of the Philadelphia community who depend on them every day. Merakey applauds everyone for their support and commitment during this challenging time!

Thankful for Masks

May 1, 2020

Creative Ways to Keep Busy

Individuals supported by Merakey AVS are finding creative and crafty ways to stay busy!

The ladies at Nolte are welcoming feathered guests to their backyard. Wendy and Genny built and painted bird feeders from two-liter bottles. The feeders are hung in the trees and filled with bird seed. Awesome job, ladies!

Kathy at Crestview II and Kevin at Great Oaks are making homemade gnocchi for their housemates to enjoy for dinner. Yum!

The ladies at Ewings Mill II are participating in a Bible study. This is a great way to maintain a sense of calm during these challenging times!

Creative ways to keep busy
Creative ways to keep busy
Creative ways to keep busy
Creative ways to keep busy
Creative ways to keep busy