Archived News & Events - November 2018

November 30, 2018

Congrats NOLA Team Members!

Congratulations to Geraldine Anderson, Mental Health Professional, Kinyada Foots, Mental Health Professional, and Patrick Fields, Vocational Specialist, for having the highest monthly productivity for the teams they serve in New Orleans! The many individuals who have been provided services appreciate your hard work and dedication to the Merakey mission and core values! Keep up the good work!

Congrats NOLA Team Members!
November 20, 2018

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday is right around the corner. This is a huge giving moment, and we need your help.

This year, Facebook is partnering with PayPal to match donations of up to $7 million to U.S. nonprofits on Facebook, and we want to take advantage of those matching dollars.

The early bird gets the worm on this because once that $7million is gone, there is no more matching money. We must be first to the game!

On November 27, at 8am SHARP, please click this link to give any amount of money towards our cause: Facebook Donation Form

Every dollar raised will go directly to Merakey Foundation, helping those in critical need obtain vital resources. Facebook is also waiving all processing fees!

Thank you, and please share with everyone who is as generous and caring as you!

The Merakey Foundation Team

November 20, 2018

Tim Barksdale, NADD Member of the Year

Tim Barksdale

Merakey Clinical Executive Director for IDD Services Tim Barksdale, is this year’s recipient of the NADD Member of the Year. On November 1, Tim was presented the award at the NADD Annual Conference in Seattle. Actively participating in NADD committees, contributing to publications, presenting at training events/conferences, donating, recruiting new members, and providing leadership at special events sponsored by NADD, Tim was a perfect candidate to receive the prestigious recognition this year. He is the co-chair of the Clinical Certification Committee and has been instrumental in developing the criteria and testing for Clinical Certification. Tim participates in the interview process of potential clinicians applying for the Certification, contributes to the Accrediting Team and has traveled to Missouri to receive the specialized training. He has also been recently elected to the NADD Board of Directors.

Congratulations, Tim, on this well-deserved award, and thank you for putting your heart and soul into exceptional care and services!

November 20, 2018

Reducing Risks, Driving Cost Savings

Graham Case Study

Click here to read a case study about the collaborative relationship between Merakey and our insurance broker The Graham Company.

November 20, 2018

Merakey and Fresh Start Celebrate with Our Veterans

This past Veterans Day, the Fresh Start programs had the opportunity to thank the programs’ Veterans for their service, and show gratitude for the sacrifices they have made for our country.

Chester County Vets Chester County Vets Chester County Vets Chester County Vets

In Chester County, programs spent the afternoon in a private room at Shady Maple in Lancaster enjoying the Amish smorgasbord.

Philadelphia Vets Philadelphia Vets

In Philadelphia, Fresh Start partnered with mission BBQ, and served dinner at the 2900 N. 17th street location, which was fully decorated for the occasion. Veterans had the chance to sit down and reminisce about their service, enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow serviceman, and enjoy a great day interacting with their friends and staff.

November 20, 2018

Philadelphia Adult Blended Case Management Celebrates Veterans Day

Joseph Williams

The Adult Blended Case Management program in Philadelphia celebrated Veteran’s Day to honor all the men and women who have bravely served our country. Thank you to Joseph Williams (seated center) and all the Veterans at Merakey.

November 20, 2018

The Reindeer Project

For the past few years Zach Rink, along with family and friends, have raised money for the Merakey Fresh Start Program by making and selling reindeer chocolate. This year, Zach and his team gathered over 35 volunteers at a local church and made 400 reindeer hot chocolate mixes. Zach will speak at the Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park in Washington Township, NJ on November 11. Merakey would like to thank Zach and his team of volunteers for all their help!

November 5, 2018

Merakey Foundation Celebrates their 15th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala

More than 350 guests, board members, Merakey employees, and friends attended the 15th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala on October 27 at Vie in Philadelphia, PA. This year’s theme was Great Gatsby, celebrating Merakey individuals, staff members, and board members who have put their hearts and souls into furthering the mission of Merakey. Guests were treated to an evening of Great Gatsby themed décor and auction items, including one-of-a-kind art pieces created by talented individuals in our services.

Representative Thomas Murt was honored with the Pennsylvania seal for his tireless advocacy for human services in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has prioritized improving the quality of care as a major component of his platform and legislative agenda.

Selflessly serving Merakey for over 30 years, Robert (Bobby) Nix received this year’s Leading the Way Award. As Chairman of the Board at Merakey and President of Pleasant News, Inc., Bobby has been serving the community for most of his adult life. He was a founding member of the community park, Friends of Carpenter’s Woods. On top of advocating for Philadelphia’s parks, he also served three decades on the Philadelphia Board of Revision of Taxes and Acts as Board Secretary. Bobby’s true passion is spending time with his family and friends. Bobby proudly fosters the Merakey mission of putting his heart and soul into enriching lives through his services to the community.

The Fran Egan Courage Award was given to Jeff Pittner. Jeff is a veteran of the Air Force and an individual in recovery. Jeff began his career at Fresh Start 19 years ago when he devoted his life to helping people recover from the disease of addiction. Under Jeff’s leadership, the Fresh Start program has expanded from 4 beds to serving 700 people every year. He partnered with the VA and expanded the Veterans program, creating the largest provider of Veteran transitional and emergency housing services in Pennsylvania.

Almost half a million dollars was raised at this year’s event through many donations made to support Merakey programs and individuals we support. Thank you to our sponsors, friends, staff, and guests for your continued generosity which enabled us to once again exceed our goals and expectations.

November 5, 2018

Parkside Receives COA Accreditation


Merakey Parkside Recovery received another full accreditation from the Council of Accreditation (COA). Merakey Parkside Recovery has been committed to caring for those in recovery through innovative programming.

In response to the Opioid epidemic in Philadelphia and the increased demand for services, Merakey Parkside began to transform how and where services were provided to proactively engage individuals in need. In 2017, the team created a mobile approach to person-centered engagement and treatment – the Mobile Intake and Assessment Unit – designed to actively engage individuals in need of services through outreach and transportation services, streamline the intake and assessment process, and provide immediate access to care, helping make the intake process easier and effective.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to helping in this process. This is a great accomplishment for Parkside and highlights all the good work we are doing. The COA accreditation process has created a framework for Merakey Parkside Recovery to use to continue to improve the services we provide to clients on a daily basis.” -Josh Vigderman, Executive Director of Addiction Services.

November 5, 2018

34 Years of Dedicated Service

Lauraine Spivey Ferguson

Lauraine Spivey Ferguson was employed at the Merakey Woodhaven Center in Philadelphia for 34 years.

She started as a Direct Support Professional working with individuals in the Pine, Maple, and Birch units. Lauraine was a supervisor on the Willowood unit from 1984 to1998, and then became a Duty Administrator in 1999 until present.

Lorraine stated that her greatest joy was being able to raise her children and pay for their schooling while employed at Merakey. Her daughter and son are now adults with great careers and children of their own

She is looking forward to spending her retirement with her grandchildren Joel, Joshua, Amaiya, and Avianna. Lauraine will be truly missed at Merakey Woodhaven for her pleasant demeaner and calming voice.

November 5, 2018

A Place in History (and Meeting) with President Carter

Billie West

Merakey Director of Labor Relations, Billie West, and her husband met with former president Jimmy Carter in Atlanta on October 19, before the SHRM Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) National Conference.

The Wests met with President Carter to discuss Billie’s father becoming the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949! To learn more about their unique experience with the former president, click here.

Meanwhile, at the SHRM Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) National Conference, representatives from Merakey spent four days in intensive workshops on various D&I topics and resources for furthering the transformation of workplace environments to reach the organization’s fullest potential. Billie West will serve as Merakey’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (MDILC) Co-Chair along with President and COO Ted Dallas.

The members of the MDILC represent consumer and employee interests from across the organization. They will serve as the overall umbrella committee in support of our mission and core values, and to foster understanding of Merakey's D&I strategy for business and community well-being.

November 5, 2018

Keeping Kids Warm This Winter

More than 100 warm winter coats were distributed by the Merakey Foundation to children in our Parents and Children Together (PACT) and Outpatient programs located at 265 E. Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia on October 25.

Pacifico Marple Ford Lincoln, in conjunction with the Auto Dealers Caring for Kids Foundation, donated the needed coats. The children were delighted and thankful to receive their new warm coats to wear in the upcoming season.

Can't see the videos above? Click here to view the WCAU story and click here to view the WPVI story.
November 5, 2018

Employment First Continues! #NDEAM


According to National Disability Institute’s curriculum on Disability Awareness training:

  • 49% of taxpayers with disabilities earn more than $21,000 a year
  • 20 million families have at least one member with a disability
  • 8 million Americans are persons with disabilities… 1 in 5 Americans

Thank you for sharing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) with us! #NDEAM may be one month, but the mission is one we carry out daily. As a business, we can support retention of and accommodations for employees who experience a disability; we can also be more intentional in our recruitment and hiring practices of people with disabilities. YOU are a part of cultivating an inclusive workforce. The Employment First Committee will continue to share stories and information with you through The Pulse and other avenues. If you’re interested in being more active in Merakey’s transformation to becoming a leading innovative Employment First provider, contact Theresia Kody (

Below you’ll find some information that is helpful to you or someone you know:

November 5, 2018

Amazon Smile and the Merakey Foundation

Amazon & Merakey Did you know that you can support the individuals served by Merakey simply by selecting Merakey Foundation as your charity of choice through Amazon Smile?

Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible items purchased at

For more information on the program, please visit

November 5, 2018

Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week

Corporate Complaince Week

November 4 – 10 is Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week.

The week spotlights the importance of compliance and ethics throughout the organization. Merakey QCO will be celebrating the week with awareness activities that will be carried throughout the month.

The vision of the QCO is to achieve a company-wide culture that includes an integrated approach of quality, safety, compliance, and privacy. This approach allows us to streamline data collected and improves how Merakey uses it to monitor quality, performance and outcomes to ensure we remain competitive in our industry.

Be on the lookout for more information from the QCO department throughout November.